Doomed to Repeat History

By Stanford Matthews
originally posted at:
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The American public was not interested in getting involved in World War I. The US only entered the war in the last year or year and a half. The same can be said of early sentiment of World War II. Most Americans initially viewed the war as Europe’s problem and resistance to entering the war was widespread. Only after Pearl Harbor was attacked did the mood of the country change. After entering the war there was no voice for turning back.The outcomes of the two World Wars were successful. The Korean War was not widely supported. As support continued to decline, some attempts at a peaceful settlement finally resulted in withdrawal. Perhaps the outcome of that war was influenced by the lack of support at home. More than fifty years later and the US, Korea and the rest of the world are still paying for the missing successful outcome. The Viet Nam War was hamstrung by similar problems with public sentiment and lack of support. The intrusion of civilian leaders into military matters exacerbated difficulties in achieving a successful outcome.

Desert Storm was a renewal. The psychological hangover from past wartime experiences that did not end well were vindicated as not typical of US resolve. The public was solidly behind US forces led by Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf as the military defeated the Iraqi forces of Saddam Hussein in a 100 hour war that resembled the features of a video game as most watched the day to day events on CNN in real time. The American public and the instant society were hooked. War should always be successfully completed in a week.

Some disagreement as to whether Saddam should have been allowed to remain in power or even breathe resulted in nothing being done. Solving problems for the Kurds were left undone and they suffered severely at the hands of Saddam Hussein after the brief war. The public largely ignored any more discussion of Iraq after being satisfied with an instant war and outcome. Case closed.

Inadequate public support and inability of all civilian and military leadership to be in sync have hamstrung the prosecution of this war. To allow the enemy a front row seat to continued bickering about the war only serves that enemy. All the focus and concern should not be placed on this war. How this country will respond to the next crisis that threatens our existence is being determined in Iraq. The shortsighted view is again affecting outcomes.

The weakening resolve of some members of the GOP that are concerned with party politics is the latest evidence of a lack of will to do the right thing. The White House, Democratic leadership and again, some members of the current minority party are lining up to give away this country to corporate interests. Those who do not learn from the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it. To facilitate a failure in Iraq or the new threats from terrorism and to open wider already porous borders plus offering amnesty to law breakers has real consequences.

For those who do not support the war in Iraq, national defense, security and effective control of the borders and immigration, consider the possibility that your position, no matter how well-intentioned, is wrong. Strong national defense, security and law enforcement can allow exceptions when too restrictive whereas the lack of these measures can spell disaster. Do you really want to risk this country’s future on feel good sentiments that allow those who would do harm to succeed?

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