Friday, August 24, 2007


I now suspect that Pres. Fredo mentioned Vietnam to stir up his base, part of a larger PR effort to promote the war and attack his opponents. One of the radio gasbags, Slots I think, mentioned the site Cadillac Tight approvingly and I found a post there that praises the Swift Boat Liars. (A perfect rebuttal to the Swift Boat mentality comes from Tommy Franks, another Vietnam veteran, who said Kerry was correct.) Historical revisionism is also popular with the wingnuts and the main point seems to be that we could've won the Vietnam if it were not for the liberals. Real historians have objected to Fredo's use of Vietnam, as I noted below and today I learned from Politico that the historian Predo referred to about Japan strongly disagrees with the comparison to Iraq:

Dower was decidedly unhappy with his 15 minutes of fame. “I have always said as a historian that the use of Japan [in arguing for the likelihood of successfully bringing democracy to Iraq] is a misuse of history,” he said when notified of the Bush quote.

He immediately directed me to a November 2002 New York Times op-ed where he outlined 10 reasons why “most of the factors that contributed to the success of nation-building in occupied Japan would be absent in an Iraq militarily defeated by the United States.”

“In the case of Iraq,” Dower said, “the administration went in there without any of the kind of preparation, thoughtfulness, understanding of the country they were going into that did exist when we went into Japan. Even if the so-called experts said we couldn’t do it, there were years of mid-level planning and discussions before they went in. They were prepared. They laid out a very clear agenda at an early date.”

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