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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bush Compares Iraq to Vietnam

For as long as this war was going on I've heard the "anti-war left" compare the Iraq war to Vietnam. What this means basically is that they believed this wasn't going to turn out well. I suppose it can be generally agreed that Vietnam didn't go so well for various reasons and not just because of the stubborness of the Viet Cong, but also in how the American government then conducted the war.

Anyway fast forward to 2007. President Bush takes a different track on comparisons between the war in Vietnam and the war in Iraq. From the Washington Post...
President Bush defended his ongoing military commitment in Iraq by linking the conflict there to the Vietnam War, arguing Wednesday that withdrawing U.S. troops would lead to widespread death and suffering as it did in Southeast Asia three decades ago.

"One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 'reeducation camps' and 'killing fields,' " Bush told a receptive audience at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention.
In Defense of U.S. Policy in Iraq, Bush Cites Conflicts in Other Places and Eras
In his address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention yesterday, President Bush discussed military history while defending his Iraq war policy. This was the latest use of historical analogies by Bush and members of his administration.

The president's decision to draw an explicit link between Iraq and Vietnam comes as he seeks to marshal support for his war policy among Republicans and to blunt calls from Democratic members of Congress for a drawdown of U.S. forces in the coming months. Although his comments played well among the veterans here -- the speech was interrupted with repeated cheers and applause -- the references to the Vietnam conflict, which remains a divisive, emotional issue for many Americans, prompted strong criticism from Democrats.

"The president is drawing the wrong lesson from history," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Bush also offered fresh support for embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, calling him a "good man with a difficult job." On Tuesday, speaking to reporters at a North American summit in Quebec, Bush had expressed his disappointment at the lack of political progress in Iraq and had said that widespread popular frustration could lead Iraqis to replace Maliki.

But in his speech to the veterans, Bush said "it's not up to the politicians in Washington, D.C., to say whether he will remain in his position. It is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy and not a dictatorship."
You notice I don't touch the news about Iraq often enough here. It's not that I'm against the conflict, it's just that it seems so depressing. Especially after what seems to be several promising stories from there.

Yeah I'm talking about the fall of President Dictator Saddam Hussein and the elections over there where insurgents wanted to prevent its success. Then Saddam gets executed for his crimes against his people. There are other little stories of our troops doing a good job and then the optimism of the Iraqi people, but to be sure there are plenty of horrible stories from Iraq.

One thing I can see is based on my understanding of Vietnam, I really don't think the scenarios are similar.

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