Some 33 years after Richard Nixon left the White House in disgrace and some 13 years after he died, why are we still allowing Nixon to drive our debate over what to do next in Iraq?
It was reported today that respected historian Robert Dallek has a new book out on Nixon and Henry Kissinger, and Vanity Fair published some excerpts today. Basically, not just the strategies but the calculated rhetoric of these two cold warriors continues unabated today. From the Vanity Fair piece:
Using language that has a painfully contemporary echo, Kissinger and Nixon very quickly came to private conclusions about Vietnam that they never revealed publicly and denied entertaining. "In Saigon the tendency is to fight the war to victory," Nixon told Kissinger, according to the transcript of a 1969 phone conversation. "But you and I know it won't happen-it is impossible." Even so, according to Haldeman's unpublished diaries, Nixon later urged that Democratic critics making this same point should be labeled "the party of surrender."
[..]In fact, a lot of American lives (and countless Vietnamese lives) were lost due to that calculated policy. From the beginning of 1969 (20 days before Nixon took office) until the end of the war, another 20,604 Americans gave their lives in a crusade that somehow morphed into a campaign to re-elect the president.
It just boggles my mind that we would make the same moronic mistake twice in my lifetime, and that thousands more will die for the same BS, so that one party can gain some electoral votes in 2008 by branding their rivals "the party of surrender," rather than take responsible steps to do what's right, politically expedient or not.