By Karl Meyer
July 14, 2008
Why go on foot to the Republican National Convention?
1968 was the year when another Republican candidate for President promised to end a failing war, with “honor”, with “victory”, with “success” for American forces. The war was Vietnam. The candidate was Richard Nixon. He won the election. Then he continued the war at full blast for four more years. He expanded it with bombing campaigns and land incursions into Cambodia and Laos, neighboring countries he accused of harboring enemy forces. He battered North Vietnam, as well as the South, with massive bombing. Part of the cost was hundreds of thousands of Asian lives never adequately counted, plus about 21,000 more U.S. servicemen and women killed, and about 102,000 more wounded. Then shortly before the 1972 election he settled on most of the terms for a face-saving agreement with North Vietnam, that he touted as an honorable withdrawal. That settlement soon turned into total defeat.
Forty years after 1968, another Republican candidate promises to end a national insurgency, in Iraq, with “honor”, with “victory”, with “success” for American forces. He suggests that the Iraqi government and people may ask or allow U.S. military forces to remain in Iraq for a hundred years to anchor and protect U.S. interests and investment in the oil resources of the Middle East.