Thursday, August 23, 2007

President Compares Iraq to Vietnam

Jonah Goldberg gets to the nut of why the interpretation of the President's comparison differs between right and left (and some right-leaning historians):
I was away from the news all day yesterday. But one narrow political point seems worth making about all of the hullabaloo of Bush's Vietnam comparison (I haven't read/heard the speech yet and forgive me if ten others have already made it). The mainstream media and a lot of liberal-leaning analysts seem to think it's politically foolish or reckless for Bush to compare Vietnam to Iraq because they have one very specific narrative in mind when it comes to that war: America shouldn't have gotten in, couldn't have won, and then lost. What they have long failed to grasp is that's not the moral of the story in the hearts of millions of Americans who believe that we could have won if wanted to and it was a disaster for American prestige and honor that we lost (whether we should have gone in is a murkier question for many, I think). This is a point the Democrats fail to grasp: being on the side of surrender in a war is popular enough during the war, but if you succeed lots of Americans will later get buyer's remorse and feel like it was a mistake and the next generation will see things very differently than their anti-war activist parents. Karl Rove made this point in his exit-interview with Gigot, I think, and he's right. Pulling out of Vietnam was an enormous short term victory for the Democrats and a long term curse.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

How many more US troops, sons daughters, husbands, wives will it take to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis? Currently there are 3700+ dead, 30,000+ wounded. If 58,000 dead wasn't enough to win in Veitnam, What is the number? 100,000? 1,000,000?

Your support is obvious. How many children do you have serving in the military? Have you served? What sacrifices have you made for this effort?

Marc said...

Aaahhh, the "chicken hawk" argument is in the air....

I view the stabilization of Iraq as means to protecting the U.S. The terrorists identify it as a central front, whether we want to do the same or not. But it would behoove us to not surrender to them a key rhetorical/polemical victory. By this time, however, I don't think much mind changing is going to happen to either one of us though.

As for your lame-ass attempt to imply chicken-hawkery. I have two kids under ten, am an LT in the USNR and also work for the "military industrial complex" as a government contractor supporting our forces globally.

Marc said...

Oh, and I forgot to commend you for your own anonymous bravery for posting to a very lightly read blog. Grow a pair.