Thursday, August 23, 2007

Coming out of a valley

Ok. I will spare you the usual mea culpa about not posting for so long. Let's hope I am heading for a peak.

What prompted me to write was an excellent essay on National Review Online by Peter Rodman. In it, Rodman analyzes President Bush's recent statements comparing Iraq to Vietnam. The president, rightly in Rodman's (and my) opinion, also included the Khmer Rouge atrocities as part of the legacy of Vietnam.

Rodman compares the situation in Vietnam c. 1972 to present-day Iraq. According to Rodman, there is now a consensus among military historians that at that time the balance of forces in Vietnam had shifted towards the South and against the North. It was exactly at this time that the US Congress voted to begin cutting off aid to South Vietnam.

The same thing happened in Algeria in the 1960s. Just as the French military had broken the back of the Algerian insurgency, public opinion in France had shifted away from continuing the fight.

In other words, just as the war was about to be won, the fickleness of public opinion shifted to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Please, let's not make the same mistake in Iraq.

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