Thursday, August 5, 2010

Afghanistan: Obama's Viet Nam?

Many folks think it would be nice if our current White House resident spent less time attending $30,000 a plate dinners and bashing George Bush while spending more time on supporting our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq with an intelligent war strategy.

Butch Jackson, the local historian and student of things that happened a long time ago, has always been troubled by the Viet Nam War. Butch calls it the perfect example of the typical failed Liberal War Policy. His narrative goes like this, "Afghanistan looks like a Viet Nam clone. In Viet Nam a liberal President Kennedy got us involved initially making mistake after mistake including ordering South Viet Nam Generals to murder their President Diem who was the best leader in the country to fight Communism. It seems Kennedy's Harvard guys didn't think Diem was 'American enough'. Johnson then escalated the war and ran it from Washington. He, his fellow Liberals, and the liberal press brought constant pressure on South Viet Nam regime after regime to fight the war like Americans (be nice!!) even though they were being relentlessly attacked by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army fighting out of sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia and supplied by both Communist China and Russia. The Liberal war strategy, as always, was to only escalate incrementally (a key word) with the goal of reaching a peace agreement with what they considered to be reasonable Communist. All of this of course without offending China, Russia, Cambodia, Laos, the French, etc."

Butch caught his breath, "And then comes President Nixon into office. He unleashes the Air Force and Navy to bombard the North in addition to Laos and Cambodian supply routes every time the enemy launches a major attack. Contrary to press reports the US and South Vietnamese defeat the enemy in the TET offensive and the larger 1972 Christmas attacks. Over the course of the war over 1.2 million of the the enemy was killed while Americans lost 50,000 troops. When the North then signed peace treaties in Paris, it was under a strong threat from Nixon that he would bomb the hell out of them if they did not comply with the agreements. The Liberal Congress then blocked Nixon by passing a War Powers Act prohibiting US military involvement in South East Asia. They then impeached Nixon, Russia and China quadrupled their support of the North. Needless to say without US support the South was annihilated within months. Then the murders and tortures began."

The Chairman, Billy Roy Mithum, interceded as only he can, "What the heck does this have to do with Afghanistan?"

Butch sucked it up, "Here we go. A Liberal President is escalating the 'good war' in Afghanistan because that is where al Queda used to be. Of course now al Queda has cleared out. So we are really fighting the Taliban, who George Bush ran out of office after 911 by cleverly fighting 'dirty' and using the CIA supporting local tribesmen in an insurgency strategy. Meanwhile Obama will not admit he is fighting the Taliban just as Johnson would rather act as if we were fighting the Viet Cong than the North Vietnamese backed by the Chinese and Russians. Obama plans to incrementally (that word again) pressure the Taliban to the point they will negotiate an agreement to stop trying to overthrow the current Afghanistan government, and instead form a new government with Taliban participation (looks like Paris Peace Talks, huh?). Meanwhile the Libs and the US Media constantly harp on the corruption and incompetence of the current Afghan government just as they did in Viet Nam. Additionally they join the ACLU in monitoring whether we are being 'nice' in our interrogations and rules of engagement tying one hand behind the backs of our troops and allies. On top of all this, Obama announces our withdrawal schedule signaling we have not intentions of defeating the Taliban but really just want to get out. What the Afghans hear from the current American president is a surge with an expiration date. An Afghan facing the life-or-death choice of which side to support can be forgiven for hedging his bets with the Taliban."

Billy Roy summed up, "Let me cut through this Butch. My guess is you think the result will be the same as Viet Nam. That being the Taliban will agree to anything, wait till we get out, and then slaughter anyone who doesn't support them. I am not sure of the total number of people slaughtered in Southeast Asia after we stopped out support, but I do know that over 700,000 Vietnamese alone died as they tried to flee in boats. I also know we took in over 1.5m boat people here in the US, and they seem to be mostly great citizens. Also, not only South Viet Nam fell but Laos and Cambodia as well were victims of horrible atrocities. In the Middle East my guess in the Islamic Radicals will take Afghanistan and then Pakistan soon after we pull out. Then Iraq and, who knows, Saudi Arabia and the other Middle Eastern 'moderates' could go as well."

"So was Bush making the same mistakes as Obama?", BM wanted to know.

"Nope, " Butch was quick to reply after shrewdly anticipating the question. "During the Bush administration, U.S. goals for Afghanistan were modest. First, the Americans intended to keep al Qaeda bottled up and to impose as much damage as possible on the command structure. Second, they intended to establish an Afghan government, regardless of how ineffective it might be, to serve as a symbolic core (avoiding the Viet Nam mistake of constantly changing regimes). Third, they planned very limited counter terrorists operations against the Taliban, which had regrouped and increasingly controlled the countryside after they had been thrown out of office. The Bush administration was basically in a holding operation in Afghanistan. It accepted that U.S. forces were neither going to be able to impose a political solution on Afghanistan nor create a coalition large enough to control the country. US strategy was extremely modest under Bush: to harass al Qaeda from bases in Afghanistan, maintain control of cities and logistics routes, and accept the limits of US interests and power avoiding the mistakes made by Russia. Obama ran against the bad war in Iraq proclaiming Afghanistan the good war. Maybe this was a good campaign strategy to prove his was show he was tough, but it is a terrible war against terror strategy. Now he has trapped himself, us, and our UN allies in his folly. He has already fired two generals blaming them for his flawed plan. The Libs will pressure Obama to withdraw, he will, and the rest we have seen before."

And Billy Roy's last words, "How many of these darn Liberal Incremental Wars do we have to have before the folks wise up?"

Think about it as we approach November,