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Kissinger: Lessons from Vietnam

May 31, 2007 at 8:01 AM

WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said politicians should learn from the Vietnam War that deadlines won't work in ending the Iraq war.

"In Iraq, rapid, unilateral withdrawal would be disastrous. At the same time, a political solution remains imperative. A strategic design cannot be achieved on a fixed, arbitrary deadline; it must reflect conditions on the ground," Kissinger wrote in an opinion piece in Thursday's Los Angeles Times. "But it also must not test the endurance of the American public to a point where the outcome can no longer be sustained by our political process."

Kissinger said a bipartisan solution is needed to bringing a successful end to the war.

"President Bush owes it to his successor to make as much progress toward this goal as possible; not to hand the problem over but to reduce it to more manageable proportions. What we need most is a rebuilding of bipartisanship in both this presidency and in the next," Kissinger wrote in the Times.

Kissinger said the two conflicts had something in common -- debate over them "became so bitter as to preclude rational discussion of hard choices."

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