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Rep. Jim McDermott Headshot

Remembering the Lessons of History

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What might Iran have in common with Laos and Cambodia? It's time to ask the question.

On an almost daily basis, the President demonizes Iran. While the Iraq Study Group advocated diplomacy with Iran (and Syria) to help end the Iraq war, the President is saber rattling, and his threats are becoming increasingly worrisome.

Maybe all the tough talk is intended as a diversion, a way to distract the American people from the escalation of bloodshed in Iraq, or maybe it is something else.

In less than one generation we have done what we vowed never to do again: we allowed a President to stampede the nation into a hopeless war.

There are many parallels between the Iraq debacle and Vietnam.

The Vietnam War was going badly; so much so that an earlier President did not merely escalate the war; he expanded it into Laos and Cambodia. The secret bombing did not shorten the Vietnam War, or shorten the road to peace.

With things going badly in Iraq, will this President continue to ignore the lessons of history and order the American military to not merely escalate, but expand the war beyond Iraq?

It is time to ask the question: Is Iran this President's Laos or Cambodia?
We cannot watch Iraq, consider Vietnam, and not worry that a President who refuses to learn from history will repeat its tragic mistakes.

Military action is not the answer in the Mideast. We need to dispatch an army of diplomats--armed not with bullets but with ideas, resolve, and a book of American history in every briefcase.

The way out of Iraq begins in Congress, because down the street at the White House, they are only talking about more ways in, and I fear, other places to go. Congress must pass a binding resolution and begin to end this war and bring our soldiers home.