Bush Jumps the Shark on Iraq?
Cross-posted at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog:
I have to say, George Bush's invocation of Vietnam in his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars strikes me as a sign of desperation. If he felt that he had any chance of persuading anyone outside of his ultra-conservative base to support a continuation of the war, why would he draw parallels to a conflict that anyone but a right wing hardliner regards as a blunder and tragedy? The painful memory of Vietnam isn't going to help him turn around moderates and independents.
In addition, it irks me when Bush resorts to the notion that the slaughter of innocent civilians is a justification for continuing the war. He says that we must stay in Iraq to avoid the kind of suffering that plagued the Vietnamese after we left that country. But the suffering of foreigners wasn't given as a reason for us to go to Iraq in the first place. WMDs and the supposed support of Al Qaeda by Saddam were about protecting the U.S.A., not civilians in Iraq. Also, the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed so far in this war have never provoked remorse from Bush to date. If humanitarian catastrophes called for military engagement, why aren't we sending soldiers into Sudan to stop the genocide there?
In any event, I agree with what Democratic candidate Gov Bill Richardson (D-NM) said in Nevada yesterday:
"The correct conclusion to draw from our experience in Vietnam," said Governor Richardson, "is that dragging out the process of withdrawal will be tragically worse in terms of U.S. lives lost and worse for the Iraqis themselves in terms of the ultimate instability we will create by staying longer."The lesson of Vietnam is that it took us too long to get out. The suffering might well have been less if we got out sooner, and the suffering in Iraq might well be greater if we prolong our occupation.