WILL WE EVER GET OUT OF IRAQ? | 2003-06-07
Not if we compromise.
No one will ever see the real lesson of the Vietnam War. The hawks say that the lesson of Vietnam was that fighting to win is good. The doves said that the lesson of Vietnam was that peace is good.
The real lesson of Vietnam was that there is nothing worse than half a war.
No one can see this lesson because our society is still based on the kind of thinking that got us into the Vietnam mess. We got into half a war in Vietnam because we compromised between fighting the war and getting out.
Our national obsession with compromise says that there are two sides to every question so the truth must lie somewhere in the middle. No mindset could be worse for dealing with military matters.
When you are putting lives on the line you have to decide either to fight it out or get out fast.
This is common sense, but the first thing our compromise mentality does is throw out common sense. When we have a problem, we don't look for the solution. We look for the compromise.
If you compromise all the time, you never finish anything. One side will want to keep doing what you are doing and the other side wants to stop. So you compromise. You don't do it and you don't quit.
Most of America's real policy disasters can be traced back to our failure to do it or to get out of it. Vietnam was just a very obvious example of this.
So when will both sides agree to get out of Iraq?
Well, the United States Army landed in Western Europe in 1943.
The Soviet Union stopped being a threat in 1989.
Our troops are still in Western Europe. They're still there and we are still compromising about them.
Since we became obsessed with the idea that truth equals compromise the only major military commitments we have gotten out of have been Vietnam and Somalia.
Do those two names tell you anything?