Monday, February 05, 2007

Blame Americans First

Over at DailyKos, writer Devilstower writes about how the political right is hearkening back to the days of Vietnam to explain why the war in Iraq is not going so well: it's all America's, er American's fault.

In many ways, this is the central narrative of the modern conservative movement. Rarely voiced in "mixed company," but often voiced at right wing gatherings. If only the left had not betrayed us, we would have won Vietnam. All the "embolden" statements the right is pushing today are only variations on this theme of the left's Original Sin.

On the Media: Why are we so prepared to belive that these were commonplace incidents in the Vietnam era?

Lembcke: Well, it's a face-saving device. It helps construct an alibi, the alibi being that we beat ourselves, that we were defeated on the home front, and that we -- the most powerful nation on earth -- was not defeated by this small upstart nation of Asian "others."

It's always been clear that those who call themselves conservatives today have only a token relationship to the political movement that operated under that name previous to 1980. And this is the difference: today's conservatives aren't united by a theme of limiting spending or concerns over changes in our society. Their real heart is a festering ball of bruised ego.

The big irony is that the right, having refused to accept the facts on the ground, has instead created a mythology that requires traitors in the heartland. Though they so often point at the left as willing to "blame America," the whole mindset of those in support of the action in Iraq requires that they blame Americans, both then and now, for the failures of bad strategy, miserable planning and sorry execution.

The war in Iraq was supposed to be their vindication, proof that enough bombs could bring flowers. Proven wrong, their reaction is to create an even more vile narrative in this cycle. The right doesn't just blame America first, they blame Americans first, last, and only for every mistake they've made. Now, bolstered by the myths they've built since the end of Vietnam, not only are right wing pundits spreading lies about protesters at home, right wing politicians are willing to denounce reasoned objection with terms just short of treason. In insisting that there must be a threat to American democracy at home, the right has done more than just build a mythology around this theme, they've created that enemy. And they only have to look in a mirror to find him.

1 Comment:

Teri said...

It's not just a belief that we could have won in Vietnam. It's a fact. Take, for example, the Tet Offensive. We were told that America lost it. Yet Vietnamese officials admit today that they were the ones that lost. The war was micromanaged by Johnson (using JFK's team)and we foughtunder ridiculous rules.

And don't get me started about the torture they put our men through there. It's really sickening to read about.

It's very easy for folks who didn't live through that time to get an idea about what they thought it was like. I can tell you that the public was very supportive and in favor of the war and the change in attitude happened in a matter of months. And anyone who thinks that folks can be opposed to this war and still be supportive of our servicement and women, need to read their history books a little more closely.