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January 31, 2005

On Déjà vu …

From our friend and frequent commentator Rick Oliver, via Walt Starr:

"United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting. According to reports from Saigon, 83 percent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong. A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam."

- Peter Grose, in a page 2 New York Times article titled 'U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote,' September 4, 1967.

Posted by Mike Gold at January 31, 2005 02:17 PM

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And somewhat ironically, one could argue that Vietnam is better off now than prior to our intervention; so that little escapade was actually a success! And Germany and Japan really won WWII. Dang. Where's Philip K. Dick when you need him?

Posted by: Rick Oliver at January 31, 2005 04:21 PM

Making lots of movies -- decades after he committed suicide!

Posted by: Mike Gold at January 31, 2005 04:23 PM

A good reply to the Vietnam=Iraq comparisons, by Christopher Hitchens: http://slate.msn.com/id/2112895/

Posted by: Bill Mulligan at January 31, 2005 07:26 PM

1) May I borrow this quote for my blog too?
I remember acronyms and names like ARVN and Nguyen Cao Ky. The impact of these Iraq elections will develop over time, but it's good to remember past mistakes, and the look & feel of propaganda.
2) Be warned -- Whatever he might have been before, Hitchens is now a NeoCON (ummm) Booty (nah) BOOT (that's the word) Licker -- there's no debate where his tongue is perpetually wagging.

Posted by: Michael Evans at January 31, 2005 11:11 PM

Hutchins' article is not particularly relevant here, nor is he a particularly unbiased journalist. The point is not to compare Iraq to Vietnam but to compare how the federal government attempts to present wars of dubious merit to the public.

The lasting effects of the Iraq election will hinge largely on what we do in the coming months/years. For a somewhat less simplistic approach than "Vietnam bad/Iraq good", check out Fareed Zakaria's article in Newsweek: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6885455/site/newsweek

Posted by: Rick Oliver at February 1, 2005 10:45 AM

"Be warned -- Whatever he might have been before, Hitchens is now a NeoCON (ummm) Booty (nah) BOOT (that's the word) Licker -- there's no debate where his tongue is perpetually wagging."

Yes, I should have warned folks that they might have their preconceptions challenged. My bad.

Posted by: Billl Mulligan at February 1, 2005 02:55 PM

Hitchens is certainly entitled to his opinions -- but if the Iraq war ultimately ends up being a complete disaster/failure, don't be surprised if five or ten years down the line he pens a tome entitled "The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld".

Posted by: Rick Oliver at February 1, 2005 04:02 PM

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