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Veteran's Day: The "Irony" Of It All

AP

You can not escape the irony. Sunday marked Veteran's Day. Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Memorial. The U.S. government last week sent an economic contingent to Vietnam to expand trade. CNBC had a reporter there.

Too often the war in Iraq has been likened to the Vietnam war. I've never thought it an apt comparison. Why not? Because I don't believe in my lifetime we'll ever have as stable a relationship with Iraq as we now do with Vietnam. Or as we do with Japan, or Germany, or Grenada. Actually I don't know what our relationship is with Grenada, but I don't think we have troops there anymore. We fought Britain once and look at what happened there. Tony Blair.

I think at a moment in time when we're remembering those that died in all our wars, and we're celebrating a monument to those who died in one of them, and at the same time we're trying to see if the folks we were killing in that war would like to make more shirts and coffee mugs for us, at a time like that, we should stop and think.

What in the hell are we doing? We fight these things for what real reason?

I will not pretend to argue military strategy, I'm not a military strategist. Frankly I don't think very many of those guys on TV who say they are, should claim the title either. The only strategy I learned as a result of the Vietnam war was this--if you're going to do it, do it. All the way. We owe it to the men and women in uniform. Unfortunately we didn't learn that lesson. The result--Iraq. But perhaps that's a bit trite. What's taking place in the Persian Gulf isn't really the result of failed military strategy. It's a failure of understanding. A failure of philosophy.

Freedom can not be imposed. Freedom can not be "won" by a third party. Freedom may not even be a particularly good goal in some places.

The war in Iraq is actually closer to the break-up of Yugoslavia. That was a country held together by the iron hand of a brutal dictator. When Tito died and the rock of ethnic cleansing was turned over, the result was horrific. But in an even more "bizzaro world" scenario, today, some of the cities and towns in areas that were at one time literally and figuratively covered with the blood of neighbors, some of those places, are on the "hot" places to go list for tourists.

Hey, wanna overnight in Basra anytime soon?

It is obvious we had no idea what we were in for when we decided to invade Iraq. It is just as obvious that whenever we leave it will be up to whomever is left to decide for themselves what kind of country or countries they want to have. War is a funny thing. Just not the kind you ever find yourself laughing at.

MOA is headed to Alaska and then on to South Dakota this week.

See you along the rQuestions? Comments? mikeonamerica@nbcuni.com