U.S. Out Of Afghanistan — NOW!
I usually only post one column a day on Medium or my own blog, but I am so pissed off at how people who should know better are hammering Joe for his decision to get our troops out of Afghanistan that I’m going to post a second comment today.
Few of my readers are old enough to have a personal memory of a meeting that took place in the Oval Office on December 31, 1963 following the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. At this meeting the Joint Chiefs led by Maxwell Taylor, told LBJ that without a troop increase, we could not guarantee the safety of South Vietnam. And LBJ approved an increase, stating that he “wasn’t going to be the first American President to lose a war.”
A month or so after his decision to escalate the war hit the news, myself and some other college kids went down to Times Square and handed out a leaflet which read: U.S. Out of Viet Nam — NOW! Most of the folks who walked by were polite, a few even stopped to talk. Nobody had ever heard of Viet Nam.
That brief demonstration was my first experience advocating against the war. My reason for becoming anti-war was very simple. To paraphrase what Muhammed Ali would later say, I didn’t have nothing against them Viet Congs, and they didn’t seem to have anything against me.
Ten years later, we finally got out of Viet Nam after some 60,000 American kids were killed over there and maybe a million Vietnamese and Cambodians were immolated by our napalm and our bombs. The names of two of my school classmates are inscribed on the Viet Nam Wall on the mall in D.C.
I was lucky. I was drafted after the Tet Offensive, crossed the line, took the oath and passed the physical. Then I went AWOL. The FBI had better things to do than chase after me.
You think the situation in Afghanistan is any different? What planet are you living on? We have lost the Afghan war for the same reason that we lost in Viet Nam. We formed an alliance with a government which has about as much right to call itself a government, as we use that term, as my cat Leonard has the right to call himself a dog. Both dogs and cats walk on four legs so Leonard is actually more accurate in thinking of himself as a dog than anyone who would actually think that the government which dissolved this week in Kabul could govern anything at all.
The so-called Afghan government was nothing more than an appendage of the State Department, or maybe the Labor Department, or maybe the Commerce Department or a combination of all three. They didn’t govern, they simply bought off some of the population by putting them on their payroll, courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving, which prints the money for the Treasury Department.
This was exactly the situation in Viet Nam. We got involved in Viet Nam when France pulled out in 1954. The country had a government that was nothing more than a surrogate for French imperialism, complete with the plantations, the opium, and whatever else could fetch a good price in European markets and beyond. The opium is still fetching a good price, by the way.
The South Vietnam ‘government’ actually held an election to become a Republic in 1955. One guy named Diem, who had been living in the United States supervising aid programs to South Vietnam, got his brother to set up and supervise the election. Diem received 98% of the vote. You think that Joe and the Democrats know how to steal an election?
Eventually we got tired of how Diem was running things, because he was running things right into the ground. So the U.S. organized a coup, shot Diem and installed a general named Duong Van Minh. He was dumped in 1964, went into exile in Bangkok but returned for a second term in 1975.
At some point while Minh was tending his garden in Bangkok, the CIA decided that perhaps it would be better to move him here. So they asked Minh if he and his family would consider resettling in the United States, Yes, he said, he would be happy to come to America, on the condition that he would become an owner-operator of a Holiday Inn.
So our friends in Langley found a Holiday Inn that was up for sale in California and they were about to close on the deal when Holiday Inn Corporate turned the whole thing down. Hey! — said the guys at Holiday. This Minh character has no experience running a motel. We’re not about to risk our brand name on some tin-pot dictator from someplace else.
Minh ended up coming to the States anyway and settled in Pasadena. No doubt every once in a while he drove past the Holiday Inn that was in Riverside and dreamed of what might have been.
Think I’m making all this up? I’m not. We lost over 60,000 young men protecting people like Duong Van Minh, Ngo Dinh Diem and a host of others from a rebellion that actually began in the 1920’s and ended in 1975.
Which is exactly what would happen if we stay in Afghanistan.
I’m not surprised that the Republicans are coming after Joe because they’re the opposition and that’s what the opposition is supposed to do. Of course, they have to be a little discreet about it because all Joe is doing is moving up the withdrawal date which his predecessor — (remember him?) — said he would do.
But any Democrat who says we should remain in Afghanistan to give us a chance to retain the House and the Senate next year should be ashamed of themselves. We’re not talking about votes here. We’re talking about young peoples’ lives — American lives.