Saturday, March 28, 2009

Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President

By Ray McGovern
March 28, 2009

I was wrong. I had been saying that it would be naïve to take too seriously presidential candidate Barack Obama’s rhetoric regarding the need to escalate the war in Afghanistan.

Read on.


sanda said...

Arggggghhhhh, as Charlie Brown would say. Surely, before he was President, Sen. Obama spoke with Sen. John Kerry about Vietnam? (For the young, Kerry spoke at the original Winter Soldier hearings, and famous for his "who will be the last one to die?" comment re Vietnam. (He's not as he was when he was younger, is he?)

Surely there are enough people who remember, including the not mentioned Sy Hersh, not in the "inner circle". Who will tell the emperor about his clothes? (I plan to reread this good article a couple of times.)

I am old enough to have been a peaceful protester in the mid-1960s:marches and vigils.

Howard Zinn has some good writing about his involvement in the Vietnam protests (including civil disobedience) "and a whole lot more" as the line goes, in his shortish, wonderful memoir, "You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train", Beacon Press, 2003 edition; introduction is worthy of reprinting everywhere.

At the same time, the Civil Rights Movement was ongoing.(Also in Zinn's book.)

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (anniversary of his assassination is next week) linked the two a year before his death, in his famous speech at Riverside Church in NYC, April 4, 1967.

A supporter of Pres. Obama, an Independent voter, said,to me, "the LBJ-ing of Obama" in re Afghanistan escalation of troops a few weeks ago. What now, Ray McGovern? I hope you'll soon be on DemocracyNow. PS Is it rude to ask if you sent a letter to the President?

sanda said...

PS The "cheerleaders" in the Democratic Party, regular folks who are a bit more politically involved than many, are saying "it's different than Vietnam" and the ad-nauseum "Sept.11th" = their
excuse for war war and more war. I saw a comment, "Afghanistan is a just war.". Reminds me of Vietnam! plus Sept. 11, which should have been a police action, not invasion/occupation in Afghanistan.

B/R said...

A very cogent review of history and historians' lessons for us. One need not have been there to read, as fortunately this President does, and take heed. But it certainly does not appear as if he and his cohorts (V.P. Biden among the exceptions) are holding back from the quagmire. How tragic. Such thinking will very likely make the U.S., like the ancient Roman Empire, history.

Anonymous said...

If bin Laden's cohorts inherit Pakistani nukes, the world, and us, will be in serious trouble. If somehow China or Russia was in charge of making sure this didn't happen, they would accidentally do a better job than the US in convincing ordinary Muslims that Islam itself is under attack.

Perhaps Obama should just announce that he is going into Pakistan to take al Qaeda leaders dead or alive, and warn that al Qaeda might have sleeper cells prepared for the purpose. However drone missiles mean that potential sleeper cells won’t know the exact date of an invasion. So they won’t, without talking, know which date was the exact date the US invaded Pakistan, and which was the following first Monday where one should be at 9am and where the backup explosion should be placed at 9:12am to get the survivors.

Al Qaeda announced almost the moment Obama announced that Guantanamo would be closed, that al Badawi who was involved in the sinking of the Cole (but escaped execution in Yemen) was second in commend in Yemen, clearly indicating that al Qaeda wants to have an actually released US prisoner pressured to likewise claim to be partly in charge. And wants to design a terror attack on the US that will make it easy for Rush Limbaugh and Cheney to claim that it’s due to Obama’s weakness. Thus Obama can’t look weak or it will give al Qaeda an opportunity to say that is the reason for a terror attack.

Both President Bush and bin Laden had a stake in making sure most of their “war between civilizations” was in Iraq. Bin Laden got his number one goal in 2003 when Bush withdrew US troops from Saudi Arabia. But unfortunately, from his point of view, he wasn’t able to march back into Saudi Arabia to the cheers of the crowd. So he messed up Madrid with the backpack bombings and caused a massive bloodbath between Shia and Sunni by blowing up the Golden Mosque just to discomboberate US plans for a coalition government in Iraq. PS I wonder whether all the “noise” ie coded speech in Los Angeles 3 to 6 years ago meant that al Qaeda was preparing to disrupt earthquake relief with terror attacks so the powerless might worship him as approaching being Divine.

Vietnam never was our enemy out to harm the US. But al Qaeda is. My guess is that getting out of Iraq, and Afghanistan will make the fight against al Qaeda easier. But I’m guessing and I know Obama has more facts in this deadly game of poker.

So let’s pressure Obama without assertions he is being stupid or unreasonable.

Robert Parry, please in the future have Lawrence Wilkerson write your next piece on Afghanistan. He is has credential somewhat similar to something like Daniel Ellsberg,

By the way in some ways Wilkerson is a typical extreme progressive, note his comments on Impeachment,
but he has a lot more inside knowledge then most idealists.

I wrote on the other side, praising the way piracy was being dealt with without the US thinking it has to be at the center of things. Lamenting that perhaps Spain or Iran could be in charge of figuring out how to deal with al Qaeda,

Whatever should be done, equating Vietnam with Afghanistan leaves us in a fog as to what is going on,

By the way consortium’s posting on Chas Freeman overstated the role of AIPAC and vastly understated the role of the Washington Times, Cheney, Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson’s so called Christian News program. Please scrawl all the way back to my comments and make the appropriate corrections in your next article on how the Military-Industrial-Complex, and various interest groups relate to each other.

Thomas said...

Crazy comment System,What must one
do to comment..??

Ray McGovern has become my favorite
commentator on foreign policy..

I read the article at
but came here to comment...

Something about Ray McGovern*s style
makes me feel elevated....

"I was wrong. I had been saying that it would be naïve to take too seriously presidential candidate Barack Obama’s rhetoric regarding the need to escalate the war in Afghanistan. I kept thinking to myself that when he got briefed on the history of Afghanistan and the oft-proven ability of Afghan "militants" to drive out foreign invaders – from Alexander the Great to the Persians, the Mongolians, the Indians, the British, and the Russians – he would be sure to understand why they call mountainous Afghanistan the "graveyard of empires." "

There is a sparse, clean and unassuming flow to the paragraph
almost mystical for me......

Why IS Obama making this bush war,
his war...?? Why is Obama making the bush CRIMES his CRIMES..?? Why is Obama making the bush COVER+UP
his COVER+UP...??

Can*t Obama see:

"that an army trained and supplied by foreign occupiers can almost always be readily outmatched and out-waited in a guerilla war, no matter how many billions of dollars are pumped in."

WORSE YET... In the begining these
hired enforcers of coalition discipline work well and are brave

..But when the time comes to chose
whose side will he take...?? His own people or the OCCUPIER...??

Whose side would you TAKE..??? Your neighbor and COUNTRYMEN or the latest OCCUPIER..??

Kenneth said...

I think that we have to begin calling the War in Afghanistan, Obama's War and begin asking Obama to send his daughters to a military school so they will be ready to go to Afghanistan when they are old enough. Or asking him if they will join the military.

I saw Roger Morris at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles discussing his book, something like, "The Shadow of the Eagle", which is supposed to be out in early 2009. He wrote about Afghanistan and discussed it with a Pakistani general. I think he writes history with the skill of a literary master. The video is available on Youtube by entering Roger Morris. It is 2 hours long but it is worth it, or just listen to him read from his book for the second 20 minutes.