When Bush says something really stupid, NPR seems compelled to restate and rebroadcast it as if it had merit. Here's Don Gonyea this morning: "When asked if Vietnam holds lessons for the war in Iraq, the President said one is that people want there to be instant success in the world but that the task in Iraq will take a while." This is followed with no interruption by a soundbite of Bush saying, "We’ll succeed unless we quit."
This soundbite is actually quite remarkable. Bush is clearly impressed with the growth and vibrancy of Vietnam [it's success] and someone needs to remind him [and listeners] that this "success" is there because the US military quit Vietnam [withdrew, left, got driven out]. The main failure of Vietnam is that the US didn't quit 58,000 soldiers and 3 million civilians sooner.
Then this afternoon on NPR's hourly news summary I had to hear Don Gonyea again giving the airways over to Bush telling us "that Iraq is going to take a while." But that wasn't all, Gonyea adds his own dishonest and unsubstantiated frame to the situation: "Critics of the Iraq War liken it to Vietnam saying both lacked clear objectives and strategy, but the White House says Iraq is different."
This is surprising. Critics of the Iraq War havent' spent much time trying to "liken it to Vietnam." Most longtime critics have focused on the specific criminal elements of this war such as the constant lies, the plan to control oil resources, the profiteering, the torture, etc. When critics have made connections between Vietnam and Iraq, it has not been to claim that the two wars lacked "clear objectives and strategy," but it has been to point out -- both before and during the Iraq war -- the moral bankruptcy of the objectives and strategies underpinning the US actions in both Vietnam and Iraq.