As the mere mention of Vietnam suggests, the repetition dilemma also has causes that go deeper into the past. I embarked on journalism in 1966 as a reporter in Vietnam. The experience led, naturally and seamlessly, to a decade of writing about the war, the opposition to the war and, finally, when the war "came home," to the constitutional crisis of the Nixon years and its resolution via Nixon's resignation under threat of impeachment. The war and the impeachment were connected at every point. It wasn't just that Nixon's wiretapping was directed against Daniel Ellsberg, war critic and leaker of the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers; or that the "plumbers" outfit that carried out the Watergate break-in was founded to spy on, disrupt and attack war critics; or that Nixon's persistence in trying to win the war even as he withdrew American troops from it drove him into the paranoia that led him to draw up an "enemies list" and sponsor subversions of the electoral process--it was that his entire go-it-alone, imperial conception of the presidency originated in his pursuit of his war policy in secrecy and without Congressional involvement.
Let's hope that the USA will find some saving grace in the eventual impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Though for all practical purposes of civil and decent society it can't stop there. These men must be put on trial for crimes against humanity and if found guilty in a legitimate court of law, they must be duly required to account and provide justice for their misdeeds and wrongdoings.