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Web Letter

Until the demise of the Soviet Union, all foreign policy decisions were viewed through the prism of the cold war. As a Pole, Brzeinski would not miss an opportunity to stick it to the Soviet Union. The cold war was a world war, but the possibility of a nuclear holocaust prevented a direct confrontation between the major powers. Because of these limitations, we confronted each other using proxy wars.

Until Afghanistan, the Soviet Union only supplied other countries to fight their wars of liberation. They backed North Korea in their invasion of South Korea, but, except for some pilots, they had no direct combat role there. While they received aid from the Soviet Union and China, the Vietnamese fought their own battles.

The United States was not looking for a fight in the Korean War, but that war became a model for Vietnam, in that we tried to keep South Vietnam on our side, and leave North Vietnam Communist. We did not invade the North because China had felt threatened when we pushed the North Koreans back to the Yalu river. It was a try at a limited war.

Vietnam and Afghanistan are very different countries, very different people and very different wars. But both the United States and the Soviet Union had missionary foreign policies that drew them into these conflicts. They didn't change!

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Oct 20 2009 - 2:56pm

Web Letter

The biggest American mistake was in the withdrawal from Lebanon after the 241 Marines were killed in a truck bombing.

The message of weakness and stupidity that was given to the entire Arab world is going to keep costing our children and grandchildren plenty. Tribes that have been in conflicts and feuds for decades to centuries have zero respect for someone who will not stand their ground. They look at the 241 men out of 280 million Americans (at that time) and very properly consider it a mere pinprick.

I regard that as one of the most costly basic errors of the past few centuries, like the decision to bomb Pearl Harbor.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Oct 20 2009 - 1:42pm