Whenever I would be invited to sleep-over at a friend's house, my
mother would always' say, "make sure you leave the place better
than you found it "...that rule only works if you actually ever leave!
After a decade in Afghanistan, our sleep-over more resembles a Home
Invasion than a night with Laverne and Shirley. And in Iraq, we are the
goofy Uncle that never knows when it's time to go home!
For a country that promised to never repeat the mistakes we made
in Vietnam...except for not dishonoring the brave men and women
who volunteered to put themselves in harm's way...we have worked
very hard at making those same mistakes, while creating a host of
new ones that can certainly stand on their own!
Indelible mirror images such as the My-Lai Massacre in Vietnam and
Abu Ghraib in Iraq will stay with us forever, as will President Johnson's
false pretense for war from the Gulf of Tonkin, and President Bush's
equivalent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Listening to Vietnam Soldiers
telling tales of "Tunnel Rats" that bombed them from below compares
with pictures of victims that stepped on IED's in Iraq on the road. And
who can forget when The Paris Peace Talks proclaimed "Peace with Honor"
and George Bush stood on a Battleship declaring "Mission Accomplished".
In Iraq or Afghanistan, whether it be getting involved under false
pretenses, mission creep, nation building, corrupt local governments,
ill equipped to fight in the terrain, unprepared for terrorist tactics, not
winning the hearts and minds of the civilian population, training a local
army that cannot defend themselves, incidents of abuse and torture,
lying to the American People and Congress, cover-ups, Generals fired or
dismissed, falsely declaring victory, engaging in a civil war, leaving them
to continue to fight a war that has a high probability of failure, are all or
in part...mirror images of our experience in Vietnam.
Except, what we failed to accomplish in Vietnam, we were overwhelming
victorious achieving here at home - inspiring a generation of young people
in this country that no longer tuned out...but tuned in! A future generation
that today are corporate leaders, elected officials and even a President who
won the Nobel Peace Prize...because he spoke so eloquently for global peace
But today our society does not reflect the mirror of that inspiration, as it has
been fogged over with the dying breath of thousands of soldiers and a generation
of X and Y millennials that were protected by no draft and no bill to pay for our
One would have thought that this President...would not have overseen a war with
more soldiers dying under his command, than the previous 8 years under the Bush
Administration combined, with very little more to show for that effort.
That this President...would not leave this generation with an ongoing Guantanamo
Bay, an unrevised Patriot Act, enhanced torture techniques and a military budget
that will continue to take dollars away from safety net programs like Social Security
and Medicare...our true first line of defense!
That this President...would not leave this generation, with a missed opportunity for
the most tangible demonstration of Hope and Change for all of us to believe in!
Changing the way...we fight this war and truly begin the fight for peace!
President Karzai of Afghanistan was here yesterday...but let's hope that when he leaves...he will take with him our support and best wishes...but no longer the plans for our young men and women in arms.