Tuesday, January 07, 2020

4537 Knee Deep in the Big Sandy

Tehran at night. No sign of sand here, but you don’t have to travel far to find it.

LBJ brought marathon escalation to modern warfare. Now trump is carrying on a great American tradition.

Johnson didn’t start the war in Vietnam.  But he didn’t finish it, either. Ho Chi Minh did that. We lost.  Folksinger Pete Seeger had a small label mini hit record with “Knee Deep in the Big Muddy (And the big fool says to push on.”)

Now, we have the Big Sandy. It’s more complicated than ‘nam.

Ho was a national hero. He had the support of his own puppet regime and the secret allegiance of millions of South Vietnamese who didn’t see him as a commie, but as a great wall against China.

LBJ had some saving graces, even so, the war did him in.  The present occupant of the White House doesn’t have any graces or savings.  But he will not fall victim to the kind of public outcry and uproar that ended the Johnson presidency. And that says more about us than it does about him.

Does the coming war with Iran have any big-time US supporters?  Um… it doesn’t look that way. The chorus of democrats seems pretty united about the idea of not having another shooting war. But if you are a person of draft age, it’s time to have those bone spurs or flat feet certified by a friendly physician.

And some notes to the Pentagon:

1.    Agent Orange doesn’t work in places where the average annual temperature is in three-digit numbers.
2.    It’s way harder to dig secret hiding places and tunnels in sand than it is in the rich, rice-growing soil of ‘nam.
3.    Attention Department of Defense: It’s tougher to work up a supply line from anywhere in the middle east to Tehran than it was from South Vietnam to Hanoi.  So build some roads.
4.    Kissinger is the Ikea of peace talks. He has diagrams for big tables. Learn from his experience. The Iranians are better at complicating things than North Vietnam was.

So, seriously… do we need another shooting war to lose? Do we need another perpetual war?  Do we need another draft? All of these “winning” strategies loom large in the future.

There’s another little problem in fighting with Iran. As far as we know, North Vietnam did not have an atomic weapons arsenal. We can’t be sure that Iran doesn’t or won’t. And we can’t count on anyone else joining us in a new war.  Our alleged president has alienated all of our would-be allies.  There will be no coalition, not even the kind the Bushs faked in Iraq.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020

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