mad in pursuit: greed & arrogance

2004 political season

mad in pursuit home

greed & arrogance index


8.24.04 Vietnam Resurges

While young men and women are dying in our misbegotten war in Iraq, we are distracted by having to refight the Vietnam War.

It's unfortunate that John Kerry has had to emphasize courage on the swift boat rather than his courage in protesting after the war. I assume he figures he's already got the 1960s protester vote sewn up.

Even Johnson administration Defense Secretary Robert McNamara admits the Vietnam War was a disaster. Our fear of the Soviet threat and the dominos of southeast Asia drove both Democrats and Republicans into a war that did terrible damage to my generation of young men.

War may bring out the best in soldiers, but it also brings out the worst in them (witness Abu Ghraib). It is terribly sad that men my age and older are still struggling with the demons. They carry physical scars and still wake up with nightmares. We try to tell them that we appreciate their personal sacrifice and patriotism but it doesn't change the fact that we lost the war and it just didn't add up to anything anyway.

Our fathers are continually celebrated for winning World War II, for soundly defeating fascism and changing the world. In Vietnam we defeated no one but ourselves. It takes a special kind of courage to fight for a losing team, to rely on no one but your buddies, to walk leaderless into the night, to come home to a chilly reception.

Kerry has tried to elevate Vietnam service as a worthy proving ground for a commander-in-chief. He might have succeeded in rehabilitating the image of the Vietnam soldier. But the twisted conservative Viet-vet psychology simply won't let it happen.

Maybe it's okay to address the old issues again -- but let's address them as the great questions of my generation. Didn't Vietnam spawn enough lies without generating more?





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