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July 16, 2009

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I'm looking forward to getting the time to discuss this -- a fine a rebuttal as any to a fine article.

This much I can say now: To be fair to Bergen on Pakistan, he admits it being the "most reasonable objection" to the war, and it's disappointing that he doesn't put nearly the same level of energy into that part as the rest.

To be fair to Bergen on Pakistan, he admits it being the "most reasonable objection" to the war

Indeed he does. I hope I didn't imply otherwise.

bergen: "In 2001, the next Bush administration returned to topple the Taliban, but because of its ideological aversion to nation building it ensured that Afghanistan was the least-resourced...."

i gotta say, when someone offers an explanation of why bush underfunded afghanistan which makes no mention of iraq, i find it harder to treat that person as a credible voice.

it's just one thing, of course, and perhaps in a longer discussion he would give a more accurate account of how the bushies screwed up afghanistan--including, e.g., rumsfeld, on 9/12, declaring that he wanted to bomb iraq rather than afghanistan even if the attack came from afghanistan. but as a first approximation, bergen's try here is not a good one.

In the only ways that is significant to compare them, both the wars in Vietnm and those in Iraq/Afghanistan are identical: All are 1) imperialist/colonialist exercises in aggressive USer militaristic adventurism; 2) more about economic than about 'politics', and 3) unwinnable civil wars, in which the US should not now nor should have ever been engaged.

Seven years into this thing and we still don't even have a solid consensus around what "winning" would mean, much less whether it's achievable, much less how to achieve it.

That's enough to convince me that the Vietnam analogy, for all its limitations, is still a useful one.

Hey -- just popping in.

"Seven years into this thing and we still don't even have a solid consensus around what "winning" would mean..."

Uncle Kvetch

"Now, I can articulate some very clear, minimal goals in Afghanistan, and that is that we make sure that it's not a safe haven for al-Qaida, they are not able to launch attacks of the sort that happened on 9/11 against the American homeland or American interest."

Pres. Obama

Perhaps I do not understand what is meant by "solid consensus", but Obama seems to be hitting on one.

As to whether it's achievable or how -- I look forward to discussing.*

*hopefully when I have the time, I won't run into computer problems like last time.

As to whether it's achievable or how -- I look forward to discussing.

How about an even more radical proposition: what if that has already been achieved, and the victory maintained without over 100,000 troops for the forseeable future?

I mean, Afghanistan is not now a safehaven for AQ, nor has it been for some time. At least if you take the US military brass at their word. What we do know, with certainty, is that they haven't used Afghanistan (or any other launching pad), to conduct attacks along the lines of 9/11 against the American homeland or interests abroad.

So, if that's the standard, have we already won.

I think the meaning is: Can we be reasonably sure that Afghanistan will not become an AQ safe haven upon our departure.

But I take your point... and it's good to be back.*

*for now

"In the only ways that is significant to compare them, both the wars in Vietnm and those in Iraq/Afghanistan are identical: All are 1) imperialist/colonialist exercises in aggressive USer militaristic adventurism; 2) more about economic than about 'politics', and 3) unwinnable civil wars, in which the US should not now nor should have ever been engaged."

I question point 2; perhaps I misunderstand what you mean by it; can you elaborate on it, please?

Maybe 'more' overdoes it (unless we think that Halliburton's Bottom Line was the primary reason to go to war) but only few would argue that economics did not play a non-negiginle role in the case of Iraq/Afghanistan* (but afaik not in Vietnam).

*if there is any credibility in reports that the US threatened the Taliban pre-9/11 with a carpet of bombs, if the offered 'golden carpet' was not accepted (pipeline deals).

"...but only few would argue that economics did not play a non-negiginle role in the case of Iraq/Afghanistan* (but afaik not in Vietnam)."

Yes, I particularly would like elaboration on the theory that the Vietnam War was "more about economic[s]" than politics, and that it was, in fact, "identically" so to the Iraq War.

I may have missed out on some details of Vietnam's oil reserves in my studies.

If you are looking for weird conspiracies, in Germany the idea was quite popular with parts of the left (esp. Green left) that the war in Yugoslavia was engineered by the US to get access to manganese ores in Serbia.
Admittedly I have no idea what kind of resources, if any, Vietnam possesses.

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