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Neil Ridgely: Syria for U.S. a repeat of Vietnam

I generally confine my comments to local politics and occasionally on environmental issues, but there is a current issue before the administrative and legislative branches of our national government which I find so troubling as I have to put forth my two cents down: U.S. involvement in Syria.
I don't profess to be an expert in foreign affairs or the complex differences within the Muslim faith. I do know a bit of history, and enough to know that when one is standing on a hilltop and sees a train wreck about to happen, you should try to stop it as best one can.
I certainly see enough gray hair in my travels around the county to know that a pretty large chunk of the population was around during the Vietnam War era. I also hope that the topic has come up in high school and college courses on the history and politics of the U.S. This painful period of American history appears to have been intentionally blotted from many minds as the current administration has chosen to follow a path remarkably like that which got us into the costly quagmire of Vietnam; with the tacit approval of Congress.
While I certainly am sympathetic to the horrendous loss of life of Syrian civilians of all Muslim sects, and the inhumane refugee problem created by the strife throughout Syria - indeed even with the possible use of sarin gas warfare - we must remain mindful that this is a civil war, not a fight by innocents for democracy. It is a power struggle.
The United States, despite the call by hawks in Congress and the Obama administration for providing arms to the rebels and the engagement of Special Forces to train rebel forces in their use, is not the world's police force. The imaginary red line in the sand that has supposedly been crossed should be obliterated with the mere swipe of a foot.
It was the U.S.'s determination to change the leadership of the South Vietnamese, arm and train the South Vietnamese forces that led to the growing numbers of U.S. boots on the ground, leading to a full blown, decade-long war that lost over 55,000 U.S. lives and culminated in a victory for the enemy. The religion and politics of the Middle East are even further complicated than those encountered in Vietnam and guarantee an even bigger morass for the U.S. to fall into, and I dare say the eventual victory of those we consider the enemy.
If anyone thinks that the war in Iraq is resolved they must have blinders on. If they think the current withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan signals the end of conflict there, they had better get a reality check, because it will just signal the beginning of an even bloodier conflict.
To many people's surprise, it was learned in recent weeks that the U.S. has already had CIA operatives and Special Forces troops engaged for months in neighboring countries training Syrian rebels how to use the weapons that the U.S. had supposedly not already committed to the conflict. This clandestine commitment is a repeat of the measures that the U.S. employed in Vietnam; without the knowledge and assent of the citizens and Congress, or at least most of Congress.
The time to pull out of Syria is now. Perhaps some other foolish nation will intervene with arms, training and troops, but it is not the business of the United States.
Concerns for stability in the Middle East are valid, but that does not mean my country has to ignore the lessons of the not so recent past by stealthily involving us in yet another unwinnable, costly war. The most important lesson the U.S. can take from the past is from President Dwight Eisenhower's warning that the military-industrial complex in the U.S. would assure it would be involved in a continual flow of wars to feed itself upon.
Perhaps re-instituting the selective service draft and placing all those between the ages of 45 to 70 at the top of the lottery would be the slap to the head that Americans need to stop thinking that war is a distant subject that infrequently touches their lives.

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