Schieffer Once Again Raises Specter of Vietnam: 'Declare Victory and Leave'
Schieffer often sees the world through the prism of Vietnam. This was at least the third time just this year he has raised the comparison:
On Face the Nation on the morning after the January 27 anti-Iraq war protest in Washington, DC, Schieffer reminisced:
“Yesterday in Washington was like a day from yesteryear -- the war that to many seems long ago and far away: the war in Vietnam. Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people descended on the capital to protest the war in Iraq.”The night after President Bush's January address announcing the surge, Schieffer asserted:
“You really have to go back to Vietnam and Watergate to find presidential speeches on television that didn't give the President at least a little bump in the polls.”In early December, assessing a CBS News poll, Schieffer maintained:
“This is opposition that is taking on historic proportions. By 1973, at the height of American opposition to the war in Vietnam, a Gallup poll showed that 60 percent of those polled said it had been a mistake to send our troops to Vietnam. Well, today's poll shows that slightly more Americans than that, 62 percent, now believe it was a mistake to go to Iraq. That is simply stunning."Back in September, in a “freeSpeech” commentary (remember those?) on the CBS Evening News, Schieffer opined:
“I am beginning to see parallels in the remarkably similar way the government then and the government now reports war news. During Vietnam, the government was on a never ending search for good news. Victory was always just around the corner. Over and over there were sightings of that light at the end of the tunnel. In 1964, a Senator returned from the war zone and declared: 'We are winning and everybody knows it, but Americans.' Sound familiar?”In May, after protesters confronted Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, Schieffer, as anchor of the CBS Evening News, trumpeted:
“Not since the Vietnam War has a Secretary of Defense been under the kind of criticism that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been getting lately.”
The Couric/Schieffer exchange on the February 21 CBS Evening News:
Couric: “Now to Washington and our chief correspondent there, Bob Schieffer. Bob, the Bush administration is characterizing the British draw down as a sign of success. Is anyone buying that?”
Schieffer: “Well, if that's the claim, it's going to be a very hard sell to a country and a public that has already turned against this war, and especially a hard sell with the Congress. I think what we're seeing here, Katie, is what happened back during the Vietnam era when things were going badly and the crusty old Senator from Vermont, George Aiken, said 'there's only one way out here, that's to declare victory and just leave.' That's what we're seeing. Tony Blair is telling his people 'we've done our job, now we're going to start bringing our people home.'"
Couric: “And Bob, do you think this will change minds or change even votes on Capitol Hill?”
Schieffer: “Well, I think it's going to make the President even more isolated than perhaps he is now. The Democrats have already pounced on this. They say it shows that the President's idea of putting more troops in is not the solution and that there is not a military solution, there has to be a diplomatic solution. Whether you're for the war or against the war, Katie, what this underlines tonight is that the coalition that the President put together to fight this war is now coming apart.”