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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Iraq War Experience

An Op-Ed piece in the L.A. Times by CHRISTOPHER J. FETTWEIS (assistant professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College) provides some interesting insight to the complexities within society of losing a war.

Fettweis writes in his piece titled Post-traumatic Iraq syndrome of the lasting impact the earlier Soviet war in Afghanistan had on the Soviet Union and societal effects of defeat linger to this day in our own country as a result of Vietnam.

While Fettweis talks of the finger pointing from politicians on all sides, he acknowledges that the American people as a whole see this war pretty much as it was.... "The American people seem to understand, however — and historians will certainly agree — that the war itself was a catastrophic mistake. It was a faulty grand strategy, not poor implementation. The Bush administration was operating under an international political illusion, one that is further discredited with every car bombing of a crowded Baghdad marketplace and every Iraqi doctor who packs up his family and flees his country." Did you catch that? Our troops did not fail us, the war itself was a mistake.

Like Vietnam, which clearly divided my own generation- Iraq syndrome will be no different.
Fettweis points out that while Vietnam was far more costly in American lives, in the end it was strategically irrelevant. While Saigon fell, there were no dominoes that followed, and in the years that followed, communism became less relevant to to the power structures of the world, not greater. He is correct to point out that the situation in Iraq perhaps could be more costly. Iraq could soon collapse into an uncontrollable, lawless, failed state that destabilizes the region.
So the cost of this mistake could be far worse than that of Vietnam.

In spit of this, Fettweis suggests there is an outcome which will not have made this all have been in vain. Read his Op-Ed piece and see for yourself [ Post-traumatic Iraq syndrome ]
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