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Bloody Stain of Vietnam in Iraq

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"Again our young Don Quixote takes the road:
To show his gratitude he draws his pen,
And seeks this hydra, Scandal, in his den.
For your applause all perils fie would through-
He'll fight-that's write-a cavalliero true,
Till every drop of blood-that's ink-is spilt for you." --
Sheridan


Remember when the members of Congress stuck their purple ink-stained fingers in our faces as proof their invasion of Iraq was worth it? What a difference three years of losing in Iraq has made. Now their leaders in the White House are saying Iraq is like Vietnam. In response to an interviewer, Bush agreed that Iraq was like Vietnam, in that the Tet offensive also preceded a U.S. election; much like Iraq's increased violence is happening a month before our midterms.

Bush's admission wasn't along the same lines as those of us opposed to the Iraq occupation who've been comparing the quagmire there to Vietnam from the beginning. His answer was a vain attempt to help his republican party avoid accountability for the Iraq failure in the upcoming congressional campaign. Bush can see that increased public awareness of the disaster in Iraq threatens to force an end to his dirty little misadventure if voters show up at the polls in November to throw out his republican enablers from their majority positions in Congress.

The White House is desperate to hold on in Iraq. There's a driving obsession, from Cheney and Rumsfeld on down, with re-fighting the Vietnam war in Iraq and to re-pursue the MYTH that we could have WON the conflict if we had just applied MORE force and NOT withdrawn. White House spokesman Tony Snow continued the Vietnam ploy at his press avail by repeating Bush's insistence that there's something we can still 'win' in Iraq.

"The important thing to remember is the president's determined to win," Snow said. "The administration will "make adjustments as necessary, but the one thing that nobody should have any doubt about is that we're going to win." Snow described a "flipover point" that Bush and his cabal fear will mark the end of their free reign in Iraq.

Bush "was making a point that he's made before, which is that terrorists try to exploit pictures and try to use the media as conduits for influencing public opinion in the United States," said Snow. "We do not think that there's been a flipover point," he said. "The president's determined it's not going to happen with Iraq, because you have a president who is determined to win."


"We will fight, we will stay, and we will win in Iraq," Bush said Thursday of his manufactured mission. "We are a nation at war," he said, "and we must do everything in our power to win that war."

How many times did Nixon try to convince Americans that he could 'win' in Vietnam? Nixon, like Bush, tried to deflect responsibility for his own escalation of his war by reminding Americans about Johnson's role as he promised a victorious end to the conflict. He called his own military muckraking, "winning the peace."

Robert Ellsworth, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, described Rumsfeld's own ambivalence about his own role in the Nixon war scheme in a 'Frontline' interview: "Rumsfeld could see that we were not figuring out -- all of us could see, I mean, not all of us, but there were a lot of people in the Nixon administration who could see that we had not figured out, and were not figuring out, a strategy to win in Vietnam, Ellsworth wrote. Neither could we figure out a strategy to withdraw. And it was very frustrating. Now if you want to call those people 'doves', I was certainly one of those and Rumsfeld was certainly one of those."

Dove no more, Rumsfeld has become a dedicated hawk toward his Vietnam in Iraq. He's determined to prove that there can be some sort of victory in Iraq; and presumably, to prove his neonut credentials after his softness on Vietnam alienated him from the conservatives in the Nixon cabal (who kicked him out of the inner circle just in time for him to avoid becoming enmeshed in Watergate). But, Rumsfeld still harbors the same ambivalence that he displayed over the Vietnam war over the lack of any plan to go with the Bush administration's desire for a 'win' in Iraq, this time masked behind his desperate bravado.

"You've got a situation where it's not possible to lose militarily," Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon this week. He quickly hedged by qualifying that, "It's also going to require more than military power to prevail."

The grudging admissions from the Bush regime that military force alone will not bring about the democracy they claimed would emerge from underneath the rubble of their "shock and awe" and oppressive occupation, are the latest retreats from the justifications Bush and the republicans have used to deploy and keep our troops hunkered down in Iraq while circling their wagons around Maliki's puppet regime. It has been incredible to hear the explanations for their sacrificing of the over 2700 U.S. soldiers who gave their lives in defense of Bush's "ideological struggle" in Iraq, just because Bush zealously allowed the 9-11 thugs convince him Iraq was the "center" of his contrived war on terror.

"There can be legitimate disagreements on the best way to win this war, and there are," Bush told the crowd at one of his republican fundraisers Thursday. "But we should at least be able to agree that the path to victory is not to do precisely what the terrorists want."

Yet, 'doing what the terrorists want' is precisely what Bush has done in Iraq. He never misses an opportunity to remind Americans of the threatening specter of Osama bin-Laden who's been taunting America and the world for five years since the 9-11 attacks. Bush sees Iraq, as he reminds us at every occasion, as the 'center' of his 'war on terror'. We know it's the center, Bush tells us, "because bin-Laden says so." "Don't believe me," Bush told Americans in his Rose Garden news conference last week. "Listen to the enemy, or listen to Mr. Zawahiri, the number two of al Qaeda, both of whom made it clear that Iraq is central in their plans."

"I take the words of the enemy very seriously," Bush said, "and so should the American people."

Nixon's lofty justifications for his continued involvement in Vietnam collapsed under the reality of a perpetual war that was being fueled by our very presence there which only served to harden resistance to the U.S. and any forces allied with us. At the end of decades of war, and thousands of American lives sacrificed, North Vietnamese forces took Saigon in 1975. Communist forces occupied the South, renaming Saigon Ho Chi Minh City. It's not hard to imagine Baghdad, in the future, under the control of the very forces our troops are battling today, much like the 'rebel' leader Sadr was able to ingratiate himself into the new Iraqi government.

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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price

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