Maybe he will call it a quagmire, too:
As he awaits a crucial progress report on Iraq, President Bush will try to put a twist on comparisons of the war to Vietnam by invoking the historical lessons of that conflict to argue against pulling out.
President Bush pauses Tuesday during a news conference at the North American Leaders summit in Canada.
On Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri, Bush will tell members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars that “then, as now, people argued that the real problem was America’s presence and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end,” according to speech excerpts released Tuesday by the White House.
“Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left,” Bush will say.
“Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that 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,’ ” the president will say.
This is going to kill the right wing bloggers who have spent thousands of hours explaining Iraq is not Viet Nam. At any rate, aren’t civilian casualties something we should have considered BEFORE we went to war?
We have nothing but bad choices in Iraq. We can stay, and we can watch the Iraq government diddle and do nothing while multiple factions and groups slowly murder and cleanse their way through Iraq. And even then, we are not going to be able to stay there permanently with the current force we have now, as the military is stretched to the breaking point. We can leave, and let them do the same thing, but faster. It is a bloody mess, there are no easy answers, and Bush trying to use the post Viet Nam disaster as a rhetorical strategy to convince us to stay in Iraq makes it clear he doesn’t have the answers, either. Essentially, the WH strategy is “If we leave, it might get worse.”
*** Update ***
The President is going to argue that after the US pulled out of Southeast Asia, millions of people died.
One more time. Millions of people died while we were there. A fair proportion of them were people we ourselves killed. In any reckoning of the costs of intervening and withdrawing from Indochina, those people count too. It’s a bizarre, narcissistic blind spot to imagine otherwise.
Which brings us to Iraq, per the President’s insistence. It is possible that if we leave, hundreds of thousands will die and millions be displaced. That has already happened under our government’s tender and expert care. There is no short-term prospect that it will stop happening. But I guess if you die while the US is around, you have the comfort of knowing we were trying.