It is tempting to compare Iraq to Vietnam - the image of the United States bogged down without a clear military objective, save for pacification.
By his second term in office, President Lydon Johnson (LBJ) had become mired in Vietnam. In 2006 with an all-volunteer army, versus 1966 with a draft, the protest over US military involvement overseas is less strident.
And yet, George W. Bush is beginning to sound a lot like Lyndon. Most surprising is that at his press conference yesterday, Bush went so far as to suggest it might take a subsequent Administration to get the US out of Iraq.
When Johnson's ratings in the polls crashed, so did the rest of his Presidency. It would be fanciful to say that Bush, despite his low numbers, is as embattled as LBJ once was.
Nevertheless, it isn't good news for a President to say that success is so far away, as we have to wait for another Administration to sort things out. Ike won the 1952 election over Korea, Nixon (to some extent) won it over Vietnam, and Carter lost, in part, because of the Iran hostages. What the voters perceived was an Administration that could not get out of Korea, Vietnam, or get the hostages back.
During World War Two, President Roosevelt did not campaign for his fourth term by saying the "next Administration" would win the war - although that is actually how it turned out.
Leaders are there to offer vision and hope and to lead. Responsibility to extricate the United States from Iraq is now passed onto some faceless generals. Generals such as Ike may have been popular, but again to FDR, despite his failing health, seemed to be at the helm.
But the United States foreign policy, especially as regards Iraq, seems to be a rudderless ship. The President says he does not know where the shoals are or where the current is taking him, and a new captain will steer us home.
It is too bad, like Johnson, that he has become a prisoner of his own policies and has come to believe his own ever-shifting rhetoric.
We ask, "why are we in Iraq?" What led us there? Who led us there! What objectives? Were they ever truly articulated? Were they ever attainable, and worst of all, is Bush going to be able to do more than flay around? What will it accomplish to wait around? Can only the next Administration dig us out?
Right now, there is no true vision at the top ... and as history teaches us, to put it off to another Administration merely ensure that the current Administration will fail and been seen as a failure.
Like for Lyndon, Bush may have just turned a corner and stepped off a cliff.
November will tell.