Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, whose 1968 conclusion that the Vietnam War was unwinnable keenly influenced public opinion then, said Sunday he'd say the same thing today about Iraq. "It's my belief that we should get out now," Cronkite said in a meeting with reporters.
"We had an opportunity to say to the world and Iraqis..." [that America was broke after Hurricane Katrina,] "...that "our hearts are with you" and that the United States would do all it could to rebuild their country, he said.
Note that what he calls an "opportunity" is actually an excuse. Things which make yur life harder do not provide opportunities, they remove opportunities. They may, however, provide you with an excuse. The only difference between taking an opportunity with or without an excuse is your own fortitude. So Mr. Cronkite is a Socialist of the cut-and-run variety, but without the cojones to say so.
This sort of decision-making may be popular in France, but it never pans out for the states. For an example, think of our crushing defeat in the 1968 Tet offensive. That was a handy excuse to leave Viet--hey, wait a minute--Tet was a defeat for the other side!
In fact, the only thing more galling than Uncle Walter's surrender without the balls to say "surrender" is the fact that he always seems to think that the right time to surrender is when we really start kicking ass. After the Tet offensive, the North Vietnamese were doomed unless for some reason the U.S. were to simply leave the battlefield. Similarly, now that Iraq has had three elections, we are scheduled to start reducing our presence this year and the country grows more stable everyday, Syria stands busted, Libya has seen the light, and Afghanistan has high-ranking women in government--Yup, it's time to quit. To a man such as Walter Cronkite, this war is now unwinnable. That is because a man such as Walter Cronkite is actually on the other side. Feel free to check my math here, but it's only arithmetic: if America is winning (and we are) but he says "we" are losing (and he does), then it is clear who he means by "we".
"I think we could have been able to retire with honor," he said. "In fact, I think we can retire with honor anyway."
Speaking as if he were one of us, he whispers poisonous advice. So which is the deeper flaw? Is it the Bush Administration's failure to cut and run when we had a handy excuse, or the failure to cut and run (er, "retire") now without an excuse? Speaking of retirement, in other news, Cronkite assessed his own powers of decision making as deeply flawed:
This is the melancholy sound of regret. Walter Cronkite doesn't even know how to retire from CBS with honor (hint: shut up), but somehow he knows how to run the world? This from the same man who says that we should cut and run from this war (like the last) whenever an excuse provides political cover. If (for some reason) the Bush administration were to take Cronkite's advice and later have regrets, what would those regrets be? Would they be the regrets of a Clinton or an Annan for action not taken?
"Twenty-four hours after I told CBS News that I was stepping down at my 65th birthday I was already regretting it and I've regretted it every day since," he said. "It's too good a job for me to have given it up the way that I did."
CNN.com - Clinton expresses regret in Rwanda - Jul 23, 2005
KIGALI, Rwanda (Reuters) -- Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, visiting a Rwandan genocide memorial on Saturday, expressed regret for his "personal failure" to prevent the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 people. Clinton apologised on a previous visit to Rwanda in 1998 for not recognising the crime of genocide. Clinton administration officials avoided the word in public for fear it would spark an outcry for action they were loathe to take, six months after U.S. troops were killed by Somali warlords in Mogadishu.
BBC NEWS | Africa | UN chief's Rwanda genocide regret
"The United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has said he could and should have done more to stop the genocide in Rwanda 10 years ago.
At a memorial conference at the UN, Mr Annan said he realised he personally could have done more to rally support for international efforts to stop it.
"The international community is guilty of sins of omission," Mr Annan said.
The genocide - in which some 800,000 people died - occurred when Mr Annan was head of UN peacekeeping forces.
The UN Security Council failed to reinforce the small UN peacekeeping force in the country.
"The international community failed Rwanda and that must leave us always with a sense of bitter regret," Mr Annan said.
He said the painful memory had influenced many of his later decisions as secretary general.
"I believed at that time that I was doing my best," he said.
"But I realised after the genocide that there was more that I could and should have done to sound the alarm and rally support.""