The quote of the day comes from Dave Cohen:
As 2010 winds down, I am reminded that there is no Imperial policy more reprehensible and shameful than the war in Afghanistan. This war is constantly presented to Americans as an integral part of the War On Terrorism, but it is no such thing. The Afghan war is a pointless, expensive, destructive exercise in futility whereby American power is projected into southern Asia for God Only Knows what purpose at this point. Those who remember the Vietnam War, which was a much, much bigger senseless, destructive exercise in futility, know what I’m talking about.
I do remember Vietnam. While I never saw action in that war I am a Vietnam era veteran and knew many who did. I had friends and relatives who died for nothing. I had friends who survived but didn’t because they could never put the horrors of Vietnam behind them.
As we now know LBJ knew that the Vietnam war could not be won as early as 1965.
It’s going to be difficult/or us to… prosecute …a war that far away from home with the divisions we have here. …I’m very depressed about it. Be- cause I see no program from either Defense or State that gives me much hope of doing anything, except just praying and gasping to hold on …and hope they’ll quit. I don’t believe they’re ever going to quit. And I don’t see .. . any .. . plan for a victory—militarily or diplomatically.
~LBJ to ROBERT MCNAMARA, June 21, 1965
We know ourselves, in our own conscience, that when we asked for this [Gulf of Tonkin] resolution, we had no intention of committing this many ground troops. We’re doing so now, and we know it’s going to be bad. And the question is, Do we just want to do it out on a limb by ourselves? I don’t know whether those [Pentagon] men have ever [calculated] whether we can win with the kind of training we have, the kind of power, and… whether we can have a united support at home.
~LBJ to ROBERT MCNAMARA, July 2,1965
Are these same conversations going on in the Obama White House? My guess would be yes. Let’s hope they remember that 55,000 of America’s finest died after the above conversations. Frankly I have little hope that they do.
People were protesting the Vietnam war in 1965. Few are protesting Afghanistan today and and as Dave Cohen points out for the most part they are the same people that were protesting Vietnam 45 years ago.
Some folks old enough to remember Vietnam chained themselves to the White House fence earlier this month to protest the Afghan war. If you didn’t hear about it, that’s no surprise, as Dave Lindorff reports at the website This Can’t Be Happening—
There was a black-out and a white-out Thursday and Friday [December 16th and 17th] as over a hundred US veterans opposed to US wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world, and their civilian supporters, chained and tied themselves to the White House fence during an early snowstorm to say enough is enough.
Washington Police arrested 135 of the protesters, in what is being called the largest mass detention in recent years. Among those arrested were Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who used to provide the president’s daily briefings, Daniel Ellsberg, who released the government’s Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration, and Chris Hedges, former war correspondent for the New York Times.
No major US news media reported on the demonstration or the arrests. It was blacked out of the New York Times, blacked out of the Philadelphia Inquirer, blacked out in the Los Angeles Times, blacked out of the Wall Street Journal, and even blacked out of the capital’s local daily, the Washington Post, which apparently didn’t even think it was a local story worth publishing an article about (they simply ran a photo of Ellsberg with a short caption)…
Clearly, in the US the corporate media perform a different function [than real reporting]. It’s called propaganda. And the handling of this dramatic protest by American veterans against the nation’s current war provides a dramatic illustration of how far the news industry and the journalism profession has converted itself from a Fourth Estate to a handmaiden to power.
Yes, it’s true, the press in the US resembles Pravda and Izvestia in the old Soviet Union. Pravda in Russian roughly means truth and Izvestia roughly means news. It was said there was no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia. That’s where we are at in the United States. The end of empire may be be when the press becomes a tool of the government and the oligarchs who control it. All roads it seems lead to oligarchy. The Soviet Union was not a Marxist state when it fell – it was an oligarchy. The United States is no longer a capitalist Republic but an oligarchy.
The above LBJ quotes are from Reaching For Glory by Michael Beschloss.
Cross posted at Newshoggers.