August 25th, 2007

The world according to Hirsh: what, me worry?

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.

24 Responses to “The world according to Hirsh: what, me worry?”

  1. Sgt. Mom Says:

    What an ass…
    I was working as a volunteer with our church in 1975, helping to resettle Vietnamese refugees. They were the sort of people who you see in pictures of the time, mobbing the US embassy, storming helicopters taking off from the airport, putting themselves and their children in heavily overloaded boats and heading out to sea, with the water nearly up to the rails.

    They left their whole lives, their families, everything they owned because they were frightened to death of what the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese would do to them.

    I’ve always been a little bitter at how so very few of those people who protested the Vietnam war were around to help the refugees… especially the prominent, intellectual activist sort.

  2. Looking Glass Says:

    The comparison with Vietnam is aimed at the Iraqi leadership. A warning of what can happen if the USA withdraws its support prematurely.

    The failed Palestinian state, resulting in “Bring back the Israelis!”, is another stark warning.

    The August recess (average high temperature of 108F) of the Iraqi parliament is the perfect time to remind them of what’s at stake for them.

  3. Mark Says:

    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.

    Well, gee, doesn’t the end justify the means? Don’t you have to break a few eggs to get the omelette?

    What is it with these people? Yeah, we condemned a few (million) people to death, but that’s okay ‘cuz life went on, and all the people we condemned for trying to fix thing finally make it all work out anyway.

    If we learn anything from history, there are some people who refuse to learn anything from history. But then, if I’d made mistakes of the same size, if I’d idolized the ruinous doctrine of socialism, or abandoned common sense for “kinder” social policies in the ’60s, or denied the depth and danger of evil in world since time immemorial, I’d be ashamed to admit it to myself, too.

    I guess that’s what Neoneocon has been telling us all along.

  4. Doug L Says:

    Alfred E Newman! Slowly I turn, step by step… Googling for the evils of Mad magazine turns up a large site on American History with a reference to a founder of SDS, Tom Hayden.

    But first note that they refer to something touched on the other day about the rout of the South Vietnamese forces:

    “In the fall of 1974, President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam abruptly ordered his commanders to pull out of the central highlands and northern coast. His intention was to consolidate his forces in a more defensible territory. However, the order was given so hastily, with so little preparation or planning, that the retreat turned into an uncontrollable panic. “

    Elsewhere they mention the boat people and the re-education camps, but leave out the Cambodian genocide.

    on to the evil Alfred E Neuman:

    “In high school, his [Tom Hayden’s] idols were critics of conventional society, such as J. D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield and Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman. He then attended the University of Michigan, read Jack Kerouac’s beat novel On the Road, hitchhiked across the country, and witnessed student protests at the University of California at Berkeley. He spent much of 1961 in the South and was once badly beaten by local whites in McComb, Mississippi.”

    which reminds me of some tangential stuff–the anti war movement of the sixties was tied in with the civil rights movement and concern over nuclear war. It was a three legged stool then. Today the nuke concern is dismissed as reactionary and the civil rights movement has now become a promotion of illegal immigration.

    The remaining leg on the stool is this evil militaristic American Empire concept, hence articles like this Newsweek thing appear in all seriousness. Of course next week they can publish a reversal as they did on their Climate Change Denier story within the last month.

    Wiki also weighs in on Mad Magazine and Vietnam:

    “In 1977, the New York Times’ Tony Hiss and Jeff Lewis wrote about the then-25-year-old publication’s initial impact:

    The skeptical generation of kids it shaped in the 1950’s is the same generation that in the 1960’s opposed a war and didn’t feel bad when the United States lost for the first time and in the 1970’s helped turn out an Administration and didn’t feel bad about that either… “

  5. pst314 Says:

    Did you notice something else Hirsch wrote” “Al Qaeda and its ilk have no universalist program…”

    Um, ever heard of Islam, boy?

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    pst314: Yes, I was going to add that on. But I decided there was no need to do a formal fisking of his piece. It was strange enough on its face.

  7. camojack Says:

    According to Hirsch: “America’s Pullout From Vietnam Worked”.

    For the North Vietnamese it certainly did…

  8. Bookworm Says:

    Hirsh’s fatuity is almost beyond comprehension. How someone could look at the Far Eastern debacle after America’s withdrawal and say that nobody really suffered simply because, 30 years on, human resiliency has triumphed is a form of stupidity that’s almost beyond parody.

  9. kungfu Says:

    The Holocaust and Vietnamese re-education camps is about as accurate an analogy as 1960’s Vietnam and 1940’s Germany. Talk about hyperbole.

    Show me the gas chambers and ovens in Vietnam.

  10. Occam's Beard Says:

    How about this? (not in Viet Nam, but Cambodia, but it’ll do):


  11. Ymarsakar Says:

    Don’t bother. As Yuri Bezmenov said, even if you show them physically the concentration and death camps, they still wouldn’t believe it.

    It is only when the military boot and assassination squad comes to their doors and crashes on their butts, will they believe.

  12. Lee Says:

    There were no gas chambers or ovens at Japanese internment camps in this country either, yet many on the left seem to have no problem comparing those(perhaps rightfully so) to nazi concentration camps. But the Vietnamese couldn’t possibly have been as inhumane as us.

  13. Patrick Bryant Says:

    The sheer… inhumanity of it. To just dismiss as trivial as those lives, all those deaths. It’s jsut unconsciounable. Those people were a very large portion of a nation – arguably the better half of it.

  14. schnargley Says:

    I’m with Hirsh. Boat people, internment camps, a few population readjustments…”Irv, we have spilt milk over on aisle 12. Could you go take care of it please?” Geesh, get over it already! The little twin towers debacle seems to have worked out fine as well- we’re getting new office and residential buildings, NYC is booming, Bloomberg is making the talk show circuit, Giuliani got a Presidential run out of the thing, and that godforsaken little county out in PA is getting a lot of Flight 93 memorial tourist business it never had before.

    Boy. You all are so dumb. Like Bush.

  15. david foster Says:

    In C S Lewis’s novel “That Hideous Strength,” the protagonist is captured by a sinister cabal and put through a process of training which is aimed at killing “all specifically human reactions” in a person.

    Many in the media and in academia seem to be honor graduates of such programs.

  16. Ymarsakar Says:

    Those people were a very large portion of a nation – arguably the better half of it.

    Getting rid of the best half of humanity is what the Left specializes in.

    I’m with Hirsh.

    Congratulations on joining death row.

    They are nihilists, and they have failed to capture half the world’s attention as communism and socialism once did.

    Hirsih’s problem is that he thinks the Islamic Jihad are nihilists. They’re not nihilists, rather the Left are nihilists, which is sort of the problem.

    The belief that there is nothing worth fighting for, is a Leftist malaise.

    Many in the media and in academia seem to be honor graduates of such programs.

    The Soviets did good work, for as long as they lasted anyhow.

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    Hirsh seems more reasonable than your usual Leftist nihilist and revolutionary. Perhaps Hirsh truly believes that the Left is fighting for prosperity and human progress. Which would make him rather the fool, now wouldn’t it.

  18. Talkinkamel Says:

    Neo, I’ve greatly enjoyed your recent articles about Vietnam, and its aftermath.

    Seriously, you should write a book about this.

  19. Talkinkamel Says:

    Schnarglye’s comment was a joke, right? I mean, isn’t this just the point of view Neo’s satirizing, using her analogy of the Holocaust for this “Everything just worked out fine, just a few thousand dead is all!” attitude.

    If the comment wasn’t a joke, Schnargley himself is a joke. (And, certainly dumber than Bush.)

    Just singing loudly, “Obalah-dee/oblah-dah/life goes ON!/la-la-la-la-la-la life goes ON!” doesn’t make the bad stuff go away, and it certainly doesn’t ensure that life will go on.

  20. Tatterdemalian Says:

    Wow. Karl Rove is gone, but Bush is still pulling brilliant rope-a-dope maneuvers. His apparently insensitive comparison now has the left falling all over themselves trying to canonize Ho Chi Minh and declare the fall of Saigon the first great victory of kind and loving Communism over the evils of US democracy.

    To think, Donkey Kong himself challenged us three months ago to find even one single leftist who supported evil Communist dictators like Minh. Here’s you a mirror, take a good long look.

  21. Talkinkamel Says:

    By the way, it looks as if the “Read All Comments” featuere on his article isn’t working.

    He must have gotten some real zingers on this article!

  22. troutsky Says:

    It’s crazy how those leftists just stick to one narrative and keep repeating it over and over. Unlike you guys who know the Truth. The Real History!

  23. Xanthippas Says:

    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.

    Also, if we had not decided to sub in for the French, the war would have ended much more quickly, before 58,000 American troops and two million additional Vietnamese died, before we laced the country with Agent Orange, before Cambodia and Laos collapsed, and before we broke our army.

    The end of result would have been a communist Vietnam of course…just like now, only with more people still alive, and the country would have begun to prosper maybe in the 70’s instead of the 90’s.

    That’s my version of the “long view” anyway.

  24. Lee Says:

    Just like the “long view” in Cuba. So much life and prosperity.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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