Bush is going to give a speech blaming Vietnam War opponents for the fact that lots of Vietnamese people died and/or became refugees. Jim Henley points out the minor fact that “Millions of people died while we were there. A fair proportion of them were people we ourselves killed. In any reckoning of the costs of intervening and withdrawing from Indochina, those people count too. It’s a bizarre, narcissistic blind spot to imagine otherwise.”
Indeed, the 1.7 million or so people reckoned to have died during the main American phase of the Vietnam War (1965-1973) outpaces the Cambodian genocide (among other things) by a healthy margin. It’s hard to imagine that leaving Vietnam sooner wouldn’t have saved lives, whereas staying in Vietnam longer would have gotten even more people killed before ending in the same result. Tons and tons of Iraqi civilians are getting killed or fleeing the country right now; continuing the war indefinitely won’t help them.
Photo by Flickr user Flydime used under a Creative Commons license