one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like "boat people," "re-education camps," and "killing fields."I'm not sure it was politically clever to make use of Vietnam in his speech. Anyone on the anti-war side can point to the throngs of refugees who've abandoned Iraq as modern day "boat people", which undermines his point.
However, I think his point about re-education camps is valid. I sure wouldn't want to have been an ally of the US after such a pullout. I have no doubt that America's enemies would be better treated following an American victory than would America's allies in the event of an American defeat.
But, Vietnam is not the most interesting analogy Bush made. Nor is Japan, every neocon's favorite analogy for the modern day middle east. What interests me is how Bush referred to the Korean War in a positive way, even though it was a war without a victor or without an end.
Today, we see the result of a sacrifice of people in this room in the stark contrast of life on the Korean Peninsula. Without Americans' intervention during the war and our willingness to stick with the South Koreans after the war, millions of South Koreans would now be living under a brutal and repressive regime. The Soviets and Chinese communists would have learned the lesson that aggression pays. The world would be facing a more dangerous situation. The world would be less peaceful.Is Bush trying to say that America could play for a tie in Iraq, that the war could be inconclusive? What would such a stalemate look like and would the American people accept that, be willing to accept the conditions of endless military presence and, possibly, low level casualty numbers? And, does this signal a willingness to consider a less than democratic regime, such as prevailed in South Korea until the late 1980s?
Instead, South Korea is a strong, democratic ally of the United States of America. South Korean troops are serving side-by-side with American forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
The answer to
Probably no 'undemocratic' option is being considered, but that's what occurred to me when I read the speech.