Battlepanda: It's looking a lot like Vietnam


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's looking a lot like Vietnam

Even CNN is getting into the spirit. Yes, they are late to the party, but still it's beautiful to see this on prime-time TV yesterday:
BLITZER: Some critics of the president's handling of the war in Iraq have likened the conflict to the Vietnam quagmire.

Our national correspondent Bruce Morton compares the situations then and now. Bruce?

BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, President Bush says the U.S. will stay in Iraq until the Iraqis can take control. If you're old enough, you'll hear echoes of that other war there.


LYNDON JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over many years, we have made a national pledge to help South Vietnam defend its independence. Since 1954, every American president has offered support to the people of South Vietnam.

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the decision I have made. In cooperation with the armed forces of South Vietnam, our packs (ph) are being launched this week to clean out major enemy sanctuaries on the Cambodian-Vietnam border.

MORTON (voice-over): The word back then was Vietnamization. When the south could defend itself against the communist north and the Viet-Cong guerrillas in the south, the U.S. could leave. And in 1973, Richard Nixon announced a peace agreement and the American prisoners of war came home.

Could the south defend itself? Many were skeptical. One reporter asked Henry Kissinger, "Doesn't that just mean not on my shift?" Kissinger scowled, but that's just what it did mean. The communists captured Saigon, as it was named then, in 1975, during Gerald Ford's presidency.

Why did U.S. policy fail? General Vo Nguyen Giap told ex-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, "It's our country," and Ho Chi Minh, though a communist, was also Vietnam's George Washington, who proclaimed its independence from France at the end of World War II.