Wrong lesson:

Blaming the PM of Iraq, rather than the president of the US, for the failure of US policy, is cynical politics, pure and simple. It is neither fair nor helpful in figuring out how to end America’s biggest foreign policy fiasco since Vietnam. PM Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has been catastrophic for Iraq ever since he took over from the equally disastrous Ibrahim al-Jaafari more than a year ago. America helped engineer Jaafari’s removal, only to get Maliki. That tells you something important about whether this is more than a matter of personalities.

Washington’s failure to face unpleasant realities opens the door to strange and dangerous fantasies, like Bush’s take on the Vietnam war. America lost that war because a succession of changes in South Vietnamese leadership, many of them inspired by Washington, never produced an effective government in Saigon. The American people rightly concluded that with no way to win a military victory, there could be no justification for allowing thousands more US troops to die in Vietnam. If Bush took the time to study the real lessons of Vietnam, he would not be so eager to lead America still deeper into the 21st century quagmire he has created in Iraq. Following his path will not rectify the mistakes of Vietnam, it will simply repeat them. — International Herald Tribune