Sen. Ted Kennedy handed an irresistible sound bite to the media in his speech to the National Press Club this afternoon, some 32 hours before the president announces his new strategy for Iraq. Christopher Hitchens, an ardent opponent of the Vietnam War, has addressed this subject several times, most memorably in 2004:
A war fought with weapons of indiscriminate slaughter, and accompanied by racist rhetoric, with a conscript Army deployed against a highly evolved revolutionary movement is as different as could possibly be from a campaign of precision-guided munitions, with an all-volunteer Army, directed at the overthrow of a hideous and dangerous tyranny, and then taking the form of a drive for free elections and a constitution. If people say that it’s “reminiscent” of Vietnam, it means they don’t remember Vietnam…
There’s something creepy about the Democratic decision to hail the heroes of Vietnam, from Kerry to Clark, and to denigrate the extraordinary effort being made to salvage Iraq and to pursue and kill people who really are, unlike the Viet Cong, the common enemies of humanity. It’s trying too hard, and it’s inauthentic and hypocritical as well as point-missing. It would be as if the Republicans suddenly started talking, as that great veteran Robert Dole once did, about all the conflicts in American history as “Democrat wars.” That didn’t fly, if you recall, though it would have been a fair description of Vietnam.
Kennedy is promising to introduce a bill that would block funding for a force above the current numbers unless Congress approves Bush’s plan.
Update (AP): Fox says the first wave of new troops will be in country by the end of the month. If Teddy wants to defund them, he’d better do it before they get there.