Sunday, January 28, 2007

Memories of Vietnam

For old-timers such as me, this morning's Internet images of the anti-Bush protest rally in Washington bring back media memories of the Vietnam days. It's moving to learn that Jane Fonda herself was there in the crowd: her first presence at an anti-war rally in 34 years. Admittedly, for the moment, the throngs of protesters are not as large as in the Vietnam demonstrations, but this is no doubt just a start.

The most pernicious argument being used by Bush supporters to condemn the idea of cutting off funds for the pursuit of the war in Iraq is that this would amount to abandoning the US troops who are already there. Surely Congress could allocate no more and no less than the exact level of funding required to get the troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. If this step were to be taken, immediately, Congress could not be accused of abandoning the troops.

In evoking Vietnam, I wonder if George W Bush recalls the famous warning of the Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana in The Life of Reason: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." There's another relevant assertion in this same great book: "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim." To my mind, many Americans, today, have forgotten their aims.

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