Friday, August 24, 2007

What if Iraq becomes another Vietnam?

While most pro-war folks (of the few who remain) attack anyone who makes the slightest hint at an Iraq-Vietnam analogy, President Bush has embraced such comparisons. He warned that a precipitous withdrawal would trigger the kind of upheaval seen after the departure of the US forces who were propping up the South Vietnamese dictatorship.

"Many argued that if we pulled out, there would be no consequences for the Vietnamese people," he said. "The world would learn just how costly these misimpressions would be. Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left. Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens."

Of course, this is pure deceit on the president's part. No one argued this. The main argument was that continued US participation in the Vietnamese civil war was having worse consequences than withdrawal would. And this argument was vindicated by the course of events.

The Vietnamese civil war lasted for 16 years. Some 4 million Vietnamese civilians were killed and countless more injured, orphaned and displaced. Only a small fraction of these occured in the year and a half following the withdrawal of US forces when the South Vietnamese army (numerically much larger than the North's) was fighting for its own country.

The US political leadership of the time tried to make the public swallow hysterical predictions of chaos and menace to American security should the Vietnamese civil war be decided by... the Vietnamese. They also peddled the delusion that military might could settle a fundamentally political conflict.

The UK Independent also has a good piece addressing Bush's pap.

And what if Iraq does become another Vietnam, as Bush warns?

What Bush doesn't mention is that while Communist Vietnam became a totalitarian state, its regime didn't murder anywhere close to the 4 million civilians who were "collateral damage" in the war to save them.

What Bush doesn't mention is the politically incorrect fact that while it's hardly paradise on Earth, Vietnam is a less horrific, more stable place in 2007 than it was when US troops withdrew.

What Bush doesn't mention is how many times has communist Vietnam attacked or threatened America since 1975: zero.

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