Should we be shocked by his hypocrisy? No. We should be frightened by his sociopathy. He was lying then, not giving a damn about "American lives." He was lying because he knew what he wanted to do, but knew he couldn't sell it a dozen years ago. he entertained delusions of the GOP presidential nod in 1996, so he had to hide his malevolent true self. See how effortlessly he lies, an indicator of the sociopath.
And then his stooge drags out Viet Nam. Beyond the laughably obvious fact that no man ever is less qualified than George W. Bush to bring up that tragic conflict, could he have gotten it more wrong?
You have already read how he has been pilloried by historians and military experts. A feeble claim that we can't leave because bad things would happen is pathetic and tragic, as are attempts to glom onto difficult decisions made by previous presidents when faced with real crises. For the love of God, at least Viet Nam was a "war," as misbegotten as it was. There was an objective and an identiafiable enemy, even if that objective ran counter to U.S. interests and the "enemy" was no real threat. At least it was not an ethereal shadow boxing match with no logical objective or endgame.
Note the absurdity of even pundits such as George Will, who defines "victory" as the establishment of "a stable society under a tolerable regime." Hmm, what is that odd smell of eggs? Oh that's right, it is the odious, sulphuric smell of a shattered Humpty Dumpty that no king's men or horses can fix. George, if you will recall, there was a "stable" society living under a "tolerable" if odious regime. You embraced pushing Humpty off that wall.
For the depth and breadth of this delusional absurdity, take a gander at this perverse White House "fact sheet," that gives us
Today, The Violent Islamic Extremists Who Fight Us In Iraq Are As Certain Of Their Cause As The Nazis, Imperial Japanese, And Soviet Communists Were Of Theirs – And They Are Destined For The Same Fate. So long as we remain true to our ideals, we will defeat the extremists in Iraq and help that country's people stand up a functioning democracy in the heart of the Middle East, which will make America safer and more secure.
The Wehmacht, the Imperial Army, the Red Army--and a few thousand guys in caves. God help us.