Despite the best efforts of the administration to distance the war in Iraq from such comparisons, it seems that every week you hear about some comparison to Vietnam. Of course, the comparison is clear-- a protracted guerilla war in which the mission seems to change regularly (meaning there is no clearly defined mission).
However, a story out today compares the literal words right out of the mouth of Lyndon B. Johnson (1967) and George W. Bush (this year).
LBJ: "America is committed to the defense of South Vietnam until an honorable peace can be negotiated"...Despite the obstacles to victory, "We shall stay the course."
-- speech to the Tennessee Legislature on March 15, 1967.
Bush: "We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. And the job is this: We'll help the Iraqis develop a democracy."
--August 3, 2005
OK. Not quite the same. I do recall once learning the difference between 'shall' and 'will' in my grammar class. Not sure who has the correct usage.
If you read through the article, there are other comparisons between their words. One in my mind stands out.
"Be assured that the death of your son will have meaning," Johnson told the parents of a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor during a Rose Garden ceremony on April 6, 1967. "For I give you also my solemn pledge that our country will persist — and will prevail — in the cause for which your boy died."
Speaking to military families in Idaho on Aug. 24, Bush said: "These brave men and women gave their lives for a cause that is just and necessary for the security of our country, and now we will honor their sacrifice by completing their mission."
Unable to justify our remaining there for any better reason, the purpose of these speeches seem to be to justify staying and losing more young Americans because of those who have already died.
Now I have had a number of friends (mostly Republicans, but also a couple of Democrats) tell me that we need to support the President during time of war.
I understand that position, but I wonder how many people had the same view 38 years ago, and how many more American soldiers died fighting in a dead end war because of it. It was the wrong position then, and it is the wrong position now.