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Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Afghanistan is not Iraq. Afghanistan is not Vietnam.
I say all of this as someone who was 100% percent opposed to the War in Iraq from the start, after being 100% behind the War in Afghanistan from the start. I was neutral on President Bush’s the troop surge in Iraq. While I was against the war in general, as far as strategy and tactics go, I recognized at the time that this might be needed and that staying the course may have done more harm than good. Also, much the same as now, that surge came with a new strategy and new approach. I was cynical about that at the time, but I have to give President Bush and his military advisers credit for this much: The Iraq troop surge, and the new tactics employed along with it, marked the turnaround in that War. It marked the point at which we broke the stalemate and started making progress. Progress that has been sustained to the point where Iraq is now becoming the forgotten War, much the way Afghanistan had been for most of President Bush’s second term.
But Iraq is not Afghanistan. The chances that Iraq will destabilize at this point, with or without our help, is far more remote than it was when we ousted Saddam Hussein. Also, it is also unlikely that instability in Iraq would result in a stronger position for Iran (that was already accomplished by getting rid of Saddam!) or for increased training grounds for terrorists - the Iraqi’s turned on Al-Qaeda, as assisted our troops, on their own volition, and have long been the most secular country in the region. And again: the risk will not increase any more than it just by us getting rid of Saddam, who was a stalwart against radical Islam when he was in power. Some I’m not all that concerned about Iraq. At this point, it’s high time we draw down our troops.
Also, Afghanistan is not Iraq. The people that attacked us on 9/11 had their safe heavens in that country, and remain their, and in the hinterlands on the Afghan/Pakistan border. And instability in Afghanistan will lead to the resurrection of those safe heavens. That it why it is my sincere belief that we must rediscover the unity that we had in the weeks and months following 9/11, when we first went into Afghanistan. Unity that President Bush dismantled by pursuing his family vendetta in Iraq.
What’s more, Afghanistan is not Vietnam. The Iraq-Vietnam analogy is, in fact, far more apt. There is a key difference in Afghanistan: Terrorism and, through Al-Qaeda, the Taliban represent a threat to our homeland that Communism and the Viet Kong never did. There was simply no threat to this country posed by either. Put simply: The Truman Doctrine was wrong-minded and misguided, and the Vietnam was essentially nothing more than a Civil War that we ignited! It’s entirely possible that the communist revolution would have happen eventually anyway, but either way it posed no threat to us! Consider the power of China at the time: A Billion people and a Nuclear Arsenal. Does a tiny strip of jungle on the other side of the world from us REALLY give them any additional capability? No. Not in the way that say… Missile bases in CUBA increased the Soviet’s strategic capabilities in the early 1960's. Cuba would have been a game-changer for Russia, whereas Vietnam was strategically irrelevant to China. President Kennedy obviously got the Cuba part right, Bay of Pigs not withstanding, even though he and President Johnson were dead wrong in Vietnam.
But an unstable Afghanistan absolutely represents a threat to us. And if the Taliban come back, not only will Al-Qaeda have their safe haven again, but with the state of affair in [nuclear armed] Pakistan, the Taliban will have an opportunity to increase their presence and influence their as well. A successful mission in Afghanistan, on the other hand, gives us more credibility with the Pakistani’s and the increased possibility of working more closely with their government to squeeze Al-Qaeda and the Taliban for that front as well.
So President Obama has got it right here, folks. It’s high time the LIBERALS and the DEMOCRATS adopted their own 9/11 rallying cry. And this is the cause that we must rally around. This is a war of necessity, not choice. Unlike Iraq, this is a critically important mission, not a counter-productive one. Our troops, their mission and our President absolutely deserve our support in their efforts in Afghanistan.
When WE say, "Never Forget," we can always add, "LIKE BUSH DID."