The music never stops when it comes to the U.S. war machine. The exceptional nation invokes R2P (Responsibility to Protect), or claims it’s upholding treaties and alliances, or reassures an uneasy public it’s keeping the enemy du jour away from our shores (domino theory). In the sixties, President Johnson used all three justifications but finally settled on the domino theory as his go-to argument for blunting the cries of anti-war opponents. “Without our support…Vietnam will collapse and the ripple effects will be felt throughout Southeast Asia and India…Indonesia and the Philippines.” That meme has been updated and in the twenty-first century version, hawks on both sides of the aisle speak darkly of withdrawal in Syria giving new life to the terrorism threat posed by Iran, Russia (where would we be without the international Communist conspiracy) and Israel’s favorite enemy Hezbollah. What does withdrawing 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria really signify? Judge for yourself. 170,000 U.S. troops ring the globe in at least 80 countries (that we know about). 40,000 of those troops are on classified missions and it’s anybody’s guess where they are. Which brings us right back to wondering if the Syrian troop withdrawal is all it’s cracked up to be. The democrats think so and they’re steamed. Here’s Nancy Pelosi, indignation jets open to full throttle: “…a decision…made in a cavalier fashion…a decision that is dangerous.” Do the mistakes and missteps in Vietnam have anything to teach us 50 years later as the U.S. finds itself facing an even bigger quagmire all over Asia and Africa? Read “Boots on the Ground, Bombs from the Air: Vietnam to Syria: You’ve Come a Long Way Baby (Or Have You) and see if you can make heads or tails of it.
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