There's a great piece on the comparison between the US involvement in Iraq and in Vietnam in Foreign Affairs.
I won't cover it all - go read it yourself - but this is the key quote for me:
President Bush does not have the luxury of waiting for the international community to validate his policies in Iraq. But we do have the lessons of Vietnam. In Vietnam, the voices of the "cut-and-run" crowd ultimately prevailed, and our allies were betrayed after all of our work to set them on their feet. Those same voices would now have us cut and run from Iraq, assuring the failure of the fledgling democracy there and damning the rest of the Islamic world to chaos fomented by extremists. Those who look only at the rosy side of what defeat did to help South Vietnam get to where it is today see a growing economy there and a warming of relations with the West. They forget the immediate costs of the United States' betrayal. Two million refugees were driven out of the country, 65,000 more were executed, and 250,000 were sent to "reeducation camps." Given the nature of the insurgents in Iraq and the catastrophic goals of militant Islam, we can expect no better there.
This is the question that those who would have the US withdraw must first answer: why do you want to betray the Iraqi people? Why do you want to sentence millions to death and deprivation?
For the feminists: why do you want to condemn thousands of your sisters to not virtual but very real enslavement and denial of their innate qualities and abilities?
For the socialists: why do you want to condemn your fellow socialists and union organizers in Iraq to death?
For the pacificists: why do you want to abandon millions to the rule of despots who will kill, maim and crush spirits in the name of power?
Read the damn article. War isn't a nice, clean and antiseptic event. It's sometimes necessary to spill blood, yes even innocent blood, in order to defeat evil. It's not about niceties and avoiding hurting the sensibilities of someone on Park Avenue: it's about stopping evil.
Sure, it's a contradiction, killing innocents in order to stop evil. But it's not what was planned: it's a shitty thing that happens to people who deserve a lot better. But not doing it means that you condemn even more people to even worse things.
And for those who scream and protest: what the heck are you going to do different? Where are YOUR solutions?
All I see is blind abandonment of those in need.
All I see is blind ignorance on the anti-war side, coupled with willful denial of responsibility for consequences. The anti-war movement in the US lost its innocence in the aftermath of Vietnam by willfully ignoring, indeed denying that its actions had any consequences. Morally, that's reprehensible: it is an active denial that they have done wrong. And hey, that brings us back to the sophists as has been posted here more than once.
But that's why this blog is named 21st Century Schizoid Man: the world is not a nice and tidy place with all the i's dotted and the t's crossed: it's a pack of contradictions and impossible situations. Trying to make things work and trying to do the right thing means at times doing things that aren't what we'd all druther not do. It means that you do things that you don't intend to do. It means that you're a bundle of contradictions and differing goals, not a tidy, clean antiseptic abstraction that never can exist in the crucible of the real world.
And if you don't understand that, then there's no hope. Go live in your ivory towers and gated communities. There's a real world out there with problems that need to be solved.
To paraphrase: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And the anti-war movement, as far as I am concerned, is a big part of the problem. Being anti isn't being: denial does not resolve contradictions and problems.