Richard Cohen reminds us in today's Washington Post that this week's leak of secret Afghanistan papers has a precedent--the leak of the Pentagon papers first to the New York Times and then to others almost forty years ago. Cohen says that leak contained real secrets--that Lyndon Johnson was escalating the conflict while claiming to "seek no wider war." But I don't know. Everybody knew the escalation was underway; it wasn't a secret; the number of US troops in Vietnam kept going up and was reported as going up. What would have been major news in this leak, Cohen goes on, was "if any of these documents supported any optimism." Okay, but I don't remember any optimism, aside from government spokesmen, back then either. I can't remember a single reporter, including myself, who came back from Vietnam saying that things were going well. I used to tell friends, I remember, that I went as a hesitant dove and came back a fervent one. I don't know anybody who's come back from this war optimistic either. I don't know why we went, except that George W. Bush seemed to be fond of foolish wars. I hope Mr. Obama is wise enough to spot the foolishness and order the troops home. Why ever not? As George McGovern used to say in his 1972 campaign, "Come home, America!"
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