Obama, Afghanistan & Vietnam

By Tom Johnson

Dec 2, 2009 1:44pm

You have heard the comparison between the war in Afghanistan to that other war…Vietnam.  A far off struggle, in a forbidding landscape, in which we depend on an ineffectual government to 'step up', all the while facing a foe that has proven effective at waiting out an enemy.

Last night President Obama took the comparison head on:

"There are those who suggest that Afghanistan is another Vietnam.  They argue that it cannot be stabilized and we're better off cutting our losses and rapidly withdrawing.  I believe this argument depends on a false reading of history.

   Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action.  Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency.  And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border.

   To abandon this area now and to rely only on efforts against Al Qaida from a distance would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on Al Qaida and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies."

 

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