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"And so I'm -- thought a lot about what it was like, what my impressions of Vietnam were growing up, and here I am in this country today . . ." -- Bush in Hanoi, Vietnam 11/17/06
To the most of us of the country, the stunning reversal of fortunes for Bush and his republican enablers in Congress in the last election represented a solid repudiation of whatever they were bleating about during their fear and smear campaign. For months up until the vote, 60% of Americans were telling pollsters they didn't believe the war in Iraq was worth the loss of lives, with over 50 % expressing their belief that our soldiers should be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year.
Yet, Bush today insisted the vote was merely about coming up with a "plan for success;" now, after three years of mucking around without one. "The elections mean that the American people want to know whether or not we have a plan for success," Bush said today in a presser with John Howard. "We're not leaving until this job is done, until Iraq can govern, sustain and defend itself."
Those are the lofty justifications Bush uses to keep our troops hunkered down in Iraq, circling their wagons around Maliki's puppet regime. It's incredible to hear the explanations for their sacrificing of the over 2800 U.S. soldiers who gave their lives in defense of Bush's "ideological struggle" in Iraq, just because Bush let 9-11 thugs convince him Iraq was the "center" of his contrived war on terror.
Everyone with a pen and an eye on Vietnam have Bush pegged as a slacker who shirked the very duty he had used to take refuge from deployment to the battlefield where our soldiers were fighting and dying for Nixon's perpetuation of Johnson's war. The "lesson" Bush said today, when he compares the Vietnam War to his own fiasco in Iraq, was that imperialism takes time.
"I think one thing -- yes, I mean, one lesson is, is that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while," Bush mused. No mention was made of the effect that stretch of time had on the killing and maiming of our soldiers who were made to prosecute their bloody, ideological misadventures.
Nixon's own 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 who might have allied with us. At the end of decades of that 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 Shia 'rebel' leader Sadr has been able to ingratiate himself into the new Iraqi government.
To Bush, all of this is worth the sacrifice of lives and livelihoods of our soldiers because he never faced and experienced the reality of war his generation was conscripted to fight and die in. Bush looks around Vietnam today and sees a nation magically transformed from the 'impressions' which frightened him away from the bloody conflict which "altered" Vietnam "to the good." It's no wonder that he looks at Iraq from the same position of relative safety he enjoyed in the National Guard from the deaths and sacrifices of the men and women who do all of the fighting and dying, and is sanguine about "taking a while" to come up with a plan to get our soldiers out of there.
In fact, Bush wants to attach one of his lame-duck signing statements to the results of the election by insisting it was a mandate for him to draw up a plan to stay the course in Iraq. The voters, however, cast their ballots for a course out of Bush's Vietnam. In January, the Senators and Representatives they elected, should proceed to carry that message to the White House with every lever at their disposal. We need to remind Bush and the rest of the chickenhawks who have been feathering their political ambitions behind the sacrifices of our soldiers, that they are at the mercy of the will of the people. No more "listening to bin-Laden." Democrat need to make certain Bush's attention is centered on the wishes of our Democratic majority.