April 7, 2004

Correction to previous post...

Dave Trowbridge points out in a comment that Kennedy's quote, mentioned in this post, did not mean the invasion of Iraq was a Vietnam. "...what Kennedy is saying is not that Iraq is a war that we will lose, but that Iraq is a war that will destroy George Bush as Vietnam destroyed Lyndon Johnson." I think Dave's got Kennedy's intention right; here's the context. (Quote borrowed from Mark Kleiman):

The result is a massive and very dangerous crisis in our foreign policy. We have lost the respect of other nations in the world. Where do we go to get our respect back? How do we re-establish the working relationships we need with other countries to win the war on terrorism and advance the ideals we share? How can we possibly expect President Bush to do that. He's the problem, not the solution. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam, and this country needs a new President.
I think Kennedy's going to be disappointed in his hopes, but it's legitimate political discourse.

By the way that speech diserves a thorough Fisking, but I get tired of whacking the same moles again and again. I'll just touch on one thing. Kennedy says:

By going to war in Iraq on false pretenses and neglecting the real war on terrorism, President Bush gave al-Qaeda two years -- two whole years -- to regroup and recover in the border regions of Afghanistan...
SO, A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: It's the year 2004. Bush's has sent our ground forces to Afghanistan, and left Iraq alone. Senator Kennedy speaks:
"...Ladies and Gentlemen, President Bush has chosen the correct strategy for the War on Terror, exactly the one I would have recommended. It's our duty as loyal Americans to give him and our forces our wholehearted support and encouragement. Remember, partisanship ends at the water's edge!"
Now, pick yourself up, drink some water for the hiccups, and I'll tell you what would really happen in our thought experiment.

The Honorable Gentleman from Massachusetts speaks:

...President Bush has neglected the real war on terrorism. He has sent our hapless soldiers on a wild goose chase through the Hindu Kush, from which Al Qaeda has of course long since fled. He has ignored the real problem of terror-supporting nations. In particular, may I remind you that President Clinton and Vice President Gore and the UN and a host of experts have warned us about the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein. Iraq is openly bankrolling terrorist groups, including ones that have murdered US citizens. He has documented contacts with Al Qaeda, who may be receiving aid from him right now, while our attention is distracted in that "grave of conquerors," Afghanistan.

By ignoring these looming dangers, President Bush gave al-Qaeda two years -- two whole years -- to regroup and recover in the fetid swamps of Arab despotisms. And by ignoring the UN and its 16 binding resolutions against Iraq, we have strained our ties with long-standing allies around the world -- allies whose help we clearly and urgently need...

Posted by John Weidner at April 7, 2004 7:19 PM
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