If there was ever any doubt that George W. Bush was clueless, in denial and intent on "staying the course" in Iraq that should have been erased when in Hanoi of all places he told the world that Vietnam war offered lessons for Iraq.
HANOI, Vietnam — President Bush, on his first visit to a country where America lost a two-decade-long fight against communism, said Friday the Vietnam War's lesson for today's confounding Iraq conflict is that freedom takes time to trump hatred.OK, not too bad so far but he didn't know when to quit.
Embracing a former enemy that remains communist but is allowing capitalism to surge, Bush opened a four-day stay here that was fueling an already raging debate over his war policy. Democrats who won control of Congress say last week's elections validate their call for U.S. troops to start coming home soon, while Bush argues _ as he did again Friday _ for patience with a mission he says can't be ended until Iraq can remain stable on its own.
A baby boomer who came of age during the turbulent Vietnam era and spent the war stateside as a member of the Texas Air National Guard, the president called himself amazed by the sights of the onetime war capital. He pronounced it hopeful that the United States and Vietnam have reconciled differences after a war that ended 31 years ago when the Washington-backed regime in Saigon fell.
"My first reaction is history has a long march to it, and societies change and relationships can constantly be altered to the good," Bush said after speeding past signs of both poverty and the commerce produced by Asia's fastest-growing economy.
The president said there was much to be learned from the divisive Vietnam War _ the longest conflict in U.S. history _ as his administration contemplates new strategies for the increasingly difficult war in Iraq, now in its fourth year. But his critics see parallels with Vietnam _ a determined insurgency and a death toll that has drained public support _ that spell danger for dragging out U.S. involvement in Iraq.Yes another Bush spiritual affirmation:
"It's just going to take a long period of time for the ideology that is hopeful _ and that is an ideology of freedom _ to overcome an ideology of hate," Bush said after having lunch at his lakeside hotel with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, one of America's strongest allies in Iraq, Vietnam and other conflicts.
"We'll succeed," Bush added, "unless we quit."
"We'll succeed," Bush added, "unless we quit"
I'm at a loss for words but Joe Gandelman isn't.
This sounds like the same government policy by positive affirmation that the book revealed and that stunned so many people (including some supporters of the war). It sounds as if there is a belief, an ideology and the rest is going to be fit into it — versus a thoughtful evaluation, cost-benefit analysis, a weighing of what is in the national interest — and charting an effective path to achieve that national interest. Question: why is the bipartisan Iraq Study Group even bothering? It sounds like his mind is made up.I obviously should have included dangerous to clueless, in denial and intent on "staying the course" in the description above.