Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Ice begins to freeze in the infernal region: I agree with Pat Robertson and Glenn Beck on an issue.

   Sometimes it is difficult to agree with a specific person. There might be a list of such people one keeps, if not on paper or on a hard drive, then at least in one’s head.
   Pat Robertson has said things that secured him a place on my list of such persons. Glenn Beck is on that list, too. Apparently both Pat Robertson and Glenn Beck this week have stated the United States was wrong to invade Iraq and would be wrong to commit more troops to attempt to stop the chaos there. Mr. Beck even went so far, Tuesday, as to acknowledge people on the left who opposed the invasion in 2003 were correct.
   This does not mean I shall, in the near future, remove these names from my “list.” However, at least the positions these two people have taken on this issue—United States invasion and intervention in Iraq—indicate a broad rejection of any plans for further intervention there.
   Divisions between various groups in Iraq are centuries old. Those “neo-cons” who thought the United States could do a quick “fix” after Saddam Hussein was toppled from power either lied to the citizens of this country and the people of the rest of the World, or were delusional. Then-Vice President Richard Cheney said, in 2003, United States involvement would be measured perhaps only in weeks, not months. Any amount of time can be measured in weeks, months, years—or days or hours. Yesterday afternoon’s baseball game at Victory Field lasted approximately three hours. Would that be two-hundredths of a week?
   The context in which the former Vice President gave his estimate was a sales job to the public. American soldiers, pilots, and ships’ crews would coordinate elements of the largest corporate-military machine in history to kick ass in Iraq. Then-President Bush’s infamous speech given on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in a pilot’s suit (with a codpiece perhaps concealed) stands as one of the least prudent speeches given by an American President.
   President Obama has carried on some of Bush II’s policies, but at least withdrew troops from Iraq. Then-Senator Barry Goldwater said, of United States troop commitments in Vietnam: if we sent them there to win, we sent too few; if we sent them there to lose, we sent too many. As one should know from reading the Pentagon Papers, the United States had no hope of a “win” in Vietnam, where the United States backed, as leaders, men who had spent much of their lives in France and returned to the land of their births with European tastes. Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Viet Minh and forces throughout that country, had spent years in France, but returned to Vietnam at least in native garb and using cultural images, in his speeches and writing, that resonated with the Vietnamese people. At the end of the day, one dictatorship was replaced by another. High-level functionaries in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) arrive at official ceremonies in chauffeur-driven Bentleys and Benzes—as, presumably, would have the rulers of South Vietnam. The minimum wage is 27 cents per hour. Over 50,000 American service personnel and an estimated one million Vietnamese lost their lives in that conflict.
   We are not the cops of the World. Santayana wrote that those who fail to study history are condemned to repeat it. That bespeaks of willful ignorance. Einstein defined insanity as a person repeating the same action multiple times and expecting a different outcome.
   These calls for United States re-invasion of Iraq ignore history and indicate the same people who brought us Gulf “War” II expect a different outcome from those reached in that “war,” Afghanistan or Vietnam.
   I might be on some people’s “list” such as that I described in regard to Pat Robertson and Glenn Beck. I hope such people cringe when they read that I agree with Messrs. Robertson and Beck on an issue—and those people write their representative in Congress to say the United States should just say “no” to more military involvement in Iraq.

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