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Reply #12: Afghanistan as Vietnam: Heeding George Kennan's Wise Advice [View All]

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. Afghanistan as Vietnam: Heeding George Kennan's Wise Advice
It's like all deja vu, all over again, all the time with this War Party crowd.



Afghanistan as Vietnam: Heeding George Kennan's Wise Advice

by Ray McGovern
Published on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 by CommonDreams.org

I can't remember how many times I have said that the U.S. military adventure in Afghanistan is a fool's errand.

The reaction I frequently encounter includes some variant of, "How can you blithely acquiesce in the chaos that will inevitably ensue if we and our NATO allies withdraw our troops?" While the "inevitable chaos" part is open to doubt, the question itself is a fair one.

By way of full disclosure, my answer is based largely on the fact that I asked the equivalent question 43 years ago regarding a place named Vietnam. Been there; done that.

SNIP...

It was Dec. 12, 1965, and there it was on the front page of the "Outlook" section - George Kennan calling for a major reality check on our involvement in Vietnam, and arguing for what he called a "simmering down" of our military adventure there as "the most promising of all the possibilities we face." He wrote:
    "I would not know what victory' means. ... In this sort of war, one controls what one can take and hold and police with ground forces; one does not control what one bombs. And it seems to me the most unlikely of all contingencies that anyone should come to us on his knees and inquire our terms, whatever the escalation of our effort. ...

    "If we can find nothing better to do than embark upon a further open-ended increase in the level of our commitment simply because the alternatives seem humiliating and frustrating, one will have to ask whether we have not become enslaved to the dynamics of a single unmanageable situation - to the point where we have lost much of the power of initiative and control over our own policy, not just locally but on a world scale."
Kennan was harshly critical of those asserting that the U.S. had no choice other than to "live up to its commitments." Commitments to whom? he asked. More pointed still, he asked if the "commitment" was conceived as "something unrelated to own performance, to its ability to command the confidence of its people?"

CONTINUED...

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/11/04-4



Would that Kennan had spoken up more about Vietnam in early 1963. President Kennedy would've appreciated the help.

Thank you for knowing what it's all about, JohnyCanuck!
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