Saturday, August 25, 2007

A "Remarkable" Speech- part 5

In his speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars on 8/22/07, President Bush tried to draw an analogy between the Iraq war and the War in Vietnam. He stated in part:

His number two man, Zawahiri, has also invoked Vietnam. In a letter to al Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq, Zawahiri pointed to "the aftermath of the collapse of the American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents."

So the President believes that the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam emboldened our enemies and that a withdrawal from Iraq would do the same. But let me suggest a different analogy: Lebanon.

In mid 1982 (from, James Bovard notes in "Terrorism & Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice & Peace to Rid the World of Evil," President Reagan dispatched U.S. troops to support the Lebanese army in the civil war raging in Lebanon. On April 18, 1983 a man drove his van into the U.S. embassy in Beirut. After it detonated, 46 people, including 16 Americans, were killed and hundreds of people injured. Although our soldiers were targeted by Muslim snipers,the U.S. force remained, and on October 23, 1983, a Mercedes truck was detonated at the Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing 243 Marines. The Administration skillfully deflected blame for the attack(s), avoided accountability for the President's policy, and warned of dire consequences if we were to withdraw. Bovard quotes Reagan as arguing a U.S. withdrawal could result in a Middle East "incorporated into the Soviet bloc."

The Marine barracks were hit again; in September, 1984, Reagan blamed Jimmy Carter, and during his re-election campaign shamelessly (and falsely) accused Democratic opponent Walter Mondale of saying the Marines "died in shame." (But he had that great 'aw, shucks' manner.) Eventually, the Marines were withdrawn, with little or nothing accomplished.

Sound familiar? This President also warns of dire circumstances, quoting two anonymous scholars as saying "defeat would produce an explosion of euphoria among all the forces of Islamist extremism, throwing the entire Middle East into even greater upheaval. The likely human and strategic costs are appalling to contemplate." And this President skillfully avoids all accountability, and implies treasonous motives to his political enemies.
Good idea, though, for Bush to ignore this history. notes following our Lebanon debacle, we suffered these terrorist attacks, in which one or more Americans were killed, over the next four years: hijacking of TWA Flight 847; hijacking of cruise ship Achille Lauro; bombing of Rome and Vienna airports; bombing of La Belle discotheque; bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. All on the watch of St. Ronald.

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