From the speech:
And the larger purpose of our involvement has always been to help the nations of The Middle East become independent and stand alone, self-sustaining, as members of a great world community – at peace with themselves, and at peace with all others.
With such an Iraq, our country-and the world will be far more secure than it is tonight.
I believe that a peaceful Middle East is far nearer to reality because of what America has done in Iraq. l believe that the men who endure the dangers of battle fighting there for us tonight – are helping the entire world avoid far greater conflicts, far wider wars, far more destruction, than this one. The peace that will bring them home someday will come.
No. I’ve lied. The words are from LBJ’s Vietnam Renunciation Speech on March 31, 1968—the word “Asia” has been replaced with “Middle East”, and “Vietnam” with “Iraq”. Essentially, last night Bush gave us the same rhetoric as Johnson did 37 years ago, and we know how Vietnam turned out.
We’re fighting Vietnam all over again. Replace the word “communism” with “terrorism” and change some geographical names, and the mission, rhetorically speaking, is essentially the same. It should be noted that Vietnam actually DID fall to communism, but the dominoes did not continue to fall as the gloom-and-doomers predicted. Too bad Bush was too busy partying and drinking during that time in America’s history—he might have learned something the first time around.[Hat tip: Cynical-C Blog]
Actually, many have already noted the similarities in tone and rhetoric between Bush’s speech last night, and Nixon’s "Silent Majority" speech, i.e.,:
I can order an immediate, precipitate withdrawal of all Americans from Vietnam without regard to the effects of that action.
. . . Or we can persist in our search for a just peace through a negotiated settlement if possible, or through continued implementation of our plan for Vietnamization if necessary–a plan in which we will withdraw all of our forces from Vietnam on a schedule in accordance with our program, as the South Vietnamese become strong enough to defend their own freedom. I have chosen this second course. It is not the easy way. It is the right way.
It is a plan which will end the war and serve the cause of peace–not just in Vietnam but in the Pacific and in the world.
MORE THOUGHTS: It struck me as odd that Bush cited bin Laden favorably in support of his stay-the-course-in-Iraq policy:
Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: “This Third World War … is raging” in Iraq. “The whole world is watching this war.” He says it will end in “victory and glory or misery and humiliation.”
So, according to bin Laden, Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. And therefore we must operate under the same reasoning? Unfortunately, Bush thinks so. But is there any chance that bin Laden doesn’t really think that and/or was just merely being somewhat hyperbolic?