Published in The Virginia Pilot on January 29, 2014
Are American troops and taxpayers ready for another war? This is a debate citizens must have now as a tense struggle plays out in Washington over sanctions policy against Iran.
As we contemplate committing forces to yet another Middle East conflict, commentators search for the appropriate metaphor. Here lessons learned from the Cuban missile crisis prove instructive.
Seeking the wisest U.S. response to Soviet deployment of nuclear-armed missiles, President John Kennedy's military advisors pushed for bombing Cuba.
Comparisons were made to the Suez Canal in 1956 – when the distraction of Western powers over Egyptian seizure of the canal facilitated Soviet invasion of Hungary. No, it was Munich 1938, others argued, maintaining the U.S. had to strike Cuba immediately or reap the bitter harvest of "appeasement."
It was Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy who turned the metaphorical tide, noting that Pearl Harbor 1941 was the appropriate analogy. He did not want the U.S. inviting the infamy of a lightning strike against an unsuspecting target.
Read the full piece here.