Dover Bitch

Monday, November 20, 2006


DB's first reaction to George W. Bush's comments in Vietnam last week was disbelief.

Standing in Hanoi, explaining that the lesson of the Vietnam war was not to quit... Really, could there be a dumber thing for a president to say while over there?

It appeared to this blogger in 1991 that the only lesson our country seemed to have learned from Vietnam was how to sell war to the public. Yellow ribbon bumper stickers, support our troops T-shirts, platitudes, Dulce et Decorum est...

They believe, Henry Kissinger believes, that the way you change the world is by keeping the American public clapping while you flex whatever muscles you have around the world and hope to get the job done before everybody at home figures out how horrible war really is.

This time around, it's been especially true. They've been saying it explicitly. Here's Dick Cheney on Ned Lamont's primary win:

The thing that’s partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.

And Ken "Cakewalk" Adelman in 2004:

"Iraqis can't defeat us. Only USA Today editorials and similar worrywarts can defeat us."

And now here's Bush picking the least opportune moment possible -- on a diplomatic mission to Hanoi -- to say the same thing. The lesson to learn from Vietnam is that we should've clapped louder and continued the killing.

As long as the American people are into it, there's no end to the possibilities! It doesn't matter how many lives are lost. It doesn't matter how much debt we rack up. It doesn't matter how many of our principles we abandon. It doesn't matter how much moral authority we piss away. All they care about is selling it long enough to get what they want.

Keith Olbermann effectively schooled Bush tonight in his special comment on Countdown. Olbermann went through a list of lessons Bush could have learned, any of which would have had the virtue of being an appropriate skull session.

Watch the whole thing because it is as excellent a special comment as Olbermann can deliver.

But there is one lesson to which Olbermann alluded, but didn't really deliver: The Domino Theory Is Bullshit

Atrios often asks why are we in Iraq. Of course, that's rhetorical. But the obvious answer is that a bunch of morons sat around in the 90's hatching schemes. And the biggest one they came up with was to set off a domino effect of democracy throughout the Middle East. They got the opportunity with 9/11 and they took it. But the domino effect didn't turn the world Red in the 70's and it isn't making the world safe for democracy today. It's a simplistic and bankrupt theory that should have been put to rest decades ago.

Maybe there's an even better reason to call dominoes "bones."

UPDATE: To be fairer to Olbermann, he said this:

The third vital lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: don't pretend it's something it's not. For decades we were warned that if we didn't stop "communist aggression" in Vietnam, communist agitators would infiltrate and devour the small nations of the world, and make their insidious way, stealthily, to our doorstep.

The war machine of 1968 had this "Domino Theory."

Your war machine of 2006 has this nonsense about Iraq as "the central front in the war on terror."

So he did, in fact, call the Domino Theory a bunch of nonsense. He just did not point out that the Domino Theory is alive and well in the small neocon brain. It's just that Bush thought he could tip the first bone.

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