I'm not the only one who doesn't like President Bush's Iraq analogy. Of course Americans opposed to his policy on Iraq are overwhelmingly reacting to his comparison with Vietnam. (His supporters are, needless to say, counterattacking.) According to the Yomiuri, the Vietnamese don't like it either, if the headline, "Vietnam Foreign Ministry Expresses Displeasure at President Bush's Remarks" is to be believed. However, Reuters thinks that, "Reacting to Bush Speech, Vietnam Focuses on Present". Why the difference? Yomiuri writes
The Vietnamese MOF spokesman expressed displeasure,…… saying, "To the people, [the war] was a fight for justice."
The article closes with another quote from the spokesman:
"The people stood up for independence and freedom, and national unification. The scars of the war still remain."
According to Reuters, the spokesman's comments went like this:
"Vietnamese fought for "a righteous cause" during the U.S. war but preferred to focus on the present, a government spokesman said on Thursday in reaction to President George W. Bush's speech comparing the Iraq and Vietnam conflicts.
"The war leaves consequences that are still visible today, and so are our memories," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Dung said at one of his twice-monthly media briefings.
"But as a nation with a tradition that treasures peace, we are determined to not forget the past but value the present and look forward to a better future with other countries including the United States."
As for my own crusade against the Japan-Iraq analogy, Asahi chimes in with "US President Equates Pre-War Japan with Al-Qaeda, Criticisms toward His View of History". The article gives a somewhat misleading impression that his take on Japan was a big part of the focus of the criticism. (Actually, it seems to have gone almost unnoticed in the US media in the shadows of the Vietnam analogy.) The article is harshly critical of President Bush, closing with:
Mr. Bush depends on his war against terror, but exposed his lack of understanding for the history and culture of other countries including Japan. [The speech] omits inconvenient facts and appeals to the domestic constituency with America's "idealism" and "good intentions".
Speaking of inconvenient facts, Asahi was once one of the foremost proponents of an aggressive foreign policy, going all the way back to its role in touching off the Hibiya Riots.
Yomiuri, reporting from Washington, is non-committal on that point in "US President Appeals for Continuation of Engagement in Iraq, Comparing it with 'Japan's Democratization'", the correspondent confining herself to the following:
[President Bush] introduced a distinct view of history to the effect that freedom expanded into and established itself in Japan, Korea and elsewhere in Asia through US involvement.
Note the use of the word "独自" (original; 《fml》 peculiar; of one's own; unique according to one on-line dictionary; I have translated it as "distinct") in the original text. I think that there is an understated sense of irony there, but maybe that's just me. More significantly, the first Yomiuri article out of its Bangkok bureau seems to have gone to some trouble to produce an article critical of President Bush's Iraq policy while the latter from its Washington correspondent is distinctly neutral otherwise.