'Stab in the back'
Glenn takes exception
to Andrew Sullivan's Iraq 'stab in the back' references, noting its Nazi connotations. He has a good point. I've used the phrase too. I'm going to be more careful in the future about its use. But for the record, a lot of people -- including yours truly -- also associate the phrase with those still bitter about our failure in Vietnam. Over at Stephen Bainbridge's site
, a commentator discussing the similarities between Vietnam and Iraq sums up the mindset of those determined to blame civilian war critics for a military fiasco:
A key turning point in the war was the media's depiction of the Tet offensive as a victory for the Communists when it was a devastating defeat. After that failed offensive, the Viet Cong was finished as an effective fighting force. The NVA then took over with an invasion of the South. Gen. Abrams' strategy of attacking the Communists' political structure and holding areas in South Vietnam was successful. The final collapse was brought on by the Democrats who cut off supplies to the South Vietnamese forces, after US troops had withdrawn. The Democrats and spineless Republicans are poised to repeat the errors.
Glenn also pushes
the politicians-and-press-are-at-fault argument. But, again, the 'stab in the back' phrase is indeed loaded. So maybe we should just say certain people are looking for others to blame for what's turning into a failed enterprise. ... As for the whole withdraw-vs.-stick-it-out debate, I still want to hear the September report from Gen. Petraeus. I guess that makes me a stick-it-out guy these days. I don't want to abandon Iraq to possible 'ethnic cleansing, even genocide.'
But at the same time I know there are military reasons for troop withdrawals of some sort next year. It's going to happen whether we argue about it or not. What we're doing now is massive damage control -- and I don't see anything wrong with trying to minimize the damage before we leave or dramatically change policies. ... Another reason to abandon the 'stab in the back' phrase: It falls into the Worst Historical Analogies Ever War
trap! ... Now here's a good Worst Historical Analogies Ever War entry
: Lincoln, Hitler, Chamberlain. But no Churchill? Damn! ...