"The strategy we're following this time is the proper one, and is producing results. Repeated successes."
Gen. William Westmoreland, before Congress, April 28, 1967
"I believe that this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq."
Gen. David Petraeus, before Congress, Sept. 11, 2007
Yes, citizens, if you aren't a limp-wristed nervous Nellie, if you aren't a member of the defeatist hate-America-first club, it ought to be perfectly clear that our policy of Vietnamization is succeeding.
Within a few months or maybe decades, the Iraqi forces ought to be able to defend Saigon on their own. Provide policing services in Hue and Da Nang, and control the oil derricks on the central highlands and the Plain of Jars. Yes, victory is already glowing at the end of the tunnel, and every loyal American should be able to see it.
Comrades, one of the worst things about being older and having paid attention all these years is seeing succeeding generations of morons make the same mistakes, again and again, with less excuse.
Now I know what the reply from those who defend our current orgy of useless killing will be: Iraq is not Vietnam. It would be a stupid mistake to compare the two situations. They are entirely different.
Yes, indeed they are. Our involvement in the Vietnam War made far more sense, and had in some ways a bit of nobility about it, at least at the beginning. South Vietnam, our client state at the time, actually asked us for help. We did not launch an unprovoked attack on South Vietnam, invade and overthrow its government, as we did with Iraq.
Washington also did not go into South Vietnam so that private contractors could make a financial killing. "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil," Alan Greenspan, nobody's idea of a leftist, says in his new book.
The former chairman of the Federal Reserve, the leading architect of American economic policy for years, gets it. Everything about the war in Iraq is dirty, sullied, covered with lies, and has been from the beginning. We were lied to about the reasons for getting into the war, we were lied to about what kind of war it would be, and why. We were lied to about how long we were going to stay. This has even been acknowledged by Selected President Bush, the sorriest creature ever to set foot in the Oval Office since Teddy Roosevelt's dancing bear.
Some months ago, the Shrub acknowledged that his war had turned out different than he had advertised. "Well, this isn't the war we wanted, but it's the war we got," he said, or words to that effect.
Congress should have taken his war-making powers away that very day.
What George Bush and Dick Cheney have done makes Sen. Larry Craig's alleged toilet adventures look positively sanitary. Meanwhile, young men are dying, and we are being asked to swallow more with a happy smile.
For months, a good friend has told me how Gen. David Petraeus was different from all the rest. Why, he has a Ph.D. from Princeton! We were reassured that he would give us an honest and candid accounting of where the war stood.
Then he sat down before the microphones and essentially repeated chucklehead Bush's talking points. Except once, when he was caught being human. Sen. John Warner, a bushy-haired Virginia Republican, asked him if he thought what we were doing was making America safer.
"Sir, I don't know actually. I have not sat down and sorted out in my own mind," he said. As the brilliant Frank Rich noted in The New York Times, that was coded military speech for, "No, of course it isn't making us safer!"
Nor is it helping Iraq. We have caused more suffering and misery and death than Saddam Hussein ever did. Much has been made of our brilliant success in Anbar province, where the people are mostly Sunnis.
They need us to defend them from the Shiites who outnumber them about 2-1 in the entire country. They were such pro-American freedom sensations that their leader, Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, got to meet with our sheik, George Dubya of Texas, when our boy last swooped into Iraq.
That was on Labor Day. Ten days later, ol' Abu Risha was blown to paradise, along with four of his bodyguards, right outside his home.
Yes, we are winning all right. Now for a sanity check. The biggest and most important issue is getting the United States out of Iraq, pronto, plus vite, haulin' ass. Set up some kind of federation, give them some survey equipment so they can divide up their own country, whatever, and get out.
We have ruined the place. Every day we stay only makes it worse, and continues to weaken our nation and our standing all over the world.
Don't waste time trying to impeach the great decider. But let your Democrats in Congress know that they were elected to end this war, and it's time they grew some backbones. And if any of the presidential candidates talks about a gradual approach to ending it all, whatever else they say, vote against them.
If you still have doubts about the righteousness of our cause: Those pinkos over at the Detroit Area Peace With Justice Coalition have combined with the commies of the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition to put up a display called "The Human Cost of War" that will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Saturday at Grand Circus Park, at Woodward and Adams. They will have a mock tombstone for each of the nearly 4,000 Americans killed in our glorious mission to bring democracy to Iraq, plus something to take note of the many more slaughtered Iraqis. ("Too many of them for tombstones," veteran peace activist Al Fishman told me.) It will be on display till Tuesday, and by that time you can bet they'll need to make more tombstones for the most freshly killed soldiers.
The Pentagon is none too happy about this. Not the killing; the display.
They don't like for you to see what war really means. They are happiest if you have no real idea of the human cost. So, in the interest of fairness, I am happy to relay their request that you watch Britney Spears' comeback show again.
PS: If you are really a hardcore peacenik, Peace Action of Michigan has reserved two cars and is taking a peace train to Chicago on Oct. 27 for the Midwest regional anti-war protest. Some spaces may be left, and there is a fee. For more information contact the Cranbrook Peace Foundation: 248-345-3475.
Clarification: In my column last week on the disgraceful Michigan legislature, I mentioned that a prominent PR man who had done work for John Engler had contacted me and noted that Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop is "a whore with little intellectual capability." To my surprise, a lot of folks in Lansing evidently thought that the source was John Truscott, Engler's former press secretary. Normally I wouldn't comment, but anyone who knows Truscott ought to know better. Most of his clients are people I can't stand politically, but I've never seen any sign Truscott lacks loyalty to any of them.Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org