Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Afghanistan inspires Freudian slips about that other battlefield – Iraq

President Barack Obama may have invoked Vietnam to banish that ugly specter of defeat from his shiny new Afghan strategy. But a day later, Iraq seems to be the wartime nightmare dogging two congressional veterans of the Bush wars.

Vice President Joe Biden, who was a Democratic senator from Delaware during Rummy’s “Shock and Awe” bombardment of Baghdad, let the musings of his unconscious psyche slip out Freudian style in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America.

While refuting worries among critics that the Afghan strategy’s 18-month timeline might embolden the Taliban, Biden said: “How are they emboldened knowing that by the time we train up the Afghanis, we’re going to be gradually handing off beginning in 2003?”

2003 was the year of the Iraq invasion. The big year for the Obama plan is 2011.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, long a forceful voice on military policy, proved a bolder Freudian by actually mentioning that other battlefield by name.

The First Draft: Teddy’s Life of Remorse and Atonement

Oswald was the lone assassin. JFK wanted a way out of Vietnam. And Bobby’s death brought a bout of self-destructive drinking around the time Mary Jo Kopechne died at Chappaquiddick Island in an “inexcusable” car accident.

Those are some of the insights in a forthcoming memoir by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died last week but lives again in print as a leading figure in American politics.

In the book, “True Compass,” which Teddy completed while suffering from the brain cancer that claimed his life, he admits “terrible decisions” at Chappaquiddick in 1969 and says those events may have shortened the life of his father, Joe. KENNEDY