Saturday, March 03, 2007

Vietnam and Iraq - the Shawcross take

Excellent piece in The Times of London by William Shawcross, one of the anti-US journalists who wrote a book excoriating the American Indo-China policy back in the mid-70s. But Shawcross, unlike many of his peers, apparently still has a brain, and is willing to use it.
I wrote a book called Sideshow, which was very critical of the way in which the United States had brought war to Cambodia while trying to extricate itself from Vietnam. But horror had engulfed all of Indo-China as a result of the US defeat in 1975. In Vietnam and Laos there was no vast mass murder but the communists created cruel gulags and, from Vietnam in particular, millions of people fled, mostly by boat and mostly to the US. Given the catastrophe of the communist victories, I have always thought that those like myself who were opposed to the American efforts in Indochina should be very humble. I also think it wrong to dismiss the US efforts there as sheer disaster.


He then goes on to talk about the middle-east, in the context of what the United States did in Vietnam.

I still believe the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was the correct thing to do — and it was something only the United States could have done. For all the horrors that extremist Sunnis and Shias are inflicting on each other today, the US rid the world of the Pol Pot of the Middle East. So long as the vile Saddam family regime remained in power there was no hope of progress in the region. There is still hope — if we do not abandon the Iraqi people.

I think that there's a lot of truth there. I strongly recommend the piece...

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