Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Robert Wright on Afghanistan: Worse than Viet Nam

Robert Wright's article in the NYT today sets forth a distinct case against continued military operations in Afghanistan. I note that he cites the Afghan Study Group report in the postscript of his article, and I heard member Michael Hoh speak last week at the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. I am becoming more and more pessimistic about this whole enterprise: a drain on lives, morale, and treasure--for what? I want to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt on all of this, but how long can we sit quietly? The big difference from Viet Nam, of course, is the lack of widespread resistance to the war at home. Since the sons and daughters of the middle class aren't going to war, we see no widespread protests. And, not wanting to repeat the shameful treatment given to many Viet Nam vets by the nation, we want to be very careful not to harm the brave men and women who serve. Be certain: the domestic resistance the Viet Nam war caused a great deal of havoc and really hurt the nation, as did the war itself. Cool heads don't prevail in times of war, which is one reason that war is poison for democracy. It may be a necessary poison, but it should be suffered only when absolutely necessary and in the very smallest possible dose.

We need to make some hard strategic decisions here. I think that it's time for me to write my congressional representatives. What do you think?

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