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Vietnam II

3/30/2003 2:41 PM
anonymous Vietnam II
Message in a bottle, found on the Internet:  
" Initiating preflight check..."  
1. Cabal of oldsters who won't listen to outside advice? Check.  
2. No understanding of ethnicities of the many locals? Check.  
3. National boundaries drawn in Europe, not by the locals? Check.  
4. Unshakable faith in our superior technology? Check.  
5. France secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.  
6. Russia secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.  
7. China secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.  
8. SecDef pushing a conflict the JCS never wanted? Check.  
9. Fear we'll look bad if we back down now? Check.  
10. Texan in the WH? Check.  
11. Land war in Asia? Check.  
12. Rightists unhappy with outcome of previous war? Check.  
13. Enemy easily moves in/out of neighboring countries? Check.  
14. Soldiers about to be dosed with our own chemicals? Check.  
15. Friendly fire problem ignored instead of solved? Check.  
16. Anti-Americanism up sharply in Europe? Check.  
17. B-52 bombers? Check.  
18. Helicopters that clog up on the local dust? Check.  
19. Infighting among the branches of the military? Check.  
20. Locals that cheer us by day, hate us by night? Check.  
21. Local experts ignored? Check.  
22. Local politicians ignored? Check.  
23. Local conflicts since before the USA has been a country? Check.  
24. Against advice, Prez won't raise taxes to pay for war? Check.  
25. Blue water navy ships operating in brown water? Check.  
26. Use of nukes hinted at if things don't go our way? Check.  
27. Unpopular war? Check.  
"Vietnam II, you are cleared to taxi."
3/30/2003 3:16 PM
terri cloth
that was giegh.
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3/30/2003 5:16 PM
Michael Tousek
Wait, I thought Afghanistan was supposed to be our "Vietnam II". Didn't I see this same list posted then?  
3/30/2003 5:29 PM
Kursad K
[QUOTE]Wait, I thought Afghanistan was supposed to be our "Vietnam II". Didn't I see this same list posted then?  
It could - if you had attempted to finish the job.  
The new Afgan government is ineffective outside Kabul and the Afgan war lords still control the majority of Afghanistan.  
3/31/2003 7:23 PM
Michael Tousek
The fact that our efforts in Afghanistan are focused mainly on nation building and peacekeeping is proof in itself of the success we've had so far. Obviously there's more work to be done, but the fact remains that we rolled in, booted out the old government, and replaced it with a new one -- in record time. That's pretty remarkable. And of course this was in spite of the gloom and doomers' prophesies that we were in for a serious Vietnam-style "quagmire". If you want to know what a Vietnam experience in Afghanistan is like, ask the Russians.  
3/31/2003 7:31 PM
Kursad K
Yes Taliban is gone. That's success. But Afganistan is still a land of warlords. ISAF controlled area is a city, not the whole country.  
[QUOTE]If you want to know what a Vietnam experience in Afghanistan is like, ask the Russians.  
True, that's the reason that Karzai's new government is just a city government.  
3/31/2003 10:00 PM
Mark Hammer

Afghanistan was an easy "victory" for a variety of reasons that don't apply in the case of Iraq. Indeed, it probably shares more in common with the invasion of Grenada than it does with Vietnam in some ways.  
The Taliban had been described by many analytic observers as being more of a movement than a government. Indeed, it was their only-an-ideology-and-little-else approach to running the country that resulted in such economic chaos and ultimately an inability to defend the country. It was actually more of a "pushing the country around" than "running" the country in the sense of having an administration and feasible policies. In the absence of a real infrastructure, it didn't take much to turn them from a "national defense force" (IF you could even call it that) to a buncha guys in the hills with 2nd hand rifles.  
In contrast, Iraq is well-armed, has a true national defense force that is well-trained, has a defense infrastructure, and can probably even pay their soldiers. Hey, they even let *women* work in their hospitals so that the wounded can be tended to adequately. In contrast, the Taliban made it a point to use their ideology to shoot themselves in the foot each and every morning with great regularity. The Saddam regime also has/had control over most of the country. Even where they have no control any more, at one time they HAD control so they know the region and have some intelligence about what can and can't be done in any given locale. The Taliban really only had control over a few select areas and the rest was in Northern Alliance or tribal hands. If, heaven forbid, there was a land invasion of the US and, say, the northwestern states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, etc) fell, whether they were under American control or not, you can bet the US military would have a clear sense of how to plan around the enemy's advance through that terrain. Same is true of Iraq. Whether Saddam's military runs Basra now or not, they KNOW Basra and the region between Basra and Bhagdad.  
There is a tendency to confuse the *need* to invade Afghanistan with the ease with which such things can be done. There was little doubt that the Taliban regime was a pariah on the international stage, the same way Saddam is a pariah. Although the White and Downing Street may pitch comparable need for moving into Iraq, there is a world of difference in the ease with which it might be done. Unless the truly miraculous happens tomorrow (Saddam smacks his forehead and proclaims "What was I thinking! I *shoulda* given up the arms."), I can't see this turning out in any manner even remotely like the US strategists had planned on. The conditions under which something approximating "victory" might occur will just run counter to every foreign relations objective this and any other administration has striven for. As a number of commentators and analysts I heard this past weekend have noted, for Iraqis it's not even about allegiance to Saddam anymore, it's about defending their country, and foolishly or not, they're going to do that right to the bitter end....even AFTER US tanks come rolling past suburban shopping malls in Bhagdad, and after the Saddam regime gets formally unseated. If this past weekend's events are any indication, the coalition forces won't even be able to *know* if they're successful because they won't have any way of distinguishing between grateful young women approaching with bunches of flowers for liberating soldiers...and a suicide bomber. Somewhere in there, innocent civilians and suicide bombers will be mistaken for each other, and a lot of folks on both sides are going to die. That's not going to help things end gracefully OR quickly.  
Nope, I think the checklist pretty much seals the fate of this. That does NOT make me happy. Neither does it make me happy that at this point the thing is too far gone to either turn around or stop for a rethink. It's sad to watch good people go straight down the toilet.
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