The word we no longer expect to hearon May 28, 2014 @ 8:21 am (Updated: 8:34 am - 5/28/14 )
"We will bring America's longest war to a responsible end," said President Obama.
But this moment will probably seem more dramatic in hindsight than it does right now because we're not hearing the word "Victory."
Said President Obama, "This is how wars end in the 21st century: not through signing ceremonies, but through decisive blows against our adversaries and transitions to elected governments."
But they don't end in victory.
They end "responsibly." With a withdrawal date. And an orderly departure.
And that distresses some people, like Sens. John McCain (R., Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), and Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) who said an arbitrary date for withdrawal is a monumental mistake in a triumph of politics over strategy.
But I don't hear many voters clamoring for us to stay. And I don't hear many soldiers clamoring for us to stay.
I think most Americans believe we've more than done our part in a war that began nearly 13 years ago and has cost tax payers more than $600 billion. From a news report, "The result: Al Qaeda is nearly virtually gone but the Taliban is still a threat."
But maybe the victory is being able to leave without declaring one.
We have tapes of President Lyndon Johnson's phone calls now and so we know that in 1966, seven years before we finally left Vietnam, he knew it was time to leave. But he couldn't bring himself to give the order, "I can't get out. I just can't be the architect of a surrender," he had said.
Then 50,000 more soldiers would die before we finally declared Peace with Honor. And compared with that, a responsible end sounds pretty good.
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