Want to compare Iraq to Vietnam?
Bush's argument is uncharacteristically constrained. He acknowledged that Vietnam is a "complex and painful subject for many Americans." He conceded that the "tragedy of Vietnam is too large to be contained in one speech." He recognized that "there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left." Yet he also cautioned that "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,' 'reeducation camps,' and 'killing fields.'"
Ooooh, don't want to bring those inconvenient topics up, do we? Heck, according to none other than war hero John Kerry, such things never even happened. But back to the Weekly Standard piece:
Another set of critics argued that it was impolitic of Bush to bring up Vietnam. This was a line often repeated in media reporting on the VFW speech. A Time magazine web article had the headline: "Bush's Risky Vietnam Gambit." The Washingtonpost.com columnist Dan Froomkin said Bush had entered "risky rhetorical territory." The report in the print edition tut-tutted that Vietnam "remains a divisive, emotional issue for many Americans." Guest-hosting MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Mike Barnicle asked, "What does the president have to gain by opening old wounds?" Senator John Kerry said "invoking the tragedy of Vietnam" was "irresponsible." And yet, during the entire debate over Iraq, opponents of intervention have brought up Vietnam frequently. When that happens, no one deems it "risky" or "irresponsible" of them to bring up this "divisive, emotional issue."
The author saves his best statement for last:
Bush's opponents don't have a problem with Vietnam analogies. They have a problem with Vietnam analogies that undermine the case for American withdrawal. They see Vietnam as the exclusive property of the antiwar movement.
They're entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. They can't wish away communist oppression, no matter how much they scream about being oppressed and supposedly losing their liberties to "George Bush's Patriot Act". Maybe a visit to a real reeducation camp might do them some good--but probably not.