Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Iraq and Vietnam 

I remember in the immediate aftermath of "shock and awe" - just after the war started - having one very memorable conversation. I was eating dinner with my parents at their house in Houston. Also at dinner were a couple whom I have known all my life. Friends of the family since before I was born who had a son my age who was like a brother to me. I'll call them Mr. and Mrs. V.

The conversation turned to the war, as most did around that time. I found myself, for a change in Houston, in a majority. My mother and Mrs. V were pretty much on my side, thinking the war was a bad idea. They weren't vocal, though, so most of the conversation consisted of me arguing with Mr. V and the women at the table chiming in with a little encouragement for me every now and then. My dad mostly challenged me, but not very vocally, either.

It was civil, and both sides were willing to at least take the other seriously and evaluate opposing arguments with respect. Until I compared Iraq to Vietnam. Then it all broke down and we had to change the subject - I'm still not sure if even my team was willing to go down that road with me.

I don't really communicate with Mr. V that often. I mean, we get along and I like speaking to him when I see him at, say, his son's wedding. But I wouldn't think to call him really...or at least not until I read this. I think I might send it his way.


Patrick responds in comments:
The kicker is, both of you probably view Vietnam as a bad thing, but for completely different reasons.

I imagine you wouldn't have supported our involvement in the war to begin with, and he probably didn't agree with the way it was handled.
I'm glad he said this because I was not arguing the morality of the war, but the strategic necessity and approach to the war. It was along these lines that I compared it with Vietnam. Click the link and you'll find an article by a military man and former head of the NSA doing the same thing.


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