More by omission than commission, the Pentagon's war narrative neglects key lessons: The executive chronically concocts or inflates danger from abroad to justify purposeless, objectless wars; the military should balk at unwinnable conflicts; and the first casualties of war are truth and civil liberties.
If these lessons are not learned, we will continue to repeat the obscene folly of the gratuitous Vietnam War deaths ad infinitum. As philosopher George Santyana taught, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Congress authorized the commemoration in 2008. It adopted a bill that directed the Pentagon to "coordinate, support, and facilitate" federal, state, and local programs associated with the 50th anniversary of the war. In 2012, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation establishing a 13-year program "in recognition of a chapter in our nation's history which must never be forgotten."
The Pentagon's commemoration website characterizes its objective as providing "the American public with historically accurate materials" suitable for school use. It has been up for months, but omissions make it hugely misleading.