Vietnam Revisited

Looking around the Rasmussen site today, I read  Tony Blankley ‘s commentary about the Obama Administration’s “conceptual confusion that is leading us to defeat in [the Afghan] war.”

The Afghan War may be the first one we lose primarily because our civilian leadership did not understand the effect of its public words on our government, our allies and our enemy.

The military had been talking about winning, but in December, the President and his key staff began declaring an exit strategy by a date certain, July 2011, and saying  ‘winning’ was not an objective.

Blankley suggested the Administration started criticizing Afghan President Karzai, calling him “irredeemably corrupt and incompetent,”   That didn’t work, even drove him to make nice with the Taliban.  The war went from bad to worse.  Obama tried to turn it around with rhetoric, but the military didn’t get the memo:  Gen McChristal’s staff got caught mimicking the old party line, and got their boss fired.

CBS says President Obama and his staff don’t know the difference between political spin and formal policy.  When you’re running for office nobody believes what you say, but when you’re in charge of the the most powerful country on the planet, people – especially professional politicians around the world – trust you mean what you say.

Which is why I worry when the President says, as he did in December at West Point, that he was going to send another 30,000 U.S. troops.  That phrase brought to mind an old Tom Paxton song from the mid60s:

Lyndon Johnson told the nation,
“Have no fear of escalation.
I am trying everyone to please.
Though it isn’t really war,
We’re sending fifty thousand more,
To help save Viet nam from Viet Namese.”

(hear it here)


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