Thursday, October 30, 2003

Coming soon, to a theater of battle near you, Iraqification.

You know, I don't want to think Iraq is the next Vietnam, I really don't. (Tom Friedman doesn't either; he opines today that the Iraqi guerilla force that has arisen in response to our actions is less like the Viet Cong than the Khmer Rouge. How reassuring). But Dubya's crew keeps bringing in echoes of Vietnam-era strategies and rhetoric -- or perhaps I should say the Rumsfeld/Cheney crew, since they were around for Vietnam itself. It would be nice to see some variety. It would be nice, for instance, if this new policy created an effective force which could actually do the job on its own -- as opposed to the Nixonian "Vietnamization" strategy, which didn't work out quite so well.

Another thing that would be nice to see is straightforwardness about troop levels -- as opposed to the Vietnam-era business where highly publicized withdrawals were done in tandem with quite new deployments, so troop levels weren't actually reduced by much. They wouldn't do that again, would they? (via Atrios)

Friedman's line in full:

The people who mounted the attacks on the Red Cross are not the Iraqi Vietcong. They are the Iraqi Khmer Rouge — a murderous band of Saddam loyalists and Al Qaeda nihilists, who are not killing us so Iraqis can rule themselves. They are killing us so they can rule Iraqis.

As opposed to the Viet Cong, who were killing Americans so that Vietnamese could rule themselves? I must have missed all the stories about the vibrant multi-party political structure they established after the war. Sheesh...

On further reflection: Given the way his column goes on, Friedman could actually be trying to make the sensible point that the Iraqi resistance seems to be fanatical ideologues -- as opposed to the Viet Cong, who were nationalists. In which case, for once, he's got something sensible to say, and the problem is he said something else. Does this guy have an editor?


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