Cleland urges Bush to change Iraq course

Aug. 25, 2007 at 2:25 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, a wounded Vietnam War veteran, Saturday compared President George Bush’s “credibility gap” to President Lyndon Johnson’s.

Cleland, D-Ga., delivered the Democratic response to the president’s weekend radio address. He urged the president to change strategy in Iraq.

“There are similarities between the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam,” Cleland said. “One of the lessons to be learned from Vietnam is that the commitment of American military strength alone cannot solve another country’s political weakness.”

Bush, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars this week, said the United States gave up on South Vietnam in 1972 when the government there could have survived. The North Vietnamese overran the south in 1975, reuniting the country.

Cleland said Bush has another chance to reconsider his Iraq policy in the upcoming assessment of the situation there. But he said the president appears committed to his present course.

“He is likely to say that given more time victory is just around the corner,” Cleland said. “He is likely to argue that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

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