Andrew Clem home
Andrew Clem banner

Blog post

Monthly archives
(all categories)

October 31, 2006 [LINK / comment]

Readjusting the course

Now that President Bush has backed away from "stay the course" as a rallying cry, several questions emerge. Was this change appropriate? (Yes.) Was it timely? (No.) Will it help the Republicans hold on to Congress? (No.) Daniel Drezner agrees with me on that last point: "From a political perspective, however, my hunch is that this shift in rhetoric will be a disaster." Indeed, the change from Bush's prior insistence that we had to persevere now calls into question other aspects of U.S. war policy. He needs to be extremely careful in how he phrases war policy for the next few delicate months, as the transition toward greater Iraqi control over security proceeds. As Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki takes an increasingly assertive stance toward the United States, Bush needs to display extreme tact and statesmanlike poise. We want the Iraqis to stand up for themselves, and Bush needs to tone down the macho war rhetoric so that Americans get used to dealing with the Iraqis as equal partners.

Drezner was also quite right to highlight the "Vietnam analogy" in this situation, but not for the reason you might think. As most reasonably objective people understand, the ongoing slaughter in Iraq is almost certainly part of an orchestrated campaign to undermine the American people's will, just as the the Tet Offensive was in 1968. Many Americans still don't "get" Tet, in which a clear U.S. military victory was transformed into a geopolitical defeat thanks to the eroding credibility of the Johnson administration, especially Bob McNamara's Pentagon. The Viet Cong suffered devastating losses in Tet, after which the North Vietnamese Army became the primary locus of enemy resistance. We lost the Vietnam War in no small part because LBJ was afraid of directly confronting the main suppliers of the communist forces -- Red China. The corresponding external patron of the enemy forces in the Iraq War is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Victory or defeat in Iraq will depend on whether we confront Tehran.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 01 Nov 2006, 12: 04 AM

(unformatted URL)

This post is over a week old, so comments are closed.

© Andrew G. Clem. All rights reserved. Your use of this material signifies your acceptance of the Terms of use.

Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:

Category archives:
(all years)

This (or that) year's
blog highlights

Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

  1. Wild birds (LAST)
  2. War
  3. Science & Technology
  4. Politics
  5. Latin America
  6. Culture & Travel
  7. Canaries ("Home birds")
  8. Baseball (FIRST)