Bush's Words on Iraq Echo LBJ in 1967 26 replies

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#1 13 years ago

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050921/ap_on_go_pr_wh/words_of_war

WASHINGTON - Bush officials bristle at the suggestion the war in Iraq might look anything like Vietnam. Yet just as today's anti-war protests recall memories of yesteryear, President Bush's own words echo those of President Johnson in 1967, a pivotal year for the U.S. in Vietnam. "America is committed to the defense of South Vietnam until an honorable peace can be negotiated," Johnson told the Tennessee Legislature on March 15, 1967. Despite the obstacles to victory, the president said, "We shall stay the course."

After 14 Marines died in a roadside bombing on Aug. 3, Bush declared: "We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. And the job is this: We'll help the Iraqis develop a democracy."

The two wars were waged quite differently even though they shared similar aims.

About 500,000 U.S. troops were in Vietnam in 1967 after a three-year buildup, compared with about 140,000 in Iraq today. Heavy aerial bombing was a primary U.S. strategy in Vietnam while Iraq, after the initial campaign of "shock and awe," has been mainly a ground war. The U.S. negotiated for peace in Vietnam, but there is no single entity with which to negotiate in Iraq.

"The differences are so notable that it would take too long to list them," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld remarked recently.

Knowing the long, painful and divisive Vietnam War ended with an unceremonious U.S. withdrawal and the fall of South Vietnam, administration officials have blanched at comparisons with Iraq. The administration declined to comment on comparisons between the rhetoric of Johnson and Bush.

Johnson's main arguments were much like those Bush has employed: War was justified to protect the U.S. and to encourage freedom everywhere. When faced with mounting losses on the battlefield, both presidents offered the dead as a reason to keep fighting.

"When a war is long-lived and the outcome is not demonstrably positive, the lines of argument available to a president are seriously constrained," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. "Democrat or Republican, 1960s or early part of the 21st century, you're going to hear a common rhetoric."

South Vietnam, politically unstable because of internal violence and corruption, stumbled toward elections to adopt a constitution and to select officials — not unlike the process Iraq is undergoing.

"Our nation was not born easily. There were times in those years of the 18th century when it seemed as if we might not be born at all," Johnson said in a speech on Aug. 16, 1967.

"Given that background, we ought not to be astonished that this struggle in Vietnam continues," Johnson said. "We ought not to be astonished that that nation, wracked by a war of insurgency and beset by its neighbors to the north, has not already emerged, full-blown, as a perfect model of two-party democracy."

Bush, too, has compared Iraq's difficulties in determining its political future to postcolonial America's.

In his radio address on Aug. 27, Bush said: "Like our own nation's founders over two centuries ago, the Iraqis are grappling with difficult issues, such as the role of the federal government. What is important is that Iraqis are now addressing these issues through debate and discussion — not at the barrel of a gun."

Bush has often linked the security and freedom of the United States to the war in Iraq. On Aug. 4 he told reporters: "We're laying the foundation of peace for generations to come. We're defeating the terrorists in a place like Iraq so we don't have to face them here at home. And, as well, we're spreading democracy and freedom to parts of the world that are desperate for democracy and freedom."

A secure and free America was tied to the fight in Southeast Asia, Johnson maintained. "What happens in Vietnam is extremely important to the nation's freedom and it is extremely important to the United States' security," he said from the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 15, 1967.

The question of progress amid a rising death toll dogged Johnson as much as it has Bush. In part, Johnson measured progress by the number of enemy soldiers killed and the much smaller number of U.S. troops dying in Vietnam. Other Americans in uniform would carry on, the president pledged.

"Be assured that the death of your son will have meaning," Johnson told the parents of a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor during a Rose Garden ceremony on April 6, 1967. "For I give you also my solemn pledge that our country will persist — and will prevail — in the cause for which your boy died."

Speaking to military families in Idaho on Aug. 24, Bush said: "These brave men and women gave their lives for a cause that is just and necessary for the security of our country, and now we will honor their sacrifice by completing their mission."

Bush remains optimistic about the outcome of the war though just four out of 10 of those polled favor his handling of it.

A loss of public confidence overwhelmed Johnson. By March 1968, he had decided someone else needed to see the war to its conclusion — and startled the nation by announcing he would not seek another term.

Very interesting article. I'll add more comments on it later, because I'm too tired now to type anything valid.




MR.X`

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#2 13 years ago

No, not really.

The situation is different this time around, even you must be able to see that. Yes, the wording is moderatly similar (as they both speak English). But in Vietnam the US lacked popular support at home and from a lot of the people they were defending.

In Iraq, the people want American soldiers there. Those that are blowing up our troops and innocents are either foreigners to those too slow to realize that they are better off voting in an election to get their way, not boycotting it.




Aeroflot

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#3 13 years ago

I don't really see many similarities. The US is not restricted to a certain combat zone, unlike in Vietnam, where the barrage of rules severely limited the combat zone. The US is able to freely engage targets, especially with Bush in charge, he doesn't care too much about individual freedoms (*not bashing anyone here*.) The US isn't relying on aircraft as much as in Vietnam. The only real similarities I see are the US is fighting guerillas and the war is unpopular.




Big {Daddy}

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#4 13 years ago

I'm not sure about the article, but I can draw a parallels between Iraq and Vietnam.

1. The foreign occupier is largely unwelcome, becoming more and more unwelcome the longer it stays.

2. Corruption is rampant. The occupiers don't trust the locals and vice versa.

3. Once the foreign occupier leaves, sooner or later the country will be governed by someone not on the "approved" list.




MR.X`

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#5 13 years ago

:cort:

The majority of Iraqi insurgents are foreign, coming through Syria and Iran. Apparently, the Iraqi insurgents of fighting age, late teens through late twenties, have mostly been killed or captured. According to my uncle, an infantry squad leader in Baghdad, a lot of the people they are capturing these days are high school age kids, between 13 and 16.

Corruption is pretty bad in certain areas, yes. But that is how any government in the world works. They are all corrupt to a certain degree. Ones going through desperate times are, of course, going to be worse.

Three letters: C. I. A. If someone like al Sadr or Zarqawi takes power, some agent will kill him. My best guess is he will be either from the Central Intellegence Agency or MOSAD, the Israeli intellegence agency. Its not like either country has had problems carrying out similar actions in the past.

Furthermore, the chances of those types of people gaining power are slim. The insurgents are mostly Sunni, and the violence taking place in Iraq is mostly in the so-called "Sunni Triangle".

Thankfully, the Sunnis are a minority, and the Shia are the majority. Since the Sunni minority was in power for most of modern Iraqi history, with Saddam Hussein being Sunni, the Shia will be the ones to lead Iraq in the future.

I say this primarily because the Sunni were the ones who refused to vote, and then bitched on and on because their group has no representation in the government. Then again, we could see a lot of violence against the Sunni when the US pulls out, in retribution to the atrocities committed against the Shia by the Sunni government during Baathist rule. Which could then slip right down into a Rawanda like genocide.

Edit: Fixed post.




RadioactiveLobster Forum Admin

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#6 13 years ago
1. The foreign occupier is largely unwelcome, becoming more and more unwelcome the longer it stays.

Wrong, if you talk to the soldiers over there (which the mainstream media doesnt) you would know that we are welcome, the soldiers say it is the most amazing thing....all you here on the news is the bad, the few that dont want us there.......

2. Corruption is rampant. The occupiers don't trust the locals and vice versa.

there is some, we cant trust everyone since the insugents are dressed as normal civilians, cowerdly if you ask me....using women and children as shields

3. Once the foreign occupier leaves, sooner or later the country will be governed by someone not on the "approved" list.

possibley, but since the people will now be voting on who is elected, it might not.....there still is a chance, always will be a chance


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Relander

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#7 13 years ago

USMA2010Corruption is pretty bad in certain areas, yes. But that is how any government in the world works. They are all corrupt to a certain degree.[/quote] Well, I presume Big {Daddy} meant that some areas are clearly corrupt, not talking about general corruption of all governments in the world.

Three letters: C. I. A. If someone like al Sadr or Zarqawi takes power, some agent will kill him. My best guess is he will be either from the Central Intellegence Agency or MOSAD, the Israeli intellegence agency. Its not like either country has had problems carrying out similar actions in the past.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Jimmy Carter's administration forbid the assassination of foreign leaders by law in 1970's?

[quote=S.T.A.L.K.E.R.]there is some, we cant trust everyone since the insugents are dressed as normal civilians, cowerdly if you ask me....using women and children as shields

Moreover, the Defence Secretary of Great Britain John Reid says that some insurgents have infiltrated into the Iraqi police. That's quite concerning as then they can cause even more damage and especially hamper the cooperation between Iraq administration and the Coalition, causing mistrust between these two.

Iraq isn't Vietnam for USA, but it still needs a lot of work, money and sweat to get it up and going again.




Artie Bucco

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#8 13 years ago

USMA2010:cort:

The majority of Iraqi insurgents are foreign, coming through Syria and Iran. Apparently, the Iraqi insurgents of fighting age, late teens through late twenties, have mostly been killed or captured. According to my uncle, an infantry squad leader in Baghdad, a lot of the people they are capturing these days are high school age kids, between 13 and 16.

Corruption is pretty bad in certain areas, yes. But that is how any government in the world works. They are all corrupt to a certain degree. Ones going through desperate times are, of course, going to be worse.

Three letters: C. I. A. If someone like al Sadr or Zarqawi takes power, some agent will kill him. My best guess is he will be either from the Central Intellegence Agency or MOSAD, the Israeli intellegence agency. Its not like either country has had problems carrying out similar actions in the past.

Furthermore, the chances of those types of people gaining power are slim. The insurgents are mostly Sunni, and the violence taking place in Iraq is mostly in the so-called "Sunni Triangle".

Thankfully, the Sunnis are a minority, and the Shia are the majority. Since the Sunni minority was in power for most of modern Iraqi history, with Saddam Hussein being Sunni, the Shia will be the ones to lead Iraq in the future.

I say this primarily because the Sunni were the ones who refused to vote, and then bitched on and on because their group has no representation in the government. Then again, we could see a lot of violence against the Sunni when the US pulls out, in retribution to the atrocities committed against the Shia by the Sunni government during Baathist rule. Which could then slip right down into a Rawanda like genocide.

Edit: Fixed post.

http://www.csis.org/burke/050919_saudimiltantsiraq.pdf




MR.X`

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#9 13 years ago

To Relander:

Yeah, Carter did do that. But Carter was a pussy. Bush isn't. Besides, when has the CIA listened to or obeyed the law?

Artie, don't get me wrong, I am no supporter of Saudi Arabia. Hell, if we had popular support from the people, which we do not unfortunatly, I would be all for invading Saudi Arabia. I say Iran and Syria because they are the ones actually transporting fighters into Iraq. There are too many American soldiers, as far as I know, in Saudi Arabia to allow that.




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#10 13 years ago

USMA2010No, not really.

The situation is different this time around, even you must be able to see that. Yes, the wording is moderatly similar (as they both speak English). But in Vietnam the US lacked popular support at home and from a lot of the people they were defending.

In Iraq, the people want American soldiers there. Those that are blowing up our troops and innocents are either foreigners to those too slow to realize that they are better off voting in an election to get their way, not boycotting it.

Of course they are different situations we're dealing with. In Vietnam, we were trying to contain Communism (even though Communism is prevelant in China, North Korea, and Cuba). And in Iraq, we are trying to "defend freedom". And by people do you mean "support of the American public" or "support of the Iraq citizens"? Because in America, less than half approve of the war as of now.

I say this primarily because the Sunni were the ones who refused to vote, and then bitched on and on because their group has no representation in the government. Then again, we could see a lot of violence against the Sunni when the US pulls out, in retribution to the atrocities committed against the Shia by the Sunni government during Baathist rule. Which could then slip right down into a Rawanda like genocide.

The problems between the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds have existed since the end of World War I. When the Ottoman empire fell, Britain created a country called "Iraq", putting all three groups under one roof. By the time 1930's roll around, Britain realized their mistake and hightailed it outta there.