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    22 August 2007

    "Twisting History"

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    It's OK if you're a Republican.

    Todays speech by the president to legitimize his Iraq policy has roused the ire of those familiar with history. To UCLA historian Robert Dallek, the "distortions" "boggle" his mind.
    “We were in Vietnam for 10 years. We dropped more bombs on Vietnam than we did in all of World War II in every theater. We lost 58,700 American lives, the second-greatest loss of lives in a foreign conflict. And we couldn’t work our will,” he said.

    “What is Bush suggesting? That we didn’t fight hard enough, stay long enough? That’s nonsense. It’s a distortion,” he continued. “We’ve been in Iraq longer than we fought in World War II. It’s a disaster, and this is a political attempt to lay the blame for the disaster on his opponents. But the disaster is the consequence of going in, not getting out.”

    Col. Pat Lang adds in an unrelated post
    We keep "screwing up" in places like Vietnam and Iraq because we (as a people) do not accept the relevance of history and cultural difference. We insists on believing people are all pretty much the same and that they will behave as we think we would behave. Nonsense. We and another set of peoples have paid the price for that cultural blindness once again.

    and reminds us all that "US forces had been completely out of [Vietnam] for two years when the [North Vietnamese] attacked in violation of the cease-fire and over-ran the country."

    While using models are useful in academia, they should be avoided in rhetoric. When models used in rhetoric, they should be held at arms length and scrutinized. One remembers when the Vietnam model was slammed by the Bush Administration and even used to come to conclusions opposite those arrived at today.

    The only thing Vietnam has in common with Iraq is that they were wars based on misunderstandings (or lack of understandings), bad policy and that they both became quagmires.

    (h/t ThinkProgress)

    Posted by Geoff

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