Thursday, August 23, 2007
With Amy Goodman
"President Bush warned Wednesday that a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would lead to mass bloodshed similar to what happened in Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War. He urged critics of the current war to "learn something from history" and "resist the allure of retreat." We speak with historian and investigative journalist, Gareth Porter.
Gareth Porter, a historian and investigative journalist. He is a specialist in U.S. military and foreign policy and was the director of the IndoChina resource center towards the end of the Vietnam War. He now writes regularly on Iraq and Iran for Inter Press Service and maintains a blog on The Huffington Post. His most recent book is "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam."......
GARETH PORTER: Well, you know, the problem, of course, with that view is that we -- I mean, it’s ambiguous -- essentially ambiguous whether Nixon and Kissinger believed that they could salvage something in Vietnam and Southeast Asia and in the world or not. I mean, it depends on how you look at it. I think that it’s true that Kissinger and Nixon did not believe that they could really produce a stable, long-lasting South Vietnamese anti-communist regime. That’s pretty clear on the record.
The problem, of course, is that the real reason that those leaders continued that war for four years had very little, if anything, to do with Vietnam itself. They were more concerned with, really, their own credibility, the credibility of the US military machine, the credibility of the United States as the world's preeminent superpower, and that's why they continued that war. And I think that’s another parallel, really, that needs to be discussed between Vietnam and Iraq, because I think the same thing is true now of George Bush and the Bush administration, that they really -- that their concern is not about Iraq, per se. They cry crocodile tears about the Iraqi people, as Bush did about the Cambodian people, but they really don't care about the people. What they care about is the “credibility,” quote/unquote, of the United States.
And if you look at the Op-Ed piece by Peter Rodman in the New York Times last June, which Bush quoted yesterday -- and Rodman, by the way is the direct link between Henry Kissinger, who he worked for during the Vietnam War, and George Bush, who he worked for during the Iraq war -- Rodman and William Shawcross really were more concerned --
AMY GOODMAN: Shawcross, who wrote Sideshow --
GARETH PORTER: That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: -- about Cambodia.
GARETH PORTER: About Cambodia. And it’s bizarre that Shawcross is associating himself now with Henry Kissinger’s viewpoint on Cambodia and Vietnam. But what Shawcross and Rodman expressed in that Op-Ed piece was really mostly concern about “credibility,” quote/unquote......
AMY GOODMAN: An excerpt of War Made Easy. Gareth Porter, final comment, and could you include what you’ve been writing about, which is your belief that the US might well attack Iran?
GARETH PORTER: Well, I mean, that’s right exactly. The linkage between Bush's speech, the Rodman article in the New York Times and the current situation regarding policy toward Iran is precisely that Rodman argues very specifically in his piece -- again, Rodman being a former Bush administration official, as well as a former assistant to Kissinger -- that we have to prevail in Iraq so that we can impress Iran with our determination and strength, our credibility. He says, in fact, that the United States cannot be strong against Iran or anywhere, if we accept defeat in Iraq. So these people are really girding for the potential war with Iran. I think that Rodman probably is part of that group that would like to have a war with Iran, as well. And so, I think that this is another indicator that Bush is certainly preparing for a potential war against Iran. I think that’s a very grave danger at this moment.....
AMY GOODMAN: We just have ten seconds, but Cheney's role in pushing for attacking Iran, Gareth Porter?
GARETH PORTER: Dick Cheney, we know, is determined to use the excuse of alleged Iranian training camps -- that’s camps supposedly in Iran, where Hezbollah is training the troops of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army -- as an excuse to attack Iran, with the hope that the Iranians would then retaliate and make possible then a strategic attack against Iran's -- not only the nuclear fatalities, but against economic and military targets. The aim of the Bush administration is to weaken Iran as a power in the Middle East.