Editorial: Historically challenged, Bush fabricates a war
On Aug. 22, 1945 -- just six days after the end of World War II -- a team of French paratroopers dropped into South Vietnam, or Indochina as it was known at the time. The incursion began the first phase of a long war that would embroil and defeat France, then the United States over the next three decades, killing millions along the way.
On Aug. 22, 2007, speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, President Bush rewrote that history. The problem in Indochina wasn't misguided American involvement. It was American withdrawal. "One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam," Bush said, "is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps,' and 'killing fields.' " With that single sentence, it was as if the two million Vietnamese, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians and 57,000 Americans who died as a result of the American campaign before withdrawal had been an insignificant sideshow to the devastation that followed.
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