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September 11, 2007

From The “While Petraeus Testifies” Department: Been There, Done That

Johnson-Westmoreland

LBJ and General William Westmoreland in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam,

December 23, 1967.

Bush-Petraeus-Etc-1

Bush-Anbar-Airforce-One

Bush and Petraeus, et al. in Anbar Province, September 3, 2007

So much of politics is about how you use pictures.  Now, if we could only figure out how to put them together half as well as they do….

(image 1: unattributed. Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, 12/23/1967. via about.com.  image 2: Jim Watson/AFP. Pesident George W. Bush (2nd R) laughs with General David Petraeus (2nd-L), the top US commander in Iraq, and Lt General Odierno (L).Al-Asad Air Base. Anbar Province, Iraq. September 3, 2007. via YahooNews.  image 3: Jason Reed/Reuters. Al-Asad Air Base. Anbar Province, Iraq. September 3, 2007. via YahooNews.)

  • KansasKowboy

    I thought that we had learned our lesson after Viet Nam. For almost 40 years we had. Then came Bush who got us into another costly illegal, meaningless war. This President has done nothing to move us forwad, only set us back by probably more than half a century.

  • demit

    1967. Little did Little Georgie know, while he was hiding out from Vietnam in the Texas Air National Guard, that he would have his very own general to cover for him one day, when he had his very own misbegotten war. At least LBJ had a tortured conscience and withdrew from the scene. GWB considers it a game and ‘plays for October or November’, and contemplates life after commander-in-chiefness as gettin a little bored and drivin down to the ranch. I’m running out of ways to express my horror at the obscenity that is George Bush.

  • http://www.groupnewsblog.net Hubris Sonic

    Michael,
    Those pictures are absolutely chilling.
    fucking bastards… what was David Byrne said? Same as it ever was.

  • margaret

    Johnson is as almost as big (in the picture) as the plane which carried him to VietNam. Bush and his entourage are minimized by the hugeness of the 747 which took him to Anbar. The mistakes of each President are not equal, and the perception of the devastation wrought by each has not become equal. More soldier deaths, more money, and more time before the citizenry take to the streets to protest.

  • lytom

    …so these are the SOBs who decide?
    It seems that uniform helps to convince citizenry to enable the wrongs done by their government.

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    Saw your article on HuffPost and it was also chilling. Great work. And yes, history repeats itself, by those who refuse to learn from it, no matter the cost.

  • http://bourgeoisnievete.blogspot.com/ backhandpath

    I find the absence of non-commissioned soldiers in Bush’s picture particularly telling of lessons learned from Vietnam. Also the lack of crowded action on the tarmac speaks volumes of the air surrounding that leadership meeting. Bush looks like his belt is too tight in the wider shot while in the close-up I see his guilt at having dodged military service painted on his face, in the squinting way he’s looks away from his yucking generals, as a bully with his betters, yet inadequately holds the position over them as their commander.

  • http://1thirteen3.blogspot.com Roy E Pearson

    Ah, yes, when they tell you that peace is just around the corner, it is important to ask which corner. “The Biggest Lesson I Learned from Vietnam Is Not to Trust Government Statements.” –Senator J. William Fulbright
    That goes for Military War Assessments, too.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/index.html MonsieurGonzo

    if IRAN was the unintentional regional beneficiary of the invasion and our subsequent occupation of IRAQ, then CHINA is the all -too- easily ignored global winner of the 9/11 American Fin de siècle disaster trifecta.
    the conceit implict in almost all Western writings about, “What (we should make happen) next?” in the Middle East ~ is that America will continue to have the dominant say in the matter of Mesopotamia: “Defeat,” folks, has already happened; it’s history ~ that’s why this story is called, Apocalypse Now.
    it is convenient for General Petraeus to call for troop reductions “starting around QTR-1 of 2008,” as that is when the American Military finds itself entirely expended, yes? Other than Aerial bombardment and Naval containment, there is nothing more that the now busted American military can muster. Of course, we could restart the draft, or recast/restock the Army as an illegal alien amnesty programme (but either of those choices would be hideous).
    That other great force, “We, the consumer,” has spent itself too; s/he is history. As the corporate cronies robbed their own treasury, so too did the American consumer rob the last refuge of his treasure, his own home equity. To their credit now, cherchez la Chine.
    The 21st century consumer -cum- Big Spender is CHINA: now it is we Americans who wear the drab, mass-produced uniforms of third-world sweatshop cotton, and cheap rubber shoes ~ as we contemplate the Sophie’s Choice of growing corn: for Food or {gulp!} our own Fuel?
    This is The End‘ …is not something waiting to happen to America, somewhere around the next election cycle corner ~ it’s already history writ: que sera, sera : what will be, will be : the future’s not ours, it belongs to them : Let’s Give It Back.

  • Asta

    It’s nice to see our Decider-In-Chief yukking it up with the boys in uniform. I feel safer now. Because it’s all just a game. It must be a game or they wouldn’t have such big smiles.
    So I can sleep tonight, wake up refreshed tomorrow morning and go shopping.

  • Cactus

    When the Founders insisted that a civilian be the commander in chief over all the military, I doubt they could have conceived that an awol frat-boy-cheer-leader with a pathology the size of the average ocean would ever make it to the white house.
    Never in my wildest dreams (and I’ve had some wild ones) did I ever think I would come to look upon Lyndon Johnson with some sort of nostalgic affection. He looks absolutely presidential by comparison, scar and all. As someone said here a few days ago, at least Johnson anguished over his decisions. The current occupant acts like a little boy squashing bugs just to see them squirm and watch the ants come in for the leftovers. To keep a war going just so you can’t be impeached is pure evil.

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