Bush To Lay Out Vision: U.S. To Relive Nightmare? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak

Iraq And Vietnam

Never let it be said that George Bush isn't a man of vision...unfortunately his visions have become a virtual nightmare for a majority of Americans. The similarities between Iraq and Vietnam are eerily highlighted by the overlay of one nations map upon the other. Regardless, the President intends to offer a national address in the coming week to provide his latest vision for Iraq...a new segment in a never ending saga of disjointed vignettes designed to buy the next installment of time in a war without end.

With each new address, the horizon for success is reported to lie just around the corner...a calculation that requesting much more than a six month increment is simply untenable.

SYDNEY (Reuters) - President George W. Bush will address a war-weary American public next week to "lay out a vision" for the U.S. role in Iraq as he tries to sell his strategy in the wake of a crucial report to Congress.

"I will discuss the changes our strategy has brought to Iraq. I will lay out a vision for future involvement in Iraq -- one that I believe the American people and their elected leaders of both parties can support."

But he is unlikely to unveil a major shift in strategy any time soon in a war that has dragged on for more than four years, claiming the lives of more than 3,700 U.S. troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

A simple review of prior addresses, prior strategies, and prior assessments should give the viewer little reason for encouragement. Frankly, just looking at the statements offered about the training of Iraqi security forces would lead one to conclude that the Iraqi forces have been trained and retrained at least three or four times. Unfortunately, following each report of combat ready brigades comes the news that they weren't actually...well...combat ready. In fact, one of the most recent assessments suggested that it may be necessary to dismantle the entire Iraqi police force and begin from scratch.

Frustrating as it may be, one must give the President credit for succeeding in buying more time from a skeptical public and a Democratically controlled Congress. I've argued previously that this success comes primarily from a natural voter resistance to admitting one's efforts may have failed...the "we lost" aversion, if you will. While I understand the instinct, Americans ought to review the costs of embracing the notion of victory in the face of ongoing failure.

Time and again, the Vietnam experience is referenced...often serving as justification for each side of what seems to be a perpetually circular argument. In reality, as the war in Vietnam wore on, then President Richard Nixon also offered his evolving visions...visions that first offered the American public "victory with honor" only to be followed by the revised mantra of "peace with honor". In the time it took to craft palatable words for withdrawal, thousands more gave their lives. Reality should tell us that the price for that foolish pride was far greater than the psychic return.

The recent remarks of one Vietnam veteran attest to the hollowness of the rhetoric which was utilized at the end of our far too lengthy involvement. In explaining his experience at the conclusion of the Vietnam war to my father, he recalls two important realities. One, the American public received the contrived and manufactured "honorable" out they needed to put the war behind them...and two, many of our Vietnam veterans spent years living as virtual pariahs since they served to remind the American public of the actual reality.

In fact, his view on the end of the Vietnam war is rather poignant...everyone got what they needed...except those who had the misfortune to have lived the hell of Vietnam. In sweeping the war under the proverbially rug, those who served had to be pushed away as well. Strange as it may sound, he felt that many Americans...in a classic case of transference...blamed those who fought in the war for its failure.

As the President ponders his legacy and hopes it will include a favorable view of his quixotic efforts to democratize the Middle East, there is a greater likelihood that history will see it as little more than a repetition of the quagmire known as the Vietnam era...a legacy littered with the damaged lives of honorable and valiant soldiers who did their part while those at home indulged their appalling propensity for false pride.

American's must decide if the President's vision is a dream or a nightmare. Perhaps that task can be hastened if we take the time to ponder the differences between vision and bravado...as well as the distinctions between valor and vanity?

Tagged as: George W. Bush, Iraq, Middle East, Nation Building, Richard Nixon, Troop Surge, Vietnam

Daniel DiRito | September 8, 2007 | 9:29 AM
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The similarities between Iraq and Vietnam are eerily highlighted by the following overlay of one nations map upon the other. American's must decide if the President's vision for Iraq is a dream or a familiar nightmare. Perhaps that task can be hastened... [Read More]

Tracked on September 8, 2007 1:59 PM

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