The Moose wonders whether history is repeating itself.
Anyone over the age of 50 (the Moose cautions not to trust anyone under 50), will likely view the photograph on the front pages of most newspapers this morning through the prism of Vietnam. The image of insurgents brazenly executing the election officials with shots to the head in broad daylight on the streets of Baghdad reminds us of that infamous photo from the Tet Offensive in 1968 of the South Vietnamese officer killing the Viet Cong suspect.
We may be smack in the middle of the Iraqi version of the Tet Offensive. Of course, as many will tell you, America prevailed militarily in Tet, but it was a psychological blow to the war effort. Could that be the fate of our military victory in Falluja, as well?
Vietnam analogies are inexact and somewhat misleading. But, as in Vietnam, we are increasingly fighting in the midst of a civil war that is being fueled by outside forces. In this case, however, our enemy may receive succor from our "ally".
This is what John Burns reports in today's New York Times,
"Mr. Ubadi blamed Sunni insurgents of the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect, who have been identified by American military intelligence as a core insurgency group. The Wahhabis' main stronghold, American officials believe, runs from the so-called Triangle of Death south of Baghdad up the Euphrates River into Anbar Province, where Wahhabi groups linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant who is America's most-wanted man in Iraq, maintained their headquarters until recently in Falluja. From this area, it is barely an hour's drive to Karbala, and not much farther to Najaf.
"The Wahhabis are being fed intelligence from the Baathists to carry out this slaughter," Mr. Ubadi said, referring to Iraq's governing party under Saddam Hussein. "We will hand them victory if we respond in kind."
The terrible irony here is that the main promoter of the Wahhabi sect is the Saudi Royal Family. It would be as if the Viet Cong were the creation of the British Royal Family.
And as days pass, Donald "I don't do condolence letters"Rumsfeld bears a striking resemblance to Robert Strange McNamara. Moreover, the current Texan in the White House also clearly sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Moose agrees with those who believe that the primary difference between Vietnam and Iraq is that the latter is far more strategically important. America can't afford a failed state in that critical region.
Let's hope that this time history does not repeat itself as tragedy or farce.