In today's NY Times Thom Shanker summarizes the distortion of history that was Bush's speech to the VFW on Wednesday. After years of refusing comparisons of Iraq with Vietnam, Bush is now flogging that comparison to veterans in yet another effort to manipulate their native patriotism. He wants them to support his last ditch effort to prove he was right after all by shoveling more of their children into cannon fodder. All he cares about is his image in history and he will do and say anything to rescue it if he can.
Shanker rightly highlights the ludicrous Bush claim that the Khmer Rouge slaughter in Cambodia was a consequence of American withdrawal from Vietnam when in fact it was the American invasion that inspired the formation of that insane gang in the first place.
But Shanker's focus on specifics in Bush's speech led him away from what we were told was America's cause in Vietnam at the time. They said we had to win because if we failed communists would take over Indonesia and the Philippines and who knew what after that. Maybe Hawaii. That was what they said. I was there. I remember.
In fact, when we finally withdrew, no such thing happened. What happened instead was that the inherent Sino-Soviet split that our invasion of Vietnam had artificially suppressed finally opened up. What happened was that communist China evolved into the bizarre hybrid of tyranny and capitalism we know today and the Soviet Union went into self-inflicted collapse.
The whole justification for the Vietnam war turned out to be paranoid bullshit.
But what is most outrageous is the way Bush is still willing to take advantage of the historical ignorance of devoted Americans--after all the damage he has done. He has no shame at all. His cynicism and selfishness are unforgivable.