President needs to observe mistakes of past war leaders

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2003

Many Americans have believed, above all because of the White House's insinuations, that Saddam Hussein in one way or another was involved in the attacks against New York and Washington. With that there was a link to terrorism, internal security and Iraq. Without the events of Sept. 11 the war would have been much more difficult to justify.

But now the mood is changing. It has become difficult to trust the president. Where are the weapons of mass destruction? How long are the troops staying? Why are Americans dying every day in Iraq?

No, it's not like the Vietnam War. But the very experiences from that time, when secrets and lies played a central role, is to a great extent applicable to today's situation. When the developments in Iraq become complicated, the political leadership is tempted to deny unpleasant facts. And soon they are on a slippery slope that leads to lies and crises.

We are not there yet. But George W. Bush should soonest, out of a self-preservation instinct, study a few of his predecessors' colossal and tragic mistakes.

Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm

July 30

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