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 Ann Coulter Reply

Published

 August, 2007

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 Ann Coulter - The President's Vietnam Amnesia Problem

What a Difference 1226 Days Make!

By Al Owens

QUESTION: Some people are comparing Iraq to Vietnam and talking about a quagmire. How do you answer the Vietnam comparison?
ANSWER: I think the analogy is false. I also happen to think that analogy sends the wrong message to our troops, and sends the wrong message to the enemy.

That was George W. Bush answering a reporter’s question during a presidential news conference on April 13th, 2004. Bush was clear back then that Vietnam had no parallel to the war in Iraq.

Well, what a difference 1226 days make!

On Wednesday, the President devoted the central theme in his war on terror speech, to “sending the wrong message to our troops, and sending the wrong message to the enemy.” He compared Iraq to Vietnam!
“One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms, like 'boat people,' 'reeducation camps,' and 'killing fields,'" he told the assembled group of veterans at a VFW convention in Kansas City.

Bush, who was a self-described “average student” when he got his history degree from Yale University in 1968, was giving his own history lesson about the perils of leaving Iraq too soon, by comparing it to Vietnam, World War II and the Korean War. I’m surprised he didn’t throw in that Cain vs. Abel thing!

By the time professor Bush stepped off the stage after the speech, pundits flew into action and began finding flaws in the professor president’s logic!

One of the main flaws, they claimed, was the self-appointed history professor himself.
That George W. Bush, who is widely believed to have avoided Vietnam, with his father’s help back in 1968 – can’t really be considered an expert on the subject now.

That a guy who somehow jumped to the top of a list of potential pilots in the Texas Air National Guard, after getting the “lowest acceptable passing grade” on the pilot’s aptitude test, shouldn’t even mention Vietnam in public. (Those pundits didn’t say that. I did!)

And don’t get me started on the Vice-Commander-in-Chief - Dick Cheney. He’s that guy who “had other priorities in the '60s than military service.”

Chief among those priorities? He spent his time finding ways to get five deferments so he didn’t have to go to Vietnam.

I would have liked to have thought it was some neophyte speech writer who came up with the idea to find a direct connection between Vietnam and Iraq, but according to the Wall Street Journal, it had been Bush’s idea.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I’ve always thought that there is one connection between the two conflicts that resemble each other.

That Vietnam was this nation’s biggest blunder of the 20th century. And that Iraq is now the biggest of the 21st century! But I’ve never thought the two wars could be part of some re-packaged argument that we should “stay the course” in Iraq.

Since that speech, there are retired generals and colonels lining up to take Bush’s Vietnam analogy apart. One claims that Bush’s grasp of the facts about the aftermath of the fall of Vietnam is faulty.

According to retired Colonel Jack Jacobs, who served two tours in Vietnam and is a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, that by claiming, as Bush did in his speech, that Cambodia fell because of a precipitous American withdrawal from Vietnam, the president has used a “bankrupt” argument to make his point.

Oh! Oh! Somebody who has eyewitness knowledge of the Vietnam is claiming that our historian president needs to go back to his history books and find the parts where the “killing fields” of Cambodia took place a “full two years after the U.S. military left Vietnam.”

But the president won’t re-visit those history books. He’s probably still only on chapter three of “My Pet Goat.”

Besides, speeches before the VFW are really only designed to show that the president supports the troops. They’re meant to restate the president’s case for war, by showing their applause lines on the nightly news.

Usually, he can get rounds of applause, just by the way he belts out the words, “The United States of America.” But somehow, the president stepped on a rhetorical landmine along the way.
“For the security of the United States of America, we must defeat them overseas so we do not face them in the United States of America,” drew the hoped for response. It’s like he hadn’t already said those words for the umpteenth time. (I’m not sure if it’s been a few more or less times than umpteenth. I don’t have the exact figure on that. All I do know is that only he and Dick Cheney are the only two people who seem to be using it these days.)

With Bush’s fractured sense of his own history (remember that “false analogy claim” in 2004), you’ve got to wonder if he should have done a little self-reflection when he told those veterans, “But history does remind us that there are lessons applicable to our time. And we can learn something from history.”

What I’ve learned is that our president just might say anything to make his point!