Late empire decline and Hillary

Would Saddam have murdered as many innocents as have perished under American occupation? It is becoming a more even match, isn’t it? And would the United States have lost its moral leadership without the torture tactics adopted across the war theater in Iraq? The answer is yes: torture was authorized before the Iraq invasion. But using it in Iraq, against Muslims and in Saddam’s own prisons, deepened the stain. With every day we stay on, the day we leave recedes from view. We will, I think, never leave. A Clinton presidency would be the means that half the country is reconciled to that fact. Which is why the neocons will come to terms with it. And she with them.

Except the choice may not be that of the United States to make. Like with Vietnam, another insane war for no purpose, the US government clung to the belief that somehow they controlled the agenda. They didn’t. And events forced them to leave.


  1. Actually the U.S. was not “forced” from Vietnam. We could have stayed on another decade (with the end result being no different except in the number of lives lost). One of the great ironies of Vietnam is that a Dem got us into it, and a GOP got us out. Indeed, William S. Lind argues, convincingly I think, that Nixon may have lost the battle but won the war when, in the process, he opened relations with our previously-avowed-enemy China.

    In Iraq, I don’t see us being forced out anytime soon. We can stay just as long as our leaders lack the will to bring the troops home. It takes courage to stand up to the hawks on boith sides and end a war. It takes greater courage (and some vision) to end it in a way ultimately favorable to us.

    Unfortunately, of the field of declared presidential candidates, there’s precious little courage or vision in the whole lot. That means a lot more people are likely to die for nothing, no matter who gets elected.

  2. Well, the US evacuated from helicopters from the embassy roof in Saigon after the war became unwinnable militarily and unsupportable at home. So, that tends to imply the choice to leave wasn’t entirely voluntary!

    I see much the same happening in Iraq.

  3. You’re referring to events of April 30, 1975. The U.S. suspended offensive operations and began voluntarily removing troops in January, 1973. After two-plus years of voluntary draw-downs, we’d lost the power of choice. Does that make our exit involuntary?

    BTW, the war never “became” militarily unwinnable– it was always so. That doesn’t mean it had no purpose in the eyes of our leaders– although 4GW was so undeveloped at the time that I doubt they had a clear view of why they did what they did. These days, the pattern of 4GW is much more defined with respect to State leaders.

    In context, I suspect the Vietnam War, though it began as a Cold War action, had much more to do with the war at home. Here in the States, Vietnam was a symbol of a much larger cultural conflict– which the administration lost. (Or did they? Imperialism is still alive and well.)

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