Larry Kerschner Writes

    

Townhall Meeting

I attended the recent town hall meeting Rep. Brian Baird held in Longview.  He explained that he had changed his views about removing our troops from Iraq after a recent trip to the Middle East.  I am reminded that during the Thirties many Americans went to the Soviet Union and returned after seeing the Potemkin village.  They touted the wonderful things that were happening for the Soviet peoples.

       When my turn came to speak I told the Congressman that I remember when I was in Vietnam there were a number of Congressional junkets that came in country, sat in Saigon and protected firebases and then returned home expressing the view that we only needed a little more time.  Another opinion heard at the time was that there was going to be a huge blood bath if we pulled out.  We pulled out and while there was a hard time and even some killings the predicted blood bath did not happen.

     Mr. Baird kept saying we can win.  I'm not sure what win means in a country where polls show an overwhelming majority of the Iraqis want the U.S. Occupation to leave.  General David Petraeus is soon going to present a report to the country on the effect of the recent surge of troops.  I can easily predict what he is going to say. 

      Unlike many I remember that in 1963 the top U.S. commander in Vietnam, Gen. Paul Harkins, reported that he could safely say that the end of the war was in sight.  Gen. Charles Timmons declared the U.S. had completed the job of training the South Vietnamese Army.  Within two years President Johnson, realizing we could not win militarily without the use of nuclear weapons, was telling his cabinet that our objective was to convince the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese that they could not win.  This was the justification for his surge of troops in Vietnam.

     When I was in Vietnam in November 1967 with 467,000 other surgees General Westmoreland said that the point had been reached when the end of the war was in view.  General Petraeus is going to say just what the Bush administration wants him to say.  Even though violence in some parts of Baghdad have decreased to June 2006 levels the number of innocent Iraqi civilians dying has not decreased.

      The military mentality is that it can win in any situation despite any difficulties. Terrorism is defined as the use of force and violence against innocent people for a presumed political purpose.  Collateral damage is acceptable when you are doing something that is important.  Of course that is what Timothy McVeigh also said.  Americans want to think that we are somehow historically special. The Nazis who were hung at the end of the Second World War for the crime of invading a sovereign country that was no threat also thought they were a special people.   It is time to bring the troops home and begin reparations to the Iraqi people.

 

Larry Kerschner  POB 397  Pe Ell WA 98572 (W) 291-3232  (H) 291-3946.