Another day, another assessment of the war in Afghanistan comes to the same conclusion as so many others: the war is not being won, we’re propping up the same kind of corrupt Government that the US did with such painful results in Vietnam, and it’s not worth it.
This latest warning has come in an analysis by former State Department man Richard N Haass, writing in Newsweek magazine. And the impression is given that Barack Obama does not have to send all those additional troops. In turn, that brings reminders of the escalation in Vietnam that ultimately did for Lyndon Johnson: Democrat Presidents not wanting to look weak, and paying too much attention to the military.
The piece by Haass joins a list which I’ve considered previously (HERE, HERE and HERE). Haass points out that the Karzai Government enjoys dwindling legitimacy, as did the various régimes in South Vietnam. There too, corruption and despotism characterised Government. Considering those backed by the US in Vietnam, J K Galbraith observed:
“With President Diem, the Nhu family and the politicians that followed as in a revolving door, the impression of villainy was inescapable”
[The Age Of Uncertainty, p. 249]
We know all too well what happened in Vietnam. Better for all of us that we do not have to learn the lesson over again.