Bush says it was a mistake to pull out of Vietnam


Is the President right? Would the world be better off if we had stayed the course in Vietnam?

Does this comparison provide support for his policy of staying in Iraq no matter what?

He didn’t say it was a mistake to pull out of Vietnam. He just said that pulling out of Vietnam had negative consequences, both on the South Vietnamese who suffered under Communist repression, and to America’s reputation in the world.

So when he says pulling out of Vietnam emboldened today’s terrorists, he did not imply that it was a mistake to do so? “Emboldening the terrorists” has been a well worn Bush catch phrase for misguided policy. How does it not have that meaning here?

He may be implying that the world would be better off, but all he’s actually saying is that bad shit followed our withdrawal. For all we know, worse shit would have happened had we stayed.

Aw hell no!

That may be all that he is technically saying, but I think it would be very very unlikely that he isn’t trying to draw a parallel to Iraq and make an argument for following through no matter what.

The guy’s got a lot of nerve. If he thought Vietnam was so important, why did he sit it out in Alabama and Florida?

I agree with you. He probably is trying to draw that parallel. And as a rhetorical device, given the apparent critical thinking skills of his general constituency, perhaps an effective one. I suppose my point, if I had one, is that he *really *isn’t saying shit. Like cherry-picking a “quote” from bin Laden. All of a sudden this guy is a good source of information?

What happened to “Iraq is nothing at all like Vietnam”?

C’mon. How is this statement even controversial? Bad things did happen after our withdrawal from Vietnam, after all.

The consequences of our leaving weren’t well understood at the time. Now that we can study Vietnam as history, today we would have no such excuse.

Well, I think you’d agree that all wars are alike, except in the ways they are different. :wink:

Really? Compared to what? How do you know the outcome we know is not the very best one possible?

It isn’t what he’s saying, it’s what he’s not saying. He didn’t say anything about what would have happened if we had stayed in Vietnam. He didn’t say anything about whether or not we should have been there in first place. He’s just cherry picking one little aspect of a huge complex event, and using it to give the broken ‘We can’t pull out of Iraq!’ record one more turn.

In this thread, a young Vietnamese Doper says the “Communist repression” has been exaggerated and sees no reason to regret the U.S. withdrawal. (WRT to its effects on America’s reputation/credibility, he offers no opinion.)

Perhaps the US shouldn’t have gone into Vietnam. :eek:

From Wikipedia:

"(the war ended) after more than 15 years and over 1.5 million people dead on both sides.

U.S. aircraft also conducted massive aerial bombing, targeting North Vietnam’s cities, industries and logistical networks. Cambodia and Laos were drawn into the conflict. Large quantities of chemical defoliants were sprayed from the air, in an effort to reduce the cover available to the enemy.

…the U.S. Congress never declared war on North Vietnam. Legally, the President used his constitutional discretion—supplemented by supportive resolutions in Congress—to conduct what was said to be a “police action”.

Popularized by the Eisenhower administration, some argued that if communism spread unchecked, it would follow them home by first reaching Hawaii and follow to the West Coast of the United States.

Ngo Dinh Diem was chosen by the U.S. to lead the South Vietnam…
Diem rigged the poll which was supervised by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and received “98.2 percent” of the vote, including “133 percent” in Saigon. His American advisers had recommended a more modest winning margin of “60 to 70 percent.”…
The CIA was in contact with generals planning to remove Diem. They were told that the United States would support such a move. President Diem was overthrown and executed…
The U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., invited the coup leaders to the embassy and congratulated them. Ambassador Lodge informed Kennedy that “the prospects now are for a shorter war”…
South Vietnam entered a period of extreme political instability, as one military government toppled another in quick succession. Increasingly, each new regime was viewed as a puppet of the Americans.

…revelations of the My Lai Massacre, in which U.S. forces went on a rampage and killed civilians, including women and children, provoked national and international outrage.

President Nixon took the opportunity to launch a massive secret bombing campaign, called Operation Menu, against their sanctuaries along the border. This violated a long succession of pronouncements from Washington supporting Cambodian neutrality…
Over 14 months, however, approximately 2,750,000 tons of bombs were dropped, more than the total dropped by the Allies in World War II. The bombing was hidden from the American public.

In 1970, Prince Sihanouk was deposed by pro-American general Lon Nol…
The coup against Sihanouk and U.S. bombing, destabilized Cambodia, and increased support for the Khmer Rouge…
As many as two million died during the Khmer Rouge genocide.

Drug use increased, race relations grew tense and the number of soldiers disobeying officers rose. Fragging, or the murder of unpopular officers with fragmentation grenades, increased.

At home, a generation of Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of military intervention without clear motives or objectives."

Or to sum up - 3.5 million people died and three countries were devastated in order to stop Hawaii going Communist. Well that worked. :smack:

Yeah, and he was born after the repression happened in the state that committed the repression and where it’s against the law to publically criticize the government. So, I don’t know if he’s the best person to cite there.

Don’t forget that the commies actually put a stop to the genocide by invading Cambodia in 1979 (not that their occupation was a cup of tea, either).

What’s even better is that by his references to the “killing fields” and “re-education camps,” Bush is clearly placing the blame for the Khmer Rouge on our withdrawal from Vietnam, not on our meddling around there (and in Cambodia and in Laos) in the first place. The sheer audacity and nerve of this speech is really breathtaking…

He also held up Japan and South Korea as triumphs of democracy, didn’t he? Is he attempting, in some way, to compare those two countries to Iraq?

Here’s the text of Bush’s speech. No sense in relying on the news story.

As glee has already reminded us, our fighting the war in Vietnam caused 1.5 million deaths in Vietnam itself, causing far more carnage and misery than the war’s aftermath did there.

Just like in Iraq today, we were going to leave Vietnam eventually. The only question was, how much carnage were we going to do before we left? Staying would have only increased that side of the equation.

And if there’s one unmistakable message for today from the “killing fields” of Cambodia, it’s this: if you’re already bogged down in a disastrous war, expanding it to other countries is only likely to make things worse.

For as glee also pointed out, it was Nixon’s ‘secret’ bombing of, and subsequent open ground incursion into Cambodia, along with its support of Lon Nol’s coup, that turned the Khmer Rouge from rebels without either a cause or much support, to an outfit capable of overthrowing a government.

The possible American military strike on Iraq that this Administration seems to be laying the groundwork for, will also have unintended consequences. We don’t know what they are, although some pretty damned negative consequences seem obvious.

Has he ever been, about anything of substance?

(The Dubai Port World incident was a minor flap.)

The Cambodian killings didn’t happen because we left Vietnam. They began in 1975 and thelast US troops left Vietnam in 1973 two years before. Is GW claiming that our presence in Vietnam kept the Khmer Rouge from taking control of Cambodia and that country was the only domino to fall? Had Nixon not messed around there it’s entirely possible it never would have happened.

Yes, things in Vietnam were bad after the US pulled out, but as has been pointed out by others they were also bad while we were there. The question is were we doing any good by staying there? Would our presence have made things better? And if so, at what cost to us and the Vietnamese?