Dean’s Foot-in-mouth Disease

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - December 14, 2005

“The idea that the United States is going to win the war in Iraq,” says Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, “is just plain wrong.”

Chairman Dean has not been at a loss for words since appearing on the world stage during his run for the White House in 2004. He has a history of saying some of the most extreme things, which usually are so outrageous you simply discount them as “the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind” (Gene Wilder as Dr. Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein).

For example: “... Republicans all behave the same and they all look the same. It’s pretty much a white, Christian party ...” 6/2005

“... Republicans have never worked an honest day in their lives.” 6/2005

” ... it’s been widely reported over the past several years that Republicans do target African-Americans for voter suppression. It’s very clear while there was no massive voter fraud, I concur with the conclusion. It is also clear there was massive voter suppression.” 6/2005

“I hate Republicans. Republicans are evil.” 6/2005

But this latest embarrassment to himself and his party is way over the top. He uses his position as chairman of one of the largest political parties of this country to advance the idea that America is weak, lacking dedication and prepared to cut and run. His prediction of the demise of the United States is ill-informed and infused with backroom politicking. He should be ashamed of himself, and owes every man, woman and child he offended a profusely animated apology.

One of the maddening strategies employed by Dean and other Bush detractors is comparing the Vietnam War to the war in Iraq. This must be one of the most inaccurate and disingenuous positions. To make matters worse, mainstream media seems to delight in promoting this supposed parallel. And to make matters even worse, many Americans accept this as rote. If it’s on CNN, it must be true. Yikes!

The elements which led to our participation in Vietnam are diametrically opposed to our efforts in Iraq. You can trace our involvement in Vietnam to our assistance to France. The Vietnamese were fighting to remove colonial France in order to gain independence. By late 1950, the U.S. was subsidizing about half the cost of France’s war effort. Four years later, the French were defeated.

That same year, 1954, Vietnam is split with communists to the north and the government of Ngo Dinh Diem to the south. America supports Diem. Fighting breaks out between the North and South. President Kennedy commits more support to the South and vows a response if fired upon. Prime Minister Diem is assassinated in 1964.

America’s interest in Vietnam increases with the Gulf of Tonkin incident, Aug. 2 and 4, 1964. The U.S. destroyer Maddux allegedly is fired upon while in international waters. President Lyndon Johnson asks for a resolution from Congress and he gets one. Congress gives him virtual unilateral authority to respond militarily. The bombing of Vietnam begins.

In subsequent years, our deployment of troops, planes and ships escalate. We see the Tet Offensive, the My Lai Massacre and other impactful events. In 1968, President Nixon announces peace talks with the North Vietnamese in Paris, and about a year later begins the first troop withdrawals. Despite the conference, the war continues and the U.S. steps up its bombing of North Vietnam. The battle continues for four years.

The end of the Vietnam war is Jan. 23, 1973. The last American personnel are evacuated in 1975.

Our incursion into Iraq began on March 20, 2003. We have been at war for approximately two years and nine months. Our first foray into Vietnam began in 1950 with a military commitment in 1954. We left Vietnam in 1975. That is a period of 25 years. Saying that we are in a quagmire in Iraq is not true.

In about 33 months since the first shots were fired in Iraq, a barbaric dictator, Saddam Hussein, has been removed. His imperialistic stance was confirmed with his invasion of Kuwait. He ignored the terms of his surrender from the Gulf War. He rejected numerous United Nations resolutions to prove he had relinquished weapons of mass destruction.

Hussein gassed and killed his own people with documented cases of horrific brutality, torture and murder. The Iraqi people were emancipated with his removal.

In a short amount of time, Iraq has held free elections, drafted and passed a new constitution and is on the threshold of becoming one of the few democratic nations in a land where monarchies, theocracies and dictators rule. It took the United States 21 years to pass our Constitution.

The defeat of the insurgency that desires the destruction of a free Iraq will be key. More than 100,000 Iraqi forces have been or are being trained to take responsibility for their own security. There will be more to follow. We will bring our troops home when Iraq is in a position to succeed. We will not abandon those we have promised to help. To do so would embolden our enemy, validate their twisted reality and recruit more to carry out their objective.

Their objective? To ultimately cause the downfall of Western civilization and the outright destruction of the United States of America.

Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha are wrong. We must not abdicate our role in spreading democracy and freedom into the most volatile and threatening part of the world. Thanks to the men and women in our military, we won’t have to.

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