Bloggers are aghast at Bush's Vietnam analogy, awestruck by Google Sky, and atwitter over photos of a shirtless Vladimir Putin.
The V-word: In a speech to a VFW convention Wednesday, President Bush made a startling comparison between the Vietnam War and America's current war in Iraq—startling both for its unorthodox conclusions about the U.S. exit from Vietnam, and because until now Bush has steadfastly denied any similarities between the two wars. "The price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens," Bush said.
"[T]he VFW speech is a fascinating list of every other war rationale the Bush administration has tried and failed to make stick," observes Monika Bauerlein at Mother Jones' MoJo Blog. "There is the 'the war in Iraq is all about fighting al Qaeda' line, with its easy conflation of insurgents and jihadists. … And the 'if you're not with us, you're with them' smear, reincarnated as 'peaceniks lost Vietnam, and that's why the terrorists are winning.' " Larkin at Wizbang Blue and Ben at Eclectics Anonymous helpfully point out the president's historical inaccuracies and dissect the speech.
Shaun Mullen at the independent Moderate Voice calls President Bush's handlers "extraordinarily dumb" for their decision to "bring up the worst defeat in American military history to defend staying the course in Iraq." Blogging at the Muncie Free Press,teacher Bob Hertzog gives Bush an F for a badly constructed argument: "I always told my students that analogy is the weakest from of evidence in an argument, but if you use one, you don't get to pick and choose the parts of the analogy that fit your view and disregard the remainder."
On the other side of the aisle, Neo-Neocon says, "President Bush gave the reconstruction efforts in Iraq the historical context some of us have been writing about for some time: the need to avoid the sort of bloodbath that followed the Vietnam abandonment, and the need to try to mimic as much as possible the post-WWII success in Japan. Of course each situation is not analogous to Iraq in its details. But there are still lessons to be learned from both histories about what to avoid and what to pursue."
Writing at Commentary magazine's Contentions blog, former Bush deputy assistant Peter Wehner quotes—from Henry Kissinger's autobiography—a Cambodian official declining the chance to leave his country when the United States left. The official died when the Khmer Rouge took over. "This is a sober reminder that there are enormous human, as well as geopolitical, consequences when nations that fight for human rights and liberty grow weary and give way to barbaric and bloodthirsty enemies," Wehner writes.
Read about Bush's Vietnam analogy.
Watch the skies: It seems like only yesterday that bloggers first got starry-eyed over Google Earth. Now they're turning their collective gaze to Google Sky, which lets Google Earth users cruise the cosmos with the click of a mouse.
Astronomers and serious amateurs aren't wowed, but they generally agree that Google Sky could become a useful tool for stargazers. Mere mortals, though, think it's way cool. As Richard Banks at Richard's Braindump writes from Sydney, Australia:"They've added the ability to look from the centre of the earth toward the heavens – now you can check out start, nebulae, constellations and more. Very cool, especially if you don't own a whacking great big telescope."
"Once real interactivity is built into it — a way to see what's up now, or tomorrow night, or on my trip to Alaska at 2:00 a.m. — it will begin to realize its potential," Boulder, Colo., astronomer Phil Plait says at Bad Astronomer. "Until then, I'd rather go straight to the Hubble site to view images, and if I want to know what's up now, I'd rather use some free apps to map the sky."
Susan Daniels is a former Slate staffer. She lives in Amsterdam.