Once again the two sides of the divided Korea are close to all-out war. This land is split into democratic South Korea, and communist North Korea. The United States claims the south as an ally, while China is the only real ally of the north. Does any of this sound familiar?
The war in Vietnam lasted for more than 20 years (US combat troops arriving halfway through, in 1965), and claimed more than 3,000,000 lives, 58,000 of them American. It divided the nation as no other event in modern times has succeeded in doing. The outcome was a unified Vietnam, but as a communist state.
The war in Iraq is over as far as American combat operations go, but the conflict is far from done. The US death toll here was more than 4,000, with somewhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000 civilians killed, depending on the source. We “liberated” the country from Saddam Hussein, but left it virtually leaderless, a shattered ruin in a constant state of near civil war. Not a single weapon of mass destruction was found, and we certainly didn't gain Iraq as a new ally.
The American presence in Afghanistan just officially surpassed the nine-plus years that the Russians wasted there. No one seems entirely clear what the goals are, let alone the accomplishments to date. The Afghanis are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the coalition's presence, often expressing the sentiment that the Americans are no better than the Russians. In fact, the latest bizarre twist in this tragic tale is the Russians now joining the fray as allies of the West. So far 1,295 Americans have died, and there is no end in sight.
The first Korean conflict claimed almost 45,000 American lives, and more than 3,000,000 all told. There was no decisive outcome, only a truce that left the country divided and in a constant state of tension along the border. Most Koreans, both North and South, want re-unification, but are far apart on what form the united Korea would take.