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May 08, 2006

VIETNAM

Iraqvietnam

Nadir:  An extreme state of adversity; the lowest point of anything.

***

Surely, informed analysts could go on endlessly over how the Iraq campaign differs from the Vietnam experience.  Still, as the present engagement continues to deteriorate, there must be a threshold upon which the comparison commands greater relevance.

Maybe we're near that point.

The LAT's Borzou Daragahi -- one of the elite news reporters on the Iraq beat -- called this weekend's helicopter assault and subsequent riot in Basra: "...a nadir in relations between Britain's 8,500 soldiers in Iraq's south and Basra's Shiite Muslim population."

Reportedly, the situation in the South between British forces and Shiite leaders has been alternating for weeks between worse and less worse.  Because the two sides found the means to communicate last week, things were less worse.  This weekend, however, after a British helicopter was shot down over an affluent Basra residential neighborhood, and Shiite youth -- encouraged by residents -- attacked arriving British troops and armor with molotov cocktails, things looked pretty desperate.

(Probably not coincidentally, the piece Daragahi contributed to the LAT front page just the day before was titled Iraq's Shiites Now Chafe at American Presence.)

I don't remember much about the South East Asian War -- except its interminability.  I  do have some recollection about the end, though.  It was like the effort -- having taken up almost endless time, resources and human capital -- suddenly suffocated.

The Administration expects coherence to ultimately reveal itself.  But, what if the writing is already on the wall?  What if chaos -- which dictated our erasure in Vietnam -- has perfect consistency?

(image 1; Yuri Kozyrev.  July 2004. Sadr City. Photo essay: Iraqi Voices.  time.com.)

Comments

The "M" is there if you look carefully, so it's a complete Vietnam, after all. (That guy looks like he's really winding up for a pitch!) Since I had a whiff of teargas during Vietnam demonstrations, I hereby officially state: It's exactly the same. (One, two, three what're we fightin' for...)

My question. Where are the kids rioting in the streets these days? I guess since they aren't required by law to go, they don't care too much. Even if they did, the Repubs would just hire the job out to contractors.

That's interesting... it says (in English and Arabic) Vietnam Street. Which does seem like a turning point, because Iraqis used to compare themselves to the Palestinians - i.e., living under occupation. But now if they're comparing Iraq to Vietnam, that probably means that they feel that they're going to be rid of that occupation sometime soon. Or at least that they're going to be directly fighting the occupiers more. (That helicopter incident has also been compared to Somalia, which is known as another example of the Americans turning around and leaving.)

I don't know where the protesters are, either - not only in the U.S. but in the U.K., too. They should be protesting not only about Iraq, but about the insane idea of attacking Iran.

I think the protesters are here. Maybe not in quite the numbers, nor protesting with quite the frequency, of the 60s and 70s, but here. I think a big part of what has changed is the media. In the days of the Vietnam War, we had a media that knew its duty to report on the demonstrations; these days, it is beholden to the same interests that drive the administration. And they don't want to see demonstrations on their TV screens.

The fact that there's no visibly strident anti-war movement against the war in Iraq makes the opposition to the war all the more potent, paradoxically enough. There are no visible demonstrators for the Administration to demonize. They tried to go after Cindy Sheehan and ended up shooting themselves in the foot. The Fall of Saigon came when Congress cut off the war's funding. I wonder what the Fall of Bagdad will look like.

The photo above is yet another one of seemingly rootless children--the only Iraqis willing to allow themselves to be photographed, perhaps?

Well, hell. They ought to just scribble it out and write PARADISE. That ought to fix things.

So, who wrote that on the wall? These kids may have more knowledge of Vietna* than any Americans in Ira* these days.

Are there brothels in Iraq? I think not, so none of the children will be scorned for being half-American. Maybe because the pregnant women will be killed before the babies are born?

And besides no jungle, I think it was documented in Fallujah that we used something akin to napalm.

I guess we should be glad it doesn't say "MaiLai Str." Oh, that's around the corner.

The meaning of courage?
The angry writings on the walls in Iraq!
The children's silent suffering from lack of basic needs we take for granted, including happiness!
The protests by Iraqi in face of occupation forces.
The mothers, fathers, families going on in the face of bloody adversity!
The protests, resistance and speaking out!
These are paid for dearly in lives! They have courage!

The peaceful protests in countries whose governments take part and support the occupation and war on Iraq cannot be called courageous! These types of parades are feelings of good notions that we are apart from the evil! We are not! and it is not a courage, nor a strong conviction, unless it is in real solidarity with Iraqi people!
Where is the real solidarity?
Or is it just an inconvenience to be voicing dissent and protest in such a way to present a problem to the authority's way to go on ... same as usual?

unpeaceable protests against Iran from some sectors of current US govt would presumably be legitimate from within Lytoms perspective!
Protests within US,Italy,Canada,UK, Poland, El Salvador etc. have never needed to be 'courageous' to make a point or violent to make them courageous.
Have to say that I do not disagree with your sentiments though

youth is the witness to the future, in time the war in iraq will be in the definition of its success and purpose. These kids already know the answer, and they instinctively know its precursor.

Fascinating for me in the image is ths smaller boy stopping the wheel of the bike from the larger boy. Is the younger generation saying no more.

Or is it an indicator of the absence of young men that Iraq will suffer from?

Barely off the training wheels and saying no more...

Also aren't these the kids that are supposed to thank us for ridding them of Saddam? Where are the flowers?

Vietnam Street

The smallest girl, in the center of the picture, looks just like my own daughter a decade ago, half a world away. In a completely different cultural setting I see the same internal struggle between shyness and curiousity, curiousity barely winning this round.

Judging by general appearances; clean clothes, shoes, the shiny bike – this is a reasonably stable neighborhood contrary to my expectations from the Sadr City dateline. Of course, the picture is two years old. The Vietnam graffiti has to be directed at Americans. Suicide bombings start when, in about a month?

The downing of the British Helicopter in Basra involved the deaths of a *Wing Commander*, a *Lieutenant Commander*, 2 Lieutenants one a woman and a marine with no rank given. If the insurgents are getting inside information how concerning might this become. Looks like 'soft hats' and all that other rubbish chatter, will now make way for permanent helmets increased covert operations and blowback.

The helicopters have a "defence suite" that can guard against missiles, but experts say they are vulnerable to RPGs, especially when coming in to land
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1770264,00.html

Again Low Tech trumps High Tech.

Yeah, the Iraq war museum is going to look an awful lot like the one in Vietnam. Except i dont think weeping american hypocrite-war-tourists will be quite as welcome in the baghdad of tomorrow.

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