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Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I grew up liberal in the 60's, which meant I grew up antiwar. The war was Vietnam. I marched with my parents in the streets of San Francisco, an event I remember as exhilarating rather than solemn. All my life, I've believed without questioning -- in that learned-it-in-church way -- that everything about our involvement in Vietnam was 100% wrong.

As we on the home front keep fighting about the Iraq war, it's been quite disconcerting to find myself wondering whether my views on Vietnam have been oversimplified, or worse. I doubt I'll come around to thinking it was an appropriate war to fight with draftees. But if we'd had an all-volunteer military. . . well, I won't list all the questions I'm finally asking, because they're pretty easy to guess.

One thing I don't know is whether the horrors of post-war Cambodia followed more from the war itself (that is, the American phase of a longer war), or from our manner of disengaging, or both equally, or neither.

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