Monday, August 27, 2007

The tragedy of continuing bloodshed of British troops in Iraq

For once, I feel I am on the same side as Christopher Hitchens. In the Observer he listed the reasons why Vietnam can't be used as a parallel in the context of Iraq.

I just can't believe George Bush would bring the Vietnam comparison into the Iraq equation. What he said was:

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'.

So the USA should have stayed in Vietnam beyond 1975. That is what he is saying.

It is very difficult to put in words how thunderously stupid and idiotic that suggestion is.

At 8:35 a.m., the last Americans, ten Marines from the embassy, depart Saigon, concluding the United States presence in Vietnam. North Vietnamese troops pour into Saigon and encounter little resistance. By 11 a.m., the red and blue Viet Cong flag flies from the presidential palace. President Minh broadcasts a message of unconditional surrender. The war is over.

That is how the History Place records the end of the Vietnam war on April 30th 1975. The USA was chased out of Vietnam after throwing everything at it - carpet bombing, napalm, 80,000 US dead, national humiliation....the list is endless.

I just can't see how Bush could be so stupid as to bring the Vietnam comparison into play.

The Ann Telnaes cartoon in the Guardian on Saturday put it very succinctly (above).

But let's just extend this a bit and bring in Polly Toynbee's article from August 21st. She says that the LibDems have been "right, right and right again about the Iraq war" and reports comments from Ming Campbell suggesting that, basically, British troops are dying in Iraq to shore up a failing US President as he tries to buy more time.

That failing US president seems now to be using the Vietnam comparison as the main reason for staying in Iraq.

So, British soldiers are dying to support a lame duck US President who doesn't understand even the most basic lessons of history.

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