Thursday, August 23, 2007

When the left plays dumb, Bully Boy advances

You know, people say, "Well you keep going back, why are you going back to Vietnam?" We keep going back to Vietnam because I'll tell you what, the other side does. They're always going back. And they have to go back -- the Hawks, you know, the patriarchs. They have to go back because, and they have to revise the going back, because they can't allow us to know what the back there really was.

That's Jane Fonda explaining reality in the brilliant documentary Sir! No Sir! -- a reality missed by some of our voices on the left and 'left' yesterday. They were off on other topics and, if they touched Bully Boy's speech at all, they decided the way to go was Korea. Because? It's safer. Certainly not because it's what people were interested in. Four different student groups yesterday, not one of them asked, "What's this Korea analogy Bully Boy's making?" Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam. That's what they wanted to know about.

Now you knew the MSM wasn't going to do a good job it. They can (and did) applaud their work of their own when they pass away -- work done exposing the lies of Vietnam -- but it's funny kind of appreciation, one that requires they head to the right and centrists to discuss Bully Boy's
analogies. So when time's wasted yammering on about Korea, time is just wasted.

Bruce Cain tells Carolyn Tyler (KGO News) that what Bully Boy is "trying to do is use a conservative argument to rally the conservative base because what he fears is not that Nancy Pelosi and the democrats are going to vote for withdrawal. What he fears is members of his own party are going to join in." That's exactly what's going on but most other MSM reporting misses that point. Bully Boy's selling fear again and he can't sell it with Korea and he can't sell it with Japan.

He can try to sell it with Vietnam and he may win because you've got a revisionary history going on and a lazy portion of the left that has consistently refused to call out the right wing's lies about Vietnam as they have repeatedly taken hold since US forces pulled out.

Lazy and Stupid, we should say and include the idiot who fancies themselves left and never knows what they're talking about (we're being kind here) so felt the need to prop up centrists this week and get off a little jibe at Jane Fonda for working to end Vietnam in the "60s." Does it hurt to be that stupid? Or does that come with (hint) "day pass"?

I'm sick of the lazy and the stupid and the cowards who consistently avoid the topic of Vietnam. They've done untold damage over the years and they continue to do damage. Had they done any of the work required over the last years, Bully Boy's distortions would have been greeted with howls of laughter. Instead, he moves his p.r. battle foward an inch. And wasting everyone's time on Korea isn't preventing that.

In the New York Times, Jim Rutenberg, Sheryl Gay Stolber, Mark Mazzetti, Damien Cave and Erich Schmitt observe:

With his comments Mr. Bush was doing something few major politicians of either party have done in a generation: rearguing a conflict that ended more than three decades ago but has remained an emotional touch point.

[Those are the end credits, not the byline. John Kerry is quoted saying, "Invoking the tragedy of Vietnam to defend the failed policy in Iraq is as irresponsible as it is ignorant of the realities of both of those wars."]

Even the Times grasps what the speech was about and, no, it wasn't Korea.

Now Nixon only called those of us who called for US forces out of Vietnam "bums." Bully Boy has called those arguing OUT OF IRAQ terrorist enablers. (And, check the polls, that's a huge number of the American population Bully Boy's wagging his finger at.) From Jason Easley's "Bush reinterprets history at VFW National Convention speech" (Blogger News Network):

He then said that if the U.S. leaves Iraq, the terrorists win. "If we were to abandon the Iraqi people, the terrorists would be emboldened, and use their victory to gain new recruits. As we saw on September the 11th, a terrorist safe haven on the other side of the world can bring death and destruction to the streets of our own cities. Unlike Vietnam, if we withdraw before the job is done, the enemy will follow us home. And that is why, for the security of the United States
of America, we must defeat them overseas so we do not face them in the United States of America."

The illegal war in Iraq has attracted some elements of al Qaeda into Iraq. It has allowed some Iraqis to see that element as the lesser of two evils. Even the nonsense of the 'success' of the Al Anbar 'model' -- as promoted by the US military flacks -- accepts that premise. But the Iraq War is a breeding ground for hostilities and terrorism. Those Bully Boy's scaring with his nonsense quoted prior should drop the fantasies and grasp that the illegal war has made the US far less safe and, well beyond the borders of Iraq, bred huge hostilities towards the US.

He's arguing that 'terrorists' must be defeated in Iraq to keep them from US shores. The reality is that what many would call 'terrorists' (rightly or wrongly) include those Iraqis who (connected to al Qaeda or not) killed US service members. And yet the US military is now working with many of those same people, bringing them into the fold. That's defeat? They're now getting trained and armed by the US. That's defeated?

Bully Boy wants to have his illegal war and his 'terrorism' on the same plate and his faithful herd will "moo" along behind him. That's the approximately 30% (a little under actually) that refuses to face reality to this day. They're with him to the end. A sex scandal, a same sex scandal, probably wouldn't turn that crowd against him. Where the battle he declared publicly yesterday is going to be fought will be to win the immediate circle after the willfully stupid, that's who he is hoping to influence.

And when his lies do not get called out or when a lengthy piece is written on Korea, the attitude is not, "Thank you for informing us!" Because the reality is you wasted your own time and everyone else's. He's attempting to harness the Ghosts of Vietnam. That's where the battle is now because too many let the right wing get away with their lies and their revisions to the point that many born after have no idea how hugely unpopular that illegal war was. For many born after, it's a murky period and Bully Boy's trying to ride the ignorance (and probably the assumption that so many on the left will not enter the discussion because they have spent decades absenting themselves from it) to bump up support for is own illegal war.

From Michael Tackett (Chicago Tribune):

It struck some historians as odd that the president would try to use Vietnam -- arguably the most divisive issue of the last 40 years -- to rally the nation behind his policy in Iraq.
"If we get into a Vietnam argument, the country is divided, but if you are going to try to sell this concept that the blood is on the American people's hands because we left and were weak-kneed in Asia, that is a very tenuous and inane historical argument," said historian Douglas Brinkley of Rice University.
Brinkley, who wrote both a flattering book on John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign and edited the private diaries of President Ronald Reagan, said Reagan was careful to rarely talk about Vietnam because of the passions it inspired.

Reagan shouldn't have worried. Judging by the reaction yesterday, when the right was on the ground and moving to shore up Bully Boy's lies while so many on the left avoided the issue, it would have been an easy move for him. But Reagan was the governor of California during Vietnam so he was probably haunted by the passion of that period and thought it would carry over. As we saw yesterday that really isn't the case and too many allegedly independent voices copied Reagan yesterday by avoiding calling it out. Apparently some in journalism see their roles as politicians. It's especially cute when they want to cite a truth teller (I.F. Stone) while avoiding tackling the thrust of Bully Boy's argument (his lies about Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia).

Politicans? We noted John Kerry above. Harry Reid was useless (no surprise). Bill Richardson's campaign released the following statement:

Governor Bill Richardson, campaigning in Nevada, today released a statement in response to a speech by President Bush comparing a withdrawing of U.S. forces from Iraq to America's withdrawal at the end of the Vietnam War.
"The correct conclusion to draw from our experience in Vietnam," said Governor Richardson, "is that dragging out the process of withdrawal will be tragically worse in terms of U.S. lives lost and worse for the Iraqi's themselves in terms of the ultimate instability we will create by staying longer."
In 1968 Nixon ran on a platform of ending the war with honor. It took 7 years to get the last American soldier out of Vietnam. In the meantime, tens of thousands more Americans died. The costs in terms of tragedy in Southeast Asia itself are a matter of historical record. Millions of civilians ultimately died in Vietnam, in Cambodia and the killing fields and millions more ultimately had to flee their homes.
"We have now been in Iraq longer than it took to win World War II," Governor Richardson continued. "My plan for Iraq is designed to end this war with the least possible number of U.S. casualties and with the least damaging effects of Iraqi's reconciliation process. This means getting all of our troops out as quickly and safely as possible. Leaving residual troops in Iraq as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have suggested will only drag out the process to the detriment of all involved. Reconciliation can only occur when the U.S. has completely withdrawn. Everyday, more and more experts are coming to the same conclusion I drew seven months ago. My position has been consistent and unwavering. A fast, safe withdrawal with no residual troops."
In addition, Governor Richardson reiterated his belief that the so-called "surge" in U.S. forces in Iraq has been a failure, and responded to Senator Clinton's change of heart regarding the lack of progress in the war.
"I am pleased that Senator Clinton, today, recognizes that the surge has produced no progress of any long term significance to the Iraq debacle. That is different from what she said yesterday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. But, it is that audience, who has sacrificed more than any of us, who deserves to hear a clear statement that our sons and daughters and mothers and fathers are not going to be sacrificed because of an irrational commitment to a failed strategy.
The President is asking the country to wait for next month's progress report from General Petraeus. The chances are that report will be just another White House spin job and attempt to justify this war. This has been the bloodiest summer yet -- our troops have done an admirable job at trying to make a bad idea work, but the surge has failed, the war has failed, Bush has failed. It is time to end this war and bring all of our troops home as soon as possible. I'm glad Hillary Clinton has retracted her comments yesterday and has declared the surge a failure today -- but I still haven't gotten an answer to my question -- a peace in Iraq will fail as long as we leave troops behind -- how many would you leave behind? Every other major candidate would leave thousands of US troops in Iraq for an indefinite. I will leave no U.S. forces there. Zero.
The only way out of the Iraq mess is to remove all U.S. troops, and to use that leverage to get the warring parties to resolve their differences, and surrounding Muslim nations to help stabilize the country. Any residual U.S. force reduces the chances for success, and exposes our troops as targets. Our brave troops, and the American people, deserve better."

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