Salted Peanuts

Posted by Cutler on October 01, 2006

Today’s Washington Post includes an excerpt–“Secret Reports Dispute White House Optimism“–from Bob Woodward’s new book State of Denial.

In a previoius post, I have discussed Woodward’s latest discussion of Bush administration factionalism.

The WaPo excerpt includes interesting news that Cheney regularly turns to Kissinger for advice.

The bit of advice that Woodward reports concerns cautionary words from Kissinger regarding the political culture of sacrifice in the US.

Woodward writes,

Kissinger sensed wobbliness everywhere on Iraq, and he increasingly saw it through the prism of the Vietnam War…

In his writing, speeches and private comments, Kissinger claimed that the United States had essentially won the war in 1972, only to lose it because of the weakened resolve of the public and Congress…

Victory had to be the goal, he told all. Don’t let it happen again. Don’t give an inch, or else the media, the Congress and the American culture of avoiding hardship will walk you back…

The president can’t be talking about troop reductions as a centerpiece,” Kissinger said. “You may want to reduce troops,” but troop reduction should not be the objective. “This is not where you put the emphasis.”

To emphasize his point, he gave Gerson a copy of a memo he had written to President Richard M. Nixon, dated Sept. 10, 1969.

Withdrawal of U.S. troops will become like salted peanuts to the American public; the more U.S. troops come home, the more will be demanded,” he wrote.

The “new isolationism” is all about those salted peanuts. And the “American culture of avoiding hardship.”

Kissinger is right. The new isolationism constitutes a grave and growing threat to US imperial ambitions.

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