Bush is going to give a speech comparing Iraq to Vietnam. This diary is a reference for the press, to highlight the past mentions of this analogy by the Bush Administration, all mocking the same comparison. The examples below from a Google search of 'Iraq + Vietnam' on whitehouse.gov:

1) Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, April is turning into the deadliest month in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad, and some people are comparing Iraq to Vietnam and talking about a quagmire. Polls show that support for your policy is declining and that fewer than half Americans now support it. What does that say to you and how do you answer the Vietnam comparison?

THE PRESIDENT: I think the analogy is false. I also happen to think that analogy sends the wrong message to our troops, and sends the wrong message to the enemy. Look, this is hard work. It's hard to advance freedom in a country that has been strangled by tyranny. And, yet, we must stay the course, because the end result is in our nation's interest.

More on the flip...

2) Interview of the President by Al-Sharq Al-Awsat:

Q Some people make a parallel between Iraq and Vietnam. Do you see it?

THE PRESIDENT: I know that people are anxious to be free. They were glad to get rid of Saddam Hussein. They were pleased when his sons met their demise. This person tortured, brutalized an entire population. And it's a different situation.

Q I didn't hear the word "Vietnam" in your answer.

THE PRESIDENT: No, because -- I gave you the answer, you asked the question. You asked me if there's parallel. I said it's a different situation.

3) Press Conference of the President

Q [...] Do you see, as some of your critics do, a parallel between what's going on in Iraq now and Vietnam?


Q Why?

THE PRESIDENT: Because there's a duly-elected government; 12 million people voted. They said, we want something different from tyranny, we want to live in a free society. And not only did they vote for a government, they voted for a constitution. Obviously, there is sectarian violence, but this is, in many ways, religious in nature, and I don't see the parallels.

4) Press Gaggle by Tony Snow

Q What lessons did Americans learn from the Vietnam War and do any of those apply to what's going on in Iraq now?

MR. SNOW: I think the two situations are not comparable and I don't want to try -- I will let Americans tell you what their various lessons were from Vietnam. That's far too large a question for me to contemplate, let alone answer.

5) President George Bush Discusses Iraq in National Press Conference

Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, millions of Americans can recall a time when leaders from both parties set this country on a mission of regime change in Vietnam. Fifty thousand Americans died. The regime is still there in Hanoi, and it hasn't harmed or threatened a single American in the 30 years since the war ended. What can you say tonight, sir, to the sons and the daughters of the Americans who served in Vietnam to assure them that you will not lead this country down a similar path in Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: That's a great question. Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament. And in order to disarm, it would mean regime change. I'm confident we'll be able to achieve that objective, in a way that minimizes the loss of life. No doubt there's risks in any military operation; I know that. But it's very clear what we intend to do. And our mission won't change. Our mission is precisely what I just stated. We have got a plan that will achieve that mission, should we need to send forces in.

So today we are likely to hear about the mission in Iraq, to disarm WMD,  spread democracy, fight Al-Qaeda, fight Iran, stop another Cambodian genocide. It would be nice if a) the press included as context the President's earlier dismissive remarks about Iraq/Vietnam analogies and b) pressed the President to comment on the humanitarian disaster that exists in Iraq TODAY (2 million Iraqi refugees, 1.2 million internally displaced Iraqis, est. 655,000 additional dead Iraqis from conditions inside Iraq as of July 2006), and an average of 30 minutes a day of electricity in Baghdad.

Is their any hope that the US political press will do it's job covering Bush's latest speech or will they dutifully report the 'he said/she said' story of the moment without providing any contextual reporting of past statements and current conditions? The Vietnam analogy I'd love to make is between today's press and the likes of David Halberstam, Joe Galloway, and Stanley Karnow but that comparison has to be EARNED.

The press has a choice to make today - carry on the legacy of David Halberstam or carry Bush's water.

Originally posted to joejoejoe on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 05:05 AM PDT.


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