First of all, I believed that we should not be in Vietnam when the war was going on and I believe that even more so now. I also respect Americans that served in Vietnam and followed their conscience. Dwight D Eisenhower, in a 1961 speech, warned of the military industrial complex. Here is the quote:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
The rest of the speech can be viewed here:
I believe we must be on guard against the undue influence of armaments manufacturers. I also believe these financial gain sources played too big a role in our involvement in Vietnam. Of course, we still need to employ our checks and balances to guard against any undue influence.
Many have tried to connect imaginary dots to form an analogy between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. The only strong analogy I can discern is that both were unpopular wars. I hope that all wars are unpopular wars. However, many choices in life are choosing the lesser of evils. Some wars such as The American Revolution, World War II and the Iraq War are the lesser of evils. If we had entered World War II earlier, I am certain that millions of lives could have been saved.
I am also convinced that if the United Nations had performed as it was chartered, our involvement in Iraq would have been radically different. Of course that was not possible with France, Germany and Russia being “in bed” with Saddam Hussein financially.
Douglas Kinnard, UVM professor of political science, former general in Vietnam and author of “The War Managers”, was interviewed in The Vermont Quarterly in the Fall 2007 issue. He speaks of his involvement with Vietnam as a general, in the military, and his opinion of the Vietnam War. At the end of the interview, he states, “Those who fail to learn from history are forced to repeat it.” I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, but would add that as long as the learning takes place from a broad based factual account of history and not revisionist history.
Professor Kinnard adds this statement at the end: “If Bush knew the real lessons of Vietnam, he would get out sooner than stay.” I would like a clarification of that statement. Was the statement made to appease the ultra liberal folks at The University Of Vermont, or was it a general (no pun intended) statement about lingering past our eminent usefulness?
Dr. Douglas Kinnard, I respectfully request your response. I do not want to misrepresent your statement.