I read this in the New York Times today. It must be true.
Here's the context:
Senator John McCain is accustomed to staking out a lonely piece of ground, but on Iraq he is virtually an army of one. Nearly alone among major political figures in calling for an increase in American forces in Iraq, Mr. McCain is either taking a principled stand or a huge political gamble. Or both.
A majority of Americans now say they think invading Iraq was a mistake and would like to see the withdrawal of at least some of the nearly 150,000 troops there, polls say. Only one in seven Americans agrees with Mr. McCain that the United States should send more soldiers and marines. Even President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who assert that victory is the only acceptable outcome of the war, have not dared publicly to advocate additional deployments....
Leslie H. Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said Mr. McCain had painted such a dire picture of the consequences of defeat that he almost had to advocate a more forceful effort to win. If Mr. McCain were to join the chorus of those agitating for a fast or slow withdrawal, he could alienate a large swath of voters he needs to win the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. Gelb added.
“He’s making the bet — and it’s not a crazy bet — that the country doesn’t want to lose,” he said. “The public realizes we can’t afford to win and probably can’t win, but it doesn’t want to lose. And the Republicans probably won’t nominate anyone who’s prepared to accept that now.”
Other analysts said Mr. McCain was risking his reputation as a realist and someone who knows when to fold a losing hand by sticking obstinately to his current position.
“He would just repeat the mistake of Vietnam,” said Michael E. O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution, the liberal-leaning research group in Washington. “If McCain refuses to acknowledge that some wars can become simply unwinnable, he may be exposing a weakness in his thinking that ultimately deprives him of the presidency.”
This is an event worth noting.
40 years ago President Lyndon Johnson stuck it out in Vietnam because he was convinced the American people would insist on winning. Now we are ready simply not to lose.
That's a measure of the effect of Vietnam on American mythology. Losing is still unthinkable but"not winning" is no longer essential.