...One conclusion that suggests itself is that — from the beginning — Iraq really has been about Vietnam. Cheney and Rumsfeld have been the Iraq war's principle advocates and architects. As Woodward now reveals, they've even introduced Henry Kissinger back into the equation, and he now is Bush's most frequent nongovernmental advisor on foreign policy. Cheney and Rumsfeld were bright young men headed for the top during the Nixon and Ford administrations, both of whom thought of themselves, as others did, as future presidents. Though the disaster in Southeast Asia hardly ruined them, a certain stigma has attached itself ever since.The full review also reveals the troubling connect to the Saud family and the almost funny if they weren't true attempts by Dubya to learn foreign policy. The review recommends this recent article about Cheney's history which I second. Cheney seems my complete opposite in terms of government philosophy, holding that separation-of-powers is complete BS. The article, which consolidates many books, also reinforces the impression of the complete dishonesty and opportunism of the man who is an American version of a Roman consul.
For them, the Iraq war, the whole wrenching debate over domestic spying, the detainees and unitary executive power is all about Vietnam. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Kissinger all have been convinced for decades that the country drew all the wrong historical and governmental conclusions from Vietnam. The Reagan era intervention in Central America was a first attempt to overturn those conclusions, but it foundered on the arms-for-hostages scandal. Once George W. Bush — for a set of Freudian family issues too tedious to belabor — put himself in their clutches, he became the instrument of a Cheney/Rumsfeld/Kissinger attempt to abolish 30 years of history and their enduring resentment that their youthful exercise of power ended in failure, death and disaster.