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View Diary: Iraq is NOT Vietnam. Iraq is NOT Vietnam. Iraq is NOT Vietnam. Iraq is NOT Vietnam. Iraq is . . . (295 comments)

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  •  Wow--almost too much to digest... (4+ / 0-)

    There were some eerie visual parallels between then and now--injured soldiers on top of vehicles, children running away from the conflict, and the pictures of McNamara and Rummy.  There are, however, 3 differences that make now worse, IMHO:

    1)LBJ inherited a situation that was created by others.  He made a bad situation infinitely worse, but he did not initiate US involvement in Vietnam.  W invaded Iraq solely on his own volition.  To make matters worse, unlike LBJ, who escalated w/ a sense of regret and ambivalence, W invaded w/ a sense of enthusiasm.

    2)The casualties visibly bothered LBJ.  I've seen no evidence that the casualties have ever bothered W.

    3)The MSM did its job much better then than it has been doing now. I can't imagine Katie Botox going to Iraq now and doing what Cronkite did in Vietnam after Tet, and, if she did, I can't imagine it having the same impact.  The MSM made it clear that Vietnam was totally FUBAR in a way that it has yet to consider doing on Iraq.

    I'd also like to add a personal story.  As an intrepid young student journalist, I attended a Henry Kissinger press conference in 1979.  I asked him then whether a Communist victory could've been prevented in Vietnam.  He gave a long pause as if he was pondering a deep thought, and he then said, "in retrospect yes."

    I asked him a follow-up as to how it could've been prevented.  He gave a long, rambling answer about such items as 1/3 of the S. Vietnamese AF being grounded in early '75 b/c of a lack of spare parts.  He never addressed the fact that the ARVN, from day 1 to day last, never became the fighting force that the American people were constantly told it would soon become.

    Things are arguably worse now than they were then, too.  While I'm sure that the ARVN was heavily infiltrated, it wasn't populated top to bottom by people who were actively opposed to the goals of the US occupation.  W's "we'll stand down as they stand up" mantra is, if anything, even more absurd than Nixon's "Vietnamization" bromides were.    

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Fri Sep 08, 2006 at 12:55:59 PM PDT

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