Vietnam, Iraq, and the U.S. Senate
"...Congress lagged even farther. The legislature's main instrument was its constitutional authority to appropriate money for the war, but senators and representatives ... consistently balked at using that prerogative, lest they be charged with shunning their patriotic obligation to furnish funds to the fighting men in the fields."
We can say this about the Democratic Party majority in the United States House and Senate post the 2006 elections. But the Democratic Party had an even larger majority in 1967, which is the year intended by this quote from Stanley Karnow's Vietnam, A History.
And who were the leaders of the Senate from 2007 until today? Presumably the three Senators who are still possible presidential candidates, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.
At the end of 1967 Senator Eugene McCarthy declared himself an anti-war candidate for president against the incumbent, Lyndon Johnson. Because he had served almost two full terms, Johnson announced he would not be a candidate on March 31, 1968. Then Vice-President Hubert Humphrey and Senator Robert (Bobby) Kennedy jumped into the race. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles on June 6, 1968. Kennedy, like his big brother and former President John, had been an eager communism fighter earlier, but had turned against pursuing the war in Vietnam. Humphrey became the Democratic nominee, but narrowly lost the election to Republican candidate Richard Nixon, who said he had a peace plan.
Unfortunately Nixon's peace plan consisted of threatening to drop atomic weapons on North Vietnam. When the Vietnamese government called his bluff he just amped up the conventional war. When that did not work he made a deal to withdraw U.S. troops. Not long after troops were withdrawn Vietnam was reunited under the North Vietnamese government.
At this point the U.S. is in Iraq because the U.S. is in Iraq and no one has had the courage to pull the plug on the idiocy. Nothing particularly bad is going to happen if U.S. troops are withdrawn. Maybe democracy will work, maybe a new un-democratic leadership will emerge, maybe the nation will break into pieces.
It just is not any of the U.S.'s business. We can't even fix problems here. We have wasted an astonishing amount of money that we will never get back.
Things might change after the 2008 elections. But don't be surprised if the Iraq War goes on in some form or another. Because George W. Bush is not stupid as U.S. politicians go. What we have is a stupid system. Stupid in, stupid out.
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