The Iraqi elections should have driven a stake through the heart of the Vietnam comparison. But don’t count on this. The vampire lives.
Columnist Christopher Hitchens spotted it again on the eve of the election:
“There it was again, across half a page of the New York Times last Saturday, just as Iraqis and Kurds were nerving themselves to vote. ‘Flashback to the 60’s: A Sinking Sensation of Parallels Between Iraq and Vietnam.’ The basis for the story, which featured a number of experts as lugubrious as they were imprecise, was the suggestion that South Vietnam had held an election in September 1967, and that this propaganda event had not staved off ultimate disaster.”
In a piece headlined “Beating the Dead Parrot: Why Iraq and Vietnam Have Nothing Whatsoever in Common,” Hitchens debunks the parallel in a must-read article.
“I retch every time I hear these principles recycled, by narrow minds or in a shallow manner, in order to pass off third-rate excuses for Baathism or jihadism,” Hitchens concludes. “But one must also be capable of being offended objectively. The Vietnam/Iraq babble is, from any point of view, a busted flush. It’s no good. It’s a stiff. It’s passed on. It has ceased to be. It’s joined the choir invisible. It’s turned up its toes. It’s gone. It’s an ex-analogy.”
But liberals can’t live without Vietnam.