Are U.S. citizens prepared for a long war? It seems to be a logical question to ask in light of the current debate over the Iraq war and past experiences of other U.S. military invasions and/or wars. Certainly citizens’ antiwar sentiment and mobilization is much stronger and has been more rapidly organized than was the case in both the Korean and the Vietnam invasions.

I am old enough to remember both Vietnam and Korea. The Korean War ended in a stalemate and the end of the Vietnam War represented a tremendous victory for the Vietnamese people.

I also seem to remember it took about 10 years for U.S. imperialism to overthrow Daniel Ortega’s popular government in Nicaragua, using the Contras as “our” proxy defenders of democracy.

Today as I listen to the news every day I can vouch that Bush’s rhetoric is a repeat of the same line and imperialist hopes of yester-years. Of course the Iraqis and their neighbors are fully aware of our recent history of invading other countries. This forms the basis for their insistence that the U.S. find a peaceful solution to the war between Israel and the Palestinian people. Also, I venture to say, it frames the broad opposition to the U.S. occupation within Iraq itself.

This widespread sentiment reminds me of the slogan of the 1950s throughout Latin America: “Yankee go home!”

Thus my first logical question leads to this one: how long will “we” tolerate the quagmire in Iraq? Will it be five, 10, 20 or more years? I pose the question in light of the secret kept hidden from the American people, which is this: it was the mass movement for peace within our country that was most responsible for ending the Vietnam War.

I believe we can do it again once we, the American public, decide that we have had enough!

I was inspired to write this article after watching two ABC “Nightline” programs on the terrible, inhumane damage being done to our soldiers and their families by the current armed struggles in Iraq.

The two shows only gave a glimpse of what we can expect in a prolonged war, but it was enough to convince me that the best solution is to bring our soldiers back home like we did — it seems like just yesterday — from Vietnam!

Lorenzo Torrez
(Lptorrez1@wmconnect.com) is chair of the Communist Party of Arizona.