Update: The letter was published on January 9, 2014
To the editor:
Remember Fallujah? For the historically challenged, that's the Iraqi city that during America's invasion was the site of not one, but two, major U.S. military operations which reduced the city to ruin, drove out thousands of its inhabitants and created walled enclaves for its remaining residents. All this was done, we were told, in the interest of creating secure zones for Iraqis in the aftermath of our destruction of the city's infrastructure and populace. It was a classic case of "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."
Well, guess what. Within the last few days, Fallujah has fallen under the control of al-Qaeda-aligned militants after a prolonged battle against the Iraqi security forces. A repeat of the Viet Nam experience, to be sure, both in terms of the eventual outcome – the Communists took over all of Viet Nam after years of battle, remember? – and in terms of the American war-resisters' outcry against our military involvement in that nation's conflict.
We "peaceniks" don't want to say, I told you so. That sounds impudent, crass. Rather, to those Americans who would involve our military in Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Libya, elsewhere – as well as maintain our forces in Afghanistan indefinitely – the words of Pete Seeger seem apt: "When will we ever learn?"