In a nationally televised address on January 10, 2007 President Bush stated "America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I've committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them – five brigades – will be deployed to Baghdad". (President George W. Bush (January 10, 2007). "President's Address to the Nation".)
Almost three years later the same words with minor changes might be used today:
In a nationally televised address on January 10 (date not yet determined), Bush President Obama stated "America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis Afghanistan government carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence Taliban insurgency and bring security to the people of Baghdad Kabul. This will require increasing American force levels. So I've committed more than 20,000 (number not yet determined) additional American troops to Iraq Afghanistan. The vast majority of them – five brigades (TBD) – will be deployed to Baghdad Kabul and regions surrounding Kandahar".
Forty-two years ago today more than 10,000 protesters outside of an induction center in Oakland, California added their voices to an anti-draft protest that was being demonstrated throughout the country. This in protest of a war that wasn't a war – rather a "conflict", but nonetheless costly with respect to American lives lost and dollars spent. A conflict that went on for many decades depending if you start counting in 1945, when the first American died in Vietnam while on an American OSS mission, to the restoration of diplomatic ties with Hanoi in 1995. Officially and for the record keepers the Vietnam Conflict is listed as 1964-1973, nine years.
The Persian Gulf War, which consisted of Desert Shield and Desert Storm, lasted seven months. Now we are engaged in the GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM, which gets broken down as needed into geographic slices; since October 2001 we have been involved in OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and in March 2003 we added OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM to the list. I would imagine this next thrust forward will get tagged OPERATION AFGHAN FREEDOM. It is almost with a certainty that the Global War on Terrorism, which is now in its eighth year, will exceed the duration of the Vietnam Conflict. I don't personally know anyone in the military currently fighting in the Middle East; I did however know two young men that fought on the ground in Vietnam. And while neither one would talk freely of their experiences, on a couple of occasions they would let slip the horror that still lived deep within and would be with them until the day they died. I can only imagine what so many families are going through today as they try to keep their lives together.
Some say the difference today is that we have a voluntary military and not a drafted one and therefore a basis for protest is non-existent. For me this doesn't change the color of the blood that is being spilled on foreign soils many thousands of miles away from America's border. This war has a momentum of its own, like a boulder rolling down a steep hill unable to be stopped. I wonder how many more years it will go on and even if there a logical end to it?