Iraq: Kissinger “uneasy,” has Vietnam deja vu

Henry Kissinger, a key architect of the US war in Vietnam told CNN‘s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer” Aug. 28 that he has “a very uneasy feeling” that some of the same factors that damaged support for the war in the 1960s are re-emerging in the two-year-old war in Iraq. “For me, the tragedy of Vietnam was the divisions that occurred in the United States that made it, in the end, impossible to achieve an outcome that was compatible with the sacrifices that had been made,” said the former secretary of state (and noted war criminal).

The latest CNN/USAToday/Gallup poll, taken Aug. 5-7, found that 54 percent of those surveyed thought the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a mistake.

Kissinger said the US faces a battle to halt the spread of radical Islam in Iraq, and it would be “a catastrophe for the whole world” if it fails.

“If a radical government emerges in Baghdad or if any part of Iraq becomes what Afghanistan used to be, a training ground for terrorists, then this will be a catastrophe for the Islamic world and for Europe, much as they may—reluctant as they may be to admit it—and eventually for us.”

Kissinger said the US should remove any troops that are not necessary to the goal of stabilizing Iraq. “But we cannot begin with an exit without having first defined what the objective is,” he added.

The Washington Post reported Aug. 28 that the Bush administration “is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved” in Iraq.

Sen. Joseph Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told NBC’s “Meet the Press” he agreed with the report. He called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation, but stopped short of advocating a troop withdrawal. “If we withdraw immediately now, we’re going to end up with a haven for terror — the very thing that didn’t exist before, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy in the middle of a region that is of vital interest to us,” he said.

And Sen. John McCain, a leading Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the United States needs more troops in Iraq, not fewer. “The day that I can land at the airport in Baghdad and ride in an unarmed car down the highway to the Green Zone is the day that I’ll start considering withdrawals from Iraq,” he said.

Sen. Richard Lugar, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said U.S. commanders do not have enough troops to keep insurgents from returning to towns that American forces have cleaned out. “When the withdrawal occurs, sometimes the insurgents return, and this comes from the fact that we cannot leave forces behind. They are at a premium to find other places.”

See our last post on the Iraq debacle.