Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Alternative universe

The Wall Street Journal bids farewell to Robert McNamara --

In historical fact, Vietnam was the liberals' war, begun by JFK, escalated by LBJ, and cheered on for years by giants of the American left before they turned against it ... As with Vietnam, American liberals also turned against the Iraq war after first supporting it. The crucial difference is that President Bush never lost his nerve. Despite the difficulties after the 2003 invasion and the terrible setbacks of 2006, he replaced his generals, sent more troops and embraced a new counterinsurgency strategy. The insurgency was defeated, and Mr. Bush left office with Iraq as a united, self-governing ally.

What this reveals is the neocon nostalgia for the "liberal hawk" shite that briefly became the "reasonable" position (inside the Beltway) in the run-up to the Iraq war. What it ignores is the role of Vietnam itself (along with the backlash against civil rights) in fracturing the Kennedy-Johnson version of the Democratic party. And the echoes of Vietnam in the sales pitch for the Iraq war. Real liberals were against both of them.

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