President Bush likes to tell his usually hand-picked audiences that Iraq will become more democratic and prosperous because of America’s intervention. What he has in mind are the remarkable changes in Germany and Japan after World War II because of American aid to those countries. His comparison holds little water. So why does he invoke it? Because invoking the correct comparison — with South Vietnam — would give neither his beleaguered administration nor most Americans any comfort.
Michael R. Adamson is an independent historical consultant and researcher based in the San Francisco Bay Area.