Those who cannot learn from history are condemned...
The Anchoress has written this wonderful post, so I don't have to.
Read the whole thing, please, but most particularly this:
Right now, the insurgents are being vastly encouraged by what they read coming out of the mouths of Democrats and reporters, and even, sadly the Republicans. The message they are being given is: Just be patient. Just hold out a little while, and America will be gone, and you will re-gain control.
You who want to play politics with this war, wishing to abandon the people of Iraq merely to shame a president you hate and do a bit of crowing, just be ready to take responsibility for what comes after. Understand that when the inevitable deaths occur in Iraq, and elsewhere, at the hands of these insurgents, and at the hands of a rejuvenated Al Qaeda, that the blood of every victim thereafter will then be on your heads, as will the blood of all 2065 of our service people whose sacrifice will be rendered meaningless by your action.
If America pulls out without victory - without the Iraqis being capable of defending themselves - then every death from insurgents or terrorists - all over the world - will have to be a death counted upon the heads of those who would not allow a serious War on Terror to continue and succeed, simply because to do so would reflect too well on a man they hate.
The blood of innocents is a heavy, heavy stain - it will not easily be washed away.
I wish I could agree with the Anchoress, however, about that last sentence. The left and liberals, in particular, are no Lady Macbeths. In fact, as far as the results of our pullout from Vietnam goes, they don't need all the perfumes of Arabia to wash their hands clean:
Doct. What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.
Gent. It is an accustom'd action with her, to seem thus washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour.
Lady M. Yet here's a spot.
Doct. Hark! she speaks. I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.
Lady M. Out, damned spot! out, I say! One: two: why, then 'tis time to do 't. Hell is murky! Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?
Doct. Do you mark that?
Lady M. The thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What, will these hands ne'er be clean?...Here's the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!
Doct. What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charg'd.
It is not my impression that the left--or even most liberals--have been walking in their sleep over the Vietnam pullout, much less considering the stain unremovable. In fact, one of the reasons an Iraqi pullout is being pushed so hard now is that many in the left consider the Vietnam pullout to have been their finest hour.
I spent quite a few words and a great deal of thought on the issue a while back, here, when I attempted to answer the following, based on some musings of Dean Esmay:
Where were you in the mid- to late-70s, oh bleeding-heart Vietnam War protesters? Didn't the terrible aftermath of the Vietnam War convince you that you had been wrong to work so hard for US withdrawal? And, if so, why not?
In my attempted answer, I linked to this article about the fall of Vietnam. I'm highlighting it again, and putting it in bold, because I can't recommend it highly enough; please, please read it.
If the history of the Vietnam exit has been supressed, unknown, or denied, how can we ever learn from it? But please be assured that those on the left have learned that history very very well--the history of their success in getting the US to pull out of that war, that is.
If you don't believe me, please read still another post of mine, here (I'm starting to feel as though I'm repeating myself, but I think these things bear repeating right now--unfortunately), based on an article written by Tom Hayden (does the name sound familiar?) one year ago, detailing the left's plans to recapitulate the Vietnam pullout and providing a blueprint for doing just that. You will see that Mr. Hayden finds no blood on his hands, no blood whatsoever.
As David Horowitz has written in his book Radical Son:
Assisted by radical legislators like Ron Dellums and Bella Abzug, Hayden set up a caucus in the Capitol, where he lectured congressional staffers on the need to end American aid. He directed his attention to Cambodia as well, lobbying for an accommodation with the Khmer Rouge guerillas. Nixon's resignation over Watergate provided all the leverage Hayden and his activists needed. The Democrats won the midterm elections, bringing to Washington a new group of legislators determined to undermine the settlement that Nixon and Kissinger had achieved. The aid was cut, the Saigon regime fell, and the Khmer rouge marched into the Cambodian capital. In the two years that followed, more Indochinese were killed by the victorious Communists than had been killed on both sides in all thirteen years of the anti-Communist war.
It was the bloodbath that [the Left's] opponents had predicted. But for the Left there would be no contrition and no look back.
Radical Son was published in 1998, so we can forgive Horowitz for not seeing the future with total exactitude. He is right about the "no contrition" part. But the left is looking back, to the days of its greatest triumph. They have learned the lessons of history, and are proud to repeat them. But if the rest of us fail to learn those lessons, we--and the people of Iraq--will be condemned to repeat them.
And then I'm afraid there'll be an awful lot of sleepwalking and handwashing to be done.