Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Haditha, Samarra, Mai Lai

Driving today, I heard an NPR special on the Haditha massacre. It made me think of Mai Lai. It also reminded me of young men I knew who had returned from the Vietnam war. I worked beside and hung out with some Vietnam vets. Most of them were just a few years older than me. About half of the ones I knew were deeply scarred, and I've always suspected most of the others just hid it better. Some killed themselves with alcohol, or drugs, or just plain anger and pain. Others managed to heal and rebuild. I think amongst the ones I knew, it was about half and half.

How damaged will our soldiers be this time?

The Iraq war has always felt like Vietnam to me - an intrusion of Americans on a soil where we aren't wanted, fighting a fuzzy enemy (communism, terrorism - both largely fuzzy, albeit with specific horrors attached as well. I'm not discounting 9/11).

Fighting a long insurgent war seems like a recipe for events like Mai Lai, Haditha, and the shooting of a pregnant woman in Samarra today.

Let's take Haditha and Samarra as red flags.


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