I don't know if the US government has such a thing as a National Prestige Advisor, but the 'ghost of Veitnam' obssessed the nation for decades. (Remember, the 'ghost' that was supposed to be 'exorcised' by the venture in Iraq?).
Whether or not the nation at large would still be angsting over it if they weren't constantly being reminded of it and told that they should feel angst is another matter. And whether or not they are reminded of it so often to encourage people to think they need to redeem themselves through some new display of geo-political machismo, another again.
The idea that the CORMMUNISTS (sic) have managed to dole out a successful cuffing to an irritant nation, while the USA continues to wallow ineffectually in Afghanistan and Iraq is likely to inflame bellicose sentiment - which will be encouraged by Faux News propoganda machine and the nonsense spewed by rightwing 'think-tanks,' just like before the invasion of Iraq.
So bombs may rain down on Tehran and obliterate innocent Iranians in the name of world peace and - doubtless - the whole shoddy act of mass murder will be proclaimed as a new front in the 'War on Terror.' That it will only make people hate us all the more will be conveniently ignored, as will the failure of bomb wrecked Iran to produce any credible evidence of a nuclear weapons programme. And the guilty will go unpunished, as they did after the invasion of Iraq (2).
And the US public, convinced that they have endured an insufferable - though ill defined - humiliation, may allow themselves to be fooled once again.
1 - 'Little to do, lots to learn for impotent US,' by Rupert Cornwell, published in The Independent, 15th of August, 2008.
2 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2008/08/why-are-they-still-free-why-are-they.html