"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

12.19.2005

i don't see any connection to vietnam, walter

Did anyone else think that the President sounded like LBJ last night? I've always thought there were a lot of parallels between the two Texans in that they ran on being plain-speakers and outsiders who wanted to get things done. The fact that neither were really outsiders in Washington and that W's ranch was purchased for the 2000 election doesn't matter - public perception does.

But I digress. Check out LBJ's 1968 State of the Union address. He says:

"Since I reported to you last January:
--Three elections have been held in Vietnam--in the midst of war and under the constant threat of violence.
--A President, a Vice President, a House and Senate, and village officials have been chosen by popular, contested ballot.
--The enemy has been defeated in battle after battle.
--The number of South Vietnamese living in areas under Government protection tonight has grown by more than a million since January of last year.

"These are all marks of progress. Yet:

--The enemy continues to pour men and material across frontiers and into battle, despite his continuous heavy losses.
--He continues to hope that America's will to persevere can be broken. Well--he is wrong. America will persevere. Our patience and our perseverance will match our power. Aggression will never prevail.

"But our goal is peace--and peace at the earliest possible moment."

Now, look at that against President Bush's speech last night. He talked about Iraqi elections, the formation of the new Iraqi government, the defeat of insurgents, the optimism of Iraqi civilians, and the American commitment to staying the course.

Iraq is not Vietnam. History does not repeat itself exactly in any sense. But living with a sense of denial is always dangerous for a president. I hope that the President is serious when he says that he hears the honest criticisms of those who disagree with him. I hope that my friends who are fighting over there are not risking their lives for something we'll all look back on with regret.

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