OpinionJournal - Thinking Things Over Responses: "Our Arrogance Is Our Weakness
Mike Ballard - Denver
The reason we were in Vietnam was the false 'domino theory'--that communism would spread like cancer. Today Vietnam is a bastion of free market economics and capitalism--and an ally of the U.S.
Besides the obvious differences in terrain and climate, the biggest strategic difference between Vietnam and Iraq is religion. Thousands of would be martyrs are flocking to Iraq to fight the infidel--that is, us--from every Muslim nation in the world.
We didn't understand the Southeast Asian culture, and we don't understand Arab culture either. Americans assume every nation thinks like us, and if they don't they certainly should. We had the opportunity in Iraq, but we are blowing it because we don't have enough interpreters, we don't understand Iraqi customs, and we think that we can impose our ways on them.
Our arrogance is our weakness. We are a nation that came into being as an oppressed people that rose up against the greatest power in the world. We have forgotten where we came from, and this is a sure formula for failure. Until we learn humility and respect for other cultures, we will continue to dishonor ourselves on the world stage."