- The Washington Times - Monday, September 12, 2005

Not Vietnam

“While it is far from clear that antiwar sentiment actually has been spreading … there’s little doubt that antiwar rhetoric is on the rise.

“Predictably, the most convenient comparison the doubters and doomsayers on Iraq can find is the Vietnam War that ended over 30 years ago. … We hear it cited in superficial analogies by liberal pundits. More depressingly, we hear it mouthed, however incongruously, by would-be leaders like Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, who recently made televised comments about America being ‘bogged down’ like we were in Vietnam. …

“There are innumerable differences between the Iraq and Vietnam experiences. …

“The differences include the fact that America pursued the struggle in Vietnam for more than a decade against a regular North Vietnamese army backed by the Soviet Union and China, and lost more than 58,000 American soldiers, many of them draftees, before we decided to toss in the towel. By comparison, America, now the world’s sole superpower, has been fighting a collection of terrorists in Iraq for less than two years and has lost fewer than 2,000 troops — and these from a fully professional and volunteer military.”

—Peter R. Kann, writing on “A Bad Analogy,” Sept. 8 in the Wall Street Journal

No ‘evil plan’

“The … reason the poor people [in New Orleans] lived on lower ground had nothing to do with racism, nothing to do with deliberate exclusion, nothing to do with any evil plan. It was all historical happenstance. … ‘Old money’ lives between St. Charles Avenue and the river not because it is money, but because it is old. It’s where the families who have lived in New Orleans the longest built, because it was once the only place they could build; the rest was too marshy. Only with the advent of tremendous engineering feats — the immense water pumps, the manmade levees guarding both river and lake, etc. — [did] the other neighborhoods [grow]. …

“Nobody planned it that way; it just grew — organically, and tragically.

“Meanwhile, I challenge anyone anywhere to prove to me that New Orleans was a seething racial cauldron. The truth is that New Orleans was a city where the races mixed in more areas more congenially for far, far longer than they did, or still do, in most big cities in America. I know whereof I speak; New Orleans is my home.”

—Quin Hillyer, writing on “What Has Come to Pass,” Sept. 8 in National Review Online at www.national review.com

Docudrama attack

As much as studios and networks like to lift their docudramas from the headlines, they also like to make films on important historical figures. And here’s where there are ample opportunities to telegraph their worldview.

“The most dramatic example of this came in the fall of 2003, when CBS produced a docudrama about Ronald Reagan’s presidency entitled ‘The Reagans.’ That piece of CBS ‘entertainment’ was essentially a prolonged attack on Reagan, full of distortions and invented scenarios meant to [convey] the creators’ view that Reagan was a first-rate dunce and dangerous leader. …

“The production history of ‘The Reagans’ was telling. ABC had rejected the project because it was, according to one network executive, ‘very soft; it was not controversial in the least.’ CBS bought the $16 million production only after the filmmakers made it ‘controversial’ enough.”

—James Hirsen, from his new book, “Hollywood Nation: Left Coast Lies, Old Media Spin, and the New Media Revolution”


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