From Twin Towers to Twin Camelots

The world falls in love with a charismatic young president, his stylish wife, and their charming young children. In the campaign for the presidency he has defeated his opponent in part by charging Republican failure in the war against America’s enemies. In the dawn of his administration this Harvard man musters strategic buttress from intellectuals bunkered in think-tanks and academe, for a decisive escalation by which the foe will be routed. Counter-insurgency will go hand in hand with nation-building. Corruption will be banished and local troops trained to shoulder the burden of the war.

BY ALEXANDER COCKBURN
CounterPunch
INTERNATIONAL
Posted by Bulatlat

The world falls in love with a charismatic young president, his stylish wife, and their charming young children. In the campaign for the presidency he has defeated his opponent in part by charging Republican failure in the war against America’s enemies. In the dawn of his administration this Harvard man musters strategic buttress from intellectuals bunkered in think-tanks and academe, for a decisive escalation by which the foe will be routed. Counter-insurgency will go hand in hand with nation-building. Corruption will be banished and local troops trained to shoulder the burden of the war.

To be sure, there are differences between Jack Kennedy’s America in 1961 and Barack Obama’s in 2009. At the start of the Sixties the U.S. economy in its productive phase hadn’t crested. It was still on the way up to its peak in about 1969. The mantra was “guns and butter.” In 1961 the best and the brightest, defeating Vietnamese guerillas in their Top Secret memos to Kennedy and his commanders, invoked Britain’s defeat of the Communist insurgency in Malaya, courtesy of Frank Kitson’s counter-insurgency tactics and America’s victory over the Huks in the Philippines, with Edward Lansdale claiming the achievement. In 2009, veterans’ hospitals here offer bleak testimony that in Iraq 150,000 US troops, lavishly equipped with advanced weaponry were held down for years in Iraq by the guerillas’ rudimentary roadside explosives.

Woe betide a president who believes his own stump speeches. In his campaign Obama outflanked charges initially from Hilary Clinton and then from John McCain that he was a peacenik and a wimp by declaring week after week that Iraq was the wrong battlefield, that the enemy was al-Qaida and their sanctuary Afghanistan. An excited vibrancy colored the community organizer’s rhetoric as he spoke of his determination to “kill bin Laden.”

Most people thought this pledge would get lobbed into the trashcan the moment McCain conceded. But no. Last Friday I drove down Interstate 5 through the early spring blossom in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, listening to Obama on the radio marching through his schedule for escalation and victory in Afghanistan. He was born in the year JFK became president, but has this supposedly smart fellow not read a single decent history of the Vietnam war and of America’s defeat? Apparently not. Otherwise how could he blithely announce that “We will accelerate our efforts to build an Afghan Army of 134,000 and a police force of 82,000 so that we can meet these goals by 2011…Going forward, we will not blindly stay the course. Instead, we will set clear metrics to measure progress and hold ourselves accountable”? Nothing perishes quicker in war than “clear metrics”.

Significantly, according to Ray McGovern’s recent piece on this site Obama did not order a National Intelligence Estimate as he evolved his plan, doubtless because he and his National Security Adviser feared such an NIE might arrive at the same sort of depressing assessment as the April 2006 NIE on global terrorism, which concluded invasions and occupations do not make America safer but lead instead to an upsurge in terrorism.

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  1. banat na banat na ang imperyo ng kano sa mga digmaan na di niya kaya ipanalo s iraq at afghanistan pabor ito sa lahat ng mga pwersa ng mapagpalaya sa mundo na paigtingin at lalong pang palalimin ang pakikibaka.

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