Fri 24 Aug 2007
Finally, this Wednesday, the so-called “president” invoked the Vietnam analogy in discussing the current Iraq fiasco.
But having been of military service age, as was he in that era, I must point out that georgewbush has no standing to speak authoritatively of that conflict.
A concise review of his record of the time makes this clear.
From a Febuary, 8th 2004 interview on NBC’s “MEET THE PRESS WITH TIM RUSSERT”:
Russert: Were you favor of the war in Vietnam?
President Bush: I supported my government. I did. And would have gone had my unit been called up, by the way.
georgewbush served in the Texas Air National guard from 1968 to 1973.
According to aerospaceweb.org:
“…ANG pilots served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970 through a volunteer program called “Palace Alert.” Palace Alert was an Air Force program that sent qualified F-102 pilots from the ANG to bases in … southeast Asia for three to six months of frontline service. This program was instituted because the Air Force lacked sufficient pilots of its own for duty in Vietnam but was unable to activate ANG units since Presidents Johnson and Nixon had decided not to do so for political reasons.”
bush applied for “Palace Alert”, but was told by his flight instructor he lacked the 500 hours of flight experience required. Palace Alert stopped accepting applicants before bush could have become eligible. He finished his ANG career with 625 flight hours.
The F-102 in which bush completed his training was phased out of service in Vietnam, beginning in December of 1969. The phase-out was completed in May, 1971.
So the aircraft in which bush was qualified was in the process of phase-out while bush was “volunteering”. His answer to Russert implies that he was part of a combat-ready unit; that he and his comrades just didn’t have their “number come up”.
In reality, he was part of a unit that could only send qualified volunteers on an individual basis. He knew full well when volunteering that he was unqualified.
His inclinations are clear from his “Application For [Extended?—obscured by apparent hole-punch] Active Duty With The United States Air Force”
On page 22, the form asks the applicant, “If I am selected for recall in a non-flying capacity, I hereby voluntarily request permanent suspension from flying status”. The applicant may have checked either “yes” or “no”. bush checked “no”, thus preserving the precious shield from combat of his de facto non-combat flight status. The next choice on the form is “Overseas Status”, to which he responded “do not volunteer for overseas.”
Much in the manner of the intelligence “failings” and “mistakes” leading up to the Iraq invasion that, we were told, mandated the attack, all of bush’s actions served to preempt his participation in a war of choice waged under false pretences. A war which he “supported”, as it were.
In that same interview with Russert, bush reveals his disingeniuousness. In refering to the failure to find WMDs in Iraq and the implications for his decision making process he tells Russert “…The evidence I had was the best possible evidence that he had a weapon.”
It leaves you wondering, is georgewbush the protege of Lyndon Johnson, or James Polk? The answer, of course, is yes. Although that’s not really fair to Johnson, a decorated WWII veteran, (there appears to be no record on Polk).
58,000 US service personnel paid the ultimate price for what georgewbush calls “support(ing) my government”.
Many of us who did not “support our government” and/or refused to accept it’s “right” to conscript us into it’s unjust war, stood our ground and ultimately prevailed. At least for that moment in history.
georgewbush hid under the bed and hid the bed up in the sky. But in siting Vietnam in the crass, self-serving manner that he did this week, he should enrage all who took a stand on the Vietnam war; whichever side that may have been.
georgewbush once again reveals himself for the arrogant coward that he is.
He is oftentimes accused of abysmal ignorance. Such as when Peter Galbraith suggested that two months before the invasion of Iraq, he did not grasp the division of Islam into two distinct major sects or, of course, the implications for the post-invasion.
In his remarks on the Vietnam war and it’s implications for Iraq, he does not so much exhibit ignorance, as a cunning capacity to manipulate it.
He told his select, supportive audience, the only kind he dares face:
“The lesson from Asia’s development is that the heart’s desire for liberty will not be denied.”
“One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens…”.
But to the broader public, the subtle message is that it is for him, by virtue of his high office, to judge for us the lessons of history.
Polls show the large majority, while they may not fully grasp the monsterousness of his mangling, willful misinterpretation of history know to place little verasity to his words.
As David Gergen said in a recent CNN interview:
“Well, he may well have stirred a hornet’s nest among historians, because there are so many differences between this struggle and what we faced in past, and I think by just invoking Vietnam, something he has tried not to do. He’s tried all along to say this is not Vietnam. By invoking Vietnam he raised the automatic question, well, if you’ve learned so much from history, Mr. President, how did you ever get us involved in another quagmire? Why didn’t you learn up front about the perils of Vietnam and what we faced there?”
The Buffalo News quotes Korean war veteran Jerry McDonough:
“He makes me throw up. Here’s the thing: All these past comparisons don’t have any relevancy to the situation today,”
Unlike McDonough, or bush’s own WWII veteran father, he should keep his mouth shut about matters he has not paid the price, either through experience or education, to comment on.
The purpose of this discussion is not to debate the merits of any comparison between the two wars, but rather to categorically read the current White House resident out of such discussion.
The Washington Post quotes the two Senators from Massachusetts as follows:
“Invoking the tragedy of Vietnam to defend the failed policy in Iraq is as irresponsible as it is ignorant of the realities of both of those wars,” said Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.)
“The president is drawing the wrong lesson from history,(the United States) lost the war in Vietnam because our troops were trapped in a distant country we did not understand, supporting a government that lacked sufficient legitimacy with its people.”
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).
Kerry, as we well know, actually fought in Vietnam. It was Kennedy’s brother, ironically, who got us involved in the first place.
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