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Dec 7, 2006 8:24 am

A Vietnam Commission and What Might Have Been

Aside from criticism from some on the left who desire immediate withdrawal and some on the right who want to stay the course, the Iraq Commission's report apparently has won the approval of most Americans. They see it as offering not only a series of useful suggestions but, more importantly perhaps, providing political cover for the administration to withdraw from Iraq short of "victory."

How come there was no such commission during the Vietnam War, especially when it appeared after the Tet Offensive in February 1968 that the light at the end of the tunnel had grown dim?

There almost was one! In March, just before Robert Kennedy entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, his people told President Johnson that if he would appoint an independent commission to study war policy, the New York senator would not toss his hat into the ring. Johnson thought about it for a day or two and then rejected the proposal--and the rest, of course, is history.

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