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The Afghanistan-Pakistan War-Obama's Vietnam

By Lance Ciepiela  Posted by Lance Ciepiela (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Bob Herbert, The New York Times, January 6, 2009

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"I don't want to just end the [Iraq] war, but I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place."

Presidential candidate Barack Obama, January 31, 2008

"If we are strong, our character will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help."

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John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) 35th U.S. President

"No nation ever profited from a long war."

Sun Tzu, author of "The Art of War"

A solid majority of Americans (54 percent) now oppose President Obama's Afghanistan-Pakistan War. In fact, among Democrats, only twenty-six (26) percent support such a foreign war. In other words, by enlarging this conflict, President Obama is governing as if the opinion of a majority of Americans and of his own political base did not matter. In a democracy, a politician can do that for a while, but not for very long.

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This undeclared war, just like LBJ's Vietnam War (1959--1975) and George W. Bush's Iraq War, is an adventure with no clear objective and no clear exit strategy, but with tremendous costs in lives and money. Nobody can tell if the U.S. and NATO are killing people in Afghanistan and in Pakistan because this is an operation to stop al-Qaeda terrorists from mounting future Sept. 11-type attacks, or because it is part of a larger plan to counter a Taliban insurgency and prevent this Pashtun Islamist party to regain power. But also, it has been said that it is a war waged to protect a pipeline crossing Afghanistan. Such a pipeline would move oil from the Caspian Basin to the coast of Pakistan through Afghanistan. Nevertheless, since this is not clearly explained, the war remains a blur for most people. The reason why such a war brings fewer open protests than the Vietnam War is essentially because it is waged with mercenaries.

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