Bush's "Bizarre" Decision to Talk About the Vietnam War

The Times can't understand how Bush can cite the Vietnam War in defense of the Iraq War - even though the Times has been critically comparing Iraq to Vietnam for years.

Friday's lead editorial, "The Problem Isn't Mr. Maliki," perfectly demonstrated a media double standard- whileit's fine for the media to make pejorative comparisons between the Iraq War and Vietnam, when Bush invoked the Vietnam War Wednesdayin defense of staying in Iraq, it's a "bizarre" decision.

"Blaming the prime minister of Iraq, rather than the president of the United States, for the spectacular failure of American policy, is cynical politics, pure and simple. It is neither fair nor helpful in figuring out how to end America's biggest foreign policy fiasco since Vietnam."

The Times glossed over the millions of deaths that occurred after the United States withdrew troops and aid from Vietnam.

"The short-term sequels of American withdrawal from Indochina were brutal, as the immediate sequels of America's withdrawal from Iraq will surely be. But the American people rightly concluded that with no way to win a military victory, there could be no justification for allowing thousands more United States troops to die in Vietnam. Those deaths would not have changed the sequels to the war, just as more American deaths will not change the sequel to the war in Iraq. Once the war in Southeast Asia was over, America's domestic divisions healed, its battered armed forces were rebuilt and the nation was much better positioned to deal with the relentless challenges of global leadership.

After injecting Vietnam into the debate over Iraq at the beginning of the editorial, the Times lambasted Bush for doing the same thing.

"If Mr. Bush, whose decision to inject Vietnam into the debate over Iraq was bizarre, took the time to study the real lessons of Vietnam, he would not be so eager to lead America still deeper into the 21st century quagmire he has created in Iraq. Following his path will not rectify the mistakes of Vietnam, it will simply repeat them."

Perhaps the Times is mad because Bush, in his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, cited a rose-colored New York Times story from 1975 headlined "Indochina Without Americans: For Most, a Better Life." Columnist John Podhoretz explained in the New York Post:

"In the four years that followed that New York Times piece, more than 3 million Indochinese would die as a result of genocidal actions taken by the tyrannies that came to dominate them in the absence of the United States: "One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam," Bush said, "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.'"