Sunday, April 29, 2007


I don't necessarily agree that withdrawal from Iraq ipso facto equals a strategic defeat for the United States worse than Vietnam. The same sorts of doomsday scenarios kept us in Vietnam far longer than we needed to be and kept us from minimizing the humanitarian costs to the region after we departed.

Costs that our intervention largely, though indirectly, caused.

But unlike Vietnam, which was the nadir of a generally valid long-term strategic policy continued by several Administrations of both parties, Iraq is a totally self-inflicted and grievous wound caused by one Administration who used 9/11 to go absolutely apeshit.

Iraq is worse than Vietnam "in so many ways," agreed Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., a retired Army officer and author of one of the most respected studies of the U.S. military's failure in Vietnam. "We knew what we were getting into in Vietnam. We didn't here."

Also, President Richard M. Nixon used diplomacy with China and the Soviet Union to exploit the split between them and so minimize the fallout of Vietnam. By contrast, Krepinevich said, the Bush administration has "magnified" the problems of Iraq by neglecting public diplomacy in the Muslim world and by not developing an energy policy to reduce the significance of Middle Eastern oil.

In strategic terms, the Vietnam conflict was understood even by many of its opponents as part of a global stance of containment, a policy that preceded the war and endured for 15 years after Saigon fell, noted retired Army Col. Richard H. Sinnreich, a veteran of two Vietnam tours of duty. "I'm not sure we can count on a similarly prompt strategic recovery this time around," he continued. "Bush's preemption strategy was controversial even before Iraq, and the war itself has been so badly mismanaged that even our allies doubt our competence."

Twenty-five years after the fall of Saigon we were buddy-buddy with the regime that strategically defeated the United States. There is no reason why actually humbling himself and engaging in diplomacy now with regimes he has heretofore refused to speak to cannot minimize the effects of what is already a strategic defeat.

But to do refuse to do so, while simultaneously undertaking a complete war-of-choice in an economically vital region that his incompetence made infinitely worse is a cycle of incompetence that makes George Bush the Worst President of All Time.

I've said this a few times, but one of the things that has been to the great good fortune to us in America throughout our history is we have managed to bring out the greatness of our leaders in times of greatest need. Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower. Not a bad lineup.

But now, we get the Chimperor Disgustus. The Streak had to end sometime I guess, lucky us it happened during our lifetimes.

Talk about Karma catching up to a country.

Congrats James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce. Speaking of the latter, that's some nasty genes Babs Bush's family has dished out.

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