Whatever “syndrome” we kicked, Vietnam’s primary lesson remains intact: American power is not without limits, both in terms of defeating an enemy and in terms of its domestic support. The primary lesson of Vietnam seems to be that it is a lesson lost. And now we have some of the same intractable problems in Afghanistan.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke recently called Vietnam War historian Stanley Karnow for advice. After the conversation, Karnow told the AP that the main lesson to be learned from Vietnam was that “we shouldn’t have been there in the first place.” We apparently don’t know what was said on the other end in Karnow’s talk with the general and the envoy, but McChrystal has asked for more troops.
One has to wonder from precisely where General McChrystal thinks he is going to get those additional troops he's requesting.
The US military is already stretched to the breaking point, and stop-loss policies have already taken an extraordinarily grim toll on our men and women in uniform.
And for what?
To build the pipelines to control Eurasian oil, and to protect the drug trade from which so many profit so handsomely.
Tell that to the families and friends of the kids who have died here, or been maimed for life to achieve these outcomes.
Once Americans truly understand what the price paid in blood and money was really supposed to achieve in Afghanistan, the outrage resulting from that understanding will become uncontainable.