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Vietnam, Always Handy

"The president wants to be like Truman. Some historians think he may be more like L.B.J."

The Sunday Week in Review story by Kate Zernike, "Bush's Legacy vs. the 2008 Election," again turned to that grim standby, Vietnam, to explain Bush's dilemma in Iraq. The text box reads "The president wants to be like Truman. Some historians think he may be more like L.B.J."


As evidence to back up this liberal claim, Zernike quotes liberal professor Robert Dallek, a Times favorite, who rendered an opinion that "To coin a phrase, [Bush is] no Harry Truman."


"Mr. Johnson faced most of his opposition from within his own party. In 1964, only two senators voted against the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, escalating the American involvement in Vietnam. By 1966, Senator J. William Fulbright, who voted for the resolution, gave a speech at Johns Hopkins University on the arrogance of power, and the next year, Senator Eugene McCarthy announced that he would challenge Mr. Johnson for the Democratic presidential nomination. By 1968, Mr. Johnson announced he would not seek re-election.


"Republicans are not close to such an all-out revolt, but their opposition last week was a striking turnaround from just six months ago, when all but one member of the Republican majority in the Senate rejected a plan to begin withdrawing troops within the year."


Zernike emphasizes GOP splits.


"On the Hill, meanwhile, even those who did support the president's plan in Iraq offered less than the hearty endorsements of the troop surge. Some, like Mr. Warner, said they needed more information before they committed to any increase. At an Armed Services Committee hearing on Friday, Mr. Warner asked the Pentagon to provide results of the war game analyses it has done to evaluate the results of adding more troops.


"In the House, as fierce a partisan as Representative Jack Kingston said he was not ready to lend full support, but looked forward to hearings on the plan."