Inside Opinion

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Tag: Vietnam

March
19th

After 10 years of war, the Army looks due for relief

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Individual soldiers have their breaking points. So do armies.

We don’t know the story behind a staff sergeant’s alleged massacre of Afghan villagers March 11, but it’s reasonable to assume he was not a paragon of mental health. The fact that he was on his fourth combat deployment may have had something to do with that.

The entire U.S. Army might be described as on its fourth deployment – or fifth, or eighth – since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq broke out, respectively, in 2001 and 2003. It’s hardly facing collapse, but symptoms of stress – such as a spiking suicide rate – are all too evident. Read more »

Aug.
29th

A clear success for America’s Iraq veterans

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Mission accomplished. Finally.

There’ll be no “Victory in Iraq” day. The legacy of America’s military intervention in Iraq is far too disputed, complicated and unsettled. Still, this month’s withdrawal of the last U.S. combat forces – Stryker units from Joint Base Lewis-McChord – deserves more celebration than it’s gotten.

Roughly 50,000 troops will remain in Iraq until the end of next year; they will largely serve the Iraqi army in a support and training role. The sight of American soldiers on patrol in the streets of Baghdad and elsewhere is history.

Iraqis, and the occasional American, are still getting killed in Iraq, but this looks less like war than the hostile peace that prevailed in Korea after the large-scale hostilities there ended in 1953. Despite a recent spate of insurgent attacks, the level of violence is a small fraction of what it was a few years ago.

Here’s hoping that the passage of years brings more parallels to Korea. That very unpopular war ended in a murky stalemate, but ultimately produced a thriving and democratic South Korea. U.S. troops remain in South Korea, more than a half century later, helping keep North Korea at bay.

A bleaker potential parallel is Vietnam, where the United States left a hopelessly corrupt and weak ally that collapsed in the face of a renewed communist offensive.

Read more »