Saturday, February 7, 2009

Desurging and Afghanistanization

Vietnam in retrospect

"If we all look back on the history of the past
We can just tell where we are."

Harry Lauder, quoted by Winston Churchill in the Canadian House of Commons, December 30, 1941

The following, slightly modified, is from "The Best and the Brightest" by David Halberstam
Ballantine Books 25th Anniversary Edition, page 665

"But the Nixon [Obama] Administration, like the Johnson [Bush] Administration before it, did not control events, and did not control the rate of the war; and though it could give Thieu [Karzai] air power, it could not give him what he really needed, which was a genuine, indigenous political legitimacy. While Thieu's [Karzai's] regime was as thin and frail as ever, the North Vietnamese [Taliban] were imbued with a total sense of confidence. Time was on their side, they were the legitimate heirs of a revolution, nothing confirmed their legitimacy more than American [NATO] bombs falling on the country. Eventually, they knew, the Americans would have to leave. What was it a fully confident Pham Van Dong had told Harrison Salisbury of the New York Times in December 1966 in Hanoi: 'And how long do you Americans want to fight, Mr. year? Two years? Three Years? Five Years? Ten years? Twenty years? We will be glad to accommodate you.'

"And so the war went on, tearing at this country; a sense of numbness seemed to replace an earlier anger. There was, Americans were finding, no light at the end of the tunnel, only greater darkness."