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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Iraq is crumbling - eerie 1975 flashback during the fall of Saigon

This blog isn't meant to be a premonition, but the threat of the fall of Baghdad in Iraq seems eerily similar to what my husband and I witnessed in 1975, when living in the Philippines while Saigon fell and the Vietnam War was lost. Nearly all of the initial wave of Vietnam refugees in 1975 came through Subic Bay, where we lived, where we saw the carnage, through the distress of the thousands of people who were evacuated.

Saigon's fall was preceded by the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians associated with the southern regime.

Will the beautifully prayerful Vietnam Wall soon need a parallel structure, one inscribed with the thousands of names of the fallen soldiers who defended Fallujah and Mosul? These two Iraq cities were recently saturated with American blood. 

Now, unbelievably, Iraqi cities are falling to the military advances of an Al Qaeda splinter group, known by the acronym of ISIS. These cities are falling to insurgents, similar to how Saigon was crumbled by the northern Vietnam People's Liberation Army. 

These major losses caused by a splinter Al Qaeda group are happening because he Iraq government has been hiding in the "green zone", a heavily fortified region of Baghdad established for the security of the American military and ambassadorial services in Iraq.  Iraq Prime Minister al-Maliki has a fortified office in there. An article by Dexter Filkins published in the April 28, 2014, The New Yorker, reported how al-Maliki's office doesn't have windows, because there the frequency of bomb blasts outside the Green Zone risks one of them finding its way into his office. 

Filkins wrote, "I saw Maliki in his office in February, and he appeared as stiff and colorless as he did during his televised speech—an apparatchik become the boss. Wearing the same navy-blue suit and purple tie, he spoke in a monotone, his face blank, his body seemingly fixed to his chair. The office, a sterile room without a trace of warmth, had no windows, presumably because windows could be shattered by bombs."

Where will Maliki hide when the ISIS storm Baghdad? 

I'm not making a prediction (I don't think), but Maliki is likely planning his escape plan. He'll be gone, like the coward he is, before he becomes the human effigy of the Saddam Hussein statue being toppled in Baghdad on April 9, 2003, widely shown around the world as a symbol of the presumed success of the Iraq invasion.

Except, of course, the invasion has been a failure. This failure was long expected, but now evidenced as Fallujah and Mosel are falling apart. These assaults are tremendous insults to the defense of these cities that claimed the blood of American and Iraqi youth, to protect them against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. 

Tragically, we'll need parallel Iraqi War wall of names, to serve two purposes. Of course, we want to always remember the sacrifices of those who died trying to protect the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.  Yet, beyond this purpose, an Iraq War wall must be an everlasting reminder about the uselessness of war.

At this point, Americans have no way out of the catastrophic events in Iraq. It's time to acknowledge the mistaken invasion and apologize for the thousands of families who lost their youth in defense of a failed war. 

Unfortunately, the Middle East nations must figure out how to collectively protect their countries from an extremist take over, a catastrophe that will demand a world wide response.

Nevertheless, the situation in Iraq today, with Fallujah and Mosel falling to radical forces, is eeerily like a 1975 flashback when Saigon fell, and my husband and I witnessed the outcomes.

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