As you can tell from last night's post and picture, I wasn't in any mood to write about events in Iraq. But this morning, one phrase I heard on ABC's news keeps spinning around in my head. And it was sent spinning even faster by a comment from Steve Bates on this post on "The 'Q' Word."
One of ABC's Pentagon reporters was passing on the comments of an (of course) anonymous military source who said (and this is my best memory of it), "We're not trying to win hearts and minds (ed. in Fallujah), we're just counting the bodies."
In the comment, Steve asked "are we allowed to name the V-war yet?" The "counting bodies" line and the invocation of Viet Nam is just too evocative. While I was relatively young at the time, I still remember the reports on the evening news from Viet Nam; the body counts, the pictures of helicopters and wounded soldiers, the knowledge that a favorite uncle was "over there." The correlation between those memories and the sights and sounds on the news this week has been way too close.
I only hope that the architects of our new Viet Nam have not so badly screwed things up that we are not able to salvage some good from all of this when they are kicked rudely to the curb in November. I hope that Kerry's cabinet picks are up to this job.