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Franklin bifocals Thursday, October 23, 2008

Football Coach John Heisman
[1869 - John W. Heisman, football coach, born in Cleveland, Ohio]

America's Cup - Sappho leading Livonia
[1871 - New York Yacht Club's Columbia & Sappho beat Livonia (UK) in 3rd America's Cup]

Swimmer Gertrude Ederle
[1906 - Gertrude Ederle, Olympic champion swimmer, born in New York City]

'Bruiser' Frank Kinard
[1914 - Frank Kinard, College and Pro Football Hall of Famer, born in Pelahatchie, Mississippi]

Actor James Daly
[1918 - James Daly, Emmy Award-winning actor, born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin]

Heeere's Johnny (John William) Carson
[1925 - Johnny (John William) Carson, comedian, born in Corning Iowa]

Actress Dianna Dors
[1931 - Diana Dors (Mavis Fluck), actress, born in Swindon, England]

Hungarian Revolution
[1956 - Hungarian Revolution against USSR begins]

[1983 - Islamic terrorists bomb US Marine barracks at Beirut, Lebanon]
1983 Terrorist Attack on USMC Beirut barracks

Beirut bombing aftermath

Beirut barracks destruction
[1983 - Islamic terrorists bomb US Marine barracks at Beirut, Lebanon, killing 241]

"Vietnamization" of Iraq

Early on in the ill-fated Bush-Cheney Iraq adventure there were fanciful comparisons to the Vietnam experience by the pundits, and much talk of quagmire. Like a lot of us who served and lived through the Vietnam debacle, William was originally unimpressed by these strained efforts to find parallels. Messrs. Bush and Cheney have now made believers of us though.

In the early '70s it became clear to all that gross mismanagement of the Vietnam conflict had placed this Nation and our military forces in the midst of an un-winnable war. In a desperate attempt to save face, the reigning leader of that era announced a new strategy called "Vietnamization." The idea was a simple one:

1. Create another in the succession of puppet regimes in the Republic of Vietnam.
2. Give them some training and military equipment.
3. Turn over the mess to them.
4. Beat a hasty retreat.
The Bush Iraq exit strategy of trust me, "stay the course," "stand up, stand down," and "return on success" bears a striking resemblance to the Nixon cover story for the US withdrawal from Vietnam. One cringes to imagine a reprise of the ignominious scenes of US helos airlifting the last survivors from a roof near the US Embassy in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) while hundreds of Vietnamese civilians milled at the embassy gates or scaled the walls in terror, anticipating the fate that would soon befall them once labeled as US collaborators by the victorious North Vietnamese. One wonders what form the chaos will take this time around as we struggle to extricate our armed forces from another foreign country that we had no business sending our youth into to be maimed (30,000) and slaughtered (over 4,200).

Saigon - Vietnamese at US Embassy

Saigon helo evacuation near US Embassy

Vietnam - the desperate exodus

William's Whimsical Words:

Why can't we learn from our mistakes?

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