Friday, March 07, 2003
The Ghost of Vietnam: Excellent point on Turkey. The military has said that while it's not crazy about hosting the U.S., at least this way, the war stands to be shortened, and the Turks will get something out of it. I think the concept was war is bad, but a protracted one where we're on the outside looking in is worse. Having said that, I remain unconvinced (conceding Powell and Blair's eloquence) because our motives are mixed. Everyone understands retalitatory war as a result of cross-border invasion (be it Pearl Harbor, Kuwait or 9/11). What we haven't seen before, in any large scale, is this pre-emptive war - oh wait, we have...Vietnam. While 20-20 hindsight is convenient, there was no real threat to the U.S. from the civil war in Vietnam, other than an ideological one. The Vietnamese weren't about to develop an armada and invade Maui. But, we went there in order to...contain...an idea from spreading. With Iraq, we're also fighting an idea - albeit a very scary one - maniacal autocracy. Now, the rub is that this maniacal autocrat is sponsoring terrorism, that has a very real effect on our country. But this all comes back to the problem that you can probably pick out 10-15 other countries that sponsor such terrorism, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - currently our "allies". Radley has an excellent post on how we gingerly dance around Saudi Arabia's "issues." The real point is to make an example of Iraq in hopes that others will see that we mean business - an objective I can deal with, but still, one that is hard to justify such a mobilization with.