Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vietnam War Shadow To Influence Obama Decision on Afghanistan

On 18 May 1970, four antiwar campus students died in Ohio's Kent State University for their involvement in the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations. The scene of the crying university students entrenched deep into the memories of the Americans and became a piece of historical icon that has remained in the minds of people until today.

Looking at the Vietnam War, a majority of the Americans think that the Vietnam War was not a war worth-fighting for the benefit of the country. This war has split the country; the military strong country has even lost this war after spending many years deploying its military superiority in the Vietnamese battlefield. The defeat of the United States in Vietnam remains a cruel reality. It is a wound that has not been healed, yet.

Deteriorating Security in Afghanistan
However, 34 years after the war, US President Barack Obama has again found himself caught in such a dilemma as the security in Afghanistan deteriorates. During the Vietnam War, the United States sent approximately 500,000 troops to Vietnam, but the result was that approximately 60,000 US troops did not return to their homes tens of miles away from the battlefield. The United States has been fighting this terrorism war in Afghanistan for eight years now. The United States has already lost close to 1,000 troops in Afghanistan. But we still hear constant terrorist assaults in Afghanistan, and the US death toll continues to rise.

Such development in Afghanistan led people in the United States to again think back the miserable scene when the US troops had to leave the muddy battlefields in Vietnam in great hurry. The US people begin to worry that their country will once again repeat the mistake it made in Vietnam and to fight for yet another internal war of a foreign country that has no chance to win, but continue to sacrifice human lives.

Danger Ahead
We trust President Obama's hesitant on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan or not is influenced by the shadow of the Vietnam War. Although Obama said recently that Afghanistan was different from Vietnam, he could not predict the danger ahead of him if he got deeply involved in the Afghanistan war. Moreover, President Obama also did not have a clear target in Afghanistan. Yet, the thorniest issue encountered by President Obama is the fact that the Americans are not supporting the United States to get more involved in the Afghan war now.

The Vietnam War did not leave the US Government with any revelation on how best the country can hope to win the Afghanistan War. Yet, people's memories on the Vietnam War tragedy are still fresh. Although the present antiwar voices in the United States is weak, the waves of nationwide anti-Vietnam War during that Vietnam War period was also started with sporadic demonstrations.

Frontline Resistance
President Obama realizes that amid his difficult decision of whether he should send more troops to Afghanistan or not, he is, in fact, facing another frontline resistance, which is the growing anti-war wave. This frontline resistance force is even more difficult than the Taliban insurgency force in Afghanistan for the US President to handle.

This frontline resistance force can have a direct threat to President Obama's position in the US Government. The antiwar voices in the United States are heard. If President Obama cannot get his people's support to continue this Afghanistan War, it will only mean that the United States is going to lose this war sooner or later.

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