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The Vietnam/Iraq Quagmire

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Message John Pagoda

“Quagmire – a difficult or precarious situation from which extrication is almost impossible.” Webster

It no longer borders on the treasonous to compare Vietnam and Iraq now that George Bush mentioned it as the latest official reason for remaining in Iraq and the press dutifully reported it without question. A few years ago the former college cheerleader was claiming that any analogy between Vietnam and Iraq was sending the wrong message to our troops and our enemies yet the Bush comparison today is the wrong message based on ignorance with grave consequences for the future of our Republic that demands to be exposed.

George Bush’s recent revision of history reveals just how far removed he and his followers are from reality by claiming a Vietnam like quagmire will occur in Iraq if we withdraw before achieving that nebulous state of “victory”. Indeed the mere suggestion of such nonsense is an absolute refutation of the substantiated historical record of Vietnam that has shown “quagmire” to be a process beginning with the Tet Offensive which occurred nearly 7 years before we here in America saw the pictures of the chaotic retreat with honor as but one of several horrors that occurred.

George Bush was performing the art of political propaganda by perpetuating “the big lie” in front of an audience too eager to hear another war story taking them back to their real or imagined glory days in uniform to even notice “the big lie” when the President, their Commander-in-Chief said "Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left,"

The “big lie” is that there was no “legitimate debate” before Vietnam and indeed there was no “legitimate debate” before the foregone conclusion of waging war on Iraq and the sad truth is it didn’t matter to those who created “the big lie” that got us into Vietnam and it still doesn’t matter to those who created “the big lie” that got us into Iraq. The “debate” before Iraq was a mere charade for there was no debate that mattered to those who intended to invade Iraq long before the first tower fell to earth in a heap of ashes.

When he claimed as truth that the “one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is 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.” George Bush provided the classic example of someone replacing reason with an ideology based on faith and lacking any substantive knowledge indeed even displaying little curiosity about the causes of the horrible consequences of the quagmire in Vietnam and the quagmire in Iraq.

The Bush speech ignored the reality that over 2 million Vietnamese died during our war with them and ignored the fact that those 1 to 3 million people who wound up in the killing fields were the direct result of U.S. carpet bombing and subsequent economic and military destabilization of Cambodia that provided the Khmer Rouge with an opportunity to rise to that level of power which would create the killing fields.

In George Bush’s interpretation of reality our withdrawal from Vietnam caused the quagmire that followed our failure to stay until victory was attained and the implication is that our withdrawal from Iraq will result in the same quagmire if we leave Iraq before we attain victory The reality is that the “quagmire” in Iraq is already occurring in Iraq because we are there creating the very conditions for what will follow when we leave and declare peace with honor from our latest failed expansion of empire and those conditions are the same ones which we created in Vietnam.

Since George Bush’s crusade in a country of roughly 22 million people over 2 million have already been displaced within Iraq and over 2 million have fled the country, and over 2,000 Iraqi’s leave their homes everyday never to return. Millions of innocent Iraqis are already paying the price for our occupation. These are Iraq’s boat people who are leaving before we withdraw. For those who remain over 40 percent will live in abject poverty, over 40 percent will be unemployed, 70 percent will be without adequate water and 80 percent will continue to lack adequate sanitation by drinking water mixed with sewage.

The re-education camps are already operating on a home schooling model in an Iraq consumed by widespread fear and violence on a daily basis that have resulted in 92 percent of the Iraqi children having learning problems creating a fertile ground for the instability and chaos yet to come in Iraq.

As for the killing fields that will follow our withdrawal they too are already occurring on a daily basis in Iraq while we occupy it. Just last week a site was found south of Baghdad inhabited by wild dogs and decomposing bodies of those who were executed as a result of the sectarian violence which did not exist before our war against humanity commenced. This month 371 dead bodies have been found in this one killing field.

George Bush was right about one thing though when he said that politicians were in large part responsible for the failures of Vietnam and today he claims policy toward Iraq will not be dictated by “politicians” because today he’s not a politician he’s the commander-in-chief who as a “politician” created in the situation for him to strut around in a uniform and order others to make the supreme sacrifice for his mistakes in waging a war in Iraq that he started and resulted in the quagmire which we now find ourselves in Iraq.

The wrong message is that if we withdraw before “victory” (which has yet to be defined) we will create a quagmire in Iraq and it is the wrong message because “quagmire” by definition is an intractable situation, signs of the quagmire already exist in Iraq today. We cannot prevent what is already occurring in Iraq but our response today to our intractable situation in Iraq will affect what will and won’t be occurring in Iraq tomorrow. A good place to start would be to expose the wrong message and reveal “the big lie” about “legitimate debate” which never occurred before Vietnam or Iraq.

The solution to our intractable situation in Iraq is contained within the intractable situation itself that same intractable situation which was created by the politicians here at home – those who waged war based on a series of fabrications and outright lies and those who looked the other way while the majority of people were ignored. Until we hold those politicians accountable for the crimes against humanity they are committing directly or indirectly in Iraq the quagmire becomes more intractable. It is the true which will set us free and not “the big lie”.

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