It sounds like you are arguing that we are unable to make judgements about the course of events as they happen...
That's not my main point although historically it is true more often than not. Major events in wars are routinely misunderstood at the time they occur by both the general public and policy makers. For example, the common perception about the Tet offensive was that it showed that the Viet Cong were militarily powerful, resilient to the point of being nigh indestructible and widely popular in South Vietnam. Not until. People who argued otherwise were mocked by the majority. Not until the end of the Cold War did we learn that the Tet Offensive destroyed the Viet Cong, that the popular uprising they planned on never materialized and that they never played a significant role in the war again. WWII is suffused with even more examples.
My main point, however, was that we tend to psychologically compress the past. We forget that people who lived through the events thought they would never end. Its the difference between watching a 30 minute edited show about some one's week and being the shmoe that actually follows them around with a camera for 7 days.
i dont recall anyone saying that...
In the mid-90's the Kurds experienced extensive internal discord. Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran all sponsored different groups. Saddam sponsored one group that came rather close to taking over the region by armed force. Had one looked at the situation then, one could have easily concluded that the Kurds would never be able to work together. Now days, the Kurdish zones are considered a roaring success.
...America was never in Cambodia...
We had boots on the ground for only a short time but our support for non-communist forces in the country dates back to the 1950's. The termination of support for non-communist forces in 73-74 lead to a communist victory in 1975. The communist were supported fully by China whereas anti-communist forces had nothing but their own resources to rely on. They were overwhelmed.
I think the parallel exact. Iraq faces both external division and attack from external actors. If we abandon them the most likely outcome will be a brutal civil war with Sunnis supported by Sunni nations and Shia supported by Iran.
We threw the people of Indochina because we did not understand the nature of the conflict as it was happening.Comment Posted By Shannon Love On 25.07.2007 @ 21:10
Iraq is an open wound, bleeding as a result of our ministrations.
In one sense you are correct but I would submit that during all American wars, from the revolution onward, many honest and reasonable people have made that same assessment. History has judged them in the main to have been wrong.
History is ugly and slow when observed in real time. The day-to-day realities of conflicts seem to horrible and to unending to ever lead to victory. By contrast, the victories of the past seem easy and foreordained when viewed in hindsight. We compress months and years of struggle into a few brief major events. We wonder why current events do not seem to progress in the same way.
Until the Iraqis decide they wish to live together in peace, the body count will continue to rise.
I would point out that people said the same thing 5 years into the de facto occupation of the Kurdish zone. The Kurds were judged to fractious and to much under assault by external actors to ever come to an accord. Today, the zone is largely peaceful and self-managing.
The Iraqi may not trust each other but it is their sovereign will as express through their honestly elected representatives that we stay and assist them. Nothing in the region's history suggest our leaving will improve things.
I for one do not wish another Cambodia on our collective conscience.Comment Posted By Shannon Love On 25.07.2007 @ 18:05
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