Sen. John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Friday that there is a “very active” effort under way to reach a negotiated political settlement with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Kerry (D-Mass.) acknowledged that “efforts” have begun after visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan this week, meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other officials.
“I can report without being specific that there are efforts under way. They are serious and I completely agree with that fundamental premise — and so does General [David] Petraeus and so does President Obama — there is no military solution,” he told NPR. “And there are very active efforts now to seek an appropriate kind of political settlement.”
Hmmmm, this is starting to sound familiar. Kerry is the perfect hatchet man for Obama.
The Vietnam War was the defining event for the modern Democratic Party. Nearly four decades after the war ended, we ought to ask if the Democrats learned anything from Vietnam that is applicable to Afghanistan.
In Vietnam, the United States lost. In Afghanistan…we’re not winning.
Have the Democrats learned anything from Vietnam? Actually, they have learned many important lessons.
First, they have learned that anti-war riots and protests should be conducted only against Republican presidents, not Democratic presidents. (Isn’t it amazing how Code Pink and Cindy Sheehan disappeared after George W. Bush left office?)
Second, they have learned to not send Jane Fonda to enemy territory to pose for enemy propaganda photos. Unlike the warm reception she received in Hanoi, the Taliban would probably behead her live on the internet for failing to wear a burqa.
Third, they have learned that if a Democratic presidential candidate plans to conduct a foreign policy of national self-abasement and groveling before our enemies, it is probably better to not announce it during the campaign. George McGovern promised that he’d “crawl on his hands and knees to Hanoi and beg for peace” in 1972 and lost 49 states. Obama did not apologize to the Muslim world and bow before foreign monarchs until after he was elected.
Finally, the most important lesson the Democrats have learned is that they should not draft long-haired, stoned hippies and America-hating radicals on college campuses and send them to war. They’ll only riot and try to bomb the Pentagon (like Bill Ayers did). And it makes no sense to offend the voters who are virtually guaranteed to support the Democratic Party anyway.
It’s far better to prosecute a war with patriotic, America-loving volunteers from red states who probably voted Republican in the first place, and to play them for suckers by sending them on a mission about which you’ve said you’re “uncomfortable” using the term “victory.”
The Democrats have indeed learned a lot from Vietnam, haven’t they?
History is repeating itself.
With terrorism in South Vietnam, the Communists needed only from 2 to 5 guerrillas to control a remote village of 1,000 people though only at night. They imposed severe and prompt punishment ranged from “three-month re-education” to “mutilation” (chopping off one finger if the convicted had intended to join the RVN army). A VC district “security chief” had the competence of giving death sentence to those considered as “incorrigible enemy’s collaborators.”
Terrorism also helped the Communists with huge cash support. A large number of businesses, large or small, mostly in South Vietnam remote areas that lacked of security protection, had to pay the Communist “kinh tai” (economy & finance) regularly. Failure to pay after repeated warnings or telling on them to the authorities surely brought death sentences to the victims. Many restaurants were attacked by hand grenades, hundreds of cross-country buses and local three-wheeled passengers vehicles were blown up by land mines because of similar reasons.
It could be said that the American and RVN governments were on the defensive in the psywar front instead of offensive. Like in pure military front, attack is the best way to defend. So by “freedom of press,” South Vietnam and the United States were open to Communist propaganda while hostile Western media agencies were free to attack Saigon and Washington with ammunition provided by Hanoi. On the same front, the Communist regime in Hanoi only had to confront sporadic small-size attacks from its foes in Saigon and Washington.
The Americans, like other rich Westerners, haven’t had the patience required in supporting such an unconventional war. The Western media and Communist propaganda made them lose patience, especially after the 1968 Tet Offensive, turning a military victory in Vietnam into a morale defeat in Washington.
During the war, every bit of news or statement, especially the unfavorable, published in America and reported via magazines and radios – BBC, VOA – all produced extreme negative effects among South Vietnamese soldiers who were free to listen to the radio broadcast even while they were in operations. A fib fabricated by a third-rated American politician, however silly it might have been, would deal a severe blow to the morale of South Vietnamese troops.
Let’s not forget who the Taliban are:
ISLAMABAD – Taliban militants flog two men and a teenage boy in a video that has emerged from Pakistan’s tribal belt along the Afghan border, showing the hold of insurgents in at least one area there despite army offensives and intensified U.S. missile strikes in the region.
The video was shot on a mobile phone on Feb. 3 and passed to a local journalist who occasionally provides video to Associated Press Television News. The man who provided the clip said it was taken in the Mamozai area of the Orakzai tribal region, though there was no way of verifying that because travel there is dangerous for outsiders. The tribal elder requested anonymity out of fear for his life.
The Taliban are known to beat people in areas they control if they are suspected of criminal acts, spying or violating the militants’ ultra-strict interpretation of Islamic law. People accused of serious crimes are often reportedly killed.
Do we really need to pose the ‘elephant in the room’ question – the one that asks which sort of politicians would talk to these animals? US Democrats and electorate, you really played a blinder (to use somewhat sarcastic British expression), when you voted this man (Obama) into office.
Not to belabor the point but war is never good.
So what role should the US play in the future of Afghanistan? We can argue for many more decades if it was the right thing for the US to invade Afghanistan. We can only look at history as our guide. The link below goes to an article written by Wade Hatler.
Wade was 100% against the Vietnam war but his article is very informative.
Here is my last thought on the government of Vietnam. There’s an old saying that I think applies, although I can’t remember the author:
“Every country has the government it deserves”.
I think this applies to Vietnam, and to America as well. Whether you like the communists or not, there are 80 million Vietnamese, and only a few thousand communist party officials, and only a few hundred at the top. There are no foreign powers dictating how things are done, and there is absolutely nothing stopping the Vietnamese people from changing out their government if they want a new one. There are lots of examples they can see in history, and even some bloodless ones. The rules of historical dynamics are being rewritten as we speak. If you don’t think so, read about the changes in South Africa over the last 15 years.
I see Vietnam as a dynamic place, where the people are really just starting to recover from nearly 50 years of almost continuous warfare, and they are starting to figure out what their place is going to be in the modern world. I really wish I’d come here five or ten years ago so I could see the changes. I’ve talked to people that did so, and the changes are huge and very noticeable in both big and small ways.
All in all, I personally think that 20 or 30 years down the road the Vietnamese people will have figured out their place in the world, and that place will be good.
I am not sure when Wade wrote his article. He talks of the “collapse of communism”.
Looking at Obama’s policies I am not sure that communism has collapsed just yet.
John Kerry and his elk were in part responsible for the abandonment of Vietnam by the US.
And now John Kerry is leading the charge again. The MSM will pump up the calls to
abandon Afghanistan and their people.
So, I ask – What will we say and write about Afghanistan in 20-30 years.
Will we say it was a mistake that we handed Afghanistan over to the Taliban and regret the loss of life after the Taliban purge? Or will we say staying the course was tough and expensive but in the end it prevented the domination of radicals to rule from Pakistian to Turkey and beyond?