The culpability of our executive and legislative branches in the disaster called Vietnam is inescapable. It might be expected that the consequences of such misfeasance would affect the behavior of our presidents and legislators for more than four decades. Yet in a Kabuki theater billed as the State of the Union address, members of both houses and both parties rose -- repeatedly -- with ovations. Though President Barack Obama all but ignored the failure of his diplomacy in Iraq and the looming catastrophe in Syria, he won plaudits for already bringing "home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women." There was even more applause when he proclaimed that "another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue, and by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over." When he claimed that "the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self," they came to their feet again -- though even half-wits know it isn't true. As the solons went wild, our enemies also cheered.
Four years of weakness has given advantage to adversaries with weapons of mass destruction. Less than 24 hours after North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon, Obama said, "America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons." And then came the punch line: "The regime in North Korea must know they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations."
A day later, our State Department condemned Pyongyang's latest nuclear test "in the strongest terms." The Iranians had to applaud this "firm action" after hearing Obama tell Tehran that "now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon."
By the time he promised to "invest in new capabilities, even as we reduce waste and wartime spending," I barely was listening. His commitment to "ensure equal treatment for all service members and equal benefits for their families, gay and straight," was, of course, cheered -- as was his pledge to "draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters and moms because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat."
If this war ends anything like the way Vietnam did, the consequences will be disastrous. Our enemies in Vietnam didn't have nuclear weapons or any means of launching a serious attack on our homeland. Our present radical Islamist adversaries have both.
Oliver North is the host of "War Stories" on Fox News Channel and the author of the New York Times best-seller "Heroes Proved." To find out more about Oliver North and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.