I'm shamelessly lifting this content from the This Modern World blog, but the quote is so astounding that it bears repeating.
Wow, this really IS Vietnam
Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard, in 2004:Should national unity prevail, Iraq’s chances of becoming a stable democracy will improve dramatically. I’d like to see one other thing in Iraq, an outbreak of gratitude for the greatest act of benevolence one country has ever done for another.David Lawrence, editor of US News & World Report, in 1966:What the United States is doing in Vietnam is the most significant example of philanthropy extended by one people to another that we have witnessed in our times.
I've been thinking about the following analogy for the Iraq war, and these quotes fit quite nicely:
Suppose you live next door to a Muslim family. The husband drinks and sometimes beats his wife, and even killed one of his sons a few years back. There are other, worse families in the neighborhood, but this one has a lot of uncut jewels hidden in their basement. You'd like the local police to do something about it, but you've just spent the last few years undermining institutions that would apply laws across households, since you don't want other neighbors to have any say in what you do in the neighborhood. Also, you bought the guns the guy next door uses to threaten his family, because he used to threaten a different neighbor that you liked less.
You decide it is your job to help this family. So you go next door and shoot the husband execution-style in the front yard, to the horror of most of the neighborhood. You then tell the wife that she is now going to marry your cousin, who is a nice Christian man who won't beat her. In the meantime, you are going to move in and take care of her as a proxy husband.
After you move in, you find that the house is falling apart from neglect and now thieves are coming in freely and stealing anything that isn’t bolted down. You spend all your time rummaging through the family’s finances, protecting the jewels in the basement, and painting the fence outside.
The family is both humiliated at what has happened, and frustrated that they are no longer safe. They react by hitting you every time you come in the house. So, you decide to burn everything in the rooms where you get hit in the most, to teach them a lesson and discourage them from hitting you again. When people tell you to leave, you say it would be dishonorable to leave the family in such a mess, and question their commitment to marriage.
When you finally present the wife with your cousin, she decides instead to marry a strict traditional Muslim instead. She won’t have the same rights she had before, but her new husband will definitely get you out of the house.
The kids can't agree on whether this new husband is a good idea or not, and are so freaked out by everything that has happened in their life, that they start shooting each other.
And Fred Barnes comes strolling along, notices the fresh paint on the fence, and chastises the wife for not being more grateful to you for all of your