Saturday, May 28, 2005

Myers Praises West Point 'Sept 11' Grads

In an Associated Press news article, General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the West Point graduating Class of 2005 "one of the few since the early days of the Vietnam War who came to West Point in peace time, saw the nation transition to war and chose to stay, knowing you would raise your right hand and take an oath and swear to defend the constitution of a nation that was still at war."

The Class of 2005 had started their studies just weeks before the September 11 terrorist attacks and for the past four years have been drilling and studying under what West Point Superintendent Lt. General William Lennox called "the shadow of war." About 7 in 10 of the new second lieutenants who have graduated are expected to be in Iraq or Afghanistan within the year.

In some ways, Myers is right. This graduating class--nicknamed the "Class of 9-11,' and whose number of graduates are at 911--have certainly started their studies before the terrorist attacks and have graduated during a time when the U.S. military is fighting an insurgency in Iraq. And yes, this class does somewhat mirror to that of the previous West Point classes graduating during the early days of Vietnam. But I would have to ask Myers if this is the right analogy to give to those young soldiers who are about to fight and die for their country in a wasteful war. You can not fight in a war, in a distant country, where the population of that country views you as an occupying force. Vietnam was a civil war between a communist North Vietnam and a corrupted authoritarian government of South Vietnam. America was suckered into the war by the Johnson Administration determined to fight against communism with a flawed containment policy emphasizing a domino theory. Iraq was an authoritarian dictatorship under Saddam Hussein, which had successfully suppressed ethnic and religious tensions between Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. After the American invasion of Iraq and subsequent overthrow of Saddam's regime, the suppression of those tensions have been released where Iraq is cascading into a full-blown civil war against both the American occupiers and between the three ethnic groups. The American public was suckered into this war by a Bush Administration determined to take over Iraq using a flawed policy of American imperialism as developed by the P.N.A.C doctrine, marketed and sold to the American public under the guise of fears of Iraqi terrorism and development of nuclear weapons for Saddam.

As the Vietnam War continued on, both the average American soldier, and the public slowly realized that this war was a lost cause. American troops were going through a meat grinder there. How long will it be, before the American troops in Iraq, and the American public realize that this war is also a lost cause? That American troops are also going through a meat grinder in Iraq? Perhaps Myers should have also mentioned the negative similarities between Vietnam and Iraq so that these kids would realize when it is right to fight a war, and when it is not. Unfortunately, these young soldiers will have to learn these lessons the hard way.

They--like their brother's before them in Vietnam--will have to go through the meat grinder.

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