137 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 10 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/11/10

Mr. Obama: Tear Down This War!

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   3 comments
Message Bernard Weiner

By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

Afghanistan in a moment; first some history:

Many of us progressives now in our 60s and 70s spent years of our young lives in "The Sixties" trying to stop the U.S. war in Vietnam. Many in this cohort were beaten, jailed, lost jobs, suffered discrimination. We were, after all, considered "unpatriotic" and "traitors" by government leaders and their rightwing supporters.

We didn't end the war on our own, of course, much as we would have liked to believe that. Mainly, it was the Vietnamese themselves who were responsible for that outcome as they battled U.S. forces to a quagmire standoff and then took over the country when the massively unpopular South Vietnamese government collapsed.

But our anti-war activism was at least partially responsible for altering the-government-knows-better-than-you-do attitude of our parents' generation. Our "Movement" also helped educate the new generation as to the truth of what was happening in Southeast Asia and in the rest of the world as U.S. forces, representing the corporatism at the heart of Western society, supplanted the old European colonialists in Vietnam and elsewhere.

Whenever I speak about those anti-Vietnam War days -- as I began to do again after the illegal, immoral war was launched against Iraq in 2003 -- I surprise myself by how emotional I still am about the tumultuous "Sixties." (www.crisispapers.org/Editorials/past-present.htm) Its impact is strong. The past truly is never past, and isn't even the past. In talking about the war and the mass-movement opposition to it in "The Sixties" (in my reckoning, from the civil rights era of the late-'50s/'60s roughly to the mid-'70s), long-buried feelings leap out.


I revisited my old anti-war haunts in the Pacific Northwest some years ago and found my body trembling as those old sense-memories washed over me. Another time, after seeing the movie "Born on the Fourth of July," I was trying to explain to my teenage son about why so many of us had been so engaged trying to get the war stopped -- and I was barely able to talk coherently, I was sobbing so much.

That was such a painful period in my life (also a gloriously liberating time as well, of course) and in the lives of so many others in this country. Not to mention how the war affected the Vietnamese, who may have lost close to two million loved ones in that conflict. (The irony: Today, we have good trade relations with communist Vietnam.)

The U.S. was nearly torn in two by the Vietnam War and the opposition to it. It was a kind of cultural/political civil war, aided to a large degree by the presence of the military draft. That civil war was ugly and painful, affecting nearly everyone in the country. It's difficult to describe, for those who weren't there, the chaotic and often bloody nature of the politics of that day.


And here we are again, with two more wars inherited from the CheneyBush Administration but willingly adopted by the new administration. In Iraq, Obama promises to withdraw U.S. combat forces by next year, but, significantly, hedges with if "the situation on the ground" permits. In Afghanistan, the U.S. has doubled-down on a war that cannot be won (it's estimated there are 200,000 U.S. troops there now).

It seems that the only thing American governments learn from history is that they don't learn from history.

In Iraq, Obama has begun re-positioning U.S. forces away from the urban battlegrounds in preparation for the promised pre-2012-election troop withdrawals. The U.S. situation in Afghanistan more and more resembles the history of America in Vietnam four decades before.


The parallels between Afghanistan and 'Nam are not exact, of course, but the main points are remarkably similar:

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Well Said 3   Must Read 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Bernard Weiner Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked for two decades as a writer-editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Cutting Through Fukushima Fog: Radiation in U.S.?

Getting Through the Coming Depression

What Happens When We Don't See the Tipping Points

WTF?: A Letter to Appalled, Puzzled European Friends

Twenty-Six Things We Now Know Seven Years After 9/11

"The Hurt Locker": When Great Art Meets Lousy Politics

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend