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.