Iraq: Bush's Vietnam?

John Broder's Thursday "news analysis" deals with Bush's news conference yesterday,in whichthe presidentacknowledged problems in Iraq: "Bush's Gamble: Turning the Spotlight on the Iraq War as Republicans Try to Dim it."

"But Mr. Bush, like other wartime presidents before him, remained grimly determined to press on in the face of mounting casualties and growing domestic discontent."

Gee, what wars and presidents could Broder be referring to? Hint - the president isn't FDR, and the war isn't World War II.

It's of course, yet another Times Vietnam flashback: "The moment is reminiscent of early 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson convened a panel of wise men to advise him on the Vietnam War, which by then was killing hundreds of Americans a month with little military progress to show for it. Mr. Johnson insisted that American credibility was at stake and believed that a leader in wartime had to show resolve in the face of an implacable enemy and loud domestic criticism.

"That spring, he capitulated, announcing plans to begin to de-escalate the war and declaring that he would not seek re-election. It took seven more years for Presidents Nixon and Ford to extricate the United States fully from Vietnam.

"Mr. Bush may be facing a similar moment of truth, when the steadiness applauded by the American public after Sept. 11, 2001, begins to look like stubbornness and a refusal to recognize reality, according to Bruce W. Jentleson, professor of public policy at Duke University."

(Professor Jentleson, by the way,posts Bush administration criticism on a regular basis at the liberal TPMCafe.)