Hitchens and Chrenkoff on false analogies
Hitchens: Why Iraq and Vietnam have nothing whatsoever in common
Whatever the monstrosities of Asian communism may have been, Ho Chi Minh based his declaration of Vietnamese independence on a direct emulation of the words of Thomas Jefferson and was able to attract many non-Marxist nationalists to his camp. He had, moreover, been an ally of the West in the war against Japan. Nothing under this heading can be said of the Iraqi Baathists or jihadists, who are descended from those who angrily took the other side in the war against the Axis, and who opposed elections on principle. If today’s Iraqi “insurgents” have any analogue at all in Southeast Asia it would be the Khmer Rouge.
Vietnam as a state had not invaded any neighbor (even if it did infringe the neutrality of Cambodia) and did not do so until after the withdrawal of the United States when, with at least some claim to self-defense, it overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime. Contrast this, even briefly, to the record of Saddam Hussein in relation to Iran and Kuwait.
Vietnam had not languished under international sanctions for its brazen contempt for international law, nor for its building or acquisition, let alone its use of, weapons of mass destruction.
Vietnam had never attempted, in whole or in part, to commit genocide, as was the case with the documented “Anfal” campaign waged by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds.
In Vietnam the deep-rooted Communist Party was against the partition of the country and against the American intervention. It called for a boycott of any election that was not an all-Vietnam affair. In Iraq, the deep-rooted Communist Party is in favor of the regime change and has been an enthusiastic participant in the elections as well as an opponent of any attempt to divide the country on ethnic or confessional lines. (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is not even an Iraqi, hates the Kurds and considers the religion of most Iraqis to be a detestable heresy: not a mistake that even the most inexperienced Viet Cong commander would have been likely to make.)
No car bomb or hijacking or suicide-bombing or comparable atrocity was ever committed by the Vietnamese, on American or any other foreign soil. Nor has any wanted international gangster or murderer ever been sheltered in Vietnam.
Arthur: Today’s hero
Vietnam was not a military defeat for the United States; it was a psychological defeat brought about by prolonged conflict and a concerted effort of the left to delegitimize the struggle. Today, the left cannot count on a “positive (for their cause) correlation of forces”: the insurgents in Iraq don’t enjoy popular support, there is no neighboring country pouring in hundreds of thousands of troops into Iraq, and the jihadis and neo-Baathists are not being supported by the two military superpowers of the day. Faced with that reality, the left has only one way of turning Iraq into another Vietnam: to redouble the propaganda effort to sap the American morale at home. Iraq will become another Vietnam only if we allow the left to turn it into one
Since the Iraq = Vietnam meme didn’t fly, The new meme hits the Iraq debate
Meanwhile, John Kerry’s been telling Tim Russert that Kerry “delivered weapons to the Khmer Rouge on the coastline of Cambodia” (via Best of the Web). France2 news last evening was saying that Kerry’s poised for a second try at the presidency in 2008.
I’ll be ready.