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S. Faiyazuddin Ahmad
Lessons of Vietnam
President George W. Bush's visit to Vietnam was another missed opportunity to make amends for his failed policies [Nov. 27]. Instead of acknowledging the peaceful nature of his visit to a former enemy nation and declaring that, despite the present situation in Iraq, he looks forward to the day when a future American President can visit Baghdad and safely travel by motorcade through the capital, he sheepishly avoided the comparisons of Iraq with Vietnam. Americans know Iraq is a mess, and maybe the President knows Iraq is a mess. But before it can be cleaned up, we need a President who can engage the world and pony up to reality.
Christopher E. Berg
New York City
Bush seemed to suggest that the lesson of the Vietnam War was that we should have stayed the course. But the real lesson of the Vietnam War was that we should never have intervened. The U.S. war against that poor country left millions of innocent Vietnamese civilians dead and millions more wounded. The other lesson we failed to learn was how easily the U.S. government can lie and lead us into war. In Vietnam it was the big lie about a U.S. warship being attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin. In Iraq, it was the even bigger lie about weapons of mass destruction.
New York City
While in Hanoi, President Bush said, "We tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while." I would like to remind everyone that it was the Administration that said invading Iraq and securing the country were going to be a walk in the park, an affair of a few months at most.
Philip de Louraille
Los Gatos, California, U.S.
President Bush demonstrated that he has learned little if anything from history when he said that the main lesson of Vietnam is, "We'll succeed unless we quit." The Vietnam War was lost after 58,000 American troops and millions of Vietnamese civilians died over 14 years. More bombs were dropped on that tiny country than were used by all sides in all of World War II. That's giving up? The lessons of Vietnam are many, but chief among them are that invading forces cannot subdue a native population fighting a guerrilla war; that Americans will not support endless costly wars of choice; and that humility, caution and planning are essential in military operations.
Long Beach, California, U.S.
You presented a fantastic summary of the Best Inventions of 2006 [Nov. 20]. While these toys will keep us amused for a great many years, they will eventually become boring, will lead to no eternal conclusions and are only meant to pass the time. The geniuses who invented those toys would do better to focus on inventing things that are new and fresh every time we use them, and stimulate our own imagination and creativity to do good. Our leaders should use brilliant inventions to stop the death, destruction and famine that have gripped the earth since time began.