Withdrawal is Only Difficult if You Entered Without Thinking

Good Morning, Vietnam!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007; Page A17

. . . Last month, Bush told the Veterans of Foreign Wars at its Kansas City convention that “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 such as ‘boat people,’ ‘reeducation camps’ and ‘killing fields.’ “
He added: “Here at home, some can argue our withdrawal from Vietnam carried no price to American credibility — but the terrorists see it differently.”. . .
. . . Bush, Rove, Dick Cheney and the other principal architects of the Iraq war never served in Vietnam — in fact, they went to great lengths to put distance between themselves and the military adventure they now describe as both necessary and noble. At the moment, though, I’m less concerned about their hypocrisy than their distortion of history. . .
Bush keeps on painting himself into rhetorical corners. The unmistakable legacy of Vietnam (as well as Iraq) is that the price of withdrawal is demanded of those who are innocent by those with the blood of ignorant and senseless invasion on their hands.
This was and is a war to no purpose, with no precedent and (to anyone who cared to look) no hope of victory. George Bush did not even know, or tell us, or tell them what victory would look like.
Terrorists see us no differently whether we stay or go. Fewer will die if we go and more will die if we stay. In either event, terror will persist until their own vision of victory is achieved. That hasn’t the slightest to do with al-Qaeda, but everything to do with getting America the hell out so warlords can settle old scores.
There is much realignment of idiotic British national borders going on. To a very large degree we have been suckered into that battle. Unfortunately, our president sees it through the backward-pointing binoculars of his fascination and horror of al-Qaeda.
Many a life has (and will be) lost for that misinterpretation.

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