Jerryaughtry’s Weblog

November 5, 2009

AFGHANISTAN/VIETNAM

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 2:43 pm

I am plowing through Ted Kennedy’s True Compass. It has proven to be quite the “fine.” I’ve never been much of a fan of any of the Kennedys and I really don’t know why. I think that some of it has  just been personal prejudice with no basis. In the book, one of the things that I zeroed in on immediately: Money is never any option. Want to go overseas, take off. How about a new house in Palm Beach? Sure. See what I mean. Few of us have those privileges but beyond that, True Compass, is fascinating. And, especially now that we are in the throes of dealing with Afghanistan and with the President mulling a decision of whether to send more troops. You could take an overlay of Vietnam and put it on Afghanistan and it is a perfect fit. The difference is that HO’s  overriding desire was nationalism for Vietnam while the Taliban and AlQueta are fanatics. But, Vietnam’s Diem was corrupt as is Karzai, Diem had appointed himself president, lined his own pockets with nepotism as his middle name. He had lost touch with the people. It is an absolute replay of the same song, different verse. Diem’s big thing was fighting communism. We were willing to dole out billions then whereas now it is terrorism.

Here’s something I see. True Compass lays out the path of the late Senator Kennedy’s disillusionment of Vietnam while at the same time starting out as a supporter. It is simply amazing and scary and another example of how history repeats itself. The sad thing is that it doesn’t seem to make any difference. We have two major wars going on with no real end in sight. Although we still hear that Iraq is more peaceful, we’re headed toward withdrawal, I remain skeptical. And, a strategy in Afghanistan which at best will mean years more of our involvement and at worst finding ourselves where we did after Vietnam, 58,000 plus American lives and billions of dollars; was it worth it. NO WAY. Maybe a legacy of the late Senator Kennedy’s final word to us in True Compass is that for once we understand the concept of quagmire. Vietnam was a quagmire. Afghanistan is a quagmire.

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