My post of 28 January 2007, Memories of Vietnam [display], evoked the tenebrous precedent of the USA's defeat in Vietnam.
Today, there's something distinctly indecent in the recent allusions to this defeat expressed by George W Bush: "One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid for by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like boat people, reeducation camps and killing fields." Then he asked rhetorically: "Will today's generation of Americans resist the deceptive allure of retreat?"
The aftermath of the US "withdrawal" [defeat] in Vietnam was indeed a ghastly mess. But Bush is cheating blatantly with both history and logic when he insinuates that it would be an error for the US to "retreat" for the second time, in today's bloody Iraqi quagmire. He seems to be saying that the only way of avoiding a repeat phenomenon in Iraq of "millions of innocent citizens" is for the US to "resist the deceptive allure of retreat". Now, this kind of pseudo-thinking is idiotically erroneous, to the point of being criminal, since there is no common measure to the dangerousness of the respective situations in Vietnam 1975 and Iraq 2007. I have the impression that Bush is a total moron in the historical and geopolitical domains. Comparing the potential consequences of his Iraq fiasco with the sad but relatively inconsequential [short-lived] US defeat in Vietnam is stupid, to say the least. But suggesting that the only way of avoiding similar negative consequences is to remain firm in Iraq is frankly grotesque. The truth of the matter, as everybody knows (except Bush), is that Iraq is an infinitely more lethal context than Vietnam.
Ever since Biblical times, the Middle East is potential Hell! Because of its territorial and religious conflicts, not to mention its oil, it's a constantly festering wound that could erupt at any instant into turmoil of planetary dimensions. Since Bush's invasion, Iraq has already discovered massive daily terrorism of the worst kind, which could rapidly infect other parts of this Old World.
Alas, the damage has been done [by Bush] and it is already too late to imagine that everything would revert to normal if US troops were to abandon Iraq overnight. As implied in my posts concerning the Baghdad visit of Bernard Kouchner, entitled French doctor in Iraq [display] and Kouchner on al-Maliki: He must be replaced [display], the leaders of the planet must enter into a subtle world of diplomacy, in the time-honored French traditions, to see what can be done about Iraq. The time of Texan cowboy politics is definitely over. And when the cowboy decides to see himself as a geopolitical historian, he must be diplomatically gagged... for the safety of the planet.