Sunday, February 25, 2007

Support the troops redux

I'm in quito for work and I'm stuck in the hotel
room because I've picked up some kind of stomach
virus that won't go away. All I've done for the past
24 hours is migrate from the computer to the bed
to the bathroom, so I got to watch about 15 hours
of TV yesterday. One of the expat channels is showing forrest
gump this week, so I settled down to watch forrest and bubba
discuss boiled shrimp fried shrimp, shrimp sandwich, etc.

One scene that particularly jarred me was the peace protest
rally, where they are protesting Fucking VIETNAM!

The big banner behind the podium says "Support our GI's,
bring them home". Which makes me wonder if the hippies even
spent money to reprint signs for this war, or they are using the
same ones.

Iraq and Vietnam are similar in that the roots of both wars are
deep. There were several points in time before ground troops were
in vietnam where we could have changed policies, not returned indo
china to france after WWII, not supported the french, not supported
the South Vietnamese and just washed our hands of the whole thing.

Once ground troops were there and it was a proxy war with the Soviet
Union it had morphed from a colonial war that was a bad idea to an
anti-domino war where the country did have something at stake. The
troops should have been supported by silence, not protests.

The Iraq war is similar in that it is a continuation of the first gulf war where
only a cease-fire was signed way back in 1991 on condition that Saddam
give a full accounting of it's wmd and destroy all of it, not fire missiles at
coalition aircraft, etc (resolutions 686 and 687) The cease fire was signed
after the first bush decided not to go on and attack bagdad and topple

The roots go even further back because we gave support to Iraq against
Iran, when we probably should have been bombing both combatants, or at
least not talking to either one. This led to our ambassador telling the Iraqis
'we have no opinion with arab-arab conflicts like your border disagreement
with the Kuwaitis
'. (that's the text of the conversation between Saddam and
Ambassador Gilespie- fascinating)

So my point is, if I have a point, both wars had deep roots that go back in time.
The final decisions were made to send in ground troops, and after that point
we are stuck like a fly in amber. As mortals we can't go back in time and change
any of the events that happened in the past. We are there, the troops are fighting.
We can either support them by sending money or packages, we can work hard
so that the economy stays strong, we can strap on bombs and fly to Iran and blow
ourselves up over there (maybe not), but protesting the war and demanding
the troops come home is not support and never has been, in this war or in
past wars.


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