Monday, November 2, 2009

October 29, 2009

     The New York Times has an interesting op-ed piece today about the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.  The Soviets could win the battles, a general of that army recalls.  But the enemy, he goes on, would vanish into the hills and reappear a day or two later.  Without a lot more men, the general told his bosses, this war cannot be won.       I don't know what the American commanders, if they were candid, would tell President Obama today about our war there, but I expect it would be much the same thing.  The Soviet general's comments reminded me, too, of America's war in Vietnam.  We had more, better and newer equipment, we had air power and we won the battles, but we lost the war.      It's very hard to occupy somebody else's country.  The Nazis conquered France, Holland, Belgium--most of Europe, but they couldn't keep it.   The British Empire is a Commonwealth of independent countries now.  The Philippines, once American, is independent now and so, of course, is Vietnam.      George McGovern, when he ran for president in 1972, opposed our Vietnam War.  His standard campaign speech included the line, "Come home, America!"  Maybe we should start yelling that on the White House lawn again. Maybe Mr. Obama would listen.  Or, of course, maybe not.  But it's worth a try.      It's hard to justify a war where there's no easy answer to the question:  what do we get if we win?    But then what do we lose if we lose?
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