(Letter writer) Mr. Quigley expressed confusion as to why members of his generation were so adamant that we should get out of Vietnam, were so opposed to the war and yet now, those same people are so upset with the “bringing home of our troops” which our president set in motion with his phone call to Turkish President Erdogan. I can help with Mr. Quigley’s confusion.
It’s apples and oranges; two completely different situations.
Apples. Between Oct. 21 and 23, 1967, thousands of people demonstrated against a war which up to that point had already taken more than 20,000 American lives, on its way to ultimately costing almost 60,000 US soldiers their lives. It was a war which had no strategy for resolution. It was a war which was “wrong, terribly wrong” according to former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, as stated in his book written after the war. Seems there may have been sound reason to oppose the war ... Apples.
Oranges. On a call to the Turkish president, our president suddenly decided to withdraw our forces from northern Syria. The Kurds were given, what, 48 hours notice to pick up and move (where?) before Turkish forces attacked them. This was after the Kurds had done the heavy lifting on the ground in the fight against ISIS; fighting which cost the Kurds thousands of lives. Apparently, this was done without bringing our generals along with planning. Our president’s overarching objective was simply to fulfill a campaign promise and bring our soldiers home. Well, actually, as our troops were exiting in one direction, other American forces were entering from another. It is reported that about 1,000 left and about 900 others came into country ... Oranges.
In this apples and oranges situation, there is one common element, however. We left Vietnam, our helicopters evacuating U.S. Embassy personnel and Vietnamese nationals, escaping from the embassy roof just before the it was overrun by the North Vietnamese. When our troops exited northern Syria on their way to guard the oil fields, instead of guarding the Kurds’ backs, Kurdish folks threw rocks at our tanks/personnel carriers. Neither sight was particularly pleasant.