Sunday, April 8, 2007

"They made a desert, and called it peace."

For many Americans, arguing that Iraq is--or isn't--another Vietnam has been to genuine thoughtfulness about our foreign policy as chewing gum is to a balanced meal. It's become a substitute for thinking.

(I was astonished, for example, when I first read The Best and the Brightest, to learn how much time and energy was spent during the Kennedy Administration arguing that Vietnam was--or wasn't--going to be "another Korea." Turns out it wasn't, of course; it was a Vietnam. Every bad war is bad in its own special way. But I digress.)

That being said, kudos to Les AuCoin for posting this meditation and reminder, regarding a speech Bobby Kennedy delivered during his 1968 presidential campaign:
I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that we are acting as if no other nations existed, against the judgment and desires of neutrals and our historic allies alike. I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that our present course will not bring victory; will not bring peace; will not stop the bloodshed; and will not advance the interests of the United States or the cause of peace in the world. I am concerned that, at the end of it all, there will only be more Americans killed; more of our treasure spilled out; and because of the bitterness and hatred on every side of this war, more hundreds of thousands of [civilians] slaughtered; so they may say, as Tacitus said of Rome: "They made a desert, and called it peace."

The proper question is not, "Is Iraq another Vietnam?" The proper question is, "How much longer will it take this time to rein in yet another administration whose foreign policy is driven by arrogance, short-sightedness, and a misguided national pride?"

Read the whole thing.

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