Skip to comments.Helen Thomas: "Afghanistan Looks More And More Like Vietnam" [WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES]
Posted on 12/02/2009 4:47:16 PM PST by seanmerc
President Obama May Not Remember Vietnam Turmoil
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama insists that his decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan by sending in 30,000 more troops is not Vietnam all over again.
Well, it sure reminds me of the perils and the price of that unwinnable war in Southeast Asia and the political chaos it wreaked at home.
In Afghanistan, the designated enemies are remnants of the weakened al-Qaida network and the native Taliban, which has been growing in strength despite the eight-year war started by President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 catastrophe.
Obama was too young to remember the national turmoil during the Vietnam War that resulted in the deaths of more than 58,000 Americans and thousands of Vietnamese. That war also ended the political careers of Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.
Johnson decided not to seek reelection and Nixon was forced to resign in the ensuing Watergate scandal.
In his remarks at West Point, Obama rejected any comparison between Afghanistan and Vietnam, calling it "a false reading of history." He claimed that the U.S. effort in Afghanistan is supported by "a broad coalition of 43 nations," that "unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency" and, unlike Vietnam, "the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan."
Well, yes and no.
The U.S. effort in Vietnam had its own coalition of anti-communist allies, including South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Laos. As is the case in Afghanistan, the U.S. provided vastly more manpower than any of its allies in the Vietnam War.
Broad-based insurgency? By his own statements, Obama acknowledged Tuesday night that "momentum" has been with the Taliban and said his goal is to reverse that trend and deny the Taliban "the ability to overthrow the government."
That sounds like the makings of a civil war, as was the case in Vietnam, where the U.S. intervened to prop up the corrupt Saigon government against the Viet Cong insurgents and their North Vietnamese allies.
There is another huge -- but unspoken -- similarity between the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the Vietnamese War. In both cases, the American people became fed up with pouring more and more men and women and money into wars that went on for years, with no end in sight. (Weve been in Afghanistan for eight years; U.S. military involvement in Vietnam also lasted eight years, 1965-1973.)
War fatigue in the U.S. is aggravated by the devastating 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, where we still have more than 100,000 military personnel and where we have lost more than 4,000 Americans. Obama omitted the single biggest difference between Vietnam and Afghanistan when he failed to mention that the military draft was roaring through every American town and suburb and city during the Vietnam War. Now, the U.S. military relies exclusively on volunteers.
The draft focused public attention -- and ultimately, public outrage -- on our strategy, our allies, the corrupt South Vietnamese leadership, the colonial legacy we inherited from the French and the failure of Presidents Johnson and Nixon to articulate credible goals that would justify the continued loss of lives. The American people ended up rejecting both the Vietnam War and the national leaders who took us there.
President Obama, take note.
By choosing to deliver his historic address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Obama also evoked past memories of the times when both Johnson and Nixon could only travel to military bases and aircraft carriers without encountering loud crowds of protesters.
Our investment in the Vietnam quagmire was incremental. But Gen. William C. Westmorelands strategy of wearing down the insurgents through attrition required more and more U.S. troops. LBJ obliged -- up to a point.
That point was reached in 1968 when Westmoreland told the White House he needed 206,000 more troops, a surge that would have brought U.S. military forces in Vietnam to more than 700,000.
Johnson griped to reporters at the time that "all the generals wanted was more and more" troops. The president gave Westmoreland 13,500 reinforcements but shortly thereafter replaced him as the U.S. military commander in Vietnam.
Obama won a mandate in the 2008 election to pull up Bushs war stakes. He should listen to the people, not the generals, not the neo cons and certainly not former Vice President Dick Cheney.
That would be the same Dick Cheney who notably dodged the Vietnam draft but now is gung ho for more war in Afghanistan.
Hay-sus Kreest, that’s repulsive!
AAAARRRRGGGGHHH. MY eyes!!
OH GOODY!! The OLD bat outta hell speaks!!
Why would you want to insult ostriches by drawing such a comparison?
Thomas’ face looks like a map of the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos.
You were warned...... And you clicked anyway. :)
I have no words to describe the the the the the oh heck, never mind
"make it go away"
Those on the left responded to the plan by screaming:
“VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE! VIETNAM! QUAGMIRE!”
Of course, based on 0bama’s Rules of Engagement, they might be right this time...
And Helen looks more and more like Hell...
Yes, those rice paddies in Afghanistan look a lot like Vietnam.
Wait a minute, didn’t a failed Rat presidential candidate spend some time in Vietnam?
“Afghanistan Looks More And More Like Vietnam”
Helen Thomas looks more and more like a part of
Vietnam I remember, we used to douse it with
Diesel and burn it every three days.
LMAO. I know we’re duly warned about the graphic images but do you have to make it a 700GB file?
It makes me think of that line from a movie—”The horror! The horror!”
Said that about Iraq also
yow, me blinders aren’t on.
Helen, there are some things that even global warming can’t do.
Holy Crap....you just had to post that pix didn’t you!
This woman has a face that would stop the Earth from rotating.
Actually, 2 of them (Gore and Kerry).
I dunno, maybe its me but I don’t ever remember the Vietcong flying planes into any buildings in America.
I thought Helen Thomas photo’s were banned of FR!!!! Eyewash please!!! Anyone any Jessica Alba or some young country singer hottie to make my eyes stop burning?????
More like she doesn’t matter. An Obama gas bag.
This thread: the magnificent, lost burial ground,
where the boners all go to die a quick death.
Step right up! Your problems are solved!
Practice Safe Helen Thomas-ing with these handy dandy safety goggle! FReepmail me your bank and credit card info and we'll see if we can't get you some of these babies!
“Graphic Images” LOL. Really funny, but you forgot to tell me to have a barf bag handy. Actually it’s almost worth it to have her around just for laughs like this.
As usual when Gibbs is having a press conference, I don’t listen, but, Helen was asking him about the Pres__ent taking into consideration protecting the oil pipeline when adding troops to Afghanistan. What was that about, or, did I miss to much to get it right?
You gave a warning, ...which was good, but really, not even a SPEW ALERT could handle that kind of horror!
That's pretty harsh....... I've seen a lot of monkeys in my time and NONE of them look like her. Not the front side, anyway.
I hope I am able to work or just get around the way she does if I live long enough to be her age.
Paul Harvey died when he was 89, I think.
OMG! She’s positively repulsive!!
Helen Thomas: “Afghanistan Looks More And More Like Vietnam”
You don’t understand, she didn’t mean that as a political aside.
It was meant to be a literal comment.
She just doesn’t see so good anymore.