Lawrence Haas: Democrats should beware of the post-Vietnam syndrome
WASHINGTON - Reading the polls, congressional Democrats are racing to distance themselves from the war in Iraq, competing over who has got the best proposal for a speedy exit of U.S. troops.If there is one overriding reason the Democrats lost power in the 80's it's not anything Hass talks about above, it's Roe VS Wade or to be exact the ability of the Republicans harness the holy energy of the collective insanity of the religious rights's abhorrence of abortion. They created an army of one issue voters who voted Republican because the Republican candidates promised to over turn Roe VS Wade.
History suggests, however, they should look down the road. They may be planting the seeds for a trip to the political wilderness for their party in the near future, akin to what happened after Vietnam.
The parallels are striking. In 1975, a Democratic Congress cut off funds for the U.S. effort in Vietnam. The public, disillusioned over Vietnam and Watergate, elected Jimmy Carter, who promised honesty and applauded the end of “our irrational fear of Communism.”
As America turned inward in the late 1970s, enemies sensed our vulnerability and dangers mounted. The fear of communism was not so irrational after all. In Ethiopia, Angola, Rhodesia and elsewhere, the Soviet Union or Cuba worked to stoke Third World revolution. The Soviets more openly laid bare their expansionist agenda in late 1979 by invading Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Revolution in Iran of 1979 toppled a staunch U.S. ally. The student seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, leading to a 444-day hostage crisis, painted a picture of American impotence.
The Republicans also successfully rewrote history to make Ronald Reagan the winner of the cold war. This too is BS but Hass reinforces this myth.
Reagan’s election initiated a long period of Democratic struggle to compete for the White House. While Reagan looked ahead and projected strength, Democrats looked back, focused on the failure of Vietnam, and expressed hesitancy about America’s role in the world. Not surprisingly, voters came to question the Democrats’ ability to protect the nation.If the Reagan administration did anything to speed the demise of the Soviet Union it was supporting the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. You remember them, they are now called al-Qaeda, you know the guys that attacked us on 911. In reality the Pope had more to do with the Soviets loss of Eastern Europe than Reagan did.
So Hass is telling the Democrats that if they don't support George W. Bush and is Iraq debacle they will once again find themselves out of power. Mr Hass is dead wrong - continued support of the Iraq war will turn it into the United State's equivalent of the Soviet's misadventure in Afghanistan, the misadventure that finally brought them down.
No the Democrats should beware of of guys like Lawrence Hass.
If Al Gore has any presidential aspirations he must distance himself from this dangerous nonsense at once.