Monday, June 27, 2005

Louie Gohmert has learned nothing from the wars of the 20th Century

I'm watching C-SPAN live right now, and Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) is decrying the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam as one of America's darkest hours, because the U.S. should have had the political will to fight and win the Vietnam War, by any means necessary. After all, "the end justifies the means" is the unofficial motto of the Communist Republican Party. Gohmert speaks about the tragedy of learning nothing from our experiences of war in the 20th century.

The lesson of Vietnam is that we should never have gone into Vietnam to begin with. It was a Democratic President who lied to get us into that war. The Gulf of Tonkin "incident" was staged as a pretext for expanding American involvement, eventually leading to the deaths of over FIFTY THOUSAND American soldiers, and uncounted Vietnamese men, women, and children, all in an effort to prop up an unpopular, undemocratic government against a genuine movement of the people. Just because we didn't like Ho Chi Minh, doesn't mean that he wasn't the right choice for the people of Vietnam.

The lesson of Iraq is that we went about the process of régime change in a disastrously wrong-headed way, with disastrously inadequate planning and a disastrous lack of contact with the reality of the situation. We certainly should have known that Saddam Hussein could not have had stockpiles of WMDs, because the WMDs have a limited shelf life. Saying that Saddam had massive stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons is about like saying that he had massive stockpiles of milk. Saddam was a bloodthirsty tyrant, but far more Iraqis have died since the invasion than would have died under the status quo ante. Saddam wanted to build weapons and be an aggressive regional bully, but he was in a very small Anglo-American box, unable to realize those ambitions.

Furthermore, our continued military presence continues to inflame the continuing violence of the growing insurgency.

The United States needs to accelerate its withdrawal, as well as the withdrawal of troops from Singapore and Rwanda and even those wily Albanians, from Iraq — not only for the sake of the U.S. troops, but also for the sake of the Iraqi people.