Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

W.J. Astore: Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome

The Contrary Perspective

President George H.W. Bush, fist clenched, ready to smack down the Vietnam Syndrome President George H.W. Bush, fist clenched, ready to smack down the Vietnam Syndrome

W.J. Astore

The Vietnam Syndrome refers to an alleged reluctance on the part of the United States to use military force after the disaster of the Vietnam War.  In a recent article, Tom Engelhardt reminds us that President George H.W. Bush referred to the success of Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-91 (which evicted Iraq from Kuwait) as helping America to overcome its reluctance to fight wars (a laudable achievement, right?).  In Bush’s words:

“It’s a proud day for America. And, by God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.”

Indeed, let’s give thanks to God for overcoming our reluctance to engage in wars of choice thousands of miles from American shores.  Wars that debilitate the U.S. even as they spread destruction among the peoples of foreign lands.

Let’s return to President Bush’s phrase and…

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