With the president’s upcoming report to Congress on “progress” in Iraq just a few weeks away, the White House is, once again, preparing a new public-relations offensive to bolster support for Bush’s war policy. It starts today with a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ annual convention, followed by another address next week to the American Legion, which will reportedly offer a “broader context” to discouraging news out of Iraq.
Apparently, this context includes an odd comparison between the wars in Iraq and Vietnam.
As he awaits a crucial progress report on Iraq, President Bush will try to put a twist on comparisons of the war to Vietnam by invoking the historical lessons of that conflict to argue against pulling out.
On Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri, Bush will tell members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars that “then, as now, people argued that the real problem was America’s presence and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end,” according to speech excerpts released Tuesday by the White House.
But this is an obvious misread of history. Supporters of the war in Vietnam said a withdrawal would lead to Communists dominating Southeast Asia., just as supporters of the war in Iraq argue that a withdrawal now would lead to some kind of al Qaeda caliphate.
That, of course, is probably one of the least persuasive arguments the White House could offer. Predictions predicated on an Asian “domino theory” turned out to be wrong. As Josh Marshall explains why.