Anyone who lived through the Vietnam war era in the US will feel a startling sense that history is cycling back over familiar ground when reading this NY Times piece about timetables for the withdrawal of American forces. The laughably transparent but straight-faced explanations of al-Malaki's clear meaning reprise the greatest hits of LBJ, Westmorland, McNamara, & Nixon. Josh Marshall offers a clear analysis of the White House response here. The wonder is that reporters don't simply burst out laughing when they are fed this kind of crap. My sense, however, is that journalism has moved, culturally, from skepticism & incredulity at the mendacity of US government & military spokesmodels to fawning credulity. The Times article does not mention that the al-Maliki "walk back" was issued, not by the Iraqi government, but by the American military. The Associated Press, uncharacteristically, gets it right. And even the chronically unreliable New Republic nails down the issue. Finally, here is a little history lesson regarding John McCain, Vietnam, & the myth of "victory" from Joe Conason.