Transcendental Bloviation

Politics, Space, Japan

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The (Vietnam) War Comes Home - Again?

The Pink Bunny of Battle, in an entry entitled "They Have Sown the Wind; They Shall Reap the Whirlwind", opines that the whole Swift Boat Veterans for Mudslinging issue might come to blows - and even shots. People on both sides of the issue are reacting with "rage". Well, I'm in Tokyo, mostly hanging out with Canadians, so what do I know? Pink Bunny sees it in living color and real time:
As I've tried to talk to people about this in the last few days -- people in my family, colleagues, strangers that I've struck up a conversation with in gas stations -- I hear shouting, threats, denunciations, filthy language that seems out of character, and -- most frightening of all -- a deep, pent-up, insatiable rage (anger isn't strong enough)... and they're Democrats as well as Republicans. Just browse the chat rooms -- left as well as right -- and you'll see what I mean.
Michael Totten shrugs it all off. He was three when the Vietnam war ended. I don't have that advantage - I wasn't quite old enough to be eligible for the draft when the Vietnam War was still raging, but my mother was constantly warning me about my grades in high school, saying if I didn't clean up my act, I might get shipped off to fight the Viet Cong. As well, my hometown of Berkeley periodically erupted in demonstrations - some of them pretty violent - over Vietnam. It left indelible memories.

But when it comes right down to it, I didn't go. And many American men did. It was perhaps only a matter of time before we'd have a presidential election in which the Vietnam generation would face itself.

Clinton gave us sort of a reprieve. McCain bowed out in the 2000 primaries. Bob Kerrey never went the distance in years past.

But John Kerry vs. George W. Bush - that makes it as clear as it's ever likely to be, and in a contest with resonant context: Iraq is not likely to leave the front pages before November. With Najaf burning down like a fuse, Iraqi oil flowing only sporadically, the Abu Ghraib story's branching tentacles reaching ever further up the chain of command, and oil prices fluttering around unprecedented highs on war fears, threatening an oil-shock economy, the stink has become uncontainable. If it all starts to smell like southeast asian jungle rot to some people who would know, it could bring out the worst in veterans on both sides.


At 8:16 PM, Blogger steve said...

michael, if totten ever faced a draft that forced him to choose between iraq or his girlfriend, he'd choose his girlfriend in a jiffy.
and so would so many other american men that the antiwar mov't of the 60's that i missed due to sesame street and shazzam would seem like a sunday picnic.

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