"Vietnam cost the Democrats 40 years in the foreign policy wilderness." -- some person this week.
Vietnam informed every small country in the world exactly how a small country could defeat the full onslaught of the US military. The USSR ignored the lessons of Vietnam, invaded Afghanistan in 1980, tried to hold it, and had their keisters handed to them. The US helped "create" Osama bin Laden and the Taliban as a counter against the USSR in the 1980s, just as we helped "create" Saddam Hussein during the 1980s as a strategic foil to Ayatollah Khomeini. We could do "business" with Hussein, it was said. Reagan's sole military foray into the Mideast resulted in 280 Marines dying due to the lack of any clear reason for why they were even there. At least Reagan, and then Bush Sr., understood or were correctly counseled against placing US forces into foreign countries where their mission was unclear and their chances of any success were at best 50/50. Reagan and George Bush Sr. clearly learned the "lesson" that Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon did not learn in Vietnam.
I am not a fan of Ronald Reagan, but he at least had the foresight after Lebanon in 1982 to understand the finite limits of US military capabilities once deployed in hostile, foreign territories where they would be isolated, hard to protect and resupply and vulnerable to hit and run tactics. G.W. Bush has ignored these lessons and now the price of his ignorance is being dearly paid in form of dead and mangled bodies of U.S. service men and women stuck in a place where even their leaders cannot explain what exactly they are risking their lives every day to accomplish.
If the solution in Iraq is to carpet bomb the place, then why has GWB not exercised his extra-constitutional powers to do just that? If anti-war protests in 1968 prevented the US military from achieving full victory in Vietnam, why has GWB not firmly repudiated this "losers attitude" by unleashing the full might of the US military on the Shiite and Sunni factions in Iraq so that peace and normalcy is allowed to settle after the dust? Who precisely is stopping George Bush from using every military tool possible, including massive bombing and ground forces, to bring Iraq back into normalcy? The U.S. Congress? Has the US Congress passed resolutions forbidding the President from unleashing unlimited military force on Iraq? And if not Congress, then who has? Precisely who is stopping George Bush from using every military tool at his disposal to bring peace and normalcy once and for all to Iraq? The American people? They re-elected him in 2004 with a mandate which GWB asserts gives him the right to take whatever steps are necessary in Iraq, no matter how brutal or harsh. So who is stopping him? Sweden?
Even if Democrats (or whomever) are "accommodationist", George W. Bush by his own statements has no legal or political reason to bend the slightest to their accommodationist ideas. He has carte blanche by the Republican Congress and the 2004 electorate to do whatever it takes by any means necessary to complete his mission in Iraq. So who is stopping him? Don Rumsfeld? George Bush asked for, and has received, virtually unlimited authority to conduct the Iraq War in the way he sees it to achieve victory. So who is stopping him from achieving it? The Iraqis? Well, blow them up then. Problem solved. If Bush's generals say the US force in Iraq must be doubled, then why doesn't Bush double it? Why isn't he visiting high schools and colleges urging young people to enlist to go to Iraq? If the US needs 250,000 new troops in Iraq, why can't George Bush ask for national airtime and give a Presidential speech asking for volunteers and explaining why?