GWB: Iraq Is Korea...And The Earth Is Flat...Uh-Huh genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Bush in a bubble

Well that didn't take long. The attempt by President Bush to frame the situation in Iraq as an equivalent to our long standing presence in Korea is being roundly dismissed by a number of former high ranking military officials. Frankly, I'm at a loss to understand the benefit of drawing such a comparison.

WASHINGTON, June 5 (UPI) -- Two former U.S. Army generals and a former high-ranking Pentagon official have criticized the Bush administration for comparing the war in Iraq to the Korean War.

"It's a gross over-simplification to reassure people that we have a longer-term plan," retired Lt. Gen. Don Kerrick said in a teleconference Friday.

However, Kerrick and retired Brig. Gen. John Jones denied there was any parallel between the two wars. "Clearly there was no insurgency or terrorism going on in South Korea," Kerrick said. "There was a clear line between North and South Korea; the United States was really there as a trip-wire to protect South Korea. It's completely different in Iraq. As we know there is no line. The analogy just doesn't cut in this set of circumstances."

Jones called the comparison "blatant PR" that can't be taken seriously. "It's an umbrella for staying the course," he said.

Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, said: "When the North Koreans attacked South Korea we knew instantly that it was a violent attack and we responded." Iraq, he said, was different. "We're there with a very bad policy in a part of the world that's vital to us. The Korean analogy just doesn't work."

Gelb further accused the president of comparing the war in Iraq to the Korean War to head off comparisons to the war in Vietnam. "I think there are major parallels to Vietnam because there is no strategy that will produce victory. He's trying to change the terms of debate and put another analogy on the table."

Kerrick, who served as a deputy national security adviser to President Bill Clinton, also saw similarities to the Vietnam War. "In Vietnam we won all of the military battles, in Iraq we've been winning all the battles as well but we're still losing the war," he said.

"Bush implies that if we stayed the course in Vietnam the outcome would have been different, which to me is nonsense," Jones said.

According to Jones, the grand scheme was for the United States to maintain a permanent military presence in Iraq, to be divided among 13 permanent military bases in order to have "military hegemony in the Middle East." Although support for this plan seems to be waning, Jones believes "that's still in the back of President Bush's mind." Germany, by contrast, only has nine U.S. military bases.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but the best rationale I can find for the President to compare Iraq to Korea is as an attempt to frame his legacy in a better light...something that would be consistent with this man's ongoing focus on besting his father and soothing an intransigent and egocentric persona.

It wouldn't surprise me that George Bush may well be willing to keep troops in Iraq for fifty years...if it could be construed to validate his ill-conceived decision to invade Iraq and his mismanaged prosecution of that decision. Sadly, it seems to me that this President prefers to isolate himself from differing opinions...going so far as to turn a tin ear and a blind eye to his own father's prior experience in Iraq.

In fact, he went so far as to suggest that he went over his father's head and consulted directly with the heavenly father when contemplating difficult issues. If that isn't evidence of a man enamored with his own visions of grandeur, then not only is Iraq like Korea, George Bush is the second coming of Abe Lincoln. I hate to be a doubting Thomas...but I'm not inclined to buy any of the rhetoric George Bush is selling.

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Daniel DiRito | June 5, 2007 | 5:57 PM
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