Saturday, June 2, 2007

lyndon johnson, in 1964, on korea and vietnam. . .

watch this. . . and think about what
president bush and vice president cheney
have been telling you about the "south
korea model
" for our presence in iraq. . .

and. . . what you know about vietnam. . .

and. . . what you know about iraq. . .

and, now, what we learn from
the new york times [click on
the wordmark for full story]:

. . .Several visitors to the White House say that in private, [president bush] has sounded intrigued by what he calls the “Korea model,” a reference to the large American presence in South Korea for the 54 years since the armistice that ended open hostilities between North and South.

But it was not until Wednesday that Mr. Bush’s spokesman, Tony Snow, publicly reached for the Korea example in talking about Iraq — setting off an analogy war between the White House and critics who charged that the administration was again disconnected from the realities of Iraq. He said Korea was one way to think about how America’s mission could evolve into an “over-the-horizon support role,” whenever American troops are no longer patrolling the streets of Baghdad.

The next day, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates also mentioned Korea, saying that establishing a long-term American garrison there was a lot smarter than the handling of Vietnam, “where we just left lock, stock and barrel.” He added that “the idea is more a model of a mutually agreed arrangement whereby we have a long and enduring presence but under the consent of both parties and under certain conditions. . ."

And the analogy rankles analysts who believe the situation is far less similar to Korea than it is to Vietnam in the ’60s or Beirut in the ’80s, where American bases became the No. 1 targets, and a rallying call for extremists, in an endless guerrilla war.

“It’s not that Iraq isn’t vital,” said Leslie Gelb, the former president of the Council of Foreign Relations, and one of the many experts organized by groups opposing Mr. Bush’s Iraq strategy to shoot back in the analogy war. “It’s just that Korea bears no resemblance to Iraq. There’s no strategy that can create victory. . .

i n d e e d.

this much may turn out true -- if we
"accomplish" a korea-style detente
in iraq, it won't look so much like
the "failure" we suffered in vietnam. . .

but it will be occupation -- unending
occupation -- this, after the iraqi parliment
has called upon us to leave. . . [so much
for honoring the freedom we're supposedly
engendering in iraq. . .]

as the new york times, today, takes significant note,
there are a host of very important differences, korea v.
iraq, though -- differences which may immediately overwhelm
any usefulness in the analogy. for example, one difference
is that north korea is, and was, communist. and, it is -- and
was -- a separate nation -- but only after the u.s. and
the then-u.s.s.r. divided it in the cold war

[again, i thought we weren't going to
engage in "nation-building" in iraq.]

yet, we face an internal civil war now, in
iraq -- one with multiple factions: tribal,
ethnic and religious overlaps, and interlocks,
in each of the would-be loyalty groups. . .
so, where, exactly do messrs.
bush and cheney propose "we" will stand -- there is no
separate territory to "base" from -- oh,
that's right -- we'll create it, as
from whole cloth -- or perhaps more
appropriately, from whole burkas. . .


[with a sincere h/t here, on the
video clip, to]

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