In his 1983 book, "Writing History and Making Policy: The Cold War, Vietnam, and Revisionism," Richard Melanson wrote this:
" . . . history and policy rarely stand in isolation from one another, and both private and official recollections of the past help to determine attitudes toward the present and plans for the future."
We have a current fascinating example of that in the Obama administration as they contemplate what to do next in Afghanistan. This piece from Frank Rich beautifully describes how an interpretation of Vietnam by Gordon Goldstein ("Lessons in Disaster") is having an effect on the Obama team. As I read the Rich op-ed it was brought home to me again just how pervasive the memory of Vietnam is among those in power and, perhaps, by the general population. Who says that history is a dead subject? As Faulkner said, "The past isn't dead, it isn't even past."