The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Powell, Then and Now: “Rather than destroying an enemy army, which was the goal of the first gulf war, the U.S. military is now spinning its wheels in the Iraqi sand. No one is sure who or where the enemy is, or even what the U.S. mission is. And it is in that horrendous, senseless environment that American troops are getting shot to death or blown up or horribly maimed every single day.

At home, Americans seem to have forgotten what an ill-advised war can do to the United States. More than three decades after it was published, David Halberstam’s ‘The Best and the Brightest’ should still be required reading. Lyndon Johnson had hoped Vietnam would be a short war, Mr. Halberstam wrote, and he was afraid of the political consequences if the true economic costs became visible:”


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