Friday, July 04, 2003

The Last of the Vietnam Vets

The retirement of Tommy Franks from CENTCOM and active service (see Ulysses Comes Home at the Belmont Club brings the US armed forces very close to the time when the last of the Vietnam veterans will have gone from its institutional memory. Frank's replacement, John Abizaid, graduated from West Point in1973. The Chief of the Joint Staff, Richard Myers, was a combat fighter pilot in Vietnam, but he and the others who served with him in that country, will soon be gone.

After that, the only remaining Vietnam veterans will be in the press, where they are never retired, nor indeed had to have been present to achieve their status. For Leftist journalists the world over, the bar at the Caravelle Hotel will always be open and the calendar forever stuck in 1965.

Which is a pity, because "U.S. troops today killed 11 Iraqis who ambushed a convoy outside Baghdad in one of the heaviest clashes since major hostilities in the Iraq war ended two months ago", according to the Washington Post. Vietnam just won't come back. The Post adds hopefully that "other American soldiers were injured in three separate attacks that demonstrated the increasing sophistication and brazenness of guerrilla-style strikes in Iraq" The Ba'athist attacks over this period included a mortar attack on Balad, at which two soldiers were seriously injured and a sniper attack in Baghdad, in which one soldier was killed. Left unsaid is that on this same day, apart from major combat action, US forces made hundreds of arrests from over 2,000 patrols nationwide. Many of these arrests are targeted at the Ba'ath resistance leadership, which may be headed by Saddam Hussein himself. Belmont Club predicts that since the Ba'ath are losing bigtime and keep losing, that they will lose. The bar at the Caravelle will stay open, but all the waiters will be ghosts. Vietnam is as distant in time from Iraq as the Somme was to Vietnam.

So the press reserves small print for this: Suicide Attack on Pakistan Mosque Kills 44. It doesn't fit with the Vietnam scenario, but is astounding on its own terms: the bombers are Sunnis and the bombees are Shi'ites. Muslim suicide bombers against a mosque. Therefore there will be no inquiry by the United Nations, no marches in Paris and London, because the Left in its own racist way, consider crimes by nonwhites on nonwhites to be noncrimes.

A suicide bombing attack by Episcopalians against a Catholic church resulting in more than 40 deaths might arouse some some comment, but this massacre can only elicit the irrelevant observation that "the attack will come as an embarrassment for Musharraf, a key ally in the U.S.-led 'war on terrorism,' who tried during his visit to Europe and the United States to calm investors' fears after a spate of attacks on Western and Christian targets in Pakistan last year blamed on Islamic militants." Hardly. This suicide bombing shows that the toxic doctrines of militant Islam are starting to consume Muslims the world over. There have always been sectarian conflicts in the Muslim world. Did they imagine that the ricin, airplane bombs, anthrax, suicide belts, fatwahs etc would never be turned on apostates?

Leftist blinders have impoverished the intellectual powers of the press. The monumental events convulsing Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Africa, Iran, the Middle East and North Asia pass almost unremarked, or only cursorily analyzed -- because it does not suit their book. It isn't Vietnam. None so blind as they who will not see.