Friday, August 24, 2007

And What Will Happen If We Exit Iraq?

I quoted from this Webb essay back in February.

James Webb, circa 2000:

"...the aftermath of Saigon's fall is rarely dealt with at all. A gruesome holocaust took place in Cambodia, the likes of which had not been seen since World War II. Two million Vietnamese fled their country — usually by boat — with untold thousands losing their lives in the process. This was the first such diaspora in Vietnam's long and frequently tragic history. Inside Vietnam a million of the South's best young leaders were sent to re-education camps; more than 50,000 perished while imprisoned, and others remained captives for as long as 18 years. An apartheid system was put into place that punished those who had been loyal to the United States, as well as their families, in matters of education, employment and housing. The Soviet Union made Vietnam a client state until its own demise, pumping billions of dollars into the country and keeping extensive naval and air bases at Cam Ranh Bay.

Now James Webb, circa August, 26th, 2007, on ABC's This Week:

Moran: Senator Webb, you're a Vietnam veteran, won the Navy Cross there, and have made no secret over the years that you feel that America betrayed the Vietnamese people, and abandoned them to a cruel fate, isn't that what the president is saying here what will happen to the Iraqis if we withdraw?

Webb: Well, I think that I may be one of the few people in government who still on the one hand strongly believe in what we attempted to do in Vietnam, and on the other hand from the beginning have strongly warned against the strategic blunder of going into Iraq.

They simply are not comparable. If you look at even the opinions of the American people, despite the way that the Vietnam war ended, 8 years after the Gulf of Tonkin, in 1972, the American people by and large, in a 74 to 11 percent, still believed that it was important that South Vietnam not fall to communism.

The overall strategic objective was strong, the implementation became flawed.

In Iraq, we’re having a reverse situation. We have an overall strategic objective that was not directly related to what we were attempting to do in the war against international terrorism. We have good people implementing a bad strategy. It’s just not the same situation. … We’re not going to have stability in that region until the American troops are out of Iraq.

(Video here)

Not comparable? Hasn't Webb compared the two in the past? I see no sound rationale in his explanation that we can abandon the Iraqis now, but were wrong to do so to the Vietnamese then.

Judge for yourself whether Webb parsed his own words, or was just politicking. I think he sounds like a sophist.

More at Instapundit.

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