Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From Vietnam to Afghanistan

Not to be a real downer or anything, but it's about time our country started talking about Afghanistan again. But who to listen to?

I'm not going to listen to that totally discredited war criminal Dick Cheney. He says President Obama is "dithering," but Bush and Cheney dithered around for years before asking the tough questions seven years after invading Afghanistan! And then, of course, they invaded Iraq, and the entire world wished the Bush administration had dithered before entering two simultaneous quagmires.

But there are more credible people than Cheney. We could listen to the former Marine Corps captain who recently resigned over the Afghan war saying, "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end."

But I have the most respect for the man once called The Most Dangerous Man in America, Daniel Ellsberg. He has seen all of this -- just different names and places -- forty years ago when he was working as a military analyst and leaked a top-secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making about the Vietnam War. Now he has a lot to say about Afghanistan:

(YouTube video)

At about 14:45 into the video, Ellsberg says about the Afghan army, "no doubt you could put more money into them, but where would it go? Switzerland?" I suppose that's where a lot of drug money ends up, and with the latest news that the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade is also on the CIA payroll, Ellsberg's comment is forthright.

And his conclusion is sobering. If Obama does send more troops, if he does prolong this bloody stalemate, he will do so only to appease his political opponents who will accuse him of being weak, unmanly, and abandoning a "winnable war." We've seen it all before.

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