The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 April 2004

Horton hears a Ho

I think Lileks is getting tired of the Vietnam analogies:

It's Warholian: in the future, all conflicts will be Vietnam for 15 minutes.

Vietnam was an anomaly. Vietnam was perhaps the least typical war we've ever fought, but somehow it's become the Gold Standard for wars — because, one suspects, it became inextricably bound up with Nixon, that black hole of human perfidy, and it coincided with the golden glory years of so many old boomers who now clog the arteries of the media and academe. A gross overgeneralization, I know. But it's a fatal conceit. If you're always fighting the last war you'll lose the next one. Even worse: Vietnam was several wars ago.

Maybe it's just me, but as a boomer on the cusp of old, I'm inclined to give Nixon a pass, on this matter anyway, and blame this syndrome entirely upon people my age or slightly above who continue to live in the past because they fear they might be irrelevant in the present.

And as fears go — and I've gone with lots of them over the years — this one is as close to guaranteed self-fulfillment as you can get.

Posted at 7:24 AM to Political Science Fiction


I dunno about boomers exclusively invoking Vietnam... my assistant at work is from the WWII generation, and he constantly makes a point to me of characterizing the current situation as another Vietnam. And he's fairly conservative on most issues, including foreign policy.

The way it's going, this adventure will certainly become another Vietnam, simply because the current administration is more interested in spinning the occupation as a positive moving-forward, instead of having a coherent policy toward it.

Posted by: CT at 8:49 PM on 10 April 2004