Global War On Memory
The second part of this feature is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. It is evident that BHO has not learned much over the last year, at least as far as Afghanistan goes.
BHO recently made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. The fashion statement of a leather jacket, as he left the plane, was impeccable. The leather jacket has gone from motorcycle gangs to Air Force One. On his return to Washington, BHO wore a coat, tie, and flag pin.
The plan was for BHO to meet with Afghani Big Dog Hamid Karzai. As Juan Cole tells the tale, it didn’t quite work. Puppet governments can be tricky to work with.
Update: President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan on Friday but is said to have gotten stuck on Bagram Base and could not meet face to face with Hamid Karzai.The press is saying that Obama cannot get to Kabul because of high winds and fog, making it impossible to fly helicopters to the capital. But CNN is saying that police in Kabul are saying that “the weather is fine.”
But Bagram is a short automobile ride away from Kabul, and what this snafu tells you is that the US does not even control the area between Bagram and Kabul sufficiently to risk putting the president in an armored vehicle to go overland. Or, maybe there was a behind the scenes tiff that made a face to face meeting diplomatically impossible (see the next entry). This interpretation is given credence by the cancellation even of a teleconference between Obama and Karzai.
I don’t think this is going well.
PG was looking for something to write about, and saw lots of options. The Georgia Republican party is in moral free fall. The debate on climate change was resisting easy answers. PG decided to edit some pictures, when he saw a bumper sticker…”Those who forget Vietnam are condemned to repeat it”.
PG was in grammar school during the escalation of that undeclared war. As the mood of the nation turned against the war, PG moved on to high school. The “Peace with Honor” agreement was signed before he got a draft lottery number.
There was a lot of bitter debate about Vietnam. As the light at the end of the tunnel got dimmer and dimmer, it became obvious that there were no good choices. It is easier to start a war than end one.
Listening to the talk today, and comparing it to what he heard forty years ago, PG wonders if it was the same war. “The only reason we lost in Vietnam is because they wouldn’t let our troops win”. How many more of our men would have died, and how many more Vietnamese would have died, if “they” would have “let our troops win”? And what would victory have looked like? As it stands now, 58,000 American soldiers ( a substantial percentage of whom were drafted) died, as well as untold millions of Vietnamese men, women, and children.
The reason many today do not remember Vietnam was because they never knew it to begin with. Much of what was told in the press was lies. Much of what has been repeated is filtered through layers of rhetoric. And now, we find ourselves in two wars.
BHO was born in 1961. From 1967 to 1971, he lived in Indonesia. ( Which is closer to Vietnam than Hawaii). What he heard about the war is probably in one of his books. The point is, BHO has not forgotten Vietnam, because he probably did not know much. BHO is now sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.
George W. Bush made the initial commitments to Afghanistan and Iraq. He was in the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam. In that war, men were drafted into service. You were told that either you went onto the service, or you went to jail. One alternative to active duty was the National Guard.
George W. Bush did not go to Vietnam, unlike Al Gore and John Kerry. Did he knew enough, about Vietnam to forget ?