Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 47864
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2021/12/03 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
12/3    

2007/8/31-9/3 [Politics/Domestic/President/Bush, Politics/Foreign/MiddleEast/Iraq] UID:47864 Activity:kinda low
8/31    motd armchair historians, what do you think of bush's
        recent speech comparing Iraq to Vietnam?
        http://www.back-to-iraq.com/2007/08/dien-bien-fool.php
        \_ I think everyone who screamed "quagmire!" is just as stupid as
           everyone who thinks leaving Iraq now will lead to millions of dead
           like the killing fields in Cambodia.  Iraq != Vietnam in that
           sense.  The problem with leaving is that (once again) we will have
           meddled in something and put the lives of many locals on the line
           who trusted us and then fucked them by leaving.  Each time we do
           that we lose face and credibility around the world making
           diplomatic efforts much much harder since we continue to build up a
           history of our word having no value.  You break it, you bought it,
           you gotta fix it.
           \_ The problem is that it does not seem to matter if we stick around
              or not; we're not capable of fixing the situation. If we leave
              now rather than later, we will lose less American lives in the
              inevitable violence and the Iraqis may actually have a chance of
              getting things going on their own faster.
              \- everytime bush deals with a (living) historian, the historian
                 has to school/disown/disclaim BUSHCO. YMWTGF "john dower",
                 "alistair horne" etc.
              \_ An anonymous French politician recently agreed with you that
                 the only way Iraq would see peace would be if the US left
                 and let them slaughter each other until one side 'won' and
                 then we/whoever could assist them in 'diplomatically'
                 resolving their problems after the shooting stops.  Of course
                 at that point you have one side butchered, but hey, that's
                 ok, right, since they're not Americans.  Right?  No.  The
                 right thing to do is stick around for a while now that their
                 tribal leaders (this is a heavily tribal society unlike
                 Vietnam) have figured out that AlQ is bad news.  Places that
                 were deadly a year ago are now quiet and no more dangerous
                 than say, Oakland, is today.
                 \_ And how many trillions of taxpayer dollars and how many
                    thousands of American lives do we need to spend until we
                    get to your Iraq utopia?
                    \_ Strawman: No one said utopia.  Iraq was never a utopia.
                       How much blood and treasure you ask?  You tell me what
                       you think it is worth for the nation to have yet another
                       failure where we specifically abandon our local allies
                       to yet another mass murder event.  Each time we do that
                       we lose credibility around the world and encourage our
                       enemies.  Especially if we left right now when it looks
                       like things have finally turned in our favor with new
                       leadership and tactics and the tribes turning our way.
                       Nothing is so American these days like snatching defeat
                       from the jaws of victory.
                       \_ You guys have been claiming victory is right around
                          the corner for about four years now. You will have
                          to excuse me for not buying the bullshit anymore.
                          Remember when Reagan left Lebanon after the
                          Beirut bombings? Too bad Bush is no Ronald Reagan.
        \_ I think Bush is very much like Johnson.
2021/12/03 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
12/3    

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www.back-to-iraq.com/2007/08/dien-bien-fool.php
I've not been in Iraq for more than a year but it's still a central focus of my reporting here in the Middle East. So, this week, let's step away from Lebanon -- which is depressing anyway -- and focus on Bush and his fantasies about Mesopotamia. Everyone's been reporting on it, but what's bizarre is that Bush was pointing to past wars in Asia -- World War II against Japan, Korea and, most enigmatically, Vietnam -- as lessons to learn from. For this White House, Imperial Japan was the al Qaeda of its day. The Korean War was a war to instill democracy on the Korean peninsula. And Vietnam was muffed up by Defeatocrats at home - pulling the plug lead to the deaths of millions. "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 said. In his initial comparison, Bush describes Japan as a a nation run by a man who "despises freedom, and harbors resentment at the slights he believes America and Western nations have inflicted on his people. And over time, he turns to a strategy of suicide attacks." Well, the war in the Pacific was primarily one of great powers jostling over economic interests, which is way more serious than most ideological struggles. Japan was oil-poor and had its eyes on the Dutch East Indies. The United States and the West had engaged in economic tit-for-tat with Tokyo since the 1937 invasion of China and by 1941, the United States had slapped an oil embargo on the Empire of the Rising Sun in the escalating trade battles. The Japanese Navy was certain any attempt to seize the Dutch colonies would bring the United States into the war, so they needed to neutralize the US's Pacific Fleet first. Bush's view of Korea is an even more interesting comparison: "Without Americans' intervention during the war and our willingness to stick with the South Koreans after the war, millions of South Koreans would now be living under a brutal and repressive regime," Hm, let's see. which massacred democracy protesters in 1980 -- were supported by ... But the Korea analogy is apt for reasons other than those Bush intended. Bush sees the Korean War as an example of the US historical commitment to fight aggression and spread democracy. But the liberation of South Korea had been achieved by October 1950, four months after the war started, and the North Koreans had been pushed back. The coalition was rolled back and after three years and hundreds of thousands dead, a stalemate was achieved and an armistice signed with the original border in place. It was an outcome that could have been achieved in four months and many fewer people dead. In short, invading Iraq in 2003 looks a lot like the decision to invade North Korea in October 1950: a monumental case of overreach. Or do they just rely on the historical ignorance of many Americans? In one speech, Bush had managed to drag out the knuckleheaded, right-wing argument that if only we'd stayed in Vietnam a little longer, we'd have won that sucker. If only the media and Democrats hadn't been so hell-bent on undermining the troops... This is a tricky subject for Bush, considering he spent the Vietnam years partying and "protecting" the Gulf of Mexico from the Viet Cong in a champagne unit of the Texas Air National Guard. "In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge began a murderous rule in which hundreds of thousands of Cambodians died by starvation and torture and execution," said the president. "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." Yes, millions of innocent people died in Vietnam -- a fair number of them from US bombs. Yes, there was a massive refugee crisis following the American exit in 1975, but the US threw open its doors and took the "boat people" in. It has not done the same thing for Iraqis, instead forcing them to stay in a deadly cage or face the instability of life in Jordan and Syria. And the killing fields of Pol Pot were not in response to the US leaving too early. Pol Pot came to power and started his murderous rampage because of the destabilization of the region brought on by the US staying too long. In much the same way, the war in Iraq is creating more terrorists who are killing more innocent civilians. East Asia didn't fall to the Communists and the free world wasn't imperiled by our withdrawal. Now, fact-checking the president is fun and all, but this is hardly the first time he's gone off on some boneheaded direction with history. began reminding people of the rampaging insurgency in Germany after World War II? The VFW speech was a noxious attempt at playing to Bush's base of "America First" conservative Republican support, a blatant attempt to play on the politics of fear by demonization the media, liberals, Democrats and anyone who questioned the Iraq war. The Vietnam portions of the speech were red meat to the right wing that has, for years, argued that the US didn't step into an unwinnable war -- it was stabbed in the back by traitors at home. That this is the subtext for a major positioning speech by the president suggests that even he thinks Iraq is unwinnable and now is the time for finger-pointing, buck-passing and blame-shifting. You do strain the point and make a few questionable statmenets (eg Cambodia was much more complicated than you make out) - but most importantly you were the feature article in Google News at some point yesterday. Iraqi Kurdistan, the northern part of Iraq outside Saddam's direct control, looking for stories. ") In March 2003, I made it back in time for the war, becoming the Web's first fully reader-funded journalist-blogger. With the support of thousands of readers, we raised almost $15,000. It was one of the moments in journalism when everything worked. It was a grand -- and successful -- experiment in independent journalism. In 2004, I moved to Iraq, where I would spend the next two years. It was a raucous, scary and exciting place with a lot of news going on. AOL IM me Donate Won't you consider donating to support reportage from the Middle East? Your generosity directly feeds reporting costs such as visas, travel, fees and other expenses. I already have a bullet-proof vest, so no need to fund that. Subscribe Subscribe to This Blog > Go Enter your email to receive notifications when B2I is updated. Barring subpoenas, your email will never be shared with anyone, for any reason, period. The Agonist "Whether you think invading Iraq is a good idea or not, I'm sure one thing we can all agree on is that the more independent reporting of the matter, the better."