Friday, August 24, 2007

Nye Onto Idiocy

Our Left doesn't like President Bush reminding American of how the Left betrayed our victory in Vietnam. Our Left doesn't like this because they want to abandon Iraq and so have every motive to deny that they betrayed South Vietnam or that this so-called betrayal had any bad effects after all.

Our Left doesn't understand Vietnam and surely doesn't understand Iraq.

Wehner reacts to an NPR interview with Joseph Nye the same way I did. Wehner quotes Nye, which matches my recollection, with offering this comparison:

But I guess the closest would be Vietnam in the sense that we've gotten ourselves into a war against the nationalistically mobilized population, which were not in the process of winning. And the difference with all analogies break down is that after we got out of Vietnam, the people who took over were the North Vietnamese. And that was a government which preserved order. And the problem in Iraq is who's going to preserve order after we get out? So like all analogies, it's imperfect. But I guess that would be the closest.

Even if you ignore our defeat of the domestic Viet Cong after Tet and the replacement of southern recruits by North Vietnamese recruits to insist that there was a nationistically mobilized opposition to us in Vietnam, to extend this to Iraq is ridiculous. There has been a Sunni-based nationalist resistance to the toppling of Saddam's regime. Perhaps it is chauvinistic because of its narrow appeal, but surely not nationalistic to imply that the Sunni Arab goals reflect Kurdish or Shia goals.

And second, is Nye serious in just tossing off that "preserving order" comment? He implies that it is a good thing that North Vietnam, after invading and conquering South Vietnam, imposed order with reeducation camps, despotism, and mass refugee movement with boat people and the high loss of life that went along with it. That was preserving order! Good God, people. This is an example of liberal compassion? (Oh, yes it is, in fact.)

Where does National Public Radio get these people? Already, they had another guest who thought the results of our defeat in South Vietnam for the region wasn't so bad and if we plan our retreat from Iraq, then the results will be just fine, too:

Yesterday on NPR, I was horrified to hear a story that said that we must plan for our pullout from Iraq thoroughly. Just like Vietnam, where proper planning prevented the worst from happening:

Supporters and critics of the war in Iraq predict that withdrawing US troops will lead to more violence there. But some say intelligent planning in Washington could avoid the worst, as it did when the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam. Anchor Lisa Mullins discusses the issue with Shibley Telhami, professor of political science at the University of Maryland.

The boat people, forced reeducation camps, the killing fields of Cambodia, a repressive and economically backward Vietnam, and a loss of US will for a decade were the result of planning that avoided the worst? That's just an amazing way to think. This is how the "reality-based community" thinks.

For people who think the Iraq War is the most ineptly run operation in military history and the biggest foreign policy mistake ever, they apparently have a mighty high threshold for what would have constituted the worst in Vietnam.

Of course, they'd have to to think that way to believe losing in Iraq is the right thing to do.

And this isn't restricted to NPR guests. Check out this writer, Michael Hirsh:

Yes, a lot of Vietnamese boat people died on the high seas; but many others have returned to visit in the ensuing years. Above all, we have learned that Vietnam and Southeast Asia were never really central fronts in the cold war (although Korea at the time of the outbreak of war in 1950, when Beijing still kowtowed to Moscow and before the Soviet Union and China split, might have fit that bill). The decision to pull out had very little effect on the ultimate outcome. America triumphed in the cold war because it had the right kind of economy—an open one—compared to Moscow and Beijing, and its ideas about freedom were more attractive to the states within the Soviet bloc than their own failed ideas were.

Good grief, is he still on a bong bender from 1971? He argues our withdrawal from Vietnam worked!

See? Not all the boat people drowned at sea! Some survivors today visit Vietnam, so the dead don't count! And ask other historians such as John Keegan about the effect of our resisting the Soviets in Vietnam on Europeans in thrall to the hidden Soviet hand of "Eurocommunism" then running wild in France and Italy. Speak about the decade of progress in Thailand and Indonesia and Malyasia that allowed them to endure the collapse of Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam in 1975, when in 1965 the results could have been far different. And recall the advances the Soviet bloc made in the 1970s in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America in addition to the victories in Southeast Asia. Victory did not seem so foreordained then.

Remember that in 1975, people in our country spoke openly of how our now obvious superior economic system would evolve into a socialism closer to the USSR. And recall how so many in the West denied our concept of political freedom was superior to the "freedom" supposedly offered by communism and socialism from the uncertainties of market capitalism.

No impact on the outcome? Yes, we overcame the impact of defeat. But there was an impact without a doubt.

Hirsh forgets much in his piece. I hope Americans are not similarly foolish or forgetful.

Idiocy. Pure idiocy. And if I wanted to quote all the idiocy I'd run afoul of copyright laws by posting every last bit including the byline. Hirsh has a lot of nerve taking a shot at the President's command of political science.

Even a British author sees the obvious results of the Left's domination of their party over Vietnam policy:

In historical perspective, the Democrats do not come well out of the Vietnam debacle.

Mackubin Owens has a fine word for the people who think that we did not throw away a victory we earned at a high price in Vietnam and mock the President's comparison:

Bugs Bunny had a name for people like this: “maroons.” And Alan Dershowitz once wrote a book about them entitled Chutzpah!

A good word. Still, I'll leave the last word to Scrappleface.

Our Lefties really haven't a clue, do they?

UPDATE: James Taranto summarizes that cost-free withdrawal from Vietnam:

According to a 2001 investigation by the Orange County Register, Hanoi's communist regime imprisoned a million Vietnamese without charge in "re-education" camps, where an estimated 165,000 perished. "Thousands were abused or tortured: their hands and legs shackled in painful positions for months, their skin slashed by bamboo canes studded with thorns, their veins injected with poisonous chemicals, their spirits broken with stories about relatives being killed," the Register reported.

Laos and Cambodia also fell to communists in 1975. Time magazine reported in 1978 that some 40,000 Laotians had been imprisoned in re-education camps: "The regime's figures do not include 12,000 unfortunates who have been packed off to Phong Saly. There, no pretense at re-education is made. As one high Pathet Lao official told Australian journalist John Everingham, who himself spent eight days in a Lao prison last year, 'No one ever returns.' "

The postwar horrors of Vietnam and Laos paled next to the "killing fields" of Cambodia, where the Khmer Rouge undertook an especially vicious revolution. During that regime's 3 1/2-year rule, at least a million Cambodians, and perhaps as many as two million, died from starvation, disease, overwork or murder. The Vietnamese invaders who toppled the Khmer Rouge in 1979 were liberators, albeit only by comparison.

In the aftermath of America's withdrawal from Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of refugees fled Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. According to the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, between 1975 and 1995 more than 1.4 million Indochinese escaped, nearly 800,000 of them by boat. This does not include "boat people" who died at sea, 10% of the total by some estimates.

And that's only the cost in Southeast Asia.

Like I've written, there is a price to be paid for our very vigorous domestic dissent. Don't ever be confused about that.