Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Et tu, Henry?

Kissinger finds parallels to Vietnam in Iraq

An architect of the U.S. war in Vietnam more than 30 years ago said Sunday that he has "a very uneasy feeling" that some of the same factors that damaged support for the conflict there are re-emerging in the 2-year-old war in Iraq.

"For me, the tragedy of Vietnam was the divisions that occurred in the United States that made it, in the end, impossible to achieve an outcome that was compatible with the sacrifices that had been made," former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

Support for the war has dropped in recent polls, and criticism of President Bush's handling of the conflict has grown. The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, taken Aug. 5-7, found that 54 percent of those surveyed thought the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a mistake.

Kissinger said the United States faces a battle to halt the spread of radical Islam in Iraq, and it would be "a catastrophe for the whole world" if it fails.

Kissinger, who served as national security adviser and secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations, said the United States should remove any troops that are not necessary to the American goal of stabilizing Iraq -- "But we cannot begin with an exit without having first defined what the objective is."

There is the inevitable bad imitiation of Stanley Kowalski's Brando's "coulda been a contenda" speech, of course -- trying to revise history on Vietnam must be a nearly full-time job for him. And the fast walk past the fact that Iraq was the Arab country least hospitable to radical Islam until we hung the "welcome" sign for them.

But what is really significant here is the way Henry the K is joining the Republican exodus from Team Tinkerbell: he no longer believes, and he is trash-talking the Administration's absurd "hope-is-a-strategy" strategy. Accusing the President of waging a war without an objective is about as nasty a charge as a former Secretary of State can level.

Even if he felt this way a year ago, he couldn't have said it then. But the White House is now caught in a vicous spiral: they have too many problems to be able to punish apostates, and the emboldened lapsed believers just keep creating more problems.

Will the last one out the door please turn off the war?

Update: a reader points out that I had the wrong Brando character -- In "On the Waterfront," he played Terry Malloy. Kowalski was his character in "Streetcar." Mea culpa.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all John Kerry's fault -- if he had really been in Cambodia, we would win in Iraq, too.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Dr. Bloor said...

You know you must be excavating a whole new level of hell when a bona fide war criminal like Henry starts trash-talking at you, and you can't say shit back at him.

7:57 PM  
Blogger towardtruth said...

I am certainly no fan of K, but on this particular issue, I seem to recall something. Prior to the war, in the manufactured hysteria leading up to it, the Senate Foreign Relations committee held hearings on Iraq. A number of so called "experts" were called to testify on Iraq, including K. When it was his turn to testify, senators were candy sweet deferential to K, something I personally cannot stomach (he has more blood on his hands than even Bush as far as I am concerned.)

At any rate, I recall some senator asking K something along the lines of: "What are your thoughts on the occupation of Iraq?" I recall him answering something along the lines of: "the occupation of a moslem country with US troops? I do not favor this."

I remember noting that this was a very signficant moment. First, because in the midst of all the bellicose bs that was circulating before the war, here was a dissenting voice (no matter how slight) from one of the most bellicose hawks in history. Second, I thought, since all the Senators were so enamored with him and his expertise, undoubtedly, they would attach some weight to his opinion and explore it in further questions.

Needless to say, I recall that nothing happened after K said this. I don't think the press mentioned it, and they, and the Senators, went about their merry way manufacturing consent for the war.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Manmann said...

If a person lived and acted the way this country has acted in the last 3 Years, he would be arrested for asault, and premeditated murder. Is "The country" behaving like a Good citizen and understanding the laws of Karma(You reap what You sow) such a hard concept for everyone to understand? Of course nothing good will come of this "war". The US Not only broke International Law, But Gods Law as well by attacking someone who was not threatning us in any way. What Goes around comes around, You reap what You sow. This entire"administration" are Spritual Idiots.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Important post. I hadn't heard this anywhere else. But I must correct you: The "contendah" line is from On the Waterfront and Marlon Brando was the actor. Stanley Kowalski was Marlon Brando's character in Streetcar Named Desire.

2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Important post. I hadn't heard this anywhere else. But I must correct you: The "contendah" line is from On the Waterfront and Marlon Brando was the actor. Stanley Kowalski was Marlon Brando's character in Streetcar Named Desire.

2:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

never listen to word that con-man has to say. The failure of Vietnam was that it was an illegal war, an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation. Screw Kissinger and any war-hawk who try to place the "loss" of the war on people who didn't support that crooked administration. They all live under some misguided nation that the world should bow down to the interests of the US, which by their definition is corporate profit. Simply sickening. Screw them all. One of the many similarities between Iraq and Vietnam is that is was waged by a crooked administration. And I'm not just talking about Nixon. Johnson and Kennedy have blood on their hands as well.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kerry was in Cambodia. 3-4 times. DOuglas Brinkley confirms that. The smearvets just made all those lies of theirs up. The Cambodia questions was the only claim of theirs which wasn't 100% false. In fact Kerry was on the border of Cambodia Xmas 1968, not actually in the country. But he went there 3-4 times in the following months probably ferrying SpecOps for the Phoenix Program, secret CIA hit missions.

5:55 PM  

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