Kissinger on the lessons of Vietnam and how they should be applied to Iraq

Nixon’s former Sec. of State writes an excellent piece for the LAT on the ‘nam/Iraq comparisons:

Of course, history never repeats itself exactly. Vietnam and Iraq are different conflicts in different times, but there is an important similarity: A point was reached during the Vietnam War when the domestic debate became so bitter as to preclude rational discussion of hard choices. Administrations of both political parties perceived the survival of South Vietnam as a significant national interest. They were opposed by a protest movement that coalesced behind the conviction that the war reflected an amorality that had to be purged by confrontational methods. This impasse doomed the U.S. effort in Vietnam; it must not be repeated over Iraq.

This is why a brief recapitulation of the Indochina tragedy is necessary.

It must begin with dispelling the myth that the Nixon administration settled in 1972 for terms that had been available in 1969 and therefore prolonged the war needlessly. Whether the agreement, officially signed in January 1973, could have preserved an independent South Vietnam and avoided the carnage following the fall of Indochina will never be known. We do know that American disunity prevented such an outcome when Congress prohibited the use of military force to maintain the agreement and cut off aid after all U.S. military forces (except a few hundred advisors) had left South Vietnam. American dissociation triggered a massive North Vietnamese invasion, in blatant violation of existing agreements, to which the nations that had endorsed these agreements turned their backs.

I’m constantly amazed at Democrats who routinely accuse the President of “not learning from past mistakes” on any number of issues, but in particular, regarding wars, while they in turn work tirelessly to repeat those same mistakes in order to …. appease their defeatist moonbat base (that they ended up backing down on the war supplemental doesn’t negate that point) and even more bizarrely, they claim that it’s done in the name of “supporting the troops.”

Kissinger makes a lot of sense, so make sure to read the whole thing.

More: Read related thoughts via neo-neocon.

Update: Speaking of Iraq, did you hear that residents in Baghdad are standing up to Al Qaeda? John Hinderaker has the details, plus more, on the latest goings on in Iraq.

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