Thursday, August 23, 2007

vietnam was a victory

president bush yesterday spoke to the largely right-wing organization veterans of foreign wars and gave a muddled and confused speech where he compared his Iraq war to the one the US lost in Vietnam and in so doing, thought he was actually defending his politicies.
as the NYTimes put it today, the main lesson Bush has drawn about the Vietnam war is that it didn't last long enough.
the mind, well, boggles. first, that a man who did everything possible to avoid serving in Vietnam would now suggest it should have lasted longer. (Such an alternate history reveals the tantalizing possibility that Bush's name would be etched in that monument wall down in Washington: such a happier world we'd have now if only.)
anyway, the truth is that the mightiest nation in the world was kicked out of Southeast Asia, and the lesson that should be applied to today's conflict in Iraq is that the US has no right imposing itself on the free peoples of the world. While I do not celebrate the victimization of those poor American servicemen drafted to their doom, I do celebrate the defeat of the US by the Vietnamese people. The American attempt to prop up corrupt and brutal neo-colonial dictatorships and inflict its will on the destiny of the Vietnamese was properly rebuffed. Ngo Dinh Diem, Nguyen Van Thieu, Nguyen Cao Cy and all the other stooges of imperialism are not mourned.
the u.s. anti-war movement was a caldron--albeit a failed one, in the end--of domestic social change that gave us a better world here at home even if its agenda was cut short by the same conservative impulses that today channel social change into the laps of the democrats who, once again, will leave us limp with disappointment.
sadly in today's Iraq there are not the kind of revolutionaries like the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam who heroically led their people's resistance. but this doesn't change the fact that a US withdrawal from Iraq will be a victory for the world's peoples just like its stinging defeat was those thirty-odd years ago. May the last U.S. helicopters be airlifting Iraqi collaborators out of the green zone soon.

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