A tale of two Chucks...
The Gamesmanship: The big political story of the weekend was Republican Senator and Vietnam veteran Chuck Hagel's statement that, "We are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam...The longer we stay, the more problems we are going to have."
If you think that was anything more than political gamesmanship, consider what else he said, "We should start figuring out how we get out of there...But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."
I know my brain's fuzzed up from illness, but it sounds like he just said that we can't leave because it would destabilize the Middle East, but we need to get out because we're destabilizing it. Thanks for the help, Senator. It's awful easy to stand on the sidelines and take potshots, isn't it? Especially when you've got "prospective presidential contender" affixed to your name these days.
Fine, that's the dirty business of politics. But it's also a betrayal of what the Senator himself learned by hard, personal experience 30+ years ago...
Froggy nails it in a very un-PC rant:
A commenter at Froggy Ruminations raised the spectre of the Senator as a Blue Falcon. I'm not sure, but it's pretty darn close.
Twenty years ago Chuck Hagel probably would have the lesson of Vietnam burned into his soul. That lesson being, of course, that the United States cannot be defeated on the battlefield, but is vulnerable only when politicians back home lose bowel and bladder control and start defecating on the mission and urinating on the public’s support for the war. But to have committed the same sin that doomed his comrades and him in decades past means he must have sold out those principles long ago[...]
[...]The implication in making the Vietnam analogy is that the United States should somehow follow a similar path that failed completely in Southeast Asia… pull our troops out now. Not only did we shamefully and unnecessarily lose a war, we subjected millions to torture, re-education camps, and genocide.
Shameful beyond words.
And now for the support: For a very different kind of Chuck (one who knows how to keep the faith with his fellow warfighters), check out Barb's great post on Valour-IT: what it does and why it matters so much.