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Bush 'Iraq Is Like Vietnam'

SKY News | August 23, 2007

President George Bush has compared the Iraq war with Vietnam - admitting the price of US withdrawal was paid by "millions of innocent civilians".

In his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City, Missouri, Mr Bush said the war on terror and the wars America has fought in the Far East were all ideological struggles.

He said the US stands in the way of a harsh plan "for life that crushes all freedom, tolerance and dissent" and American troops will be given "everything they need" to succeed.

Mr Bush said: "One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam 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'.

"I recognise that history cannot predict the future with absolute certainty.

"But history does remind us that there are lessons applicable to our time."

He added: "The militarists of Japan and the communists in Korea and Vietnam were driven by a merciless vision for the proper ordering of humanity.

"They killed Americans because we stood in the way of their attempt to force this ideology on others.

"Today, the names and places have changed, but the fundamental character of the struggle has not.

"Like our enemies in the past, the terrorists who wage war in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places seek to spread a political vision of their own - a harsh plan for life that crushes all freedom, tolerance, and dissent.

"Like our enemies in the past, they kill Americans because we stand in the way of their goal of imposing this ideology across a vital region of the world. This enemy is dangerous, this enemy is determined, and this enemy will be defeated."

He said the result of American sacrifices and perseverance over Japan and South Korea "is a freer, more prosperous and stable continent - whose people want to live in peace with America - not attack America".

He went on: "In Asia, we saw freedom triumph over violent ideologies after the sacrifice of tens of thousands of American lives - and that freedom has yielded peace for generations.

"The advance of freedom in these lands should give us confidence that the hard work we are doing in the Middle East can have the same results we have seen in Asia - if we show the same perseverance and sense of purpose."

The president added: "Today the violent Islamic extremists who fight us in Iraq are as certain of their cause as the Nazis, Imperial Japanese, and Soviet communists were of theirs. And they are destined for the same fate.

"When that hard work is done and the critics of today recede from memory, the cause of freedom will be stronger, a vital region will be brighter, and America will be safer."


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