OBAMA’S VIETNAM? HARDLY…. If the Iraq War was the defining conflict of the George W. Bush administration, the war in Afghanistan appears destined to be Barack Obama’s. During last year’s campaign, Obama made it clear that he considered the Afghan-Pakistani border the central front on U.S. counter-terrorism efforts. As president, he has taken ownership of the Afghan conflict by appointing new leadership to oversee the war and embarking on a new strategy, including the deployment of some 70,000 American soldiers by year’s end and a push for billions of dollars in additional aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Will this strategy be enough? There’s no shortage of skeptics. Some congressional Democrats are running out of patience; the media have openly wondered whether Afghanistan is, as Newsweek put it, “Obama’s Vietnam“; and 42 percent of Americans now believe the Afghan war was a mistake.
In the July/August issue of the Washington Monthly, Peter Bergen begs to differ. In “Winning the Good War,” Bergen — a New America Foundation senior fellow and frequent visitor to Afghanistan — argues that success in Afghanistan is closer than it initially appears, and there is good reason to believe that Obama’s strategy will work. Comparisons to past wars such as Vietnam or the Soviets’ Afghan debacle, Bergen argues, are facile, and ignore trends that suggest that both military victory and a measure of lasting stability for the war-torn country are within reach, as long as the United States pursues the right course of action there.
It’s a fascinating piece. Take a look.