Friday, October 14, 2005

Do you remember your President Nixon

The New York Times is reporting that the U.S. military has been engaged in some fierce firefights with Syrian troops over the past year. Here's the best part:

Increasingly, officials say, Syria is to the Iraq war what Cambodia was in the Vietnam War: a sanctuary for fighters, money and supplies to flow over the border and, ultimately, a place for a shadow struggle.

Discuss.

3 Comments:

Blogger Maria said...

Bowie lyrics from the mid-70's? I pictured you as younger than that...Now if I can just find some time to read the article you linked to...

5:17 AM

 
Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I'm only 32, but Bowie is timeless.

8:32 AM

 
Blogger fake name said...

Hmmmmm...

OK. Let's assume that Syria is in a tug-of-war between two Cold War polarities in a nasty civil war next door.

We'll also assume that good King Sihanouk is verily similar in make up, politics and precariousness to Bashar Assad.

And, just for the fun of it, we'll suggest that Syrians are as homogeneous as the Khmer peoples.

Sure.

It's a strained metaphor. It doesn't make sense militarily because, unlike Cambodia, the state actor in Assad is hardly innocent in the transhipment of suicide bombers, cash and materiel to his Baathist chums in Al Anbar.

A better metaphor would be the role China played before actively entering the Korean conflict at Chosin Reservoir. Or, even more appropriate, the role Syria itself has played in Lebanon, sending money and munitions to Hezbollah terrorists bent on killing Israelis.

Politically?

Sihanouk played a very dangerous game, keeping his country stridently neutral while Hanoi first used his country as a supply node to the VC in the South, then after the North Vietnamese began outfitting the Khmer Rouge. He remained neutral after U.S. bombers tore up his jungle and even after John F. Kerry violated international law by crossing the Khmer border.

Unless, of course, that never happened.

In the end, the monster created by Hanoi, this time in the guise of Pol Pot, turned Cambodia into one vast boneyard, an act of ideologically-driven genocide so shocking, the Vietnamese had to return to chase Pot's Khmer Rouge into the bush.

Contrast this with a pan-Arabist, facist state, controlled by a tribal sliver of Alawis. Its vast secret police cruelly keeping the status quo by torturing, imprisoning and sowing discontent among Kurdish, Christian and even the Orthodox Sunnis (who regard the Alawite faith as a heretical mix of Christ and The Prophet). Its kleptocratic ruler watching a state grind into stasis, losing his hold on Lebanon, losing his touch with the fellow Baathists next door.

Sure. A lot of similarities.

5:46 PM

 

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