Readers See Another Vietnam
The situation in Afghanistan brings back memories of Vietnam to many of our Readers Who Comment this morning as they ponder the news that the Taliban has learned a few things about how to frustrate the U.S. military. Many suggest we should get out now.
Karen DeYoung writes that "administration and defense officials are studying the reasons why the Taliban appears, for the moment at least, to be winning." President Obama campaigned against the Bush Administration's decision to emphasize Iraq over Afghanistan and promised he would do better. How to execute that promise is under study, but as columnist David Ignatius noted, "This may be one of those messy situations where the best course is to both shoot and talk."
Some of our readers call for full scale war; others call that absurd. Many remember that both the British and the Soviet Union failed militarily in Afghanistan, but most of the commentary circles back to Vietnam.
We'll start with Jimani2, who wrote, "If we wanted to wage total war against Afghanistan, we would crush them within days. But we know we have no excuse to do that. And if we do not, why ae we there? This is like Vietnam, where we put our troops in extreme danger without giving them the tools necessary to win. Let's get out so they can return to the Middle Ages."
Sideswiped said, "War it seems should be war with no limitations on engagements whether the Taliban is embedded with the civilian population or not. Didn't we see this movie in Viet Nam?... carpet bombing, napalm, cluster bombs, cruise missiles, predator drones, and F -117 night attacks seem to me to go a long way in evening the playing field. War is hell so make it hell for them."
To which bourassa1 replied, "Sure, Sideswiped, I well remember how napalm, B-52 carpet bombing, project Phoenix, Agent Orange and the My Lai massacre changed the course of the Vietnam war, bringing light at the end of the tunnel. Yep, if the US hadn't killed all those extra civilians, it might even have lost Vietnam!"
Mindboggle wrote, "...Obama... is between a rock and a hard place with the liberal kooks who want to get out regardless of outcome; his statements during campaign; and an Afghanistan that is mainly in the 15th century... I believe the hardcore Taliban are much like the VC and the North Vietnam leadership. They will not give up; they will not accept Western ideas and they will outlast us..."
PercyKution said, "I'm disappointed. I voted for Obama for the sole reason he promised to end Bush's War. And all he's done is move troops from Irag to Afghanistan. Fooled again. Stupid me."
pKrishna43 was one of several who remembered that "The British couldn't win in Afghanistan. The Russians couldn't win in Afghanistan. By what reckoning does the US think it could win in Afghanistan?..."
billappledorf wrote, "The Taliban are winning because they live there and the American military are a foreign occupier. Because of the terrain and social organization in Afghanistan, the U.S. could put a million boots on the ground and still lose. Invading Afghanistan, unless you enjoy killing innocent civilians to no end, is a fool's errand."
thebullss said, "I am sure there are other military tactics that can be used in Afghanistan.But the most important thing right now is the vote rigging by Karzai. The U.S. must be ready to punish Karzai Government for rigging the votes and cheattings, and give the Runner up "Abdullah Abdullah a chance to clean up Karzai mess..."
vcollier wrote, "Afghans have been at war since the 1970s and the Taliban specifically since the early 1990s. The idea that they are currently "improving their tactics" hardly explains what's going on today."
Charles15 said, "It was never going to be easy. How do you 'democratise' a country which for centuries has been led by either tribal war lords or religious muslim fundamentalists?... There is only one way- perserverance and patience... If the West is not prepared to be there for the long haul it should mount a huge offensive- together with the Pakistanis to squeeze the Taliban. Then it should get the hell out of there and rely on intelligence,missile and drone attacks to keep the Taliban from reopening its terrorist training facilities."
SarahBB wrote, "...Leave Afghanistan to the Afghan occupants. If Exxon wants a pipeline, let them negotiate one. How about a war on unemployment right here at home? Our entire economy needs to be re-tooled. Globalization stinks. It is going to make third world countries out of all of us."
GaryPeschell said, "It should be no surprise that the Taliban have got "better at what they're doing". Instead of crushing them several years ago when it had the chance, (opting to invade Iraq instead) the Bush administration gave them all the time they needed to recruit and reorganize."
qualquan wrote, "Look at the related WaPo story about the psychopathic, thuggish and perverted behavior of our Kabul embassy guards.
Is it any surprise we are losing to the Talibans?"
tmacs said, "...once you make the almost unthinkable decision to go to war, you go to war. And war is ugly, innocent people are killed, towns supporting the enemy are destroyed, and it becomes the very ugly thing that keeps people from wanting to go there in the first place. As long as we attempt to "civilize" war, we'll be at war forever, whether the enemy is real, or imagined..."
marion_watts76 wrote, "The Taliban is winning for the same reason WE won the Revolutionary War. As a fighting force, it's cohesive. The Continental Army lost more battles than it won, but it stayed together and came back for more. In the end, we wore the British down. It's what the Afghans did to the British, themselves, restricting them to the Northwest Territory. It's what they did to the Russians, and it's what they're doing to us..."
We'll close with barnabytwist, who said, "This war is just as wrong and obscene as the war in Iraq. Obama's deluded if he thinks otherwise. We need to be out of Afghanistan and out of Iraq by next week, not years down the road. Afghanistan is a bigger mess than it was before we went to war there. Why can we freely spend billions for killing people and not for healing them? Universal health care, not universal war!"
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Posted by: Goveloped | September 3, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse
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