25 September 2009

The Vietnamization of Afghanistan

Someone turned back the clock 40 years.  In the mid '60s, the Vietnam war was America's overseas adventure and it was demanding more and more blood.  Almost every week, the commanders were throwing thousands more young Americans into the meat grinder.  Before long, America had committed 500,000 to the conquest of Vietnam.  President Obama's man in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, must of have read the history and liked what he saw.  Now he wants 500,000 for the conquest Afghanistan.  

Sending them to Afghanistan seems like even less a good idea than sending them to Vietnam was.  Vietnam at least had some history of domination by outsiders.  It had been a French colony.  Not so Afghanistan.  Afghanistan is the place where foreign armies go to die.  Ask the British and the Soviets. Their investment of blood and treasure in Afghanistan ended badly.

What makes America think the end will be any different for us?  Is McChrystal so infused with military machismo that he thinks he can dominate the Afghanis by force of arms?  Has Obama bought into the idea of American exceptionalism?  

Let's hope not.  Over 50,000 Americans left their lives in Vietnam.  We have less reason to believe our effort to impose our will on Afghanistan will be less bloody.  After over eight years of fighting there, America hasn't achieved much of anything and the toll of dead Americans is rising.  It's time to get out.

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