Iraq to be abandoned, as Vietnam was?

November 11, 2006

This article by David Warren caught my eye, via Pajamas Media.

If Iraq is abandoned, the credibility of America and the West is lost. Iran’s hopes of regional hegemony are assured. The Americans will have cut and run after enduring less than one-twentieth of the casualties they suffered in Vietnam; and from a battle more consequential, for it is against an Islamist enemy that is rising, instead of a Communist enemy in decline.

It was a Democrat-controlled Congress that decided to sink free South Vietnam, by cutting off its supplies even of rifle ammunition after the peace treaty signed by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho in 1973. It was Congress that ordered all U.S. bombing halted — air strikes that could have made mincemeat of the regular North Vietnamese army, marching openly along the South’s main highways in 1974. The U.S. never lost the war militarily, and could easily have won it without self-imposed restraints. But the enemy was more ruthless, and the allied will to fight evaporated.

I think he may be right, but with a twist. The Democrats have handed the hard heads in the Bush Administration a huge strategic plus by winning both houses of Congress. For at least two years, whatever the rhetoric, the Administration has been desperately casting around for a way to get out of Iraq without publicly sacrificing the honour of the Republic. Until now they have needed at least a figleaf behind which to retreat with a modicum of self-respect. No longer.

Both Iran and al Qa’ida know exactly what the Democrat victory foreshadows. That’s why they are celebrating it.

For now the Democrats will make the continuing prosecution of the war impossible, with endless inquiries, investigations and subpoenas, until they force the decision to bring the troops home. Unimaginable mayhem will follow: but the Republicans will be able to say, “Don’t blame us. The Democrats made us do it.”

So the hard heads in Washington will be sighing with grim relief, reminded once more, as Arthur Koestler once remarked, that Machiavelli’s The Prince remains the only real political handbook.

Addendum: The Vietnam analogy has occurred to Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, too. These guys are no fools and they plot our weaknesses closely. Here he is on al Jazeera on 31 October.

But I would like to tell you clearly… I am one of those people who see a very clear picture. In our childhood… When we were young boys… I cannot forget the sight of the American forces leaving Vietnam in helicopters, which carried their officers and soldiers. Some Vietnamese, who had fought alongside the Americans, tried to climb into these helicopters, but the [Americans] threw them to the ground, abandoned them, and left. This is the sight I anticipate in our region, but I am not saying it will happen in months. It will take years. The Americans will gather their belongings and leave this region – the entire region. They have no future whatsoever in our region. They will leave the Middle East, and the Arab and Islamic worlds, like they left Vietnam. I advise all those who place their trust in the Americans to learn the lesson of Vietnam, and to learn the lesson of the South Lebanese Army with the Israelis, and to know that when the Americans lose this war – and lose it they will, Allah willing – they will abandon them to their fate, just like they did to all those who placed their trust in them throughout history.

Scary that our enemies may know us better than we know ourselves.


One comment

  1. Nasrallah is an idiot: American influence and strategic presence will end in the middle east when the Saudis turn off the lights on the last rig in the Ghawar oilfield. The current cockup in Iraq by the Bush administration doesn’t change that.

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