Monday, July 19, 2021

Afghanistan's unfolding tragedy summons memories of Vietnam 1975


Though separated by nearly half a century, the parallels between 1975 and today are eerie. In the White House, then as now, the new president in office for less than a year — his predecessor an impeached and hugely controversial figure — is widely viewed as a decent and affable man, but many, even within his own party, fear that he is not fully up to the job and overmatched by cascading events, foreign and domestic, and the swirling passions of his deeply polarized countrymen who are unable or unwilling to heed his urgent calls for unity and healing.

The veterans who returned from the lost war in Vietnam were greeted not by parades or honors but frequently by mockery or contempt, and those who dared to wear their uniforms in public risked being spat upon by angry members of the now triumphant leftist, anti-war movement — many of whom artfully avoided the draft by going to college or Canada, thereby laying the foundation of the class war that now is so toxically embedded in our national culture.

The soldiers now returning from the lost war in Afghanistan face a different, more ominous kind of disrespect: the newly woke Pentagon leadership has resolved to put aside the problematic war on foreign terrorism and focus on a new war against “domestic terrorism.” The Secretary of Defense has been clear that high priority must be given to weeding out white supremacists and other extremists currently in uniform, and all service members will undergo new training programs aimed at giving soldiers a better understanding of American history (e.g., why 1619 is more important than 1776).


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