In the previous thread “Afghanistan/ Vietnam” Ephlbog author Ronit highlighted Political Science profressor James McAllister’s sweeping comparisons of Afghanistan and Vietnam. Articles/ opinion pieces in this vain have been popping up quite often recently.
I believe that comparisons of the two wars are pre determined, flawed, emotional, political and counter productive. “Afghanistan is (Obama’s) Vietnam” is a Republican strategy. If you play that game in the public square, you are falling into a political trap, weather you realize it or not. Such broad based parallels and superficial analogies have questionable motivations and can be used to compare just about anything. “Apples are fruit, so are oranges.” Afghanistan deserves much more thought than that:
This article from the Economist.
This perspective from a US Senator.
Afghanistan and Vietnam are only superficially connected in terms of the historical, strategic and tactical lessons to be learned. We can salvage something from these comparisons by focusing on the large differences inside these broadly based similarities, and also by realizing that Vietnam references are often political tools. Here is my response to Professor McAllister’s analogies.
Where are our readers? … Is it viable to suggest that there are deep policy and strategic lessons to be learned by looking at the similarities of these two wars? Please add links to other articles of relevance and discuss how the war is being viewed on campus. Do Ephblog readers believe that Vietnam is very relevant to the current war in Afghanistan? Why?