Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wire: US Leaders Look to Vietnam War for Afghanistan Tips

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2009 -- Newswire services today reported that U.S. officials have reached out to a Vietnam War author to discuss the similarities of that conflict with the American involvement in Afghanistan.

The overture to historian Stanley Karnow, who opposes the Afghan war, comes as the U.S. is evaluating its strategy there, The Associated Press reported.

President Barack Obama has doubled the size of the U.S. force to curb a growing Taliban insurgency and bolster the Afghan government. He has tasked Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander, to conduct a strategic review of the fight against Taliban guerrillas and draft a detailed proposal for victory.

Recently, Obama told ABC News that "victory" in Afghanistan isn't the United States' goal.

In an interview Thursday with AP, Karnow said it was the first time he had ever been consulted by U.S. commanders to discuss the war. He did not elaborate on the specifics of the conversation.

When asked what could be drawn from the Vietnam experience, Karnow replied: "What did we learn from Vietnam? We learned that we shouldn't have been there in the first place. Obama and everybody else seem to want to be in Afghanistan, but not I."

"It now seems unthinkable that the U.S. could lose [in Afghanistan], but that's what experts ... thought in Vietnam in 1967," he said at his Maryland home. "It could be that there will be no real conclusion and that it will go on for a long time until the American public grows tired of it."

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: AP NewsBreak: US looks to Vietnam for Afghan tips

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