As President Bush flails around trying to convince anyone that will listen that we need to continue a prolonged military presence in Iraq, Dr. Park takes exception with his latest attempt at justifying his policies by comparing the situation to America's military presence in South Korea.
Dr. Park leaves no doubt as to how he feels about the latest Bush excuse:
This idea once again shows the desperation and recklessness of
the Bush administration, as well as its deplorable ignorance of political and historical reality. The differences between the two cases are so drastic that analogizing Iraq with Korea is absurd and untenable.
Our involvement in Korea was directly tied to an unambiguous
security interest for the United States, and indeed for the rest of the free world, in containing the expansion of the Soviet bloc. With Saddam Hussein long out of power, and with the administration sensibly ruling out the notion of a religious war against Islam, we are still left with tough questions regarding what we are fighting for, and for whom. Iraqi freedom? Or our own oil interests? Are the oil fields the "front line" we are defending?
Even in South Korea, after three long years of massive
destruction, great loss of American and Korean lives and our protracted stationing of troops for more than 50 years, we still do not have peace, let alone a victory. Since the armistice agreement (in actuality only a temporary cease-fire) in 1953, U.S. troops on the order of 30,000-35,000 soldiers have remained and will continue to remain in South Korea for an indefinite period of time. Thus, applying the South Korean model simply implies that our troops will stay in Iraq for decades, rather than years.
Dr. Park asks some great questions about why we're still in Iraq, a nation that we broke and now must help fix, as former Sec. of State Colin Powell once warned Bush before invading. But they are questions that are usually deflected by the Bush administration and the relatively few hardline Republicans still supporting them. The nation, our military personnel and their families, as well as the Iraqis themselves deserve an answer to those questions. Instead, we're usually force fed another heaping helping of apple pie (one would figure the "mission accomplished" debacle would've sufficed) and some drivel about "fighting them over there instead of fighting them here" (see open border, Ft. Dix, JFK, and terrorist camps in South America).
Bush's "ignorant" comparison of Iraq and South Korea smacks of a president desperate to excuse his policy decisions. They seem to do more for the interests of an industry that he, his family, and his friends like Prince Bandar (Bush) bin Sultan have well documented ties to than for the nation that he has the priviledge of leading.
Remember in 2008, America deserves better than this.