An eerie feeling can be sensed in America as the war in Afghanistan moves from fighting to defend corruption and anti-feminism to a growing realization that nothing is working. The death toll rises to the highest level ever in Afghanistan even as the famous “surge” in Iraq which allegedly ended terrorism shows evidence it did not accomplish its goals. Modern Americans forget the original anti-Vietnam War protests were against a liberal Democratic president who refused to accept the reality of what was happening in the jungles of Vietnam.
In 1964, Lyndon Johnson won an overwhelming victory of his conservative opponent Barry Goldwater and controlled Congress. Within a few years he was the object of ridicule by left wing protestors who marched in Washington D.C. urging the end of war even as they handed roses to soldiers who defended buildings. Johnson’s refusal to run for re-election set in motion the events leading to the election of Richard Nixon.
Barack Obama has surrounded himself with a group of “bright young men and women” who believe they know the truth whether it be rebuilding the economy or creating a new health care system. The arrogance of power readily goes to the head of people whether they be conservatives, socialists or liberals. Obama made a tragic mistake rushing to send 23,000 more troops before he really had a grasp on alternatives available in Afghanistan. He was determined to prove he was macho man who could be as tough on “terrorism” as any right wing ideologue.
There is a world of difference between toughness and critical analysis leading to pragmatic decisions. At this point, the Obama Afghan strategy has the US defending a corrupt Afghan government which has lost power at the village level. Perhaps, President Obama should read a history book on how Communism triumphed in China and Vietnam.
Oh, President Obama, the Harvard crowd screwed up Vietnam just as they are screwing up Afghanistan and the health care system reform.