Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 1, 2005
WAR: Go, Go Genocide!
The Minute Man notices that John Kerry now says of his legendary trip to Cambodia, "We delivered weapons to the Khmer Rouge on the coastline of Cambodia." Which would be interesting, given that the Khmer Rouge were on the other side. I'll credit a slip of the tongue here, but isn't it interesting that Kerry can't even remember whose side he was on in Vietnam anymore? I mean, hey, what's a little mixup when you're talking about the Khmer Rouge, who went on to perpetrate perhaps the worst (per capita) genocide of the 20th century (which is saying quite a lot)?
Speaking of Vietnam, Hitchens has an amusing column explaining why Iraq is no Vietnam from the perspective of someone who (like Hitchens) was an opponent of the Vietnam War. Interesting reading, although of course Hitchens leaves off many other reasons why the parallel doesn't withstand even momentary scrutiny, the most obvious of which is that there is no North Vietnam in this one, no half of the country controlled by the enemy.
One of the parallels that people forget, of course, is that U.S. participation in Vietnam ended with a peace treaty that settled the war on terms we could live with. The North Vietnamese then violated the treaty by re-invading the South in 1975, and the U.S. turned its back on its ally, sending the unequivocal message that treaties with the United States need not be respected - a message that pretty much destroys the case for negotiating with anyone, since without the will to enforce treaties, they aren't worth the paper they are printed on. Fast forward to the 1990s, and we had a replay of that, as Saddam Hussein repeatedly violated the terms of the 1991 cease-fire. We could enforce those terms, or we could yet again tell the world that we don't care who lives up to agreements with us. (I have yet to hear anyone who calls the current war "illegal" attempt to grapple honestly with the question of whether international law, or whatever other source of law you care to think on, requires nations to take violations of terms of a cease-fire lying down).