God knows, figuring out the complexity, the alliances, the religious and tribal factions of the Middle East is well beyond my comprehension. Yet there is a growing feeling among many that we simply cannot kill our way to a solution.

And what is the greater probability? That inserting 50 superb and courageous Americans into Syria will reduce or eliminate the threat ISIS poses to the region or that the inevitable request will soon cross President Obama’s desk for fifty more? For a whole company? A division?

Two hundred and thirty four men from the First Air Cavalry Division died fifty years ago in horrendous fighting in the Ia Drang valley. The phrase ‘body count’ entered the Pentagon’s vocabulary as estimates of enemy dead were given as perhaps 2000 North Vietnamese soldiers killed.

Fifty years. And history and memory and sadness and regret are all still with us, tapping us on the shoulder, hoping we’ll think things through now a whole lot better than we did a long time ago.