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Sunday, March 13, 2005


Mel Richnick

It's still all about winning. Had we been able to win in Vietnam (a very tough task as events proved), there would have been no peace movement. Peace movements can't take hold beyond the thin fringe of true pacifists if the wars they are protesting are going ok. No one mainstream is against war in general, they're just against wars that go badly. In Vietnam, my sense is the war was really hard to win no matter the competance of our generals. We learned that lesson, and picked on Iraq precisely because we thought it would be an easy win. And it would have been, done right. Thus, our incompetence in thinking deeply about the post invasion period so critical in securing the win is a huge mark against the people that planned the war--but not necessarily against basic neo-con ideology. It is a correct perspective, in my view, to hold the position that status quo policies in the Arab world were not only cynical, horrifically stupid, but untenable after 9/11. The war was the right thing to do if it could kick that world into a new state of mind. But we should have done it a lot smarter. I don't know if that makes me neo-con or not. It definitely is counter to the current thinking of the Democratic Party. A party who, my longstanding membership within it notwithstanding, I see on the path to irrelevancy. It's a shame, because it really does stand for some of the best values in humanity--caring for others, classic Western scientific liberalism, etc. But in a silly pursuit of those ideas (rather than a solid such pursuit) it simply has lost touch with reality.

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