The question now before us comes down to this: Will today’s generation of Americans resist the deceptive allure of retreat and do in the Middle East what veterans in this room did in Asia?First, strategic withdrawal is not the same as retreat. What the exit strategy is, is truly a much more important question than the politically charged and blame laced question above.
Second, who made the decision to pull the troops out of Vietnam was not made by the Veterans in the room yesterday. Vietnam Vets rightfully should be extremely pissed at this question raised by W. It was their civilian leaders who had a poor strategy to begin with - much like the current situation we are in.
More importantly, Bush's Vietnam parallel ignores all the completely different aspects of that war in comparison to the "war" in Iraq. Whether it was good for Vietnam is questionable, but in the long run, Vietnam isn't such a bad place for our leaving today, is it? I know there are people who have visited there recently and can attest to that better than me.
So, it comes down to this. If the President is going to trot out Vietnam as an example, he can't self select the only acceptable parallels and ignore the complete history. He effectively is trying to squash debate and wrangle the example of Vietnam for political gain. If we are better off for having left Vietnam alone as is Vietnam today, then who's to say that the same thing wouldn't happen if we did the same thing in Iraq?
I'm not advocating immediate retreat, but a strategic redeployment and reassignment of mission may actually work to more effectively extinguish the terrorist threat than the current strategy, no? The answer to that question is a big fat maybe, but we won't know until we try.
At least at this point, the existing strategy of going forward only appears to be leading us over the waterfall. The good ship America is sailing toward it with all sails unfurled, the engine running, the lights on and with no one at the rudder to turn her around.
Mr. Bush's Vietnam comparison is, indeed, very unfortunate, and well, downright shameful. I hang my head low today in embarrassment for the leaders of my country who choose to ignore the real lessons of Vietnam and work to leverage a whole lot of Veterans for political gain.
Any one else out there offended?