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February 17, 2007
J.D. JOHANNES SAID IT BEST: "Support the troops. Let them win."
UPDATE: By contrast, Charles Schumer promises another Vietnam.
To some people, Vietnam wasn't a defeat, but a victory. To them, the right side won. And lost. Naturally, they're happy to repeat the experience.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Mickey Kaus thinks the Senate stalemate is "win-win."
MORE: Further thoughts on Iraq and Vietnam:
Okay, let's compare Iraq to Vietnam, in the terms Balko has chosen. Over 58,000 American troops died in 12 years in Vietnam. 3000 have died in Iraq in 3 years. At that rate, Balko will be waiting 57 more years for our troop dead toll to reach 60,000. By the very measure Balko invokes, it would appear that our leadership in Iraq has been far better than it ever was in Vietnam. Of course, by his measure our leadership in WWII must have been truly abysmal, since we lost over 400,000 troops in four years.
Iraq is not Vietnam and Vietnam was not WWII. We've had our share of competent and incompetent leadership during all three conflicts, and I won't argue that the lower death toll in Iraq indicates better leadership, but rather that measuring our leaders' competence and the worthiness of a war by means of relative death tolls is silly, you might even say "shameless", considering that the death toll has nothing to do with whether it is right to be fighting. The measure of a war should not be whether our leaders are competent, or how many people die, but rather, whether our goals are just and good and achieveable, and whether there is any viable alternative to war that will achieve the same ends.
So why do people who are opposed to the war in Iraq compare it to Vietnam? I suspect that the InstaPundit is right: "To some people, Vietnam wasn't a defeat, but a victory. To them, the right side won. And lost. Naturally, they're happy to repeat the experience."
And read the bit about the war as a "consensus identity narrative," too.