Friday, March 07, 2003

Vietnam was partly a war of "containment," but it was partly a colonialism issue that we foolishly picked up from the French. Note that we didn't barge in on every country that started to espouse Marxism, instead letting their version of the South Vietnamese army make do with some money and guns. Another point that I don't want belabor, but that I think has relevance, is that war with Iraq never really ended. The truce was based on disarmament. QED, Saddam has restarted hostilities. Never mind that actual hostilities, like him firing on our No-Fly patrols, are common. (Another part of the truce was No-Fly Zone enforcement.) I don't buy this whole "pre-emptive war" argument, and I don't know why the administration has been hesitant to remind us that the war never ended. Blair has made that point, and so have numerous pundits. My other concern is the 1998 developments, when inspectors left Iraq and international opinion leaned toward lifting the sanctions/inspection regime. If we give Saddam another pass, it won't be long before sophisticated opinion goes there again. Put simply, the French et al talk about "containing" Saddam, but their hearts are not in it. Any containment effort will melt away, just like it did before.

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