Thursday, August 23, 2007

When satire becomes reality

I never knew President George Bush wrote for The Onion.

Of all bizarre rationals, arguments, and statements he's uttered over the previous six years, none have matched his complete rewriting of history he managed Wednesday. In a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars annual convention, he twisted history on its head with comparisons between the two conflicts.

To his credit, Bush did recognize that there are numerous similarities. The catch: the evidence he referred to wholly contradicted the argument he put forth. Yes, there is likely to be a humanitarian disaster if the United States precipitously withdraws. This was indeed the case in Cambodia.

What Bush didn't say was that U.S. policy during the Vietnam War created the vacuum that allowed the Khmer Rouge to come to power. If the Nixon administration hadn't carpet-bombed Cambodia, the context for the future massacres wouldn't have existed. If the US hadn't embroiled itself in the Vietnamese civil war, there wouldn't have been any "boat people."

If Bush really wants to use this point, he should carry it to its conclusion: any further humanitarian disaster in Iraq will be the result of his unnecessary, pathetically-run war. Furthermore, if the Iraq War were not undertaken, there wouldn't be any clamoring by massive amounts of Iraqi refugees, fleeing en masse to wherever will take them.

For all his caring about a possible human catastrophe, Bush failed to compare what would happen regionally if we withdrew with the actual results in Vietnam. He has continuously argued - correctly, in my view - that withdrawal would prove disastrous for U.S. interests. But to be fair, Vietnam hawks argued that withdrawal would start a "domino effect" of Southeast Asian countries turning Red. Obviously, this failed to happen.

This administration ran from Vietnam comparisons in the early years of the war, claiming the situations were totally different. Now, they claim that Vietnam is a model for why we must stay. And people said John Kerry was the flip-flopper.

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