If my only choices are -Spend $200billion developing some very scary things that destroy stuff and make enemies too afraid to attack us (or our friends) . . or -Wait until tens, hundreds, or thousands of people are attacked, then spend $200billion developing scary things and using them, I wouldn't hesitate.
It doesn't and like you I do not like the Vietnam comparison being thrown around all the time. However when the left's answer to everything is to just talk nice and hope that they change is pie in the sky thinking. Yes it sucks that we police the world, but as the most powerful country on the planet, who else will keep the peace? UN is a joke and the World Court is a laughingstock. Some people just do not get that there has, are and will always be evil in the world and the only thing they understand is the barrel of a gun and not the handing of an olive branch.
I've always wondered about the effectiveness of what we are doing though. So much of it is kept so secretive, you know. Like we were really good at making deterrents for bad countries before, but now it's about picking off groups dispersed amongst other (innocent? unwitting?) citizens, without razing everything. I'll admit, the drones that we've developed have been awfully effective, and that's been a good thing. I don't think that it should be viewed as a bad thing though that some people are questioning if protecting our lives can be done differently, more cheaply, and with less risk to innocents overseas.