DATE: 1/18/2005 01:31:00 PM
ENOUGH! - Okay, I get it. Vietnam was a big deal, the defining event of a generation, the end of American hubris in foreign affairs and the rise of a new political ethic. I understand all of that.
Can we stop talking about it now?
In a recent speech, Senator Ted Kennedy called Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam." Senator Joe Biden brought up Vietnam today at Condoleeza Rice's confirmation hearings. No war captivates the Democrats like the conflict fought in southeast Asia over 30 years ago. During the recent presidential campaign, Senator John Kerry famously brought up his service in Vietnam at every available opportunity. To Democrats, "Vietnam" is a word with talismanic powers, giving anyone who utters it the immediate upper hand in any debate about U.S. foreign policy.
When a politician mentions Vietnam, it doesn't make me reconsider the foreign policy goals of a particular administration. Instead, it demonstrates to me a lack of intellectual growth in the person who brings it up. Liberals love to accuse conservatives of lacking intellectual curiosity, but it seems to me they are the ones who cannot move past their preconceived notions and stubborn insistence on comparing every conflict to the one that most defined their youth.