It was a matter of time before “Iraq = Vietnam” became “Iraq > Vietnam”, and just coincidentally, we seem to have arrived there at the very moment Harry Reid’s trying to get his anti-surge resolution past the GOP filibuster. There’s no political downside to him saying this: debating which war is the “worst” is as stupid as debating which minority has been treated the worst, but it’s a useful way of locating an issue rhetorically on the far end of historical badness. The point isn’t to get people to agree that Iraq is as bad as Vietnam, or pre-WWII isolationism); the point is merely to get them thinking that it’s a reasonable comparison. (U.S. News & World Report is using the same tactic in another context this week.) The irony? If we pull out and the mass slaughter starts in earnest, it will be.
But of course, no one’s calling for a pullout. The word of the day is “redeployment,” as you’ll hear in Reid’s wormy non-response to the following quote from the NIE, which Blitzer read to him just before the clip picks up:
“[I]f such a rapid withdrawal were to take place, we judge the Iraqi security forces would be unlikely to survive as a non-sectarian institution. Neighboring countries invited by Iraqi factions, or unilaterally, might intervene openly in the conflict and massive civilian casualties and forced population displacement would be probable.”
Nice that someone’s asking this question of Democrats, even if he’s not insisting too hard on an actual answer.