Iraq and Vietnam, Part I

President Bush is comparing Iraq to Vietnam in a speech today, arguing that we must maintain the occupation lest Iraq degenerate into chaos.

We went into Iraq because of WMD, and were going to be greeted as liberators. We stayed on to build a democracy. Now we’re staying to prevent an ongoing civil war from getting worse.

What evidence is there to believe that the administration is willing and able to do anything that it talks about in Iraq? Even defenders of the escalation, like Bill Kristol and John McCain, say (now, though not at the time) that we were without a strategy for the better part of the last few years. Why should we have any faith that their descriptions, assertions, and predictions have anything to do with reality?

UPDATE: Jim Henley writes that “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.”


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