Saturday, August 25, 2007

Breaking The Vietnam Monopoly

President Bush gave a speech to the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on Wednesday. After drawing historical parallels between the War Against Islamic Fundamentalism and World War II and Korea, he came to this section of it - and nothing will ever again be the same:
Finally, there's Vietnam. This is a complex and painful subject for many Americans. The tragedy of Vietnam is too large to be contained in one speech. So I'm going to limit myself to one argument that has particular significance today. Then as now, people argued the real problem was America's presence and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end.

The argument that America's presence in Indochina was dangerous had a long pedigree. In 1955, long before the United States had entered the war, Graham Greene wrote a novel called, The Quiet American. It was set in Saigon, and the main character was a young government agent named Alden Pyle. He was a symbol of American purpose and patriotism - and dangerous naivete. Another character describes Alden this way: "I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused."

After America entered the Vietnam War, the Graham Greene argument gathered some steam. As a matter of fact, many argued that if we pulled out there would be no consequences for the Vietnamese people.

In 1972, one antiwar senator put it this way: "What earthly difference does it make to nomadic tribes or uneducated subsistence farmers in Vietnam or Cambodia or Laos, whether they have a military dictator, a royal prince or a socialist commissar in some distant capital that they've never seen and may never heard of?" A columnist for the New York Times [Anthony "Tough Tony" Lewis] wrote in a similar vein in 1975, just as Cambodia and Vietnam were falling to the communists: "It's difficult to imagine," he said, "how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone." A headline on that story, date Phnom Penh, summed up the argument: "Indochina without Americans: For Most a Better Life."

The world would learn just how costly these misimpressions would be. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge began a murderous rule in which hundreds of thousands of Cambodians died by starvation and torture and execution. In Vietnam, former allies of the United States and government workers and intellectuals and businessmen were sent off to prison camps, where tens of thousands perished. Hundreds of thousands more fled the country on rickety boats, many of them going to their graves in the South China Sea.

Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left. There's no debate in my mind that the veterans from Vietnam deserve the high praise of the United States of America. (Applause.) Whatever your position is on that debate, 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," "re-education camps," and "killing fields."

Ooooh. OOOOH. A Republican president publicly told the truth about Vietnam and the Democrats' central role in turning it into a genocide and strategic disaster. Republicans aren't supposed to DO things like this; they're not supposed to tread on the other side's cherished, hallowed ground, their Unholy of Unholies, and play with their extremist ideological shiboleths. Only Democrats are supposed to be allowed to intrude on opposition turf and mess around with the philosophical accoutroments. Such boldly going where no Pachyderm has gone before is reminiscent of the George Bush of 2001-2003, frankly. Nice to see a glimpse of that warrior leader, if only for nostalgia's sake.

But fingering the Dems of thirty years ago as the accessories to mass murder that they were was just the warmup; here came the pitch:

There was another price to our withdrawal from Vietnam, and we can hear it in the words of the enemy we face in today's struggle - those who came to our soil and killed thousands of citizens on September the 11th, 2001. In an interview with a Pakistani newspaper after the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden declared that "the American people had risen against their government's war in Vietnam. And they must do the same today."

His number two man, Zawahiri, has also invoked Vietnam. In a letter to al Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq, Zawahiri pointed to "the aftermath of the collapse of the American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents."

Zawahiri later returned to this theme, declaring that the Americans "know better than others that there is no hope in victory. The Vietnam specter is closing every outlet." Here at home, some can argue our withdrawal from Vietnam carried no price to American credibility - but the terrorists see it differently.

We must remember the words of the enemy. We must listen to what they say. Bin Laden has declared that "the war [in Iraq] is for you or us to win. If we win it, it means your disgrace and defeat forever." Iraq is one of several fronts in the war on terror - but it's the central front - it's the central front for the enemy that attacked us and wants to attack us again. And it's the central front for the United States and to withdraw without getting the job done would be devastating. (Applause.)

If we were to abandon the Iraqi people, the terrorists would be emboldened, and use their victory to gain new recruits. As we saw on September the 11th, a terrorist safe haven on the other side of the world can bring death and destruction to the streets of our own cities. Unlike in Vietnam, if we withdraw before the job is done, this enemy will follow us home. And that is why, for the security of the United States of America, we must defeat them overseas so we do not face them in the United States of America. (Applause.)
OOOOH. OOOOH. After nailing the Dems on abandoning Indochina to the communists, igniting over three million deaths and a Soviet global offensive that damn near checkmated us in the Cold War, GDub makes the connection to TODAY's Democrats (some of whom had a hand in the disgrace of thirty-two years ago) and TODAY's war, and flatly declares that they haven't changed one jot or tittle. They betrayed their own country and the Vietnamese people back then, and they're rabidly desperate to abandon the Iraqi and Afghan people to the Islamist butchers now and bring the jihadi hordes swarming right back down on top of us.

You've heard the expression that liberalism is a death wish? To completely eviscerate the baseball analogy, Dubya hit it out of the park:
Recently, two men who were on the opposite sides of the debate over the Vietnam War came together to write an article. One was a member of President Nixon's foreign policy team, and the other was a fierce critic of the Nixon Administration's policies. Together they wrote that the consequences of an American defeat in Iraq would be disastrous.

Here's what they said: "Defeat would produce an explosion of euphoria among all the forces of Islamist extremism, throwing the entire Middle East into even greater upheaval. The likely human and strategic costs are appalling to contemplate. Perhaps that is why so much of the current debate seeks to ignore these consequences." I believe these men are right.

Of course the Donks want to ignore these consequences - until AFTER they've happened, when they can turn around and blame them on the President. The "party of peace" wants to use fifty million Muslim lives, to say nothing of how many more Americans would perish, as campaign props. The "party of compassion" could care less if al Qaeda and the Iranian mullahgarchy slaughter every last one of them if it gets Dems bigger congressional majorities and the presidency in 2008. It's a brutal, vicious, callous hypocrisy that they don't want Us, The People, to realize until the troops are out, the entire Middle East explodes, our cities start going up one by one, and it's too late.

And President Bush blew the whistle on them.

Think the lefties will be pissed? Heck, they were passing pinecones before the President stepped up to the podium. So great was their intestinal agony that after spending the past four and a half years insisting that, in the slurred verbiage of Uncle Teddy, "Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam," NOW they can't point out the myriad differences between the two conflicts fast enough.

Robert Dalleck, a JFK biographer and "historian," in the L.A. Times:

What is Bush suggesting? That we didn’t fight hard enough, stay long enough? That’s nonsense. It’s a distortion...We’ve been in Iraq longer than we fought in World War II. It’s a disaster, and this is a political attempt to lay the blame for the disaster on his opponents. But the disaster is the consequence of going in, not getting out....

It just boggles my mind, the distortions I feel are perpetrated here by the President. We were in Vietnam for ten years. We dropped more bombs on Vietnam than we did in all of World War II in every theater. We lost 58,700 American lives, the second-greatest loss of lives in a foreign conflict. And we couldn't work our will.

USA Today:
Vietnam was not a bunch of sectarian groups fighting each other, as in Iraq. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge toppled a U.S.-backed government. Does he think we should have stayed in Vietnam?”
"Slow Joe" Biden:
[T]he President continues to play the American people for fools. The only relevant analogy of Vietnam to Iraq is this: In Iraq, just as we did in Vietnam, we are clinging to a central government that does not and will not enjoy the support of the people....Unless the President acts on that lesson from history and works toward a federal solution in Iraq [i.e. Biden's non-starter partition scheme], there is no prospect that when we leave, we will leave anything stable behind.

Translation: Get the hell away from our bone, Mr. President. Vietnam analogizing belongs to us.

On the whole that reaction reeks of intellectual exhaustion. As though half a decade of hysterical, irrational, insane shrieking has finally reached the point of diminishing returns, revealing that there was never any substance underlying any of it in the first place.

So, unable to counter the President's verbal bitch-slap, the Left is simply squealing in outrage at his "violation" of their moral supremacist hobby horse and sticking to the same script. Senator Hairplugs exhibited that moronic muleheadedness. So did the Boston Globe:
It would have been better to surrender South Vietnam to the North Vietnamese communists in the early 1960s than to engage them in a struggle that cost 58,000 American and millions of Vietnamese lives before it ended in 1975 with the same result: victory for Hanoi and the suppression of non-communist opposition in the south.

Notice that staying in 'Nam and winning - which we essentially had done by the end of 1972, which is why the Dems had to actively cut off the South Vietnamese government to force its collapse two years and change later - never occurs to them. Because, of course, it is an article of blind faith to libs that not only was victory in Vietnam impossible, but it would have been immoral as well. Because deep down they believed then, and still believe now, that America is the focus of evil in the modern world.

That Ameriphobic template is applicable to any conflict we get into that the Dems either don't like or see an opportunity to gain from politically by sabotaging it. And Iraq (and Afghanistan) certainly fit that bill; just ask the "paper of record":
The short-term sequels of American withdrawal from Indochina were brutal, as the immediate sequels of America’s withdrawal from Iraq will surely be. But the American people rightly concluded that with no way to win a military victory, there could be no justification for allowing thousands more United States troops to die in Vietnam. Those deaths would not have changed the sequels to the war, just as more American deaths will not change the sequel to the war in Iraq. Once the war in Southeast Asia was over, America’s domestic divisions healed, its battered armed forces were rebuilt and the nation was much better positioned to deal with the relentless challenges of global leadership.

Once again, the immutable assumption of American defeat in any politically incorrect conflict being impenetrably etched onto stone tablets by a giant Finger. What it really means, of course, is that the Left will not ALLOW victory in any war they oppose. But if, say, Bill Clinton launches an unprovoked attack on a country that is not our enemy nor poses any national security threat of any kind (i.e. Serbia in 1999), without either congressional authorization or UN sanction, and deliberately targets civilian infrastructure resulting in thousands of civilian casualties, WE'RE the "traitors" if we so much as roll our eyes, much less question any of it in the slightest.

And don't you just love how the "Grey Lady" tries to twist self-imposed strategic disaster in Southeast Asia into the implicit launching pad for victory in the Cold War! Cutting and running from 'Nam "better positioned" us to "deal with the relentless challenges of global leadership" - you know, like...well, fighting strategically vital regional conflicts and Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Times would have been more honest to say that running away thirty years ago better positioned the United States to face a bottomless pit of "sequels" all premised on the lesson that wreaking enough chaos and havoc and blood and gore and death will always cause the Americans to lose their nerve and quit.

You know the saying: Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, thrice is a trend. In this case, once destroyed U.S. credibility in the world for a generation. Twice would finish it for good. Not a good trend to cultivate in an era of transnational terrorist networks and runaway WMD proliferation.

Yet what does Senate Majority Chisler "Dirty Harry" Reid have in store?
It is time to change direction in Iraq, and congress will again work to do so in the fall.

Isn't a definition of insanity to try the same failed idea time after time after time in the blind hope that eventually, through sheer repetition, it will succeed? Did libs themselves use a variation on this same argument against the Bushies in the years prior to the implementation of the "Surge" - which, like the original invasion of Iraq, Dems overwhelmingly voted for?

I'll let Generalissimo Duane have the last word:
[Reid]'s telegraphing that the Democrats will indeed ignore the September report from General Petraeus, the man they voted unanimously to send to Iraq to implement the same surge of which they are now trying to discount its success. While Reid may be saying this to appease his fringe base, he is running into another trap, because as time goes by, and conditions on the ground in Iraq continue to improve, Republican resolve should continue to strengthen. Mitch McConnell beat Harry Reid twice already this year on precipitous withdrawal resolutions when the chips were down in Iraq. Now that things are looking better in Iraq, don't expect Reid, Clinton or Kennedy to have their defeatist wishes granted anytime soon.