Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Meaning of an Election

After many predictions by some opposed to the war in Iraq that the elections were doomed, we and the Iraqis pulled off a successful election. So of course, some had to find a way to find an angle that suggests doom.

The Daily Kos reported the contents of a September 1967 New York Times article that reports on a successful election in South Vietnam.

Although there is no commentary offered, for his audience the inference was clear: Vietnam was a bloody quagmire and defeat and there was a successful election in South Vietnam. Therefore we are doomed in Iraq and the quagmire charge today is clearly true.

Let me suggest an alternative interpretation. Perhaps we can conclude that the South Vietnamese wanted to live free of communist control. Perhaps we can conclude that we were wrong to abandon South Vietnam when they could have survived with continued aid from us to defeat the North Vietnamese invasion in 1975. Perhaps the boat people and all the Vietnamese who fled here tell us that those who protested the Vietnam war misjudged fatally who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. Just perhaps, the results of that election teach us the fruits of undermining our troops in the field by calling for an exit strategy that only means defeat and helicopters taking off with people hanging on the skids desperate to escape the tender mercies of the victorious enemies.

Perhaps the successful 1967 elections show us that the South Vietnamese wanted victory over the enemy and that support for our efforts was greater there than on our campuses.

Just perhaps, eh? Drive on. Victory is the only acceptable exit strategy.

It took me a while to articulate why the Daily Kos assumptions offended me. Screw him.