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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Today in History: Final US Withdrawal from Vietnam

I learned from Answers.com that on March 29, 1973 the last US soldiers withdrew from Vietnam ending our country's involvement in the war. They also have a lot of information on the war from a number of different sources (click here to read through it).

Coincidentally, perhaps, another withdrawal is in the news these days: the eventual withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Here are two recent articles from the New York Times:

Senate Passes War-Spending Bill With Iraq Deadline
By David Stout

WASHINGTON, March 29 — The Senate narrowly approved a war-spending bill today that calls for most American combat troops to be out of Iraq by March 31, 2008, and in so doing defied a veto threat by President Bush.

The 51-to-47 vote endorsed a $122 billion spending package, most of which would go to the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, although some domestic spending is included.

Read full article

Democrats Are Building on Unity Over Iraq Pullout
By Robin Toner

WASHINGTON, March 28 — No one has seemed more surprised by the Democrats’ success in pushing an exit strategy for Iraq than the Democrats.

Their aggressiveness and unity on a major foreign-policy challenge to the president is a striking change for a party that has, on many occasions over many years, seemed to be on the defensive on national security issues.

Read full article
I know it gets under certain conservative folks' collective skin to compare Iraq to Vietnam in any way, and that comparison didn't serve John Kerry very well in 2004, but there's a pretty obvious historical lesson that George Bush and his followers with ideologically impaired vision need to grasp: All wars come to an end, troops eventually need to come home, and when they do come home they need to be treated with the respect and gratitude that their service merits.

The Bushies have taken to villifying their opponents as traitors and perpetrators of treason for trying to impose a deadline for withdrawal. They should get a better grasp of the concept of Representative Democracy. Popular will against this war was expressed pretty clearly last November, but our self-appointed Dictator George ("L'Etat C'est Moi") believes that he answers only to God, so he has refused to engage any discussion of withdrawal. In fact, he's pushing for a troop escalation.

It might help their cause with the American people if Bush et al explained exactly why we are still in Iraq. They've given quite a few different explanations for their military adventurism, and the story tends to change as the specific illogic gets exposed.

If their record so far in supporting the troops who have come home from the war is an indicator, they're the ones who have betrayed the soldiers (see 'It Is Just Not Walter Reed' from the Washington Post). In addition to the lives it's taking and devastating through scars both physical and mental, the war is costing our country billions of dollars that could be better spent on the needs of Americans here at home. Obstinacy in continuing to decimate the nation's treasury and the lives of our citizens (not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed in our name to date) under false pretenses is the true treason.
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