Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Will we do in the Middle East what the veterans in this room did in Asia?

Today Bush spoke to the convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It was a tame crowd, even applauding “we’ve increased health care spending for our veterans by 83 percent since I was sworn in as your President,” although presumably they understood that there was a reason the need for increased health-care spending for veterans had increased so much.

He talked about an enemy which attacked us who despised freedom and tried to take over a region, only... surprise! he was talking about Japan before Pearl Harbor, not Al Qaida! Dude, you just blew my mind!

Evidently that rhetorical switcheroo proves that Imperial Japan is exactly like Al Qaida, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere is exactly like the “caliphate,” and therefore Al Qaida can be defeated just like Japan was. By nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“This enemy is dangerous; this enemy is determined; and this enemy will be defeated.” Also de-lovely and de-lightful.

“We’re still in the early hours of the current ideological struggle”. Yes, the first 52,000 hours.

He continued his little safari through history. “At the outset of World War II there were only two democracies in the Far East -- Australia and New Zealand. Today most of the nations in Asia are free”. Um, dude, at the outset of World War II large chunks of the Far East was undemocratic because they were part of the British, French, Dutch or Portuguese empires.

Then he talked about the Korean War. He castigated I.F. Stone. He said that if we hadn’t fought the war, “The Soviets and Chinese communists would have learned the lesson that aggression pays.” And now South Korea is free and democratic and there are South Korean troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, because freedom and democracy means dying in whatever cause the US tells you to die for. He talked about the Korean War at some length without actually mentioning the continued existence of the North Korean regime.

He moved on to Vietnam. He castigated Graham Greene. And William Fulbright (although not by name). He said that the consequences of American withdrawal from Vietnam included Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Which is just plain moronic. (Incidentally, with the White House claiming that George Bush just loves to read and reads lots of history, it’s all Washington and Lincoln, never ever about the war he avoided.)

“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,’ ‘re-education camps,’ and ‘killing fields.’” And if there’s one thing George Bush hates, it’s new vocabulary terms.

Another term he ascribed to the American failure in Vietnam: 9/11. If only Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon hadn’t been such wimps, and been more like George W. Bush, 9/11 would never have happened. Bin Laden decided we were pushovers, or something. Anyway, Vietnam should have been longer and bloodier. In fact, we may just resume the Vietnam War, just to show Osama that we’re not weenies.

The troops in Iraq, he says, have a question: “Will their elected leaders in Washington pull the rug out from under them just as they’re gaining momentum”? He makes it sound like something Tweety would do to Sylvester.

Unlike yesterday, today he thinks that “Prime Minister Maliki is a good guy, a good man with a difficult job, and I support him.” Just like Alberto Gonzales.

Bush asked, possibly rhetorically, “Will today’s generation of Americans resist the allure of retreat, and will we do in the Middle East what the veterans in this room did in Asia?” So he wants another Vietnam in the Middle East?

If he seems to have forgotten that we weren’t victorious in Vietnam, he also forgot that we didn’t defeat the Soviet Union in a world war: “Today the violent Islamic extremists who fight us in Iraq are as certain of their cause as the Nazis, or the Imperial Japanese, or the Soviet communists were of theirs. They are destined for the same fate.”

In conclusion, the war in Iraq, and The War Against Terror (TWAT) generally, are exactly like the Korean War, the Vietnam War, World War II (Asian and European theaters), the Peloponnesian War, the War of Jenkins’s Ear and very possibly the Hundred Years’ War.

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