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Tom Engelhardt: Yes, Vietnam Echoes Are Loud and Clear

Tom Engelhardt, in www.tomdispatch.com (April 16, 2004):

Optimism then, optimism now:

Air Force Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, Centcom's second in command in January: "We've watched the number of significant events (against coalition forces) decline considerably... I won't say we've turned the corner or that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but our soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors are winning over the Iraqi people. I think we're on track to leave behind a free and fledgling democracy when we depart here."

Air Force General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on April 15: "[The chairman] said yesterday that the deadly insurgency that flared up this month is ‘a symptom of the success that we're having here in Iraq' and an effort to undermine the country's transition to self-government.

"Asked at a news conference here whether the military had failed to counter insurgents' attacks in Iraq, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said guerrillas want to undermine several political successes, including the creation of the Iraqi Governing Council, the signing of a bill of rights, and efforts by the United Nations to devise an interim government that would assume power on June 30.

"I think it's that success which is driving the current situation, because there are those extremists that don't want that success," Myers said. "They see this as a test of wills, a test of resolve against those who believe in freedom and self-determination against those who prefer a regime like we saw previously in Afghanistan, or perhaps a regime like we saw previously in Iraq." (Sewell Chan, General Calls Insurgency in Iraq a Sign of U.S. Success, the Washington Post)

Success and ever more success; corners turned; light shining somewhere; progress advancing at an unexpected clip; the enemy visibly desperate; and, our President assures us, Vietnam not (repeat, not) an analogy, not even a thought, not ever to be spoken lest it undermine our troops in Iraq (or at least the generals running the show). So banish that analogy -– and poof! There it goes!