Bush plays the Vietnam card

President George W. Bush on Wednesday warned that a hasty withdrawal from Iraq would trigger a bloodbath like the one in Southeast Asia after the US defeat and retreat from Vietnam.

“Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left,” Bush said in an effort to turn on its head the analogy by critics who liken the Iraq war to the Vietnam quagmire.

“Whatever your position is on 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,’ ‘reeducation camps,’ and ‘killing fields,'” he added.

Bush, speaking to US veterans of 20th century conflicts in Asia, also likened nation-building and military operations in Iraq to democracy-fostering efforts in Japan and the decision to defend South Korea, respectively.

“Even the most optimistic among you probably would not have foreseen that the Japanese would transform themselves into one of America’s strongest and most steadfast allies, or that the South Koreans would recover from enemy invasion to raise up one of the world’s most powerful economies,” he said.

The US president, pleading for patience with his unpopular war-fighting strategy, said those efforts held an important lesson and amounted to a valuable precedent.

“A free Iraq is not going to transform the Middle East overnight, but a free Iraq will be a massive defeat for Al-Qaeda. It will be an example that provides hope for millions throughout the Middle East. It’ll be a friend of the United States. And it’s going to be an important ally” against terrorism, he said.

Less than a month ahead of a key US report on progress in the Iraq war, Bush sought in his address to answer critics calling for a US withdrawal and also to reaffirm his support for embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

“Prime Minister Maliki’s a good guy, good man, with a difficult job, and I support him,” said Bush, seeking to dispel any sense that Washington has been distancing itself from the beleaguered government in Baghdad.

“Many are frustrated by the pace of progress in Baghdad, and I can understand this,” he said. “A free Iraq’s not going to be perfect. A free Iraq will not make decisions as quickly as the country did under the dictatorship.”

Leading Democratic Party presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was one who urged the Iraqi parliament to get rid of Maliki.

She spoke after a top Democratic senator, Carl Levin, hinted after a two-day visit to Iraq that Maliki should go.

“I share Senator Levin’s hope that the Iraqi parliament will replace Prime Minister Maliki with a less divisive and more unifying figure when it returns in a few weeks,” Clinton said in a statement.

In his historical analysis Bush glossed over key differences, such as the fact that Japan, unlike Iraq, was not in the throes of sectarian violence that some have called civil war when Washington tried to plant democracy in the ruins of empire there.

“The important thing on this one is that the president was putting war into historical context,” said a US official, asking to remain anonymous.

“And the important thing for us to remember here is that our relations with Japan, our relations with South Korea and our relations with Vietnam have never been better.”

But Democrats quickly fired back, with Bush’s 2004 rival for the White House, Senator John Kerry, saying it was “not surprising that he (Bush) would oversimplify the differences and overlook the tragic similarities.”

“If the president wants to heed the lessons of Vietnam, he should change course and change course now,” said Kerry.

Bush also drew broad parallels between the global war on terrorism and conflicts in Asia, likening Japan’s 1941 strike on the US Pearl Harbor base to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network.

Meanwhile in Iraq, the death toll continued to rise.

Fourteen US troops were killed when their helicopter crashed and a US soldier was killed in Baghdad, bringing the US military death toll since the 2003 invasion to 3,720.

The Iraqi security forces say they have lost at least 12,000 members, while Iraqi civilian death estimates range from 70,000 to 655,000.

In a television interview Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said that his country would fall apart and regional wars would break out if US-led coalition forces were suddenly to withdraw.

“The sudden withdrawal of American troops in Iraq would cause the collapse of Iraq and will lead to the disintegration of and division within Iraq,” he told US-funded Alhurra Television in an interview.

“Sudden withdrawal would also mean regional interventions and conflicts.”

Comments

  1. gene

    Seal I have been literally “screaming” this since I started ranting here at CHB. The people I see almost everday in the general public are truely “brain f**king dead zombies”.

    Many are disgustingly FAT, self-indulgent, morons who probably could not put a decent sentence together. One out of every three highschool student in the state of Texa will drop out and not graduate.

    Bush can pretty much do what ever the hell he wants when what he is president of is totally unaware and doesn’t have the brains to care or understand.

    Only a fractual part of this nation is aware, angry and ready for a revolt. Unfortuneately that also eliminates congress for the most part. Another unique group of worthless human garbage.

  2. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    I called up my representative, Anna Eshoo of Santa Clara
    County, California, as to when she will be hosting a public town hall style meeting, I have not gotten a response. Never the less, we all need to call up our own congressional representatives to find out when they are having public forums. What ever avenue of public forum is availible should be exploited to yell at our
    so called representatives in full public view.

    I know the Nemo man is a strong proponent of calling our reps on the phone, and public forums, to to try to influence our politicans so we need to
    keep trying.

    Seal, I am exasperated about the apathy of this nation, but lets try to do what we can to counter the Neo-Con Echo Machine. Universe Speed to you Seal & Everyone.

  3. bryan mcclellan

    Helen it may be their prescriptions they get from the VA. I’m flabbergasted too,certainly they must have gotten their fill of war?

  4. SEAL

    Well…… What the hell is the matter with people? He was addressing the VFW. Those are veterans and eye witnesses of everyone of those wars and political histories he was incorrectly describing. They have to know damn well what he said was bullshit. If they do not know that, what does that mean to this nation? If the people who actually lived it, participated in it, and laid their lives on the line for it don’t know what happened, anyone who wishes can come along and use them for any purpose. Obviously, that is exactly what has happened and that is why we are in the condition we are in. Therefore, it is not Bush but the people of this country who have caused the condition.

    If Bush actually believed what he said he is too stupid to be president of this country. If he deliberately twisted it for nefarious purposes, he should not be president. Everyone knows Bush is a liar. Everyone knows Bush has violated his oath of office and deliberately broken the law. He has admitted breaking the law. The result of all of his dishonesty has been the death of more than a million people.

    Why is he still president?

    It isn’t his fault. It is the american people’s fault! They >WE< should have removed him from office years ago. Why haven't we done that?

  5. Helen Rainier

    Bryan,

    You were in the VFW? One thing I still can’t understand is why they continue to invite this little dungbeetle to their conventions to address them.

    He has shown absolutely no respect for the military in any way, shape, or form — hell, couldn’t even hack a one-weekend a month tour in the TANG.

  6. LurkingFromTheLeft

    I couldn’t believe…

    …the speech – or something trying to pass as one – The Chimp In Charge gave to the VFW convention – could h-e h-a-v-e s-p-o-k-e-n a-n-y-m-o-r-e d-e-l-i-b-e-r-a-t-e-l-y?

    …listening to parts of it on NPR on my way to the office on Thursday had me just shaking my head –

    LFTL

  7. bryan mcclellan

    Now you’ve gone and made the Piss Ants mad Seal.I’m still gnashing about these insulting remarks so badly that I was thrown out of the VFW.Told them all to wake the f#*k up.It’s like everyone has undergone shock therapy but me..

  8. LurkingFromTheLeft

    Seal – you really need to…

    …learn to not hold it in –

    …how do you REALLY feel about Dumbass The 43rd? –

    LFTL

  9. SEAL

    Such an eroneous and deliberately distorted version of our history coming out of the mouth of this spoiled self centered ignorant little coward brings forth a flood of emotion I thought myself incapable off. I lived through all of that history he completely misdescribed. I even made some of it while he was snorting coke behind a National Guard hanger due to his daddy’s connections providing him a way to avoid what other americans had the courage and responsibility to face.

    Such tripe from a little piss ant that could not even handle the responsibility of learning to fly an obsolete trainer plane and dissapeared for about 6 months > AWOL. How the hell does this person wind up being the commander in chief of the armed forces?

    I have lost all respect for the people of this country during the past 7 years.

  10. LurkingFromTheLeft

    But I was really…

    …saving up for nice engagement present for her little Kkkarl Intern of a fiance –

    …decisions decisions –

    …another glass –

    LFTL