On Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri, Bush will tell members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars that “then, as now, people argued that the real problem was America’s presence and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end,” according to speech excerpts released Tuesday by the White House.
“Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left,” Bush will say.
“Whatever your position in 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,’ ” the president will say.
Harry Reid, of course, will have none of it. He’s above Vietnam comparisons:
“President Bush’s attempt to compare the war in Iraq to past military conflicts in East Asia ignores the fundamental difference between the two. Our nation was misled by the Bush Administration in an effort to gain support for the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, leading to one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our history.”
Thank goodness Reid isn’t going to put up with Vietnam comparisons.
Reid in April, during his ‘this war is lost’ raving:
Reid drew a parallel with former US president Lyndon Johnson who decided to deploy more troops in Vietnam some 40 years ago when 24,000 US troops had already been killed.
“Johnson did not want a war loss on his watch, so he surged in Vietnam. After the surge was over, we added 34,000 to the 24,000 who died in Vietnam,” Reid said.
I don’t get it. Is Reid suddenly hoping that everyone will agree that comparing Iraq to Vietnam is unfair? I can’t wait to see the whining from anti-Bush folks over his comparison.
Meanwhile, here’s part of my The Speech Bush Should Give from earlier in April:
Many commentators and pundits are fond of comparing the situation in Iraq to the war in Vietnam. While some of these comparisons are valid, many of them simply do not hold water. But if playing Vietnam games is what gets everyone’s attention, I’ve got a Vietnam analogy for you: In the decade following our withdrawal from Vietnam in the early 1970s, over ONE MILLION civilians were killed by Communist forces in the region. Some of these killings were retaliation for choosing to stand with America during the war. Some of these killings were politically motivated. But many of the murders were committed simply because killing is how the enemy we fought in Vietnam interacts with the rest of the world; death and destruction are the language they use to communicate with those who do not convert to their cause.
THAT is what will happen in Iraq if we allow the extremists and the terrorists free reign. Perhaps a million dead, or more, because America decided that it was just taking too long.
I recognize that many folks have been opposed to the invasion of Iraq from the start, and I recognize that some former supporters are opposed now. I recognize that some of the reasons for this opposition are valid. But it would be refreshing if these same folks would at least acknowledge the severe damage that a defeat in Iraq would bring to the US and its military, the cost to the region and world that would result, and the savagery on the streets of Iraq that would follow our troops’ withdrawal.
I would at least respect someone for saying “I realize that withdrawal from Iraq will result in the defeat of the US military and probably derail the entire war against terrorism. I recognize that the political influence of the US and the fear of our military will more or less vanish over night, and that future military operations of any kind will be severely hampered due to this. I am aware that our defeat in Iraq will mean that we will negotiate from a place of weakness for at least a decade, and that no one will probably ever trust us or our military again. I also know that leaving Iraq before it is secure means that millions of Iraqis will be killed, either because they helped us or supported the new Iraqi government, because they belong to the wrong religious sect or tribe, or merely because they were caught within the blast radius of the massive violence that will engulf Iraq after US troops leave. I understand that this violence will far surpass anything we’ve seen in Iraq so far, and that it won’t be a “wave” of days or weeks or even months, but an ongoing war against those unable to defend themselves that will last until the barbarians have killed or driven off everyone they don’t like. I understand all of this and I still believe that pulling out now is the right thing to do.”
I wouldn’t agree, of course, but at least they’d have the courage to stand up and say it. Instead, we get these morons who like to pretend that we’re dumb enough to ignore the things they ignore.