Jules Crittenden gives the President the speech he should give tonight:
I’ve heard all the comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam. George Bush’s Vietnam. The myopia is astonishing, even for me, George Bush, who you all think just isn’t that smart. But I learned something in school: People who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Didn’t you learn anything from Vietnam? Didn’t you see what happened when your predecessors in Congress, disgruntled and responding to public opinion polls just like you are, voted repeatedly to undermine an ally that was fighting for its survival and making headway against evil? There, I’ve said it again. Millions of people were murdered or imprisoned.
And then, those who wished us ill … the evil-doers … evil, evil evil … took advantage of our weakness.
Sadly, I rather doubt that the President has the political convictions to make such a speech. We’ll get another laundry list of largely meaningless domestic programs that will only further exacerbate the sad state of American government. Sadly, boldness is no longer a notable quality of this Administration.
Still, the President should lay it on the line. If we fail in Iraq, it won’t be a failure just for George W. Bush, it will be a failure for America. The political narrative of “Iraq=Vietnam” was never predestined — but was a self-fulfilling prophecy among those who at some level wanted America to lose for their own political gain. The future of the United States and indeed the stability of the world has been sacrificed on the altar of partisan politics. For all the talk now about how we needed a larger military there was no political imperative from either side for that to happen. The Democrats have done nothing but sit on the sidelines and complain and the Republicans have failed to lead. The Union is suffering because of it.
I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to believe that the only thing that will wake America up to the reality of today’s world is if the sort of terrorism that plagues Iraq or Israel moves over to our shores. What is truly sad is that each passing day in which American power suffers friendly fire from Washington hastens exactly that. President Bush would be well within his right to call that behavior out — sadly, he seems to lack the initiative to do so, and from his weakened political position, it would be unlikely to help even if he did.