One more time. Millions of people died while we were there. A fair proportion of them were people we ourselves killed. In any reckoning of the costs of intervening and withdrawing from Indochina, those people count too. It’s a bizarre, narcissistic blind spot to imagine otherwise.
Which brings us to Iraq, per the President’s insistence. It is possible that if we leave, hundreds of thousands will die and millions be displaced. That has already happened under our government’s tender and expert care. There is no short-term prospect that it will stop happening. But I guess if you die while the US is around, you have the comfort of knowing we were trying.
More were killed in Vietnam and Cambodia during the American phase of the war than were killed afterwards in the killing fields of Cambodia and the re-education camps of Vietnam. It won't surprise me if we get the same kind of grim statistics coming out of Iraq when it is all said and done. Ending the war will likely be ugly for the Iraqis however and whenever it happens. But it has already been very ugly.