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28 February 2009


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Co. Lang...it astounds me that somehow you saddle the "Democratic Left" with the aftermath of the US withdrawal from Vietnam, as the Nixon-Kissinger "Peace with Honour" machinations virtually guaranteed that the South would eventually capitulate to the NVA and submit to reunification terms issued by Ho Chi Minh. Even the notoriously corrupt regime of Nguyen Van Thieu recognised that there was absolutely no choice but to endorse the "peace" terms negotiated by the US and GNVN, and endure whatever consequences would flow from the decision. After all the (Nixon) years of expanding the war to Cambodia, bombing of Hanoi/Haiphong, additional thousands of US and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese casualties, despite all of that the inevitable writing on the wall spelled "it's over", and the Vietnamese themselves would sort out the post-war arrangements, the legacy of which presented no apparent threat to US national security (unless you reckon "loss of prestige" a national-security issue).
IMO, Iraq will go the same way, where a new government radically different from that displaced by war will assume power, and the internal dynamics of Iraqi politics - ethnic, religious, territorial - will ultimately impose the composition and direction of post-war/post-occupation Iraq. I simply can't accept that the "reach" of domestic US politics trumps the ability of a foreign peoples to place their own mark upon their own county; the removal of all US military tomorrow or two years from now won't make any significant difference in what emerges within Iraq after all the shouting has subsided.
Yes, it would be comforting to know that "success", "victory", a "job well done" was achieved after all these years of warfare, but - in the long run - it's out of the Americans' hands, full stop; totting up "gains" or "losses" to US national security or interest in the immediacy of the wind-up to the war serves no good purpose at all.

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