Iraq War – Should we Leave? Part IV

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

In the last installment in this series I looked at how the those against the Vietnam war were an important part of North Vietnam’s strategy for defeating the United States and how our record since of cutting and running when faced with casualties, has taught our enemies, rightly or wrongly, that they do not have to win militarily. All they have to do to defeated the United States, is drag things out and wait for the casualties to rise and the anti-war forces will be able to turn public opinion against the war so that we will leave. Thus al Zawahiri‘s statement that “that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media” and Osama bin Laden references to the United State as the “weak horse.”

While the defeat of the US ended our involvement, the Indochinese people did not get the life, peace, and independence the anti-war activists had claimed would come. Quite to the contrary for those not only in South Vietnam, but Laos and Cambodia as well, the nightmare was just beginning. The spread of communism into the south was accompanied by tens of thousands of executions of our allies that we had abandoned. Hundreds of thousands were place into “re-education camps” where they were starved and tortured. Forced relocation and other techniques were used to bring the South Vietnamese into submission. Conditions were so bad that tens of thousands of people sought to flee the country by going onto the open sea in makeshift boats, where untold numbers died at sea in the exodus of the boat people.

Yet the worst was to come in Cambodia. When the communist gained control, they put in place the most sweeping social controls ever seen. The cities were emptied virtually overnight and people were forced into the country side. In what has come to be called the Killing fields, 2 million people, nearly one-third of the population of Cambodia before the takeover, were killed. The entire country essentially became one large concentration camp.

In the face of all this suffering, the anti-war movement who had been so concerned about the plight of the South Vietnamese during our involvement in Vietnam, for the most part turned a blind-eye. The fact that things not only got worse after we left, but got much worst was simply ignored. When it was finally acknowledged, often it was blamed on the United States in some bizarre twist of logic that if we had not tried to prevent the communists form taking over, perhaps they would have been nicer.

Again there are similar echo’s of Vietnam from those who protest the war in Iraq. The Crawford Update web site said, “the Iraqi people will give thanks when the unemployment rate of 60% goes down, the unannounced house raids on innocent homes stop and the last US troops have left their country.” U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) demanded an end to the American occupation of Iraq and the many injustices against the Iraqi people. One can only wonder why, if these people are really that concerned about the Iraqi people why they did not support the overthrow of Saddam, whose records of evil and crimes against the Iraqi people have been confirmed many times over with the discoveries of mass graves.

If the anti-war activist get what they seek and we do leave before the new Government of Iraq can defend itself, giving the terrorist a victory in “the greatest battle of Islam in this era,” will they still be concerned for the Iraqi people? When the terrorist begin to systematically slaughter all those who tried to help us, will they still be concerned for the Iraqi people? Or will they simply explain it away or even ignore it as the anti-war activist ignored the killings of those who had supported the US in Vietnam?

One of the problems is the changing nature of the claims. Now we are frequently told that “the sanctions were working” and if only we had let them work Saddam was contained. Yet this ignores the fact that even before 9/11 there were concerns that Saddam was effectively undermining the sanctions. These concerns were confirmed following the toppling of Saddam with discovery that the Oil for Food program had been thoroughly corrupted by Saddam and he was funneling billions to undermine the sanctions.

But even if the sanction were working, many who are anti-war now were anti-sanction then. In 2000, Hollywood stars now known for being strongly against the war, were placing ads in the New York Times demanding to “LIFT THE ECONOMIC SANCTIONS ON IRAQ NOW!” Ralph Nader and Rep. Dennis Kucinich were holding rallies against sanctions which were labeled “the ten-year long war against Iraqi civilians.” Noted leftists Ramsey Clark wrote to the U.N. in February 2001 that “Widespread and growing anger at the genocide sanctions and the criminal assaults against Iraq will turn into rage, violence and war unless they are stopped. The very first purpose of the U.N. is to prevent this scourge of war.” All of this while Saddam was filling mass graves.

While the anti-war forces like to cloak their arguments in concern for the people of Iraq, the history of Vietnam, and the recent history of Iraq tell a far different story. While their arguments have historically shown a great deal of inconsistency, there is only one thing that is consistent; they always that it is the United States which is at fault.

Jul 17th, 2007

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