"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 said...You see, it wasn't invading Vietnam which caused all the trouble, it was withdrawing.
Bush said withdrawing from Vietnam emboldened today's terrorists by compromising U.S. credibility, citing a quote from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden that the American people would rise against the Iraq war the same way they rose against the war in Vietnam.
"Here at home, some can argue our withdrawal from Vietnam carried no price to American credibility, but the terrorists see things differently," Bush said.
Unfortunately, this is a myth which pervades large parts of the USA. We were winning in 'Nam, say the rednecks, until them durned hippies back home threw in the flag. It sounds completely stupid from an outsiders perspective, but it live on in Iraq:
House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said more Democrats are "bucking their party leaders" in acknowledging progress in Iraq.Al Maliki's government has already collapsed in a functional sense, the Brits are about to be chased out of Basra, US soldier suicides are at an all-time high, while morale is at an all-time low... But you can bet your sweet potatoes that John Howard will be pushing the crazy "we're winning" propaganda every inch of the way.
"Many rank-and-file Democrats have seen this progress firsthand and are now acknowledging the successes of a strategy they've repeatedly opposed," Boehner said in a statement. "But Democratic leaders, deeply invested in losing the war, would rather move the goalposts and claim that a precipitous withdrawal is the right approach despite the overwhelming evidence of significant progress."
UPDATE: Tomorrow's big story is that the USA is now prepared to give up all pretence of democracy in Iraq:
Nightmarish political realities in Baghdad are prompting American officials to curb their vision for democracy in Iraq. Instead, the officials now say they are willing to settle for a government that functions and can bring security.More here.
A workable democratic and sovereign government in Iraq was one of the Bush administration's stated goals of the war.
But for the first time, exasperated front-line U.S. generals talk openly of non-democratic governmental alternatives, and while the two top U.S. officials in Iraq still talk about preserving the country's nascent democratic institutions, they say their ambitions aren't as "lofty" as they once had been.
"Democratic institutions are not necessarily the way ahead in the long-term future," said Brig. Gen. John "Mick" Bednarek, part of Task Force Lightning in Diyala province, one of the war's major battlegrounds.