I kept in mind while reading this editorial masquerading as a straight news piece that it was published in the NYT, but even at that, I was absolutely stunned to read their revisionist history tactics on the Vietnam war while at the same time bashing Bush over the head for his speech yesterday to the VFW on how we had to learn the lessons from Vietnam and not leave Iraq like we did ‘nam, or it would be just as disastrous. This part was especially breathtaking:
In urging Americans to stay the course in Iraq, Mr. Bush is challenging the historical memory that the pullout from Vietnam had few negative repercussions for the United States and its allies
Jules Crittenden sets ’em straight here:
1975: U.S. ally South Vietnam, overrun by North Vietnamese regulars when the ammo and the air cover stopped. U.S. allies Laos and Cambodia, taken over by Chinese and Soviet-backed Communist insurgencies.
1975-early 1980s: Untold thousands upon thousands in Vietnam and Laos executed or sent to “re-education” camps. Hundreds of thousands flee, in overcrowded boats that sank or were attacked by pirates; swimming the Mekong to Thailand; walking through minefields to Thailand. Phnom Penn emptied out by gun-toting teenagers, who drove the people into the fields were 2 million were worked and starved to death, or executed outright. (NYT in its article astonishingly presents this as “tens of thousands” while Bush in his speech cites “hundreds of thousands.”)
1979: Afghanistan, invaded by an emboldened Soviet Union, which knew a humiliated, war-weary United States led by a handwringing peacenik would do nothing.
1979: U.S. embassy in Tehran overrun by “students” including the current president of Iran. American diplomatic staff held hostage, subjected to isolation and beatings, for 444 days. Handwringing peacenik president did nothing. A single rescue attempt failed disastrously.
1979-2001: Muslim extremists attack and kill U.S. military missions and personnel in Lebanon, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen. U.S. withdraws, occasionally fires missiles. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, citing Vietnam, Beirut and Mogadishu, base their strategies on the notion that the United States has no stomach for a fight and will blink.
Shockingly enough, flip flopping Democrats, many of whom never resist the opportunity to make comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam themselves, objected to the comparisons Bush made:
Democrats, not surprisingly, rejected the comparison, including John Kerry, the Vietnam War veteran who ran unsuccessfully against Mr. Bush in 2004. “Invoking the tragedy of Vietnam to defend the failed policy in Iraq is as irresponsible as it is ignorant of the realities of both of those wars” Mr. Kerry said.
Hmm. But apparently invoking the tragedy of Vietnam in an effort to get people to support efforts at cutting and running from Iraq, as Kerry did during the 2004 campaign, is somehow acceptable. Got it.
As a refresher, John Kerry is also another bloodbath-after-Vietnam denialist, just like the NYT:
One may take the position that genocide would not be the likely result of an American retreat from Iraq. That is the view of Mr. Obama’s Massachusetts colleague John Kerry, the 2004 presidential nominee. Mr. Kerry, who served in Vietnam before turning against that war, voted for the Iraq war before turning against it. He draws on the Vietnam experience in making the case that the outcome of a U.S. pullout from Iraq would not be that bad. “We heard that argument over and over again about the bloodbath that would engulf the entire Southeast Asia, and it didn’t happen,” he said recently.
Do these nitwits actually think that they can get away with attempting to rewrite history? Well – maybe they can, but only if we let them. These attempts are shocking displays of arrogance and disrespect of readers, among who even casual observers of history should know what happened in Southeast Asia after we cut and run.
The NYT has another piece in today’s paper, noting that “historians” are “questioning” the President’s analogies, even though they admit he is factually correct. Like this one:
“It is undoubtedly true that America’s failure in Vietnam led to catastrophic consequences in the region, especially in Cambodia” said David C. Hendrickson, a specialist on the history of American foreign policy at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.
“But there are a couple of further points that need weighing” he added. “One is that the Khmer Rouge would never have come to power in the absence of the war in Vietnam — this dark force arose out of the circumstances of the war, was in a deep sense created by the war. The same thing has happened in the Middle East today. Foreign occupation of Iraq has created far more terrorists than it has deterred.”
IOW, Khmer Rouge was America’s fault.
More from the article:
The record of death and dislocation after the American withdrawal from Vietnam ranks high among the tragedies of the last century, with an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians, about one-fifth of the population, dying under the rule of Pol Pot, and an estimated 1.5 million Vietnamese and other Indochinese becoming refugees. Estimates of the number of Vietnamese who were sent to prison camps after the war have ranged widely, from 50,000 to more than 400,000, and some accounts have said that tens of thousands
How strange that on the very same day the NYT prints a piece downplaying the bloody aftermath of the US cutting and running from ‘nam they also run a piece that debunks their own claim.
Even more odd – and I noted this in my post on this topic last night – is why the MSM is treating Bush’s “we need to learn lessons from Vietnam” speech as if it’s the first time he’s ever made the comparison. It’s not. And the NYT of all news outlets should know that, considering they’re the ones who reported the comments when he made them, while he was IN Vietnam. I’d like to think that perhaps yesterday was a slow news day, thus the ‘big story’ about the President making the comparison, but it wasn’t a slow news day and of course the MSM, led by the NYT, never misses an opportunity to try and play “gotcha” with something the President asserts, especially as it relates to the global war on terror.
SSDD, I’m afraid.