Readers Dissect Bush's 'Vietnam'
Derision might the best adjective to describe the reaction of our readers who comment to President Bush's speech yesterday in which he warned that withdrawing troops from Iraq would lead to more death and suffering as it did after the United States left Vietnam. Judging from the comments, the speech before the sympathetic audience of the Veterans of Foreign Wars seems to have reopened one of the deepest wounds in the psyche of the millions of Americans who remember the Vietnam years and the divisiveness both the war and its aftermath brought to this country. The question, of course, is whether the analogy works as a reason for keeping U.S. forces in Iraq, and some of our readers want more analysis on that. Few defenders of the president have bothered to comment.
The president also took the opportunity during his speech to revise and extend his remarks of a day earlier when he had expressed a "certain level of frustration" with the Iraqi government. He told the VFW that "Prime Minister Maliki is a good guy, a good man with a difficult job and I support him." The dissonance in those statements has also drawn comment.
jhbyer captures the mood of many of our user correspondents in writing, "When the topic is the present, Bush speaks only of past and future; of the future, only of present and past, and of the past, only of the future and present. Reality has left the building."
And Dannoday said, "Liberals were right. We predicted that invading Iraq would turn into another Vietnam war quagmire. Now even the President acknowledges the similarities."
donal1944 said "...You only need to know three things about these wars [Vietnam and Iraq].
They are wars led and backed by Democrats and Republicans. The majority of Americans had no say in these decisions. They are needless, unlawful wars based on lies... They are costly wars...
Don't worry about the costs in spending or the inflation that will smolder through the economy for a decade or so, like it did after Vietnam. Worry about the dead and wounded and ask yourself how many more will fall before we build a movement powerful enough to force an end to it."
nads1 said that the president is "...just parroting Henry Kissinger's philosophy. Kissinger felt there should be no end to the war in Vietnam until the US 'won,' whatever the hell that meant, and it's clear that's exactly what Cheney/Bush have in mind, too..."
femfour said, "Let me get this straight, not only does Bush not think we should leave Iraq, we should never have left Vietnam? I suppose 58,000 names on that wall wasn't enough for W...he thinks it should have over 100,000..."
DPoniatowski said that "As much as I hate to admit it, the sentiment is right but for a different reason. We can't desert the Iraqis again, the president knows it, Hillary Clinton knows it, and most people with any history under their belt knows it. But why did the president decide to learn this lesson but not any of the others associated with Viet Nam?..."
jvandeswaluw1 noted that "Most of Bush's speeches are held in front the veterans, military academies,etc, etc. That's why I like to call these speeches, propaganda speeches..."
glenbc called the speech, "the president's last chance to influence the direction of the nation, perhaps. let's hope everyone has the good sense to ignore him. bad instincts, and bad results, a failure."
489362 addressed the Maliki issue in saying, "Bush's comments were widely interpreted as dumping on Maliki, because that's exactly what he meant to do. Somebody, the ghost of his grandma, perhaps, has been talking to the President, and has told him that you just don't do that to the leader of another country, even if you did give him his job. And so, once more, the Emperor says, "OOOPS!"... But Americans don't listen to emperors, thank Heaven."
puppy1 said, "I'm disappointed in the Post's reporting. A better approach would have been to 'truth-squad'...Bush's comparison to Vietnam... Are the analogies accurate?" NPR yesterday and the New York Times today, among others, examined the analogy question.
All comments on Bush's comparison of Iraq with Vietnam are here.
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