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Specter of Vietnam

August 24, 2007

Re "Bush cites history in retooled Iraq message," Aug. 23

President Bush said, "One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps' and 'killing fields.' " This forgets that it was our entry into Iraq and subsequent incompetence that caused misery and death to hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis. That wreckage is one of the worst disasters attributed to our nation. Bush also conveniently forgets that once we were out of Vietnam's way, it became a productive member of the international community.

The recent Bush-sponsored, three-mile, 100-degree foot race, in which he cheered from the sidelines, is an apt metaphor for the sideline cheering from Crawford as the Iraq disaster unfolded. Let us hope troops will not be sent into Iran to the tune of more cheering from the sidelines.

Mark Huberman

Los Angeles

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Bush argues that surrender is not an option. I remember a similar thing when I was a young man; we used to say, "Hey! Let's you and him fight!" Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were very careful to avoid risking their lives in Vietnam, but now when our children are in danger, with no end in sight, they insist that "surrender is not an option."

Absolutely incredible.

Thomas W. McCarthy

Chino Hills

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"Hell no, we won't go," chanted America's draft-age youth. Those sympathies included Bush, Cheney, Bill Clinton and many future senators and members of Congress, a war not considered worth dying for.

In a draft-free Iraq war, a "hell no, we won't go" attitude prevails today. There is no rush to recruiting offices in a patriotic frenzy to enlist. A worn-out military begs for relief not coming. The president says that leaving Vietnam was a mistake. It was a mistake to get into that war in the first place. Just like now, most Americans feel the Iraq war is a mistake. "Hell yes, let's leave" seems to be the clarion call today.

Ken Johnson

Pinon Hills, Calif.

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Because Bush is comparing his present predicament in Iraq with Vietnam, I await his reaction to a Tet-style offensive with interest.

Keith Nolan

Carrick-on-Shannon,

Ireland

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