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Dear Kissinger, your record (and revisionism) on Vietnam cannot save Iraq

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 09:53 PM
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Dear Kissinger, your record (and revisionism) on Vietnam cannot save Iraq

Saving Iraq


16 September 2007

TWO realities define the range of a meaningful debate on Iraq policy: The war cannot be ended by military means alone. But neither is it possible to end'' the war by ceding the battlefield. American decisions in the next few months will not be able to end the crises in Iraq and the Middle East before the change of American administrations. Even while the political cycle tempts a debate geared to focus groups, a bipartisan foreign policy is imperative.

The experience of Vietnam is often cited as the example for the potential debacle that awaits us in Iraq. But we will never learn from history if we keep telling ourselves myths about it. The passengers on American helicopters fleeing Saigon were not American troops but Vietnamese civilians. American forces had left two years earlier. What collapsed Vietnam was the congressional decision to reduce aid to Vietnam by two-thirds and to cut if off altogether for Cambodia in the face of a massive North Vietnamese invasion that violated every provision of the Paris Peace Accords.

Should America repeat a self-inflicted wound? An abrupt withdrawal from Iraq will not end the war; it will only redirect it. Within Iraq, the sectarian conflict could assume genocidal proportions; terrorist base areas could re-emerge.

Under the impact of American abdication, Lebanon may slip into domination by Iran's ally, Hezbollah; a Syria-Israel war or an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities may become more likely as Israel attempts to break the radical encirclement; Turkey and Iran will probably squeeze Kurdish autonomy; and the Taleban in Afghanistan will gain new impetus. Countries where the radical threat is as yet incipient, as India, will face a mounting domestic challenge. Pakistan, in the process of a delicate political transformation, will encounter more radical pressures and may even turn into a radical challenge itself.

That is what is meant by precipitate'' withdrawal a withdrawal in which the US loses the ability to shape events, either within Iraq, on the anti-jihadist battlefield or in the world at large.


Exaggerated Claims Of Violence in Vietnam

Date: 08/04/2007
By John Kerry

James Taranto misinterpreted my words and misreads history ("'It Didn't Happen,'" Opinion, July 26). I know the tragedy that followed a tragic war. John McCain and I led the effort to locate American POWs and ultimately normalize relations with Vietnam. I traveled to Cambodia to help create a genocide tribunal to bring to justice the butchers of the killing fields.

But what did not happen was the region-wide war or immediate chaos predicted by many who believed we had to maintain our massive military presence in Vietnam. A brutal dictatorship consolidated power in Vietnam, the region's refugee crisis worsened and two years after we left Vietnam, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge launched a genocide.

Mr. Taranto mistakenly views the violence after 1973 as a direct result of our withdrawal. In fact, the violence arose from the conditions that led us to withdraw: a Vietnamese civil war we couldn't stop supported by a Cambodian insurgency we couldn't bomb into submission. It's horrifying that so many South Vietnamese suffered. But, even accepting Mr. Taranto's estimate of 165,000 Vietnamese deaths -- double that of most academic sources -- this is a significant decrease from the preceding eight years when 450,000 civilians and 1.1 million soldiers were killed.

We should not repeat the mistakes of Vietnam in Iraq, but let's have an honest debate rather than a hysterical one. The agony of exiting a quagmire is that there are few certainties and no good options. That choice was created not by the advocates for changing course, but by the architects of a disastrous war.

Sen. John Kerry
U.S. Senator (D., Mass.)

History and Kissinger

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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 09:23 AM
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1. Were you aware that Kissinger was the co-Grand Marshall of today's
Steuben Day Parade in NYC? (The other co-Grand Marshall was ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl.)

Couldn't the Grand Marshall Committee see the bitter irony of promoting a German(American) War Criminal as someone who positively represents their community?
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 05:51 PM
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2. afternoon kick
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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 05:51 PM
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3. Kissinger should be at The Hague in the perp box.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
4. McCain cited this editorial as being in WaPo, but still can't find a link to
it there. Another source.
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 12:43 AM
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5. Kissinger is like a neo-con. Consistently wrong on everything
Even the conclusion of his long-winded PHD thesis was completely wrong, and he's been wrong ever since. Why has anyone ever taken anything this megalomaniac blowhard has said seriously?
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