Saturday, May 27, 2006

Analysis: Iraq, Vietnam have parallels - Yahoo! News

Bruce Oliver served three tours in Vietnam, a 20-year-old Marine when he landed there, now a 58-year-old Army National Guard sergeant who just returned home to Georgia after a year's duty in Iraq.

"It's not like Vietnam. When you came home from there people asked you, 'How many people did you kill?'" Oliver recalled. "They treated you like second-class citizens."

For him and other soldiers, the shadow of war is a personal thing, whether old or new, Danang or Diyala, Fallujah or Phu Bai. Budnick turns bitter at the memory.

"We were 'baby killers,' 'drug addicts,' et cetera," the Baghdad-based accountant told a reporter.

Now if things drag on in Iraq, if "negative press" persists, if "push comes to shove," then "it wouldn't take much to turn against the soldiers," he said.

"Like Vietnam."

Analysis: Iraq, Vietnam have parallels - Yahoo! News

Which is why I'm a little angry about the Marine incident(s) (just heard a third supposed "cold blooded murder" charge against another Marine besides the 27 dead, there is an implication of three more who were killed in such a manner). I'm not judging. I don't know if anyone is innocent or guilty. I don't know if insurgents were really in the house and the Marines in question did not take the right course of action (which according to Kilcullen, means letting even a big fish go if an operation might mean destroying what little support our troops have from the local populace.

That makes me mad. Innocent or guilty, it's already out there. It's a done deal in the information world. Marine's kill innocent people. True or false, it makes no difference, it has damaged the war effort.

Second thing that makes me mad? The possibility of that last comment when a few bad leaders and their immediate reports tarnish the image of the marines and, by proxy, the entire US service.

I would take it that the local commander does not have information war and the importance of actions against influence in this kind of war, as a significant part of his battle space strategy.

While the UN world body might see mass murders and say "never again", we must mean it when it comes to the honor and acceptance of our soldiers.

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