Vietnam? Non, merci.

Kevin Drum is silly as well.

He mirrors Sami Ramadani’s argument in the Guardian that the results of the election Sunday are meaningless, because they reflect a similar election in Vietnam in 1967.On September 4 1967 the New York Times published an upbeat story on presidential elections held by the South Vietnamese puppet regime at the height of the Vietnam war. Under the heading “US encouraged by Vietnam vote: Officials cite 83% turnout despite Vietcong terror”, the paper reported that the Americans had been “surprised and heartened” by the size of the turnout “despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting”. A successful election, it went on, “has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson’s policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam”. The echoes of this weekend’s propaganda about Iraq’s elections are so close as to be uncanny.

Hitchens does a pretty good job of demolishing the Iraq-is-Vietnam notion:

To begin with, Vietnam had been undergoing a protracted struggle for independence since before World War II and had sustained this struggle militarily and politically against the French empire, the Japanese empire, and then after 1945 the French empire again. By 1954, at the epic battle of Dien Bien Phu, the forces of Ho Chi Minh and Gen. Giap had effectively decided matters on the battlefield, and President Eisenhower himself had conceded that Ho would have won any possible all-Vietnamese election. The distortions of the Cold War led the United States to take over where French colonialism had left off, to assist in partitioning the country, and to undertake a war that had already been lost.

He goes on, and you should read it.

But the place where Iraq is most like Vietnam is in the fevered memories of the leftists my age and older, who recall their triumpunt day as the one when LBJ announced that “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”

Let’s make it simple.

Vietnam was, in orgin, a true anticolonial war. The Vietnamese had been colonized for centuries, and wanted to be free. They approached us to help them gain their independance from the French, and offered alliance. We turned them down, and they turned to the Russians.

Morally, there in no comparison.

Militarily, there is no comparison.

Politically, the comparison is maintained by my generation, and by the journalists and hangers-on who hope to relive the heady days of the March on Washington.

The fact that the end product was the Weather Underground appears to have escaped their recollection.

Kevin knows better, and has the self-awareness to waffle at the end of the post. I can only wonder what he was thinking when he wrote this; I hope he stops by and explains.

Henry Brighouse Farrell Doesn’t Believe in Bad Philosophy. I Do.

Over at Crooked Timber, Henry is being silly again…

He takes off from a review of a new book by Robert Conquest – The Dragons of Expectation, and a quote from the introduction:

“And we are told that a number of members of the Middle Eastern terror groups had originally been in the local communist movements – The members of [the Real IRA and the Shining Path], as with those in Italy or, for example, the Naxalites in India, were almost entirely recruited from student elements who had accepted the abstractions of fashionable academics. And the September 11 bombers were almost all comfortably off young men, some having been to Western universities and there adopted the extremely anti-Western mind-set.”

…and then Henry takes off into outrage:

[Conquest] makes some rather outrageous claims in the course of a general attack on leftist academics and internationalists. I haven’t read the book yet (I’m trying to get my hands on a copy),1 but if the reviewer is quoting him accurately, Conquest argues that a fair portion of the blame for September 11 can be laid at the feet of left-leaning professors.

But if he’s seriously trying to claim, on the basis of no apparent evidence, that leftwing professors in Western universities shoulder some of the blame for September 11, he should be deeply ashamed of himself. It’s a vicious, disgraceful slur, and it’s every bit as unacceptable as the claim that the West and the US had September 11 coming to them. Still, I don’t think that Reynolds or any of his cronies will be following their advice to the left and disassociating themselves from Conquest (indeed, judging by Reynolds’ dishonest and hate-filled post, I wouldn’t be surprised if he agrees with Conquest’s claims).

Well, it’s funny; I agree with some of Conquest’s claims, and think there is a significant body of evidence to support them.

Modern academic leftism stems has deep roots in history; from Heiddeger to Adorno & Lyotard. Those roots are shared with the modern Islamist movement.

Ali Shari’at, the Paris-trained Shiite theorist who was one of the leading thinkers of the Iranian Islamic revolution, translated Fanon and Sartre.

Fanon’s ‘Wretched of the Earth,’ published in 1961 predated Qutb’s ‘Signposts on the Road,’ published in 1964, and what I have read about the latter certainly suggest connections to the former.

Now I’m going to be bumming heavily if Henry finds this hate-filled; it isn’t. But I do say, and have said that the modern left has intellectual ties (what I call Bad Philosophy) to modern terrorist movements. That’s an arguable hypothesis.

Henry can sputter all he wants, but that’s not argument.

Dean for DNC Chair

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, and think that while the Governor has said and done some things that strike me as silly and opportunistic, that he’s made a few points which I think would make a profound difference in creating a Democratic Party with a future.

When he was running, he said something that I approved of profoundly:

“I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks…”

He got busted by the politically craven and correct and folded like a wet tortilla; that was a shame, and probably cost him my support.

But he’s saying the same thing in a different way over on his website:

Show up! Never concede a single state, county, district or even a single voter to the Republicans. We must be active and compete in all 50 states and work with the state parties to build a truly national party.

And that sits just fine with me.

Because even if he sets out doing it like he did Iowa – with a coalition of the pierced and the purple-haired leading the way – the reality is that a Democratic Party that’s deeply engaged in all 50 states is a Democratic Party that won’t be able to help beng shaped by the whole of America.

And that’s a thing worth yelling about.