Chickenhawk Bush Has the Gall to Lecture Americans on Vietnam

When you hear the sound bites from George W. Bush’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars today in which he compares his botched war in Iraq to the Vietnam war, think about what he was doing while thousands of U.S. soldiers were wounded and killed in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Bush is in effect saying that Vietnam could have been won if only we’d stayed there longer — that winning would have only required a few tens of thousand more lives lost — other than his own, of course.

As is well known, Bush’s elite status entitled him to a cushy berth in a “champagne unit” of the Texas Air National Guard. Associates from that era remember young Bush as being preoccupied with doing drugs, driving drunk and chasing women. There are rumors he seriously damaged a fighter jet while taxiing it on a runway while hungover. And there is strong circumstantial evidence he was discharged less than honorably after failing to show up for a series of Pentagon-mandated drug tests.

With that in mind, here is how Bush today, rewriting and politicizing the war he sat out:

The tragedy of Vietnam is too large to be contained in one speech. So I’m going to limit myself to one argument that has particular significance today. Then as now, people argued the real problem was America’s presence and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end…

In 1972, one antiwar senator put it this way: “What earthly difference does it make to nomadic tribes or uneducated subsistence farmers in Vietnam or Cambodia or Laos, whether they have a military dictator, a royal prince or a socialist commissar in some distant capital that they’ve never seen and may never heard of?” A columnist for The New York Times wrote in a similar vein in 1975, just as Cambodia and Vietnam were falling to the communists: “It’s difficult to imagine,” he said, “how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone.” A headline on that story, date Phnom Penh, summed up the argument: “Indochina without Americans: For Most a Better Life.”

The world would learn just how costly these misimpressions would be. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge began a murderous rule in which hundreds of thousands of Cambodians died by starvation and torture and execution. In Vietnam, former allies of the United States and government workers and intellectuals and businessmen were sent off to prison camps, where tens of thousands perished. Hundreds of thousands more fled the country on rickety boats, many of them going to their graves in the South China Sea.

Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left. There’s no debate in my mind that the veterans from Vietnam deserve the high praise of the United States of America. (Applause.) Whatever your position is on 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.”

There was another price to our withdrawal from Vietnam, and we can hear it in the words of the enemy we face in today’s struggle — those who came to our soil and killed thousands of citizens on September the 11th, 2001. In an interview with a Pakistani newspaper after the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden declared that “the American people had risen against their government’s war in Vietnam. And they must do the same today.”

In effect, Bush is saying that Vietnam would have turned out better if only we’d stayed longer. But how much longer, Mr. Bush? Over 50,000 U.S. troops died in Vietnam. How many more lives — other than your own, of course — were worth sacrificing for a lost cause?

Unsurprisingly, Bush takes no responsibility for the fact that it was his decision, and his alone, to invade Iraq, or that it is his fault that our options there today range from awful to horrendous.

Bush wants to share the blame for this misbegotten war, particularly with Democratic senators who voted for the authorization that he demanded. But this is his war, and the horrors that may come after we leave Iraq, whenever it happens, were set in motion by George W. Bush when he decided to drive the United States into another Vietnam-like quagmire.

58 Comments

  • j.majors
    August 23, 2007 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Let us not forget the (likely) several million Vietnamese who perished as a direct consequence of that war. It is certain that many Vietnamese where persecuted after the war, or fled to escape persecution. But it is not clear that a communist takeover

  • Dine'
    August 23, 2007 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    All the comments are about the wars that the U.S. government has engaged in in the past 60-70 years. But stop and think about it. This government is based on military strength. Invade, conquer, and subjugate the native people.. What is happening today is nothing more then the expansion of the Anglo empire. I am a Native American Indian..

  • Audrey
    August 23, 2007 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    “It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.”
    -William Tecumseh Sherman,
    Union General, American Civil War

  • Dennis W McOmber
    August 23, 2007 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    It never ceases to amaze me that whenever a discussion about going to war in Iraq comes up – those on the right always seem to mention that there were Democrats who voted for the war! Somehow, the implication is that there is shared responsibility for going! And perhaps there is! But what seems to get lost in the discussion is that this president – George W. Bush flat out misrepresented the facts in presenting his case for war! Who is more culpable, the person making a decision based on faulty information, or the person presenting the faulty information?

  • robin499
    August 23, 2007 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    People seem to forget that the same companies we see today in Iraq,as Private Contractors also made a fortune in Vietnam.Kellog Brown and Root,had a very lucrative contract for dredging in Vietnam.GE,Pratt and Whitney,etc.make billions from any armed conflict,as they will find a way to sell arms to anyone with a dollar.Follow the money.The pipeline through Afghanistan started our war against the Taliban.We armed them against the Soviet occupation and then forgot about them until it came time for them to sign a contract for the pipeline from the Caspian Basin.I believe our comment to the Taliban was some thing like” We can either carpet you in gold or bombs.”when it looked like another oil company was going to get the contract.This kind of “negotiation” sure sounds like terroristic coercion to me.
    The Central Banks have funded both sides of the largest conflicts during the 20th century.DuPont and Nobel of the coveted “Peace Prize” fame still hold the patents on most high explosives and make money on every shot fired.DuPont had factories in the US and Germany during WWII and were paid War Reperations for damage to their German factories after the war.
    Civil wars in Africa have been exploited and fueled by arms sales to both sides of conflicts,and the UN World Bank then comes in and buys up what ever natural resources are left at a bargain.
    Conflict and War is the main business of the Multinational Corporations,they owes no allegience to any country,and their only balance of justice is the Quarterly Balance Sheet.

  • robin499
    August 23, 2007 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Please pardon the spelling and other errors,I was educated in America.

  • robin499
    August 23, 2007 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    Dear Audrey,
    A great quote from the father of modern warfare.The real soldier always prays for peace.They know that Glory and Heroism,are only advertising tools.Soldiers start out with thoughts of glory and heroism,but end up with thoughts of horror and pain. Who said “Old men talk and young men die.”?It may go back to the Greeks or even earlier.

  • Doug@usa.com
    August 23, 2007 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    He might be right. If Vietnam had lasted longer with full American troop levels, Bush, Limbaugh, et al might not have been able to avoid getting sent to the war zone. Once in the war zone, there is a very good chance that someone of Bush’s intelligence would get himself killed. So if Vietnam had lasted longer, we might have been able to get Junior killed off in it. What could be better today than a world in which George W Bush’s bones are bleaching on some forgotten hill in Vietnam?

  • August 23, 2007 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    It looks more like they are trying to rewrite history. Viet Nam was mistake and we lost, get over it. Korea was mentioned, another mistake and no one has won there either. We function under a cease fire agreement with them. Unless we have another terror attack (soon) in the US (whether real or false flag) we will loose in the Middle East. This war will not end until the people stand up and refuse to fight the damn thing.

  • John Hawk
    August 23, 2007 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    …the very best part of these articles are the comments from just good, solid American freedom lovers!!!

  • Mike S
    August 23, 2007 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Did Bush mention how Iraq had anything to do with 9/11, or perhaps… peak oil?

    Thanks for the history corrections Petra.

  • Montag
    August 23, 2007 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    When first they suckered us into war
    They promised it would be grand
    We hear only the bugles at funerals now
    Instead of a marching band

    They claim we lost them Vietnam
    Because we had no guts
    This comes from valiant creampuffs
    Who wouldn’t risk their butts

  • S.D.Bob Plisken
    August 23, 2007 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Hey America;
    I have to agree with the author myself! I have evidence that through some connections with a friend of mine, who was CIA- Israeli soldier, Bush is one stupid numb nuts bastard that ought to be hung by his toes just like Moussolini by the whole crowd of the world. He is working for the Elite few in this world that financially opperated the war, and last time I heard, there is someone in his administration is a member of the Bilderburghs! It’s time we flush this bastard down the toilet along with his whole administration as well as quite a few members of the Senate, House, and members of Congress who went right along with him to bring this war for oil, money, and drugs. And by the way, when the world talks about tribunials about Bush, when is it going to happen? We are tired of his crap and one of these years, he’s not going to see the light of a jail sentence and all it’s going to take is a one bullet to finish him off for all the percussions he’s caused to kill alot of people! Almost 2 million people! Wouldn’t that consider now a mass murderer?

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  • EchoLaughter
    August 23, 2007 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Americans are the biggest bunch of whiners on the planet. The more you complain the louder the laughter grows in Washington. Whether you like or hate them, praise or berate them, you are still stuck with them. All your bitching and complaining and they in Congress will only give themselves another pay raise. So get out your kleenex’s pass it around as they write and approve more laws to keep the citizens in check. All your fear mongering has done in the last few years pretty much adds up to little if no change in the Whitehouse. In fact they work well under your protests like rats in a sewer. They feed off your tasty browned anger and drink your fear.

  • Andrew Milner
    August 23, 2007 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

    It was always a mystery to me how in patriotic America, draft-dodging Bush was re-elected over Vietnam veteran Kerry. Now fast forward: Bush must have been so ill advised and desperate to mention Vietnam, far less draw a comparison between Iraq and Vietnam. Can Rove’s lack of input be apparent so quickly?
    Keep in mind the US public have been sold a sanitised version of the Vietnam (American) War. View the Robert McNamara interviews in the documentary “Fog of War”. Not that I buy everything he says, especially because of his duplicity over Israel’s murderous attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. McNamara claims the entire Vietnam War was unnecessary and the result on compound misunderstanding by both sides. Visit the war museums in Ho Chi Minh City as I have done. See the photographic evidence of US war crimes. US experts asked the questions, South Vietnamese did torturing. Bodies exhumed still tied with nails driven into their joints.
    Vietnam and Iraq; the same faked justification to sell the lie to the American people. US involvement in Vietnam directly and indirectly led to the deaths of 5.5 million people. Just because the US couldn’t stay out of the internal affairs of other countries. Since 1945, the US has invaded or grossly interfered in the affairs of some 70 countries world. At first with some success as with Korea, but it went downhill after that.

  • mr. peace
    August 23, 2007 - 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Bush’s message: If Americans don’t fight the terrorists on their turf, they will follow us home. Well, the terrorists are home; 9/11 was an inside job. Watch the WTC 7 building fall at 5:20 p.m. on Sep 11.

  • Kimmer
    August 23, 2007 - 11:20 pm | Permalink

    When is Douglas Feith going to be arrested and imprisoned for using false Israeli intelligence filtered through his “Office of Special Plans” to the White House to justify the illegal, unconstitutional, preemptive war in Iraq. Is that pipeline to Haifa up and running yet?

    Nothing against American soldiers.

  • August 24, 2007 - 12:00 am | Permalink

    The author’s comments are to be applauded. There is much speculation about Dubya’s dubious days in the Texas Air National Guard not to mention his continuation/non-continuation of service in Alabama. (Wait: He did have some dental work done. Cue “The Stars and Stripes Forever”). We must not forget, however, that it was Bush’s own words that most clearly expose him for the draft dodger he was. “I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.” The quote is for real; As Yogi said, “You can look it up.”

    I noticed there is still a smattering of Bush apologists among the entries. Some advice for them. George Orwell’s 1984 is often referred to, and rightfully so, when commenting on Bush and his Administration. But Orwell’s ANIMAL FARM shouldn’t be forgotten. In it, the sheep can be depended upon to bleat, “Four legs good, two legs bad” regardless of the circumstances. Bush apologists everywhere: That’s what you are, the sheep from ANIMAL FARM. Do everyone a favor and grow a brain! You’re redefining boredom.

  • Dwight Thomas Powers
    August 24, 2007 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

    2.8 million of us Vietnam Veterans served in combat in that nightmare of a war, you know the very same one that the ‘chicken hawk in chief’ now spouts his ‘pious’ bullshit about. The VFW fatcats applauding his latest lies need to check the history books that Georgie so unintelligently tried to quote (actually he just made up some more bullshit-or whoever did write ‘his’ imbecillic speech. Failed regime after failed regime was propped up by us real Vietnam Vterans in Vietnam, year after year, until finally the American public and world opinion forced Tricky Dick and his henchman Henry Kissinger to come up with the withdrawal plans to get all of our troops eventually the hell out of there.The ‘killing fields’that GWB made mere mention of were directly caused by insane U.S policy that allowed the Pol Pot and then the K.Rouge psychos to come to power Just look at Bush’s failed Iraq war with an incompetent at best Maliki government and the Iraqi parliment ‘on vacation’ while our U.S.troops continue to needlessly die for all the comparissons necessary between Johnson and Nixon Vietnam and Bush Iraq. Go to the Wall Georgie, and just maybe some cold hard reality will actually sink in to that very thick skull of yours.Semper Fi! Marchmarine17@optonline.net

  • ToErr
    August 24, 2007 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I had to spend two years in ROTC to become an officer. Forunate son-of-a was given his butter bars (commision) on a gold platter after an undistinguished few weeks of basic traiing for airmen straight out of high school.

  • Bob the Aussie
    August 24, 2007 - 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Just got back from Vietnam after three months of travelling around the country, it looks like the Vietnamese are doing a pretty good job of running their own country without the French,Japanese, Americans or Australians telling they what to do. They are developing some big off shore oil fields “White Tiger Oil Field” and will soon be exporting oil. The strange thing is the big international oil companies (French,U.S.British) told Vietnam that there were no large deposits of oil there, the Russians came in and found heaps of oil.
    Wouldn’t G.W. Bush like to get his dirty hands on this oil, he may tell us that Osama is hiding on a P.T. boat in The Gulf of Tonkin and he may have to invade?
    Seriously though isn’t funny how people like Bush are only too happy to send other people sons & daughters to war “to protect democracy”, why doesn’t he get his daughters to become nurses in the U.S. Army and do a bit of time in Iraq?

  • Eva Cutler
    August 25, 2007 - 6:31 am | Permalink

    After all that is said and done how come this president is still up and running?
    Will he and his henchmen ever be punished for their crimes committed like was Saddam Hussein? Talk is cheap.

  • JohnZ
    August 26, 2007 - 7:21 am | Permalink

    “Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.”
    The shrub probably never cracked a history book while in school so how would he know? Too drunk, too stoned and to busy chasing west Texas bimbos
    and yet he has the gall to lecture us about ‘Nam. What a pice of rotting vomnit this miserable piece of shit is. As I live and breath, I have so much contempt for that stomach spew and the rest of the treasonous, perverted bush family.
    What a joke, except the joke is on us and we are going to pay for it, not the elites who run the country and certainly not GWB.
    The entire Whore House should be rounded up and hung in the Rose Garden! They are the real traitors to America!
    God how I hate this administration, and anybody who still supports the bushevics need an education on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
    My only hope is that Chaney will have a massive stroke and live out the rest of his wretched existance drooling over himself and gee dubya will end up isolated in his Columbian compound, afraid to go out for fear of getting his just reward.
    Goddamn these bastards who have turned America into a police state!

  • ian rooks canada b.c.
    August 26, 2007 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    drastic times do call for drastic measures..
    if the “powers that be” are jailed and sentenced to death, possibly the “real” world would come together and unite as one..
    there can be love and peace if we start on the right path before it gets too late to do that..
    is it too late for us all people ???

  • MarchOnTheFed
    August 26, 2007 - 6:50 pm | Permalink

    You say it was Bush alone who decided to go to Iraq. I submit that it was not his decision. The US has been raping the third world for decades. Bush is a pawn in the international bankers’ plot to conglomerate all governments into one world government under their control. Look up the NAU, CFR, and the Trilateral Commission. Ron Paul is our best hope at overcoming these megalomaniacal bastards.

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  • Desiree
    August 29, 2007 - 9:17 pm | Permalink

    My brother was in the one of the first waves that went to Vietnam in 1964. Thank god he came back, not the same but he did come back. GWB is an idiot and so are the people who voted for him. We should not be in Iraq, and we shouldn’t have been in Vietnam. And everyone of the VFW that were at his speech should have gotten up, turned their backs and left. The real problem is us the citizens of the USA no matter how we bitch to our reps in Washington they just either don’t hear us or don’t care. Bush is not a leader he is someone who thinks he talks to GOD. Someone should tell him to read his bible because GOD would ignore his two faced, double sided bullshit. All he wants to do is blame other people in his admin, congress and senate because he doesn’t have the stones to take the rightful blame and responsibility to accept that he is the one who is sending other peoples sons, daughters, wives and husbands to what could possibly be their death. and what does he try to do stop our govt from increasing their less than poverty level pay saying its not necessary. while the families of these unselfish, loyal, strong and brave individuals fight for not only our freedom but his and his families as well. our service men and women’s families can lose their homes but hey GWB has his, they struggle to make ends meet, but he’s never had to worry how the electric, gas, water, food etc. was going to be paid. Just like Vietnam if our President had just let our Marines and other Services do what should have been done in the beginning the insurgents, taliban etc wouldn’t be a problem. Bring our people home, and let Iraq’s people deal with their country, their problems their own people leave us out of it. Put all the energy back where it belongs here in OUR COUNTRY, helping OUR PEOPLE. Stop sending billions for $$$ overseas where it can’t be found what happened to it. Rebuild New Orleans,put more in schooling our children, health care for the poor and working poor. all the things that this country stands for instead of giving away our money, jobs etc to everyone else. Lets take care of us first. I just again thank god my brother came back for Vietnam, my husband from Operation Desert Storm and my nephew from Afganastan. Semper Fi all my family and husband were Marines.

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