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22 August 2003

Salam Pax - and follow-up to 1968 all over again

The latest post at Where is Raed ? makes a nice follow-up to the issue of when and how should the coalition pull out of Iraq. I will quote him:
"Maybe we Iraqis did expect too much from the American invasion, we did hope there is going to be an easy way. Get rid of Saddam and have the Americans help us rebuild. I don't think like that anymore. I am starting to believe that the chaos we will go thru the next 5 or 10 years is part of the price we will *have* to pay to have our freedom. . . It is too painful to have to admit that the [burn it down to build it up] process is what we will have to go thru."
Iraq really is quite different from Vietnam. There were millions of Vietnamese fanatically loyal to Ho Chi Minh and he was never overthrown. The Americans made no pretense about rescuing a country from a tyrant or "nation-building" in Vietnam; there "our" single wrong-headed objective was to "save" a country from the evil ideology of communism, one they would never had embraced had the West not driven them into the arms of the feared and mistrusted Chinese by refusing to recognise or credit Ho's basic nationalist movement. Both Iraq and Vietnam had internal divisions and weaknesses that are a legacy of colonialism, but Iraq has more, and more dangerous, divisions, while Vietnam had more apparent weaknesses (having been a true colony, and ruthlessly exploited) although these "weaknesses" turned out to be what gave them the strength to defeat the West. And yes, I do believe Vietnam defeated the West, not just the US. So it is not so much that "we" "lost" Vietnam (which we never had) but that Vietnam defeated its oppressors one by one and finally, beat off the US. Vietnam did also go through terrible chaos after the departure of the US, but they came through it and are now a strong emerging economy and an accepted part of the international community.
Whew, what a rant. I am quite shagged out and will need a nap now. We impending grannies have to harbour our energy.

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