Seems Like Old Times in Afghanistan

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Seems Like Old Times in Afghanistan 

They say that President Obama is meeting with platoons of advisors to determine whether and if so how to carry on that conflict.  To those of us old enough to remember Vietnam, it all seems eerily familiar. 

Take one Democratic president, elected with a mandate to further a liberal agenda, but with one reservation.  In Kennedy, and then Johnson’s case, whatever they might have wished to do domestically, they had to fight world Communism, which in its day was regarded as fearfully as radical Islam is today.  Add some generals who swear they cannot honor that paramount presidential priority unless they escalate an unpopular war.  Add the fact that the opposite side is a popular guerilla insurgency with a more or less safe haven in another country.  Then top it off with a corrupt local government that has used the shelter of U.S. military protection to avoid reforming itself and behaving honestly. 

In retrospect Vietnam was clearly unwinnable.  Afghanistan has a lengthy record of humbling foreign occupiers including the British and the Russians at the height of their respective imperial powers.  (Shades of the French at Dienbienphu.)  In the words of Dirty Harry, “You got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?”  Because luck will be required in large doses to overcome the Afghanistan jinx.

I for one do not feel lucky.

Copyright (c) Jack L. B. Gohn

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