Michael Hirsh has a column in Newsweek that must be read to be believed.
Channeling Alfred (“What, me worry?) E. Neuman, Hirsh takes the loooong view of history, arguing that our withdrawal from Vietnam “worked.” After all, Vietnam isn’t doing so very badly today, three decades later.
To Hirsh, the boat people and the re-education camps were just a few small speed bumps along the way. The fact that Vietnam started to rebound economically in the 90s wipes it all out in Hirsh’s eyes, and motivates him to use scare quotes when he writes, referring to Bush’s speech, “This [capitalist future] was the ‘harsh’ aftermath that George W. Bush attempted to describe this week when he warned against pulling out of Iraq as we did in Vietnam.”
Actually, Michael, no it wasn’t. This was, among other things. And Hirsh calls Bush’s remarks “an abuse of historical fact?”
Then he resorts to that surefire routine, always good for a yuk: mocking Bush’s academic credentials. According to Hirsh, Bush is “just now catching up with the Political Science 101 reading he shrugged off at Yale.” Ho, ho, ho.
It appears that Hirsh may have shrugged off some reading himself as an undergrad (well, who among us didn’t?) back at Tufts, because his next sentence shows he’s got a bit of catching up to do, as well, “Yes, a lot of Vietnamese boat people died on the high seas; but many others have returned to visit in the ensuing years.”
Hey, it’s kinda like those concentration camp survivors who returned decades later for the deluxe tours of Auschwitz and Dachau. All’s well that ends well—or, as Emily Litella would put it, “Never mind.”
I guess if you take a long enough view everything works out in the end. The Holocaust was a success for the Jews because it led to the establishment of Israel. Stalin and the twenty to forty million deaths he caused? Hey, have you seen the USSR today? Capitalists. Case closed.