A Veterans answer to Bush’s VFW speech | August 24, 2007

peters-bush-cart.jpg“And the question now that comes before us is this: Will today’s generation of American’s resist the allure of retreat, and will we do in the Middle East what the veterans in this room did in Asia”

G W Bush, 8/22/07, speaking to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars

I have pondered this question off and on all day, and my main conclusion has been, “what the f**k is he talking about??” The President, in his usual convoluted and twisted syntax, has managed to totally upend reality, confusing history and reality with the blindness of those unwilling to face the facts before them.

First, let us take on the question of whether today’s generation of Americans will “resisting the allure of retreat”.

Why is there even a question here?? To allure is to entice by “charm or attraction.” The demand by anti war forces for withdrawal from a war that never should have been launched is hardly driven by the “allure of retreat”. It is, rather, a recognition that what has evolved is a civil war that we cannot hope to manage and the creation of the conditions wherein Iraq has become a breeding ground for terrorists that never existed before. In his feeble attempt to paint the anti war movement with the brush of ignoble “retreat” Mr Bush completely misses the point. It is his imperialist decision to go to war over oil, the real cause of this war, that have brought us to the edge of disaster. It will take decades, if not longer, for the US to reverse the tide of hatred that this war has engendered among not just the people of the Middle East, but all over the world. Retreat? Hardly. The demand for withdrawal of combat forces is a rational recognition that remaining in Iraq can only do us and the peoples of that nation more harm than we may be able to recover from. That is not retreat, it is sanity in the face of chaos.

Mr Bush’s second point, will we do in the Middle East what the veterans in this room did in Asia” is a real stunner. What exactly is he talking about here? Should we start using Agent Orange to defoliate what’s left of the marshes of southern Iraq? Would he have us send waves of B-52’s to carpet bomb the “insurgent controlled zones”? Perhaps he means resurrecting Operation Phoenix, the infamous CIA operation that included throwing suspected Viet Cong out of helicopters in an attempt to get other “passengers” to talk. Should we find and commission another Lt Calley and send him into a village to totally wipe out the inhabitants??

Vietnam was a failure for the Unites States because, first and foremost it was a a War of Liberation. This a key distinction between what is going on in Iraq and the Vietnam War. Occupied for centuries by a succession of overlords, the Vietnamese people, United by Ho Chi Minh, first fought off the French, then withstood the onslaught of American military might to deliver a blow to US imperialist aims in South East Asia. They could not have accomplished this without the aid and support of the American, and worldwide, anti-war movement.

I cannot for the life of me sort out what Bush expects today’s GI’s to do in the Middle East that the VFW members did in Asia. There is a huge division among veterans of that war over whether what we did, and I am a Vietnam vet, was right or wrong, whether the precious blood spilled in the jungles there, even as it is now spilled in the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan was, and is, worth the cost. This is the question the recent editorial in the New York Times by 7 currently serving GI’s so eloquently asks. The answer, in my mind, is no. No, Mr Bush, it is my fervent and emphatic plea that we NOT do in the Middle East what the veterans in this “room” did in Asia. Heaven and all the prayers of the faithful will not save us if we do.

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