Aug 23, 2007

On President Bush, Vietnam, and Doublethinkery

The announcement yesterday by President Bush that the Iraq War is similar to the Vietnam War is one of the most shameful examples of a politician doing a volte-face on an issue that I can ever recall.

This is the President who assured us prior to the start of the Iraq War that his administration had a plan for regime change, and that the "lessons of Vietnam" had been absorbed by the American military and his staff.

This is the President who consistently denied that Iraq was becoming another Vietnam in April 2004, as post-invasion Iraq began to sink into a sectarian civil war, telling us that the "analogy is false."

But now President Bush wants us to forget everything he has said in the past, arguing that post-invasion Iraq is, indeed, much like the Vietnam of the 1960s and 1970s. The text of President Bush's speech to the VFW is an exercise in selective history; he somehow believes that Vietnam would have benefited from a longer U.S. presence, and then tries to blame the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia on a pullout of U.S. troops from Vietnam.

This is a President who wants to doublethink his way out of the bloody debacle he foisted upon the American and Iraqi peoples, and who hopes that short memories will help him cover up his earlier dismissals of the specter of Vietnam.

Mr. President: there is still time for you to admit that you made a grievous error and end this travesty known as the Iraq War. Unfortunately, I suspect that your demonstrated recalcitrance will continue, and you will leave your term of office with even more blood of innocent Iraqi civilians and American soldiers on your hands.


Anonymous said...

There will be even more of the dead Iraqis if we cut and run like you liberals want. You people make me want to vomit!!!

historymike said...

Thanks for trolling, annoymous.

I am unconvinced that there will be more bloodshed in Iraq if we leave. There might be a short-term upsurge, but much of the insurgency is driven by anti-Americanism.

I suspect that a stable Iraq might not be sustainable after the U.S. leaves, and it might be partitioned. It might also be broken up into autonomous zones.

But there is no long-term gain for the U.S. to stay in Iraq. Better to spend that money on domestic efforts to speed up production of new energy technologies.

I, however, am assuming that you are able to engage in discourse beyond your limited "us vs. them thar dirty liberals" mentalité.

BTW - I just love how an anonymous buffoon can so quickly peg me as "liberal" or "conservative" or "Commie" through one post that they surfed to via Technorati or Digg. For the record, I do not self-identify in any way other than "free thinker," and belong to no political parties or special interest groups.

Anonymous said...

It sure wasn't a bad war for the hundreds of thousands gased, tourtured, and raped by Saddam Hussein, his sons and cohorts. I guess liberals are for rape and torture. Or at least they don't mind it if they can't see it.

None of you ever addresses the fact that while America and it's embassies were attacked several times before 9/11 during the Clinton administration, there has been zero activity since. Interesting. Do you want to fight there or here? I'd choose to fight it in Iraq rather than in my streets like the Israelis do on a daily basis.

You need to go back to your history books. Name one despot since Atilla the Hun that has given up his murderous ways except by use of force by nations with the stomach to end it. None have been talked down. All these people view negotiations as a weekness. Keep trying to negotiate, but but be honest with yourself that this has been and will be the only effective means to deal with men who have no interest in your morals.

Since all you liberals likened Iraq to Viet Nam at the outset, I find it ludicrous that you take objection to it now. Nothing will dishonor the dead and wounded US soldiers who have fougth this campaign more than leaving early and see another "Fall of Saigon". Tell me how it will be different. It will be "deja vu all over again" as Yogi Berra used to say.

Anonymous said...

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Free think yourself all day long. You have no better idea.

SensorG said...

Wow Mike,
I thought I was the one who liked to whack the trolls' nest...

It seems so convenient that the war supporters call up Saddam's past use of chemical weapons since the Reagan and Bush I administrations turned a blind eye on it when it was happening.

If I thought staying would make Iraq better, I'd be all for it, but it's a lost cause.

As for violence spiraling out of control when we leave, it's already out of control. What would happen? Maybe 500 Iraqis could be killed in a single day, with another 1500 wounded...

That's right, that already happens today with our troops there. link
Once again, it can't get much worse.

For the trolls... here is a brief history of how all this got started, form the beginning.
Juan Cole

Mike - If this simply is to much for the trolls to bare, please feel free to pull this post. It's your site and I understand.

SensorG said...

The Daily Show sums it up best.

Man with the Muck-rake said...

Wow, some real mind-warped folks here named anonymous.

Mike says, Mr. President: there is still time for you to admit that you made a grievous error and end this travesty known as the Iraq War

Admit? Admit a mistake? Sure he will. He doesn't think there was any mistake. It's his personality disorder and subsequent psychopathic lying that prohibits any 'mistake.'

He will go down as the first U.S. President with an obvious mental disorder.

...and 3,700 American military men and woman have had to pay the price for his mental illness.

The Screaming Nutcase said...

Interesting discussion of the speech available here. The money quote is actually the title: Buy Time and Pray for a Miracle.

Timothy said...

"Wow, some real mind-warped folks here named anonymous."

...either that or just bunch of chickensh*thawks too afraid to use their real names.

How come I never get trolls? :(

microdot said...

Well Mr. Anonymous said it, all of us "liberals" likened Iraq to Vietnam at the outset.
Perhaps the next logical step is to admit that we were right.

The occurence of terrorist incidents hasn't decreased since the invasion of Iraq, they have increased world wide incrementally.
The United States has no moral stature among the civilized nations of the world any more. We blew any sympathy the world had for us after 9/11.

Bush's Vietnam comparison was a misguided abuse of history that can only have the short term effect of shoring up his splintering 30% core of support.

I really liked Mr. Screaming Nutcases line;
Buying ttime and praying for a miracle.

historymike said...

Anonymous #2:

R-i-i-ght. No terror attacks since 9/11 = "success."

Of course, you ignore the fact that there were no terror attacks in Iraq prior to the fall of Saddam Hussein, and now the nation makes Taliban-era Afghanistan look like Disneyland.

historymike said...

Anonymous #3:

I would turn your quote of Santayana around and use it to condemn Bush, except that I am not a believer in cyclical history.

Your second statement is a non sequitir; care to explain about what appears to be some sort of attack on free thinkers?

historymike said...

Sensor G:

The post got picked up and linked by some far-right conspiracy dedicated to exposing "moonbattery," hence the extra drive-by idiots.

Also, thanks for the links.

historymike said...


You raise an interesting point about the Decider-in-Chief's mental stability.

Einstein's definition of insanity comes to mind...

historymike said...

Screaming Nutcase:

Thanks for the sobering link.

historymike said...


Use Technorati, Digg, and Reddit if you want to drive traffic/trolls to your site.


historymike said...


You also hint at the direct relationship between anonymity of these trolls and the level of flaming. When people have to sign their name (even a Net pseudonym), they tend to act more responsibly.

historymike said...


Agreed that we as Americans do not live in a vacuum, and I am concerned about what Chalmers Johnson's 'blowback' effect.

MP said...

What disgusts me is not that he compares it to Vietnam, it's the next comments that he used in the comparison.

He said that the rapid US withdrawal from Vietnam and Cambodia in 1975 had led to bloodbaths, persecution of those who worked for the Americans and the boat people refugee crisis. - The UK Telegraph

If they were alive, I think Nixon and Ford would have a thing or two to say about that.

And to those anonymous conservative commenters: since you obviously don't have the courage to leave a first name or a tag name, you obviously have an idea that your position is wrong. Re-examine the way that you live your lives before it's too late.

Mad Jack said...

Mr. President: there is still time for you to admit that you made a grievous error and end this travesty known as the Iraq War.

To what good end? Such an admission won't help the President or the GOP.

The only good thing about the Iraq war is the elimination of a sadistic, homicidal tyrant and his brutal regime. Many, many people in Iraq thank the US for their military intervention.

That said, I would have preferred to see the US support a revolution, which would have provided us with victory conditions and a finite involvement. Sadly, I didn't get my wish.

microdot said...

MadJack, perhaps at the time of the US intervention, manyy Iraqis welcomed the toppling of the regime of Hussein.
That said, 4 years later and a country beyond salvaging and an entire region of the planet traumatized and trashed as we try to brutally manipulate reality, you should realize that the simple toppling of a dictator was not the original intent of the US Intervention in the first place.
To the war hawks of this administration this was the stepping stone of a much broader plan to topple and bring Iran and Syria back under the thumbs of American petro-energy policy priorities.

Mad Jack said...

Microdot, don't trivialize the overthrow or the brutality of Saddam's dictatorship. The crimes Saddam committed against the inhabitants of Iraq were numerous and truly horrible, and included genocide. Saddam is dead and the reign of terror he perpetuated against the inhabitants of Iraq is ended. In simple terms, that's a good thing.

The question I suspect you're dying to ask is some variant of "So that makes everything Bush did Ok?"

Not everything, no. But if halting the actions of a dictator like Saddam is not a good reason to invade and topple a government, then you and I will never agree on the reason for a war. Any war.

microdot said...

Madjack, did I trivialize the horrors of Saddam Hussein? NO!
A dictator that was kept in power and aided by us as long as he was useful to our aims in the region?
He was our pet monster as long as he was useful.

This post was about the the double thinkery, the day to day spinning of the aims and objectives of this war.
I think that you are probably have very noble ideals and hopes for the outcome of this, but the nobility of the thoughts of America have been cynically played like a cheap stradivarius by the manipulative war party tht controls US policy.

To let yourself be manipulated by Bush's "stabbed in the back" rhetoric in regards to the fallen soldiers of Vietnam and Iraq is to fall into the same trap that Weimar Germany did, to stifle protest and questioning of the war by making it unpatriotic. Citizens failed to speak up then and protect their democracy and to do so now because of fear of being labled as unpatriotic is to welcome the same slide into dictatorship.
The rhetoric of Bush and the administration is a malicious abuse of the lessons of history.

Mad Jack said...

Madjack, did I trivialize the horrors of Saddam Hussein?


If you didn't, I like to know just what the hell you'd call it. Look, stupid, Saddam kept himself in power from 1968 until 2003 when US forces deposed this bloodthirsty tyrant and provided him a fair trial and a fine hanging.

During his reign Saddam's supporters consisted primarily of his secret police, immediate family (several of whom had developed an appetite for torturing people to death for their own amusement – this was doubtlessly due to the persecution they suffered at the hands of President Bush, right?) and tribes of ignorant Bedouins led by fanatical Islamic clerics whose sermons of hate and holy war are legend.

When the US forces landed in Iraq and the populace finally realized that Saddam and his secret police were a thing of the past, they turned out in droves to welcome the Americans. Statues were pulled down and Saddam's followers were hunted down and shot to death, which is more mercy than any of them derserved. You don't have to take my word for this; Talk to a few soldiers that were there. It's what I did.

The US should withdraw from Iraq, but when we do we cannot leave an unarmed and disorganized populace behind us, which would be an effective death sentence.

microdot said...

And by calling me a stupid dummy head or what ever then trying to tell me that I trivialized Saddams cruelty by recounting the years of his reign...
I do not get it!
You don't even begin to acknowlege the real history and political involvment of America in the region.
I think you trivialize reality with your simplistic abuse and misunderstanding of history.
Youur arguments go in 4 different directions, beligerent, apologetic, pro administration and mindlessly patriotic, but never once do you touch on what is going on there now and the real future of the region.
Great call me stupid, but at least in my stupid blundering way, I make an attempt to know the real facts and what is really going on.
I will never follow some goose stepping jack ass because I get called names!