Friday, November 27, 2009

Obama: Profile in Courage, or Cave-In?

Obama: Profile in Courage, or Cave-In? by Ray McGovern

"But as he studied the options, cost, and likely outcomes, Kennedy came to see U.S. intervention in Vietnam as a fool's errand. Few Americans are aware that, just before he was assassinated, Kennedy had decided to pull all troops out of Vietnam by 1965."

"Kennedy concluded that there was no responsible course other than to press ahead for a phased withdrawal regardless of the opposition from his senior national security advisers. He decided to pull 1,000 troops out of Vietnam by the end of 1963 and the rest by 1965."

"So the question is whether Barack Obama is "no Jack Kennedy," or whether he will summon the courage to stand up to the misguided military brass of today. We are talking, after all, about thousands more being killed-and for what?

I would suggest to the President that he give another close read to Goldstein's "Lessons in Disaster" and then ponder the lessons that leap out of Barbara Tuchman's The March to Folly: From Troy to Vietnam.

Obama may also wish to ponder the words of W.E.B. Dubois:

"Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow...."


I'll add my 2 cents here: usually I agree with Ray McGovern, but I think he's missing something here - that Afghanistan is serving a purpose outside of the scope of what appears to be the proposition, specifically that it serves as a diversion of sufficient magnitude (can be "puffed" enough) to move attention from the Iraq (what was to be the 1st of a list of countries that were to fall as our military transformed the Middle East to Israel's liking) debacle to somewhere else, and it had to be something big. Afghanistan fit the bill.


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