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Thread: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

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    Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    CNN's Ed Hornick writes thought-provoking article:

    Afghanistan haunted by ghost of Vietnam

    While President Obama's war council deliberates its strategy toward Afghanistan, the ghost of Vietnam is often invoked as a warning.

    Afghanistan, U.S. and coalition forces have been fighting in Afghanistan for eight years and until recently the war had been overshadowed by the one in Iraq. In March, Afghanistan will become America's longest war, surpassing the Vietnam War.

    The Vietnam War, which cost 58,000 American lives, is the one most often invoked when U.S. troops are committed overseas.

    While some say Afghanistan is "Obama's Vietnam," experts say there are several major similarities and differences between the two wars.

    Eric Margolis, a veteran journalist and former Army soldier who served during the Vietnam War, said the biggest problem the United States is facing now -- as in Vietnam -- is fighting the mostly poor, rural insurgents who live among Afghans.

    "It makes it very difficult to drive them [insurgents] out because they can stay there forever. ... They're at home. When we attack villages where they are, we kill a lot of civilians, causing an uproar and turning the people more against us."
    I think the differences between the wars are pretty evident, politically, outside of the similiar nature of the insurgency and despite my disagreement that many Afghans possess any kind of nationalist ideology. I don't believe that they do for the most part. I'm also not convince we can compare Saigon to Kabul, outside of the corruption.

    Thoughts?

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    CNN's Ed Hornick writes thought-provoking article:

    Afghanistan haunted by ghost of Vietnam



    I think the differences between the wars are pretty evident, politically, outside of the similiar nature of the insurgency and despite my disagreement that many Afghans possess any kind of nationalist ideology. I don't believe that they do for the most part. I'm also not convince we can compare Saigon to Kabul, outside of the corruption.

    Thoughts?
    I think another similarity is the existence of a sanctuary outside of the country. I don't think there is necessarily a competing government.

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    We have a weak Democratic president that can't even decide to attack, or retreat. There's a movement in our country that would rather we lose and leave. It's an unconventional war. There's a brother-n-law government in Kabul. The media is undermining the war effort every chance they get. Defeatism is rampant.

    I would say that Afghanistan is a repeat of history.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    We have a weak Democratic president that can't even decide to attack, or retreat.
    As you can imagine, SFC, my intention was not to turn this into a partisan shouting match. I think you know that. Let's stick to the parallels between the wars and that which is not similar.

    There's a movement in our country that would rather we lose and leave. It's an unconventional war. There's a brother-n-law government in Kabul. The media is undermining the war effort every chance they get. Defeatism is rampant.
    I don't know about rampant...right now, I'd say the Kabul govt. is more like an estranged uncle.

    I would say that Afghanistan is a repeat of history.
    maybe...

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    As you can imagine, SFC, my intention was not to turn this into a partisan shouting match. I think you know that. Let's stick to the parallels between the wars and that which is not similar.
    I was only comparing the historical similarities. Can't help how the cards fall. It's not my fault that the Dems screwed the pooch in Vietnam and now they're screwing the pooch in Afghanistan.



    I don't know about rampant...right now, I'd say the Kabul govt. is more like an estranged uncle.
    I meant that defeatism is rampant here in the states. I should have constructed that paragraph better. But, I'm stupid, remember?
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    I was only comparing the historical similarities. Can't help how the cards fall. It's not my fault that the Dems screwed the pooch in Vietnam and now they're screwing the pooch in Afghanistan.
    I think we can agree that Vietnam was a bi-partisan failure. Nixon?



    I meant that defeatism is rampant here in the states.
    I know, I disagreed with you.


    I should have constructed that paragraph better. But, I'm stupid, remember?
    Oh Sarge, you aren't stupid. Sometimes you should pause before hitting "submit reply"

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    I think we can agree that Vietnam was a bi-partisan failure. Nixon?
    Nixon ramped up the violence and forced the North to sign the Paris Peace Accords, so no, I wouldn't call it a bi-partisan failure. Unless you want to blame Ford for not having the balls to honor our treaty with South Vietnam and send help, even though the Dem controlled Congress had removed his war powers to do so.


    Oh Sarge, you aren't stupid. Sometimes you should pause before hitting "submit reply"
    It's not my nature to hesitate. You of all people should be able to understand that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    It could be comparable. I mean, when Nixon took office in 1969 there were 500,000 troops or there abouts in Vietnam, the war had been ongoing for years. In months after Nixon took office, that became known as "Nixon's war."

    So it could be compared as when Obama took office in 2009, we had tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan and the war has been going on for years....could it become known as "Obama's War."

    If so, there are comparisons. If not, there are hardly any analogies.
    It was the Austrasians, that hewed on bravely through the thick of the fight, it was they who found and cut down the Saracen King.

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    I think there are a lot of strings that could be drawn together between the two wars.

    The first major one that occurs to me is a feeling that we didn't have a clearly defined set of objectives in either war. We have large undefined goals with no real metrics attached to them in both wars. Roundly, the idea was to 'stop the march of communism' or, 'stop the dominoes from falling' in Vietnam. How you decide you've achieved that goal is pretty hard to define, and therefore knowing when to leave is also hard to know. There's no real way out of that one.

    Likewise in Afghanistan, our round goals are to 'defeat al Qaeda,' or, 'spread the seeds of democracy.' Honestly, if our goal is to defeat al Qaeda, it's never going to happen because al Qaeda is in Pakistan. They are a country-less non-regular force; borders mean nothing to them but safety. For the US, the borders mean everything. (Or, they should mean everything.) There are certainly parallels to draw between Laos and Pakistan. If our goal is to 'spread democracy,' again, we have some ideas about how to measure that success, but as has been demonstrated, vacuums lead to propaganda, and is seems like democracy is bound to be undercut the moment we leave. If we are to see success in Afghanistan, we'll need to commit for the long haul.

    I think Obama's hesitation can be linked straight back to a few of these ideas. There are at least two possible approaches to Afghanistan. The Powell Doctrine; meaning clearly defined goals, exit strategy, overwhelming force. And the strategy that proposes as small a footprint as possible, designed to help allay the perception of invader/occupier versus the perception of liberator/enabler. Both probably have their merits, and it's obvious that 'winning' in Afghanistan is something that truly does need to be defined.
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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    I would say most people have no idea why we decided not to win in Vietnam. That's right We didn't lose the war we lost the will to win. Dumb ass politicians made decisions not to bomb parts of the north where the enemy was receiving resupplies and shooting down our planes because they feared a wider war more than they wanted to win. We most likely shouldn't have been there in the first place because they presented no direct of for that matter indirect threat to us in the near term. In Afghanistan the Al Quaeda lived and trained with the help and blessing of the Taliban and not only attacked us on 9-11 but posed at continuing threat.
    We go back to similarities when we look at the dumb ass politicians and the will to win as well as the knowledge required to make intelligent decisions about military matters. Obama and the rest of the politicians need to sit down and shut up and turn the military loose with every tool in our arsenal and orders to win this war as quickly as possible by the use of what ever means are necessary and stop worrying about a few or even a few thousand civilian deaths. It's war and civilians die in war and if the enemy is using them to hide behind and to kill in suicide bombings as way to influence public and world opinion. It needs to e be made clear to everyone that if the civilian population wants to be free to live as they want without the massive personal restrictions imposed by the Taliban they need to point out the enemy where ever they are and we will come in with massive over whelming force and kill every damn one of them.
    If Obama and the Dims (no spill error) are unwilling to do this they need to be removed from office and pass laws stripping every damn one of then of any and all pensions and or perks the bastards feel they deserve. That type of idiot is what got over 50,000 American young men killed for nothing in the end. If young people like my Dad who went to war in WWII as a 19 year old can defeat Germany and Japan in battles from one side of the world to the other it is clear to me that our young all volunteer Military who are the best trained finest fighting force in the history of the world can route out and kill not capture or make deals with an enemy who's ultimate goal is to destroy our way of life and kill our citizens. All the stupid dumb ass Obama and the rest of the appeaser mentality types who fear a wider war need to do is get the hell out of the way. No country in the world will attack the United States or even bad mouth us ever again if a decisive victory with the use of a magnitude of force never seen before is used to show that we are serious.
    I would then issue a proclamation to the rest of the world like that given by Klatu in the day "The Day the Earth Stood Still" that any country that attacks another anywhere in the world will be immediately reduced to a burned out cinder, so they need to turn theirr pursuits to peaceful means and we'll all get along fine and we'll even help them take care of their people in a just and Democratic manner and we can all turn our efforts and spend our wealth on more productive ans exciting endeavors like space and deep sea exploration as well as cures for cancer and other diseases. maybe even come up with a safe vaccine for H1N1 that won't cause autism so parents won't have to worry because the Governments of the world can't be trusted to do the right things for thr right reasons.
    Last edited by Councilman; 10-27-09 at 12:59 PM.

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