If there’s one thing I tire of, it’s trite comparisons of the war in Afghanistan to Viet Nam.
A) it bores me because it shows a lack of creativity. For some reason, there is never an analysis of conflict that stands on its own. It is always compared to another war effort. “Afghanistan is Obama’s Vietnam.” “Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam.” You never see good stuff like “Viet Nam is Johnson’s Little Big Horn.”
But it also only seems to show up when we’re perceived as losing. You never see “Iraq was Bush’s Defeat of the Japanese” or something.
B) Viet Nam and Afghanistan are wholly different conflicts. Say what you want about insurgent similarities. I’m talking about how we got here and our presence as it is. We didn’t limp quietly in the Stan and fail to firmly commit to making shit happen. We did in Southeast Asia. The problem we face now is that we’re trying to limp out instead of grabbing the problem by the balls and squeezing a bit.
So, boorish analysis by Princeton Historians annoy me. Especially when they not only compare Afghanistan to Vietnam, but do so in order to impress upon us that the President should listen to the Vice President.
I’m not saying Obama shouldn’t listen to Biden *ever*, just not when he comes up with a hair brained idea on how to win in Afghanistan. Especially when “winning” seems to be spoken “quietly run away” per the IC Manual…
Vice President Joseph Biden is emerging as an important voice within the White House on the war in Afghanistan.
The New York Times reported that during a meeting in the situation room on September 13, Biden urged the president to consider reducing America’s troop presence in Afghanistan. Rather than embracing a mission to protect the Afghan population, the U.S., Biden reportedly said, should target al Qaeda cells in the region through special operations forces and targeted missile attacks.
The emerging relationship between Biden and President Obama brings back memories of Vice President Hubert Humphrey and President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1964, many congressional Democrats were strongly warning Johnson that it was not wise to escalate America’s involvement in Vietnam.
Last week there was evidence that Obama won’t ignore the voices of colleagues who are disagreeing with him. Despite having called Afghanistan a “war of necessity” and ordering an increase of 21,000 troops after becoming president, Obama is now saying publicly that he is skeptical that more troops will have the desired effect in Afghanistan.
“I’m not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan or saving face or, in some way — you know, sending a message that America is here for the duration,” the president recently said on television.
So, what message ARE you interested in sending?