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Afghanistan: President Obama’s Vietnam


#1

Afghanistan: President Obama’s Vietnam

Jonathan Marshall

Historians still debate whether President John F. Kennedy would have withdrawn U.S. troops from Vietnam had he lived to win re-election in 1964. Since President Barack Obama recently announced his intention to keep at least 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the end of his presidency, the only debate will be over why he never withdrew but chose instead to bequeath an unwinnable war — the longest in U.S. history — to his successor.


#2

In the case of Afghanistan we do not have to win a war to win peace. It is just a problem of minimizing the costs (in terms of lives and $) of hostilities.


#3

"So why doesn’t Obama just get out? That worked in Vietnam which Washington today is courting as an ally."

Public pressure thanks to the draft ran the war machine out of Nam.

No draft, no public pressure, the war economy rolls on...


#4

America's death grip on the world lives on...


#5

Not a small factor for our stay in Afghanistan is heroin production, isn't it?

Poppies and opioids contribute to a multi-billion dollar industry; how do you sever that connection?

But I could be wrong!


#6

I don't know why our "leaders" don't stop the madness.
Oh, wait, perhaps they're mad. (Perhaps rabid at that.)


#7

Obama's Vietnam is sort of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Honduras, Ukraine, Yemen, Somalia, and a few strips along the border of Texas and spots in the Sierra Madre Oriental, no?

And his NAFTA Mexico is to include Japan and Europe. His mountaintop-removal Appalachia is to include a big swath of Canada.

It's like car-chase scenes in action movies. Every American president has to louse up more than the last, or some somebody does not buy a ticket.

I used to move furniture with an old guy who turned to me every so often and said, "We in our last days. You go make good, Bard; we in our last days." He gains on me.


#8

"Stop the madness."

From Dr. King, "And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula... of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades..."

"Somehow this madness must cease..."

"War is not the answer..."

From "Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam" / "Beyond Vietnam," delivered in Riverside Church, NYC, Tuesday, April 4, 1967

Isn't it strange that Mr. Obama, who pushes for endless war, is quite the opposite of Dr. King?


#9

The original plan, as best as I can remember, was that Afghanistan was supposed to become the USSR's Viet Nam, which is why the Deep Shit State funded and supplied Osama bin Laden and the group that became Al Qaida. Interesting how few of "the deciders" have ever heard of that "best laid plans of mice and men" thing. I wonder how many of them thought bin Laden would say, "Hey, indispensable nation, wow, thanks for the help. The USSR has packed up, left, and is now falling apart, so you can go home now, we got this here."

We (that's a collective editorial we, not a "frame" or a statement that every single one of us is equally to blame) are still there, still taking casualties, now it's being called in world weary tones "America's longest war," Russia has recovered and is back to being thought of as a world power (it does still have all those nukes) and a threat to the "hegemony" that The Big Bad They in D.C. think "we" are every bit as entitled to as HRC and DJT think that they are entitled to be "Commander and Chief of The Free World." Both are entitled to have us believe they have the wherewithal to deal with these niggling annoying little problems by applying just the right combination of "carrot", e.g., incomprehensible agreements, electronic phantom cyber money with nothing backing it, and the right amount nuclear threat "stick."

This will certainly work to either make America great again or it's already really great but can be made even really greater than the great it already is believed by some to be. Tough choice. I sent in an online request for absentee ballots but they're hard to get if you don 't belong to one of the great states and terrific territories, so I will not be able to choose or write in Jill Stein, so I will not be part of "the worried we" but only a very worried overseas observer.

Can a really "free world" actually have a Command in Chief?


#10

Amusing in its own weird way that one must feel compelled such a disclaimer necessary around these parts, ain't it?


#11

Why not withdraw armed forces from Afghanistan? There must be many reasons. But first, follow the money. Lots of wealth for lots of individuals has been made because of the post-9/11 wars.

Begin with the still-unsolved September 11 crime, which had been almost predicted, and apparently hoped for, by the PNAC signers of "Rebuilding America's Defenses", nearly half of whom went on to jobs in the Bush Administration.

Rumsfeld and Feith and Woldowitz to Defense, Cheney in the White House, Perle at the Pentagon, etc.
Just in time to act out what had been written out and signed by them a year or two earlier.

Afghanistan has the main poppy crop, yes? Plants with morphine.
Funny coincidence...The past few years there has been lots of press about the new or rather growing heroin addiction problem here in the States.

There is lots of money in the opium business. It is also just about as important (as a strategic resource) as coal, petroleum, water, or arable land to a society, because of its place in medicine.

Whoever holds the drugs crops, the fuel crops, the mineral resources, the water supplies, and so forth, rules the world. Or his wife does.

The thing is, if the U.S. didn't do it, maybe someone else would have.

I mean, go steal everything not nailed down and kill countless human beings in a kind of genocidal semi-extermination campaign, a campaign that seems to have little to do with guilt or innocence in the victims.

Maybe those victims are killed for practice- to prepare for the third world war- the "Big One"- with China, or Russia, or all the Muslims in the world, or all combined.

It would make a certain kind of sense to practice on the smaller nations, in order to perfect the air war, in particular the drone war systems, to work out the bugs, towards the end of achieving "full spectrum dominance" of any area, or any people, in the world.

If the U.S. didn't do this heinous process, isn't it possible that another nation would, if it could? So the PNAC guys were not idiots, but what some would call hard-headed realists.

I don't know if good can come out of evil, or if it comes despite evil. Maybe some final result fifty or a hundred years from now will prove the neocons right.

Here is another factor- one that that is not discussed enough, because of political correctness.
In three words: "Book of Revelation".

Moving on...As for Obama not getting out, does anyone believe he can make that decision? And if he can, what forces might be against him?

I don't think we are really sure who killed JFK in 1963. I mean, we the people.
Someone, somewhere, does know, but I don't.

Suppose Kennedy had been killed because of his intention to end the Vietnam War? I'm not claiming that is true, because I don't know, but a lot of people sincerely believe it. That would send Mr. Obama a message, if true.
Maybe that's too wild an idea. But even if it is, anyone can see that the juggernaut that is the military-industrial complex is so big, and has so much momentum, that a president, or anyone else, is only like an ant in front of a steamroller.
The smart choice is to not let it squash you. No one can have courage if he is dead. You don't want to play chicken with that rolling monster.

It stops for no one. And maybe it has taken on a life of its own, like a monster from a story, at last. Maybe its human makers cannot control it anymore, and so it becomes a Frankenstein as well as a juggernaut.

This is all just speculation (probably inspired by coffee) from a rank amateur about foreign policy.
It's just how this one citizen, ranting on his computer soapbox, sees the situation.


#13

And whilst the USA once again wastes money and kills the innocent, the Chinese are quietly making deals to exploit Afghanistan's mineral wealth.

Ho hum.


#14

Part of Obama's problem is that he was never radicalized by the Vietnam Nam war. Instead he is a seventies person-more like a gen X er enthrolled by free market magical thinking and devoid of empathy for those who died in our for profit wars.


#15

The US Government cannot get over its old Cold War obsession with defeating "Socialism" no matter how much disruption results. Venezuela is another example. Hugo Chavez was working to make its oil rich economy work for the people who were glad to have him there and believed in him. But the US National Security Department did not like that, Chavez being friendly with Fidel Castro and trying to create a working socialist state. That could not be permitted. Chavez died of what may have been natural causes, the austerityhaulics took back over, and now Venezuela is a failed state with an enormously high murder rate, long lines for everything, epidemic food insecurity, and a population pouring into the ranks of refugees seeking a better life anywhere but there.

Victory?