SOLDIERS died in Vietnam because American presidents
lied to the American people about the need for
war. American soldiers are dying in Iraq because
an American president lied to the American people
about the need for war.
is why the Vietnam War is relevant to the 2004
presidential election. Oddly enough, John Kerry,
presidential candidate and decorated Vietnam War
veteran, needs to be reminded of that as much
fact that Kerry served in Vietnam is fine; the
fact that George W. Bush did not serve does not
make the difference between who should win the
next election. The fact that Kerry served, came
back with the understanding that the war he and
others fought honorably was a mistake, and told
that to the American people is relevant, if linked
to what is happening now in Iraq, compliments
of the Bush administration.
both wars, the government set up a false premise
to justify US involvement - the ''domino theory''
in Vietnam, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
In both, it was assumed that America's superior
military force would quickly finish off the enemy.
In Vietnam, the United States eventually turned
its weapons on the people we were fighting to
free; the same is true in Iraq.
Vietnam, the war dragged on, beginning in 1961
with American ''advisers'' and ending in 1973,
with 60,000 dead American soldiers and several
million dead Vietnamese. How long will this latest
war of choice, propelled by a lie, go on? How
long will the United States government tell its
citizens it must destroy a country to save it?
over-40 crowd is already bored with the Vietnam
comparison. Those younger are bored and ignorant.
That's too bad, because they are the government's
next sacrificial lambs, whether sucked into war
by economic need or patriotic idealism. America's
young people need to understand the lessons of
Vietnam and their parents need to be reminded
Vietnam War era video rolls on the television
screen during presidential campaign news, the
teenager in my house sees musty history, groans
and itches to switch to ESPN. Why do the talking
heads keep on talking about these ancient battles?
Without a draft, war is a choice for young Americans.
big picture is easy to ignore when it doesn't
look like you or anyone you love will be anywhere
near it, but it is no less dangerous for the country.
why the American history Kerry lived through is
relevant in this presidential campaign. The words
that came to represent Vietnam, from quagmire
to body count, from winning the hearts and minds
to destroying the village to save it already resonate
in Iraq. The question Kerry famously asked before
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April
23, 1971 - ''How do you ask a man to be the last
man to die for a mistake?'' - could be asked today
already have a president who will not admit any
mistakes. So far, Kerry is also unwilling to label
this war a mistake, whether out of pride or fear
of turning off the political middle by appeasing
the political left. It will be interesting to
see if Kerry's position shifts with the latest
New York Times/ CBS News poll, showing that support
for the war in Iraq is eroding. The public is
now evenly divided over whether the United States
should stay for as long as it takes to stabilize
Iraq or pull out as soon as possible.
for Ralph Nader totals 5 percent in this poll
and draws from the Democratic candidate. Some
of Nader's support comes from voters who understand
the lessons of Vietnam whether or not they served
in the war.
the debate over who fought in Vietnam and who
did not. Forget whether Kerry threw medals or
ribbons over a fence in Washington 33 years ago.
The debate in this presidential debate shouldn't
be over Kerry's war medals or Bush's National
Guard service. It should be over how this president
led this country into Iraq and how the president
elected in November gets us out of it.
Vennochi's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
Posted: May 4, 2004