Monday, April 12, 2004

....Excuse Mr. Rumsfeld, Aren't There Other Things on Your Plate Right Now?

HANOI — The diminutive soldier in a brown Vietnamese army uniform bounded past a U.S. honor guard and up the Pentagon's red-carpeted steps. At the landing, the door opened and a smiling Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld appeared with an outstretched hand. Pham Van Tra clasped it warmly.

No, this is not a headline from 30 years ago (although Mr. Rumsfeld helped form that military and foreign policy disaster as well)...

With the legacy of Vietnam seemingly ready to play itself out again in a U.S. presidential race, the timing of the exploratory steps taken by both countries is ironic.

Part of the reason .... is that Vietnam — whose 600,000-strong military is saddled with outdated armaments — represents an attractive market for U.S. arms manufacturers. Vietnam wants the option of weighing bids from American arms sellers against those of other countries to bargain for lower costs, as it did when it purchased four Boeing 777 commercial jetliners for a rock-bottom price.

Maybe Mr. Rumsfeld, you are trying to rediscover some lessons learned from Vietnam (by the way, Mr. Secretary, 19 more GIs died this weekend, just to keep you up with the news).

But your biggest problems may come from Mr. Cheney when he hears your are getting some military arms sales commissions on the side. He's supposed to get the kickbacks from Halliburton.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link