Bringing Back the Good Old Revolution

As it happens, I thought of Ian Donnis as I flipped through a Providence Journal 1968 retrospective to which he directs his readers.
I seem to recall a certain progressive journalist’s responding with incredulity to my reference a few years ago to what I thought to be generally acknowledged romanticization of the late-’60s counterculture, including the opportunity to protest war, revel in revolutionary poses, and so on.
Since that exchange, I’ve periodically thought how time has borne out my observation, and I won’t deny that I assign a portion of the blame for the hardship of the post-invasion struggle to those in the West who broadcast the message loud, clear, and well in advance that they were willing, even eager, to make another Vietnam of Iraq — meaning most especially an outcome of defeat. The amount of damage that has done to our efforts would be impossible to calculate — nearly as impossible as breaking through one side’s confidence in and the other’s denial of my assessment’s validity.
I’m sure some opponents of the war, whether original or latter-day, hold their opinions with honorable conviction, but I’m just as sure that some have eased into their positions as into a soft robe of nostalgia, and that is simply stomach turning.

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Ken
Ken
13 years ago

Justin,
I spent 2 back-to-back volunteer tours in Vietnam. Vietnam was not a declared war like Iraq. Vietnam was a peace keeping action.
Actions and tactics in Vietnam are completely different than those used in Iraq.
There is no comparison between the two except death and that happens more frequently in the bathrooms of the USA according to statistics.

Pragmatist
Pragmatist
13 years ago

You are “sure some opponents of the war … hold their opinions with honorable conviction.” What a magnanimous admission. You don’t doubt that at least some of those with a contrary opinion might actually believe what they say. Thanks for the generosity.
By the way, what does the Church have to say about the war?

Justin Katz
13 years ago

Well, the Catholic Church holds that war is always an inherent failure, with inevitable evils and injustices.
However, it also admits that the “evaluation of [the] conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good” (i.e., “public authorities”).

Ian Donnis
13 years ago

Justin,
I agree that nostalgia, particularly of the rose-colored kind, is dubious. Yet isn’t that very small beer in comparison to some of the consequences of the White House’s mismanagement of the war in Iraq?
To name a few:
— US troops sent into battle without proper equipment.
— Post-invasion phase badly botched.
— US military strained.
— US global standing adversely affected.
— US intelligence says the war has made worse the fight against terrorism.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

Ian,
Of course there have been problems in management and execution. War is a messy, unpredictable endeavor. But even most of the items on your list must take into account the West’s anti-war caché.
Knowing our cultural tendencies, when it comes to war, has affected the way in which the international community and (more importantly) the enemy has gauged its actions. I have little doubt, for example, that the insurgency movement would have been much less substantial, and much easier to deal with, if it had been clear from the very start that the U.S. was in it to win and in it for the long haul. Instead, many on the left, in the media, and in the Democrat Party have been broadcasting for years the likelihood that the threshold for our retreat might be in reach for the insurgents.

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