Sunday, October 03, 2004


An Appropriate Vietnam Analogy

David Gelernter, writing for the Editors of the Weekly Standard, draws the correct analogy between Iraq and Vietnam. The last two paragraphs, but read it all.

"Every combat death we sustain is a tragedy. All Americans mourn every one. Nonetheless: A long fight wins a different sort of victory than a short fight, a victory that costs more and is ultimately worth more. "What you have achieved," Wittgenstein wrote, "cannot mean more to others than it does to you. Whatever it has cost you, that's what they will pay." Iraq has cost us plenty, but the payment hasn't been made in vain. We have already gone far towards silencing the post-Vietnam slander that says America is physically tough but mentally and spiritually weak. We have gone far towards recouping a certain kind of credibility we lost in Vietnam--and American credibility is a precious substance; it can save lives by the million. If we had the credibility (or magic power) to tell the regime of North Korea, Iran, or the Sudan: Clean up your act or be crushed by American power, get to it, hop!--millions would rejoice. And Americans know it.

"And so if Kerry should succeed in convincing this nation that Iraq today resembles Vietnam circa 1968, he will discover that America today bears scant resemblance to itself circa 1968. Kerry may have learned nothing from Vietnam, but America has learned plenty."

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