Bush on Iraq war echoes LBJ on Vietnam, 1967

Bush, Iraq war, and Vietnam, cartoon

From the Google cache.

From a time when George W Bush himself did not yet compare the Iraq war to the Vietnam war, as he does now.

Bush on Iraq war echoes LBJ on Vietnam, 1967

Linking: 12

Date: 9/21/05 at 7:18PM

Mood: Thinking Playing: War, by Edwin Starr

From Associated Press:

WASHINGTON Sep 21, 2005 — 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.”

According to the BBC:

Former foreign secretary [Conservative] Sir Malcolm Rifkind has meanwhile called Iraq a bigger “disaster” than Vietnam.

Sir Malcolm said Tony Blair should resign as prime minister over the issue of Iraq as it was “widely recognised” he went to war “on a false prospectus“.

Fascist war propaganda in 1943, in The NetherlandsThere is a parallel with not just 40 years, but also with 64 years ago.

The “doth protest too much”, as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, style denials of any parallel between the Iraq and Vietnam wars remind me somewhat of November 1943 in the nazi occupied Netherlands.

Then, nazis put up posters everywhere with the slogan “1943 is not 1918”.

Indeed, in 1943 the German army did not yet suffer a final defeat like in 1918.

However, in 1945 the defeat would be much more devastating than in 1918.

Iraqi refugees today, January 2007: here.

How the Bush administration sold the war – and we bought it. We knew WMD intelligence was flawed, but there was a larger failure of officials, media and public to halt the neocon juggernaut: here.

This 1967 music video is the song ‘Superbird’ against Johnson’s Vietnam war, by Country Joe and the Fish.


10 thoughts on “Bush on Iraq war echoes LBJ on Vietnam, 1967

  1. It Takes a Potemkin Village*

    The New York Times
    Dec. 11, 2005

    WHEN a government substitutes propaganda for governing, the Potemkin
    village is all. Since we don’t get honest information from this White
    House, we must instead, as the Soviets once did, decode our rulers’
    fictions to discern what’s really happening. What we’re seeing now is
    the wheels coming off: As the administration’s stagecraft becomes more
    baroque, its credibility tanks further both at home and abroad. The
    propaganda techniques may be echt Goebbels, but they increasingly come
    off as pure Ali G.

    The latest desperate shifts in White House showmanship say at least as
    much about our progress (or lack of same) in Iraq over the past 32
    months as reports from the ground. When President Bush announced the end
    of “major combat operations” in May 2003, his Imagineers felt the need
    for only a single elegant banner declaring “Mission
    Accomplished.” Cut to Nov. 30, 2005: the latest White House bumper
    sticker, “Plan for Victory,” multiplied by Orwellian mitosis over nearly
    every square inch of the rather “Queer Eye” stage set from which Mr.
    Bush delivered his oration at the Naval Academy.

    And to no avail. Despite the insistently redundant graphics – and
    despite the repetition of the word “victory” 15 times in the speech
    itself – Americans believed “Plan for Victory” far less than they once
    did “Mission Accomplished.” The first New York Times-CBS News Poll since
    the Naval Academy pep talk, released last Thursday, found that only 25
    percent of Americans say the president has “a clear plan for victory in
    Iraq.” Tom Cruise and evolution still have larger
    constituencies in America than that.

    Mr. Bush’s “Plan for Victory” speech was, of course, the usual
    unadulterated nonsense. Its overarching theme – “We will never accept
    anything less than complete victory” – was being contradicted even as he
    spoke by rampant reports of Pentagon plans for stepped-up troop
    withdrawals between next week’s Iraqi elections and the more important
    (for endangered Republicans) American Election Day of 2006. The
    specifics were phony, too: Once again inflating the readiness of Iraqi
    troops, Mr. Bush claimed that the recent assault on Tal Afar “was
    primarily led by Iraqi security forces” – a fairy tale immediately
    unmasked by Michael Ware, a Time reporter embedded in that battle’s
    front lines, as “completely wrong.” No less an authority than the office
    of Iraq’s prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, promptly released a
    59-page report documenting his own military’s inadequate leadership,
    equipment and training.

    But this variety of Bush balderdash is such old news that everyone
    except that ga-ga 25 percent instantaneously tunes it out. We routinely
    assume that the subtext (i.e., the omissions and deliberate factual
    errors) of his speeches and scripted town meetings will be more
    revealing than the texts themselves. What raised the “Plan for Victory”
    show to new heights of disinformation was the subsequent revelation that
    the administration’s main stated motive for the address – the release of
    a 35-page document laying out a “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq”
    – was as much a theatrical prop as the stunt turkey the president posed
    with during his one furtive visit to Baghdad two Thanksgivings ago.

    As breathlessly heralded by Scott McClellan, this glossy brochure was
    “an unclassified version” of the strategy in place since the war’s
    inception in “early 2003.” But Scott Shane of The New York Times told
    another story. Through a few keystrokes, the electronic version of the
    document at whitehouse.gov could be manipulated to reveal text “usually
    hidden from public view.” What turned up was the name of the document’s
    originating author: Peter Feaver, a Duke political scientist who started
    advising the National Security Council only this June. Dr. Feaver is an
    expert on public opinion about war, not war itself. Thus we now know
    that what Mr. McClellan billed as a 2003 strategy for military victory
    is in fact a P.R. strategy in place for no more than six months. That
    solves the mystery of why Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey of the Army, who is in
    charge of training Iraqi troops, told reporters that he had never seen
    this “National Strategy” before its public release last month.

    In a perfect storm of revelations, the “Plan for Victory” speech fell on
    the same day that The Los Angeles Times exposed new doings on another
    front in the White House propaganda war. An obscure Defense Department
    contractor, the Lincoln Group, was caught paying off Iraqi journalists
    to run upbeat news articles secretly written by American Army personnel
    and translated into Arabic (at a time when American troops in harm’s way
    are desperate for Arabic translators of their
    own). One of the papers running the fake news is Al Mutamar, the Baghdad
    daily run by associates of Ahmad Chalabi. So now we know that at least
    one P.R. plan, if not a plan for victory, has been consistent since
    early 2003. As Mr. Chalabi helped feed spurious accounts of Saddam’s
    W.M.D. to American newspapers to gin up the war, so his minions now help
    disseminate happy talk to his own country’s press to further the
    illusion that the war is being won.

    The Lincoln Group’s articles (e.g., “The Sands Are Blowing Toward a
    Democratic Iraq”) are not without their laughs – for us, if not for the
    Iraqis, whose intelligence is insulted and whose democratic aspirations
    are betrayed by them. But the texts are no more revealing than those of
    Mr. Bush’s speeches. Look instead at the cover-up that has followed the
    Los Angeles Times revelations. The administration and its frontmen at
    once started stonewalling from a single script. Mr. McClellan, Pentagon
    spokesmen, Senator John Warner and Donald Rumsfeld all give the
    identical answer to the many press queries. We don’t have the facts,
    they say, even as they maintain that the Lincoln Group articles
    themselves are factual.

    The Pentagon earmarks more than $100 million in taxpayers’ money for
    various Lincoln Group operations, and it can’t get any facts? Though the
    30-year-old prime mover in the shadowy outfit, one Christian Bailey,
    fled from Andrea Mitchell of NBC News when she pursued him on camera in
    Washington, certain facts are proving not at all elusive.

    Ms. Mitchell and other reporters have learned that Mr. Bailey has had at
    least four companies since 2002, most of them interlocking, short-lived
    and under phantom names. Government Executive magazine also discovered
    that Mr. Bailey “was a founder and active participant in Lead21,” a
    Republican “fund-raising and networking operation” – which has since
    scrubbed his name from its Web site – and that he and a partner in his
    ventures once listed a business address identical to their Washington
    residence. This curious tale, with its trail of cash payoffs, trading in
    commercial Iraqi real estate and murky bidding procedures for lucrative
    U.S. government contracts, could have been lifted from “Syriana” or
    “Glengarry Glen Ross.” While Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. McClellan valiantly
    continue their search for “the facts,” what we
    know so far can safely be filed under the general heading of “Lay, DeLay
    and Abramoff.”

    The more we learn about such sleaze in the propaganda war, the more we
    see it’s failing for the same reason as the real war: incompetence. Much
    as the disastrous Bremer regime botched the occupation of Iraq with bad
    decisions made by its array of administration cronies and relatives
    (among them Ari Fleischer’s brother), so the White House doesn’t exactly
    get the biggest bang for the bucks it shells out to cronies for fake

    Until he was unmasked as an administration shill, Armstrong Williams was
    less known for journalism than for striking a deal to dismiss a messy
    sexual-harassment suit against him in 1999. When an Army commander had
    troops sign 500 identical good-news form letters to local newspapers
    throughout America in 2003, the fraud was so transparent it was almost
    instantly debunked. The fictional scenarios concocted for Jessica Lynch
    and Pat Tillman also unraveled quickly, as
    did last weekend’s Pentagon account of 10 marines killed outside Falluja
    on a “routine foot patrol.” As the NBC correspondent Jim Miklaszewski
    told Don Imus last week, he received calls within hours from the
    fallen’s loved ones about how the marines had been slaughtered after
    being recklessly sent to an unprotected site for a promotion ceremony.

    Though the White House doesn’t know that its jig is up, everyone else
    does. Americans see that New Orleans is in as sorry shape today as it
    was under Brownie three months ago. The bipartisan 9/11 commissioners
    confirm that homeland security remains a pork pit. Condi Rice’s daily
    clarifications of her clarifications about American torture policies are
    contradicted by new reports of horrors before her latest circumlocutions
    leave her mouth. And the president’s latest Iraq speeches – most
    recently about the “success” stories of Najaf and Mosul – still don’t
    stand up to the most rudimentary fact checking.

    This is why the most revealing poll number in the Times/CBS survey
    released last week was Mr. Bush’s approval rating for the one area where
    things are going relatively well, the economy: 38 percent, only 2 points
    higher than his rating on Iraq. It’s a measure of the national cynicism
    bequeathed by the Bush culture that seeing anything, even falling prices
    at the pump, is no longer believing.


  2. RE: USA: war in Iraq supporter becomes opponent
    Posted by:

    armonia’s ModBlog

    Date: 06/07/05 at 5:44 PM
    i have a friend hes also my ex bf, he was in iraq, and i told him that he could come to here and have a new life, and he did it, he saw a lot of his friends dyin, i know hes a deserter now, but hes alive and even if i dont talk anymore with him im just glad for him because his living his life now, hes on my city and living a new life, theres a lot of ppl dyin and thats not fair.

    RE: USA: war in Iraq supporter becomes opponent
    Posted by:

    Date: 06/07/05 at 6:02 PM
    Thanks for your contribution, armonia! Many people like your friend die or get crippled for life; while on the other hand the chickenhawks are extremely “courageous” behind their laptops and on fat cat salaries.


  3. When Johnny Came Marching Home

    David Rovics

    He got off the plane and looked at no one
    He walked down the tarmac in the direction of nowhere
    He followed the sun as it was setting
    Glad to be done with all the bloodletting
    There were no banners for the proud and the few
    Just workers in airports that do what they do
    Fuel up the planes, unload the bags
    Along with the coffins all covered in flags
    When Johnny came marching home

    The town he was from was a dead little place
    So he looked for a job somewhere off-base
    In this city of pawn shops and hotels and bars
    Gas stations, strip clubs, highways and cars
    He went to a dive, ordered a beer
    Said turn the music up loud so it’s all that I hear
    Try to rewind, turn back the years
    Stop the explosions between my ears
    When Johnny came marching home

    The jobs were all shit and the beer it was cheap
    And besides there was no other way he could sleep
    Still the screams and the guns would wake him at night
    And he was always on edge and ready to fight
    And when he closed his eyes he would just see the face
    Of a woman he killed in a far-away place
    Over and over, the white of her eye
    And her final and terrible terrified cry
    When Johnny came marching home

    After just a short time his health fell apart
    With an ache in the joints and such a thump in the heart
    And the doctor just told him it’s all in his head
    But he couldn’t stop drinking or get out of bed
    And with no place to go but the wrong way
    It was a shock to his ears when he heard himself say
    Over and over to anyone within range
    Hey mister, can you spare some change
    When Johnny came marching home

    How far is it from here to Nuremberg?

    David Rovics

    Is there a flag upon your house

    And a flag upon your car

    And a ribbon on your mailbox

    With the stars and bars

    Do you support the president

    And the war for oil

    Do you think your sons belong

    There on someone else’s soil

    How far is it from here to Nuremberg?

    Did you hear about Falluja

    And the hundred thousand dead

    Did you hear about the torture

    In the newspapers you read

    Did you pretend it didn’t matter

    Did you blame a few bad men

    Did you think your leaders

    Wouldn’t just do it all again

    How far is it from here to Nuremberg?

    Did you design the software

    That ran the engine in the tank

    Or were you pushing papers

    At City Bank

    Were you in Seattle

    Turning bombers into gold

    Or did you pull the trigger

    ‘Cause you did what you were told

    How far is it from here to Nuremberg?

    Or did you take your kids to school

    Go off to your job

    Send your taxes off in April

    To help support the mob

    Did you vote the lesser evil

    And think it’s all a shame

    Did you think that this alone

    Could take away the blame

    How far is it from here to Nuremberg?

    [To be removed from my email list just reply to this message and tell me to unsubscribe you.]

    David Rovics
    (617) 872-5124
    P.O. Box 995
    Jamaica Plain, MA 02130


  4. I get where your coming from but I think we all need to remmber we were attacked. And Bush made what he and his advisers condseder a wise destion. Mybe not right but how would you like if some one come in your home and shot up or blew up your famly. Dont try and tell me you would not go out and hurt/kill that person…..


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