Monday, August 27, 2007

The Once and Future Killing Fields

Christopher Hitchens is a leftist for whom I have respect. That is, he retains some principle and is intellectually honest: A rare thing among old Trotskyites. Here he gives many reasons why Iraq is not Vietnam, and why credit is due George Bush for getting rid of Saddam. To invoke Vietnam was a blunder too far for Bush.
... there is a very strong temptation for opponents of the war to invoke the lessons of Vietnam. I must have written thousands of words attempting to show that there is absolutely no analogy between the two conflicts.

Then, addressing the convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars last week, the President came thundering down the pike to announce that a defeat in Iraq would be - guess what? - another Vietnam. As my hand smacks my brow, and as I ask myself not for the first time if Mr Bush suffers from some sort of political death wish, I quickly restate the reasons why he is wrong to join with his most venomous and ignorant critics in making this case.
Very good reasons they are, too, which you may read at the link. Unfortunately, given the President's contention that the similarity is a defeatist, weak-kneed Congress ready to betray an ally when success could still be had, all these very good reasons are simply beside the point.

Mark Steyn has the right of it. They wait for us to run again

...As the New York Times put it, "In urging Americans to stay the course in Iraq, Mr. Bush is challenging the historical memory that the pullout from Vietnam had few negative repercussions for the United States and its allies."
Anybody with the sense God gave a sack of hammers knows this "historical memory" is wrong, even if, like Senator Kerry, they discount the millions who died because of it; or even if, like Senator Kennedy, they're still bragging about it on the floor of the Senate.
... it had a "few negative repercussions" for America's allies in South Vietnam, who were promptly overrun by the North. And it had a "negative repercussion" for former Cambodian Prime Minister Sirik Matak, to whom the U.S. ambassador sportingly offered asylum. "I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion," Matak told him. "I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty … . I have committed this mistake of believing in you, the Americans." So Sirik Matak stayed in Phnom Penh and a month later was killed by the Khmer Rouge, along with about 2 million other people. If it's hard for individual names to linger in the New York Times' "historical memory," you'd think the general mound of corpses would resonate.
It's not just leaving our allies, like the "boat people" to sink (mostly) or swim on their own. The American malaise isn't gone because Dhimmi Carter is reduced to lurching around stage-left speaking sedition in foreign lands, nor because Bush 41 is no longer a Commander-in-Chief swayed by GrĂ­ma's whispers "don't go to Baghdad," after Bush encouraged an uprising that resulted in slaughter.

Banquo's ghost walks among us. That some of the same actors are reading the same lines is enough proof of that.


You should read all of Steyn's piece in order to get to his last sentence. This is what Hitchens' analysis totally disregards.

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