This video says about itself on YouTube: ‘A former Viet Cong soldier tells her story. Torture by US troops. Ravages of Agent Orange. Still she is hopeful.’
It would be amusing, if Iraqi civilians and US soldiers would not continue to die by the thousands as they do day after day, to watch how George W. Bush’s Iraq-Vietnam war analogy has brought trouble to Bush apologists like Christopher Hitchens, who have wasted so much time shrilly proclaiming that such comparisons are anathema.
From Associated Press:
HANOI, Vietnam: U.S. President George W. Bush’s latest effort to rally support for his Iraq policy has touched a nerve in Vietnam, where a previous American military intervention led to the deaths of millions of people.
In a speech to U.S. war veterans on Wednesday, Bush invoked the Vietnam War, saying that widespread death and chaos would envelop Iraq if the U.S. troops left too quickly, as he said happened when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam three decades ago.
But people in Vietnam, where opposition to the U.S. intervention in Iraq is strong, said Thursday that Bush had drawn the wrong conclusions from the Southeast Asian conflict.
“Doesn’t he realize that if the U.S. had stayed in Vietnam longer, they would have killed more people?” said Vu Huy Trieu of Hanoi, a veteran who fought against the U.S. troops in Vietnam. “Nobody regrets that the Vietnam War wasn’t prolonged except Bush.”
Vietnam’s official government spokesman offered a more measured response during a regular media briefing Thursday.
“With regard to the American war in Vietnam, everyone knows that we fought to defend our country and that this was a righteous war of the Vietnamese people,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung. “And we all know that the war caused tremendous suffering and losses to the Vietnamese people.”
Dung said Vietnam hoped that the Iraq conflict would be resolved “very soon, in an orderly way, and that the Iraqi people will do their best to rebuild their country.”
Although Vietnam opposed the U.S. intervention in Iraq, Dung stressed that ties between Hanoi and Washington have been growing closer since the former foes normalized relations in 1995.
In his remarks to U.S. military veterans in Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday, Bush said that a hasty retreat from Iraq would lead to terrible violence.
“One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like ‘boat people,’ ‘re-education camps’ and ‘killing fields [which, as most people, though not Bush, know, were in Cambodia, not Vietnam],'” Bush said.
Many people in Vietnam said Bush’s comparison was ill-considered.
The U.S. could not have overcome the will of the Vietnamese people no matter how many bombs it dropped, said Trieu, the Vietnamese veteran.
“Does he think the U.S. could have won if they had stayed longer?” Trieu asked. “No way.”
The only way to restore order in Iraq is for the U.S. to leave, said Trinh Xuan Thang, a Hanoi university student.
“Bush sent troops to invade Iraq and created all the problems there,” said Thang, adding, “Suicide bombing was unheard of before.”
If the U.S. withdraws, he said, the violence may escalate in the short term but the situation will eventually stabilize.
“Let the Iraqis determine their fate by themselves,” Thang said. “They don’t need American troops there.”
Bush was unwise to stir up sensitive memories of the Vietnam conflict, said Ton Nu Thi Ninh, former chairwoman of the National Assembly’s committee on foreign affairs.
“The price we, the Vietnamese people on both sides, paid during the war was due to the fact that the Americans went into Vietnam in the first place,” Ninh said.
The Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal: here.
Christopher Hitchens and the Iraq war in October 2007: here.
- Association supports AO victims (vietnamnews.vn)