Your words about our involvement being based on fault intelligence reminded me of Vietnam. Actually, much of what’s happening in Iraq reminds me of what I’ve read about Vietnam. Several months ago I read Daniel Elsberg’s book “Secrets” about the Pentagon Papers.

Elsberg released the Pentagon Papers largely because of the “faulty intelligence” which was being routinely being presented to the presidents and the people during the Vietnam era. It’s unclear wether this deception was directed by the president or not.

For example, one of the guys who spent extensive time traveling Vietnam, was to be given an audience with the President. The chief of staff was speaking with him before the meeting and said “I think the war in Vietnam will be over before the end of the year.” The reply was “Oh, I think we’ll be able to hold out at least two more years.” The chief of staff was stunned, stepped out of his office for a moment, and the meeting with the President never happened.

Of course, then there’s all the stuff about how Nixon was lieing to Congress and the people, saying that they “seek no wider war in Vietnam”, while plans were being made to do exactly that.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that our entry to Vietnam was based on “faulty intelligence”. I believe it was in the book Body_of_Secrets where I read compelling evidence of this. Apparently, a large part of the reason for our entry into Vietnam was that McNamera argued compellingly to Congress for our entry. The reason for his argument was the belief that there had been a second attack on the US in the Gulf of Tonkin, when there really had only been one.

The problem is that, because the government holds so many documents as secrets, we’re basically 30 years from having any idea about what’s actually going on today. Because of that, I’m thinking that the only thing we can do to figure out what exactly is happening now, is by looking to the past.

Sean