Golly gosh, if it just hadn't been for all those people saying we had no business being in Vietnam, if it hadn't been for the press showing all those pictures of dead and maimed soldiers and civilians, if we had just had the political will to win, we could've shown those Viet Cong bastards what for! And by golly, we're not going to repeat that mistake. The true lesson of Vietnam is that we need to bomb the gooks, sand niggers, or whoever the hell, into oblivion, because there is no problem that cannot be solved by the suitable application of American military power.
Sounds a bit like the ravings of a street person who forgot to take his meds this year, but no, it's a pretty close paraphrase of Brendan Miniter's article in today's Wall Street Journal.
We can hope that [President Bush in his speech tonight] will mention Vietnam because that metaphor is getting hard to escape. Not because the U.S. is embroiled in a far off, unwinnable war that is somehow compromising the nation's moral character — although convincing us of that is clearly the goal of the critics who never tire of using Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and the Patriot Act to claim the administration is tossing civil rights to the wind. Those were the conclusions drawn by the antiwar left [during Vietnam] and ended up being apt as the pressure caused the U.S. to retreat and betray our allies in Vietnam. ... Rather the Vietnam metaphor is apt today because the U.S. is in a war it can win and is winning, if only those inside the Beltway would stop preferring defeat to victory and disgrace to honor. — Brendan Miniter, June 28, 2005, in the Wall Street Journal, emphasis addedMiniter's delusions are astonishing. The Ho Chi Minh régime was "oppressive," engaging in "continuing human rights abuses." Well, that's true, but the South Vietnamese régime was hardly a poster child for good governance. He goes on to describe the loss of "fewer than 2,000 people [in Iraq] in more than two years" as "an outcome that would have been dismissed as utopian before the invasion." I guess Miniter wasn't listening to Vice President Cheney:
Tim Russert: Do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly and bloody battle with significant American casualties?So a war that is still red hot, with daily casualties, is "utopian" compared to being "greeted as liberators"?
Dick Cheney: I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators.
— Vice President Dick Cheney, on Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
America was missing one crucial ingredient to win the Vietnam War: the support of the South Vietnamese people. The one crucial ingredient we are missing today is even marginal contact between the political leaders (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.) and the reality in Iraq.