By Clay Claiborne
In the spirit of Mark Twain, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.” I offer the following combined brief history of the Vietnam and Afghan Wars:
Although the War in [Vietnam|Afghanistan] was started by the previous occupant of the Whitehouse, President [Johnson|Obama] made it his own and greatly expanded it. There were problems from the beginning. The [Diem|Karzia] regime installed by the U.S. proved to be a very corrupt one that became increasingly problematic as it lost all support among the [Vietnamese|Afghan] people. On the other hand, the [Viet Cong|Taliban], having already succeeded in it’s struggle against [French|Russian] colonialism, proved ready for a long struggle against American imperialism as well. The [Vietnam|Afghanistan] War would prove to be the [second longest| longest] in our history.
Support for the [Vietnam|Afghanistan] War, already at an all time low, fell even lower after [Daniel Ellsberg|Julian Assange] released the [Pentagon Papers|WikiLeaks Documents] that revealed much that the government had kept hidden about the war. By the time reports came out about U.S. soldiers in [Vietnam|Afghanistan] killing civilians and collecting [ears|fingers], most people were ready to bring the troops home.
Instead, the President expanded the war from [Vietnam|Afghanistan] into neighboring [Cambodia|Pakistan] with a series of ‘secret” [B52|drone] strikes and commanding General [William Westmoreland|David Petraeus] called for more troops to implement his strategy of [search and destroy|clear, hold & build] on the ground and still more civilians died and because of the special weapons used by the U.S. in the war, both our soldiers and the people of [Vietnam|Afghanistan] would suffer from cancer, birth defects and many other diseases caused by [Agent Orange|Depleted Uranium] for generations to come. By the time the U.S. pulled out of [Vietnam|Afghanistan], the number of young Americans to die in the war numbered over [58,000|1,445].
The first American soldier killed in the Vietnam War was Lt. Col. Pete Dewey on September 26, 1945. 58,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese were to follow him in the next 30 years, but nine years into the war, fewer Americans had died in the Vietnam fighting than the 1,445 that have so far died in Afghanistan.