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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Double Edged Sword

We are engaged in "Saigon in slow motion," as Tammy Swofford opined in Pakistan's Daily Times on August 18, 2012, well before the filmifada.

A taste of the essay:
It is pleasant to consider that the Pentagon remembers the lessons of the past, those learned in Vietnam. It is where the US military first put a ‘win hearts and minds’ paradigm into play. Vietnam was the initial military laboratory for a two-pronged foreign engagement for a regional conflict that sought to beat back communism whilst also making our policies palatable within a distinct cultural setting.

Military planners have also sought the same in Afghanistan...

[...]

As we wind down in Afghanistan, there will not be a defining ‘win’, rather a lot of spin. This may not be Saigon. But it is Saigon in slow motion for the families receiving back their dead, killed in such manner as meted out in Afghanistan.
Read Tammy Swofford's entire essay HERE. Worth your time.

Consider the September 23, 2012 video below the fold (Apologies for the commercial that may air at the beginning):

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
[source]
Has American involvement in Islamic countries become the double-edged sword? Stay, we lose? Leave, we lose?

30 comments:

  1. We won the war in Afghanistan eight years ago, AOW. Our government and the Pentagon were to stupid to realize it. They left our troops there to "nation build". How has that worked out? We are going to finally leave that cesspool in a year and what will we have to show for all the additional dead Americans? Nothing, that's what. Varack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and a few Pentagon Generals should be on trial for treason!

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  2. It is lose-lose. Always has been to anyone who understands history.

    Bush made a mistake ramping up there and switching to nation building, at the behest of liberals, we must remember.

    Regardless of who shot John, it's time to get the hell out. Let Russia, China and Pakistan handle it.

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  3. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Not one heart or mind will be won, and there's no sense in another drop of American blood being spilt.

    Get out. Bomb them into a sheet of glass if they get out of line.

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  4. A Democrat should never be Commander in Chief.

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  5. We started two wars in the Muslim world.

    Iran won both of them.

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  6. I prefer to see what happens when we get out.

    I want us to drill, go nuclear, wind, solar, and whatever else we can to stop buying oil from the ME also. Cut them off completely IMHO.

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  7. I agree with Ducky, but he didn’t finish the thought: we lost both of them because there is nothing but a gaggle of incompetent jerk-offs formulating and implementing American policy. You can apply that to foreign as well as domestic policy. I grow weary of having to vote for dumb or dumber.

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  8. The situation in the Middle East is a double-edges sword now. It is hard to know what to do. We can't go back to the day of September 11, 2001 and redo anything that has happened. I'm questioning now our trying to set up Democracy in Iraq and then Afghanistan. We should have simply gone after the bad guys, taken then out, and forget trying to rework an entire region of the world.

    Debbie
    Right Truth
    http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

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  9. Any time the United States has attempted to force its brand of democracy on others, it has failed. It failed in Japan; it failed in South Korea; it failed in South Vietnam; it failed in the Philippines; it failed in Palestine. It fails time after time because democracy must have a cultural adaptation.

    How is it possible to instill democracy within any theocratic, male dominated political system? In spite of our failures in this regard, Obama, who is at best a first class moron, thinks democracy will work in any of those other sand boxes countries. To moron we must add delusional. They will simply produce democratically elected terrorist regimes, none of which will give a tinker’s damn about US foreign policy objectives.

    The United States needs these people far less than they need us —a fact no one has seen fit to bring to Obama’s attention. If they think they have us over an oil barrel, let’s see how long they can eat their oil rather than our wheat and let's see how long they can do without our "foreign aid."

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  10. Mustang,
    Some years ago, an Arab from Jordan -- not a Muslim nor had he ever been a Muslim -- said to me (paraphrase), "There is one way to bring about change in the Middle East. Arabs won't wait in line for food. If we cut off their wheat supply [which we furnish them], they'll wise up."

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  11. Sam,
    HEAR! HEAR!

    The term incompetent jerk-offs fits perfects!

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  12. There goes Sam, insulting jerk-offs again.

    The real problem here is that we lost control of our government a long time ago. We had no business being in Korea, we had no business being in Vietnam, nor Iraq. War is highly profitable for those who make weapons and munitions and are connected to a president willing to send young people to die for a cut of the take. Dick Cheney and Halliburton in Iraq, Johnson and his wife's construction company that did so much bridge rebuilding each time we blew them up in 'Nam.

    Nations that have admired our way of life have copied our form of government but shaped it to suit their own cultures. Nations that don't admire it can't be reshaped in our image, not by foreign aid, not by waging war on them, not by anything. You can't fix what ain't broke, and established cultures, no matter how crude, backwards compared to our thinking, or violent or poverty stricken, aren't broken. They're just what they are and they don't want us trying to make them over.

    That's your two-edged sword, our unwanted philanthropy coming back and biting our noses.

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  13. I tend to agree with Black Sheep, but I think he overlooks the fact that the US created the problem in Korea, beginning with the idiotic US=USSR decision to exclude Koreans from talks affecting their future. This prompted civil unrest and heavy-handed reactions by Korean and US authorities. Moreover, Dean Acheson excluded Korea from the Strategic Asian Defense Perimeter, a signal to the North Koreans and Soviets that the US would not interfere with the North Korean attempt to reunify Korea under a communist regime.

    Remarkably, this same exact buffoonery took place in Vietnam. Today we can look back and criticize, but I don’t think anyone today would prefer to see the entire Korean peninsula controlled by the maniacs in North Korea. But … as I said, B/S is right that we keep asserting “national interest” where there isn’t any. We went to Iraq for one reason only: killing Muslims. Muslim leaders didn’t object because it thinned out the ranks of their trouble making riffraff. It was too high a price to pay; our young men and women gave up their lives for nothing beyond the successful political career of imbeciles..

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  14. Je pense que les Américains sont trop critiques envers eux-mêmes.

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  15. Je suis d'accord, Louis.

    However, there is this naive belief that everyone in the world wants to live in a system similar to ours. Culture (and in the Muslim world, religion)play an important part. I believe that it is a fool's errand to try and make democrats out of barbarians.

    "Nation building" is something we should avoid in the future, and yes, we will eventually realize that and pull our troops out of the middle east, but it won't be Saigon. It will be leaving the barbarians to their self-created hell.

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  16. Duck,
    But, to my knowledge, Saudi can't grow enough wheat to feed the entire bevy of Islamic nations in the Middle East.

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  17. Black Sheep and Robert,
    I voted for GWB in 2000 primarily because, unlike Al Gore, GWB condemned nation building. Overall, our efforts at nation building haven't turned out well.

    How many nations have truly appreciated our efforts at philanthropy? Not very many, IMO.

    As for South Korea, I must say that some of the best classroom students I've had are from South Korea or or South Korean descent.

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Duck,
    I'm still looking for up-to-date figures about Saudi's exportation of wheat.

    I did find Saudi Arabia to End Wheat Growing. The article has recent updates.

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  20. Unfortunately I think you're right, obama will turn it into a Vietnam, he doesn't want to win because at heart, he blames America for the worlds ills.

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  21. @ MUSTANG..actually it worked very well in Japan, Germany and post 1865, right here.
    But there is a significant difference between Richmond 1865, Berlin and Hiroshima 1945, and Kabul, Baghdad, and Cairo. It is a difference of waged war, and the attempt to be civilized and harmless in our application of violence.
    Our way of life, our views of democracy and its indivisibility from protection of rights of each person made their way into the fiber of nations FLAT ON THEIR BACKS, but not otherwise.

    That's what it takes.
    If we are not willing or ready to achieve that end, we should STAY HOME.
    Afghanistan should have been reduced to PRECAMBRIAN EVOLUTIONARY STATUS if we wanted to nation build.
    Did we?

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  22. "I tend to agree with Black Sheep, but I think he overlooks the fact..."

    Naw, I just wasn't out to post a detailed history lesson, I have Robert to do that for me. :-)

    It occurs to me that Obama's plan for "winding down" may be to make sure the Muslim Brotherhood has a good strong foothold in whatever nation we're in first before pulling our troops out. This is because I'm now convinced that he's aligned with them. This may seem a contradiction since he supports attacks on al Qaeda, which is Saudi-based, but I'm not so sure that the Brotherhood has any love for al Qaeda. I need to dig into that more.

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  23. @ Epaminondas

    I think you misunderstand my point.

    It took a well-educated group of men close to twenty years to figure out what American democracy should look like. This was after having about 400 years experience with some form of democratic ideology, beginning with the Magna Charta. Some people argue, and I believe rightly so, that the United States of America is still trying to understand how democracy works best within the framework of a federal republic.

    While it is true that “democracy” has worked in the places I mentioned, it did not work “out of the box.” This is because, before democratic ideals can work within any society (even our own), painstaking efforts must modify them to reflect cultural mores. This is true at the outset, and it is true over a period of time because people change over time. Their attitudes change over time.

    Today, Japan is a democracy —but it is not an American style democracy. If anything, Japan models its democratic institutions on those of Great Britain. Nor did Japan embrace these ideas immediately after the war. Japan endured 20 years of growing pains to figure out how democracy would best work for their culture —even after we “occupied” Japan from 1945 to 1952. This is also true of South Korea. It is also true about the Philippines. And amazingly, Vietnam today has a democratic structure not unlike that of Japan. None of these democracies experienced instant success, and few are even similar to “American democracy.”

    I direct my criticism toward American diplomats and officials who assume that our style of democracy will work in foreign places, particularly among people who have no cultural experience with democratic ideas. Such thinking is nothing less than idiotic. I completely agree with your point about Afghanistan. We waste our valuable time and resources by attempting to create a nation from tribes of cave dwellers who, at no time in their long Neanderthal history, ever had a democratic idea enter their thick heads.

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  24. it worked very well … post 1865, right here

    There is only ONE way that statement is correct. It could be correct IF one ignores the 100 years between 1865 and 1965, which is how long it took to free southern blacks from the racists of the Democratic Party. And it is only true if you think that black Americans are free today. If one believes black Americans are today slaves of the Progressive movement, then it is time to retract your statement.

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  25. Democracy only works within nations at rest. For those involved in low-intensity and chronic regional conflicts, the democratic model cannot be instituted properly.

    The transparency index (you can find it online) gives a corruption index for the nations of the world. Whilst we are not the least corrupt in our business practices, it serves us well that we are not low on the list.

    Democracy is tied to communities at rest, keeping corruption to a minimum, and democratic tools which are properly exercised, not manipulated by political masters. Much of the world, lacks the basic anchoring which we enjoy within the American system. They at best, have hybrids, or the veneer of democracy with the same old rot on the inside of their institutional structures.

    Tammy Swofford

    Tammy Swofford

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  26. Tammy obviously has a plan, to pump us much BS into the mix of the disaster that is Afghanistan so as to confuse everyone - resulting in frustration and then ignorance.

    When she lied on this blog regarding the fundamental belief of God it was obvous then and she continues now.

    There is no "Islamic warfare doctrine " and no matter how many times one quotes events from the 7th century, it does not fit that Muslims are experts at fighint in deserts and mountains or at guerilla warfare because they did so way back then. That is to imply that the British are still better at using the Longbow and that foolish notion that Japanese are still Samurai warriors.

    Yet again it comes down to the failure to fulfill an academic must - look at the facts, the contexts and events and then come to a conclusion. Tammy, along with others who attemtp to profit from 9/11 simply have a conclussion and then look for evidence. As Winston Churchill said, if you look hard enough for something you will eventually find it - even if it is not there.

    Damien Charles
    a believer in facts and contexts, above all else.

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  27. I always thought we were a federal constitutional republic, structured as a representative democracy.
    But that's just me...

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