Aug 25, 2007
Iraq-Vietnam Speech Reflects Desperation
George W. Bush's invoking the Vietnam withdrawal and post-World War II American occupation of Japan to support the continued occupation of Iraq is of-course laughable on its academic merits. [Via the Poltico, see one Bush-cited historian's knocking down such a comparison in November 2002.]
To the anti-intellectual and authoritarian Bush administration, facts and history are malleable instruments that can be changed to fit whatever ideological and political objective is on the administration docket.
But the well-crafted and politically risky speech is revealing of the desperate situation in which the anxious administration fabulists and fantasists find themselves.
They well know that if the invasion and occupation were to continue into the 2008 elections and be perceived by the electorate in anything resembling reality, the war party would face losses approaching the 1964 Johnson-Goldwater election.
So now, Bush attempts to once again reinvent reality, create his own history, and have his talking points bounce around the rightwing echo chamber, while proclaiming that the administration cannot be held accountable by the American public today but rather can be judged only by history.
Nothing to lose at this point for the Bushies, might as well try setting the record straight (by their lights) on Vietnam for which one segment of the Bushies' base still maintains a vague I-bet-we-coulda-won-that-one-too feeling. [The Watergate-Vietnam reforms making the executive branch constitutionally accountable to the people's representatives could use some reworking too, the Bushies feel.]
And war frightens the hell out of democrats.
It's like the 1970s movie, The Longest Yard, in which the quarterback Burt Reynolds repeatedly rifles a football into the most vulnerable part of the male anatomy, killing a man (Packers great Ray Nitschke) though no one really wants to find out for sure.
It worked once, it ought to work again, said Reynolds, to the giggles of his teammates in the huddle.
Bush is throwing war at the democrats again. And the typical democrat today is no Ray Nitschke.
The Vietnam-Japan gambit meant to capture or at least confuse the imaginations of one depoliticized segment of the public was predictably ridiculed by those for whom some semblance of reality is still necessary.
But the Bushies don’t care what a bunch of historians and intellectuals think; the Bushies can spin their own history just fine.
Even as the specter of another grand, foolish military venture dances around Washington scaring many of the testicularally-challenged democrats who appeased Bush on Iraq, Bush knows in his heart most Americans believe him to be wrong.
But when the rain falls, one ought to truly hold his head up high.