Later this month, one of my favorite shows, “Hawaii Five-O”, returns to television. I remember watching the very first episode of the original series with my father, the original Alton Drew. Who would have thought that over 40 years later I would be getting ready to do the same thing with my own son.
I also remember watching the Vietnam War on television with my dad and asking him questions about what the soldiers were doing shooting into the bush. Today, my son poses the same questions, albeit somewhat deeper questions like, “Dad. Why are young people dying?”
Those are tough questions to answer. My son, a third grader, scares me sometimes with his insights. He has already concluded that Iraq, in his words, was “dumb”, and young people dying is “stupid.”
What is equally stupid is voting for a president hoping that he changes course from a poor war policy prosecuted by the prior president. President John Kennedy was smart. He never criticized his predecessor, President Dwight Eisenhower, for having military advisors in Vietnam. Kennedy just went ahead and increased the number of advisors.
President Johnson could have turned the tide by bringing back the advisors but instead escalated our involvement to full blown war in March 1965.
President Obama campaigned against the war in Iraq. It took him 19 months to end our official combat operations ( and trust me, combat will continue in some form). We are now focused on Afghanistan, not to capture Osama bin Laden (remember him?), but to now build a democracy in Afghanistan. Interesting. How often will the mission change? How long will we be there?
On April 30, 1975, Saigon fell and the Vietnam War, after ten years of official combat operations, was over. Dad was at work that day so I watched the fall alone. Thirty-five years later, I watched the president announce that combat operations in Iraq are over. I watched the announcement with my son.
He still thinks the Iraq war was stupid.