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Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?

Who is the White House speech writer – Theo Nion?

The Beeb reports: Bush in Vietnam warning over Iraq

President George W Bush has warned a US withdrawal from Iraq could trigger the kind of upheaval seen in South East Asia after US forces quit Vietnam.

“The price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens,” he told war veterans in Missouri.

Mr Bush said the Vietnam War had taught the need for US patience over Iraq.

His speech comes amid an apparent rift with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, but Mr Bush said Mr Maliki was a “good man with a difficult job”.

BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs says Mr Bush’s speech will fuel the controversy over whether he is drawing the right or wrong lessons from history.

Opinion polls suggest that many Americans clearly do not see the stakes or the struggle in the same way, our correspondent says.

Mr Bush is pressing home these broad themes even more forcefully than before because he faces a very specific short-term political problem, with less than 18 months left as president.

Had he been sober for the aftermath, the Shrubbery might have picked up on a few little discrepancies in his view. Those of us of a certain age wonder why he doesn’t just come out and call it the “domino theory,” because that’s what he’s talking about. The area was overrun with guns and drugs and the transition from colonialism wasn’t complete. It was a mess, and there was no Marshall Plan for Indochina.

The people running things didn’t know the various people in the region don’t like each other. The Cambodians ended up getting invaded by Vietnam, and Vietnam by China. None of this affected the flow of drugs out of the Golden Triangle, or the war lords who control it. Nothing is as simple as the CIA and State Department think.

If I were Ngo Dinh Diem…sorry, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki I would be concerned about what the Shrubbery might be planning.

9 comments

1 hipparchia { 08.22.07 at 7:22 pm }

patience, dude. stay the course.

we killed something like 3-4% of the population of vietnam, and about 0.03% of our own population, with that war. to date, we’ve only killed 1-2% of the iraqi population, depending on whose numbers you believe, and we’re nowhere near the ~90,000 dead americans it would take to = 0.03% of our current population.

2 Badtux { 08.22.07 at 8:56 pm }

Hipparchia, we’ve also displaced 3 million Iraqis as refugees (or roughly 10% of the population) and probably internally displaced an equally large number. And while thanks to modern medicine we do not have 90,000 dead Americans, we most likely will have 90,000 Americans with significant brain injuries or other significant disabilities coming out of this war who would have died if medical science were still stuck in the Vietnam era. But of course, being brain injured, we don’t have to think about them the same way we’d think if they came home in a coffin…

However you do the comparison, the numbers may be comprised differently, but it’s a mess either way.

– Badtux the History Penguin

3 Steve Bates { 08.22.07 at 9:21 pm }

Badtux: not to put words in her mouth, but I believe “hipparchia” is the ancient Grecian [sic] term for “irony” …

You are of course right about the disabilities that would have been deaths in the Vietnam era, and the overwhelming number of refugees this sort of war is certain to create. (Has anyone heard anything of/from Riverbend?)

4 Bryan { 08.22.07 at 10:15 pm }

From my understanding of the reports on the advances, the number of dead would at least double without the new techniques.

Irony and misspelling, Steve.

When is Opera going to include form filling, Hipparchia?

Riverbend as been totally silent for a long time, but she may be in transit somewhere, one of the millions of refugees.

It’s a sad thing, Badtux, but few Americans are aware of the Iranian coup you write about. If they had experienced Spain under Franco, Greece under the colonels, and Iran under the Shah as some of us have, they wouldn’t be so eager to give up their rights. The US has allied with a lot of thorough going bastards over the years that make Castro look like little miss sunshine.

5 hipparchia { 08.23.07 at 12:40 am }

badtux: apologies. that numero siete, it’s contagious.

6 hipparchia { 08.23.07 at 1:01 am }

not opera’s fault. i’ve got all the don’t remember me, don’t set cookies, etc, turned on. sometimes i remember to c&p, other times i just tyep blithely away. various cats help with the typing too. nb: i’m using firefox no less, just for you.

i’m inclined to agree about both the casualties and the displacements, but i think much of the general public, the press, congress, and the white house are only going to pay attention to actual deaths. if they bother to pay attention at all.

But of course, being brain injured, we don’t have to think about them the same way we’d think if they came home in a coffin…
yep.

7 Ann { 08.23.07 at 9:58 am }

The analogy to Vietnam was appropriate on Feb. 5 2003 when Colin Powell made his speech at the U.N. Now, it’s looking more like Napoleon’s march home from Moscow.

8 Bryan { 08.23.07 at 10:34 am }

I have Firefox dump cookies when I shutdown. A couple of sites I use won’t work without them, including my ISP. [I appreciate the thought, thanks.]

This is definitely a #7 crowd.

9 Bryan { 08.23.07 at 10:59 am }

Ann, welcome. I think that Dennis Kucinich might have gotten away with the comparison back then, but the Hedgemony was right in avoiding any comparisons to Southeast Asia.

This is an old wound that the neocons just won’t let heal. They keep looking for a way to change or re-write what happened.

Don’t get involved in a land war in Asia is pretty good advice, even if it comes from a fantasy movie.