Just as after Vietnam, politicians can vow never to fight another long and unpopular war against insurgents. But Perkins said that would be exactly the wrong lesson for the military to learn from Iraq.
“We can never be in a position to say, you know what, we don’t do that anymore,” Perkins said.
The great lesson of Iraq — that the American military must be prepared both to sow chaos and create stability — must be learned not just by those who fought there, but by all those who come after.
Why can’t we say we don’t do that anymore? What is wrong with keeping to our own business and letting the regional players or at least the UN to handle conflicts on the other side of the world? Why must the U.S. be the policemen of the world? Is it because we spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined? If that is the case then I have a radical solution. Quit spending so much of our grandchildren’s money on our war machines and mind our own business.
I applaud the generals for putting out this report but they seem to be ignoring the obvious solutions. They seem to think that their military might is a foregone conclusion. The real solution is to get us off our dependence on oil and our dependence on a hyper-military to get it for us.
Iraq will soon go into the history book right beside Vietnam as wars that had no lasting effect on history. It is dreadful that my generation had to sacrifice 55,000 for no difference. We should have learned our lessons but that was just not the case. Now thousands of kids of the twenty-first century have been killed or maimed in a very similar situation. The totally senseless and tragic loss of life is stupefying.
Life isn’t fair. That is a lesson all of us need to learn. There will always be people who take advantage of others in this world. There will always be civil wars in one magnitude or another going. When Mr. Gorbachev made the statement that he has done grievous harm to us by making the U.S. the only superpower in the world he certainly predicted our future as it is now playing out. In order to justify our outrageous military spending we just have to use it whenever possible. Is that our fate or will common sense eventually reign? It is hard to see the answer to that right now but I have faith that, like the collapse of the Soviet Union, our drawdown of the military just might happen even quicker than I dream.