Thursday, October 19, 2006


I think Juan Cole breaks down the kerfuffle* over Bush's statement that what is going on in Iraq is like the Tet Offensive about right.

In his interview with George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday evening, George W. Bush accepted that there might be a parallel between the spike in killings of US troops in Iraq and the Tet offensive in Vietnam. Many commentators are saying that he finally admitted that Iraq is a quagmire like Vietnam, but this is a complete misreading of what Bush is saying.

Bush's position is that things are going just great in Iraq, and that a few trouble-makers have managed to hijack the US media with a small number of limited bombings and other sabotage, and have made it look like the US isn't making progress. Bush believes that the media and Americans are falling for a get-up job. So he is is trying to say to the American public that just as the Tet offensive was a military defeat for the Viet Cong but a propaganda defeat for Washington, so the October offensive of the Sunni Arab guerrillas is so much smoke and mirrors, a mere propaganda stunt with no substantive importance for Iraq.

But in fact, the current guerrilla war against US troops and the new Iraqi government isn't at all like the Tet offensive. It is deadly serious. Because the US military is not defeating the guerrillas militarily any more.

...there's more.

*I used the word kerfuffle does that make me a "big boy" blogger now?

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