Escalating the war in Afghanistan will destroy the Obama presidency “almost as surely as (Viet) Nam and Iraq destroyed Johnson’s, Nixon’s and Bush II’s,” a noted law dean warns.
Obama “seems to be drinking the same Kool Aid that was drunk by, and destroyed the presidencies” of those predecessors, writes Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.
Obama’s policy of striking on the Afghan “central front” to thwart terrorist attacks in their sanctuary while rebuilding roads and providing electricity “is all very reminiscent of — in parts identical to — Johnson’s and Nixon’s statements about Nam, Nixon’s about Cambodia (a claimed sanctuary for planning and refitting), and Bush II’s about Iraq,” Velvel recalls.
Obama’s statements “would indicate he has learned nothing from the debacles in Indo China and Iraq. They are especially dumb for having been made by a guy who is quite smart,” Velvel said. He noted, “Britain and Russia, both at the height of empire, met disaster in Afghanistan , and so would Obama in all probability.” If Obama believes the U.S. must fight in Afghanistan, “then his presidency is already doomed. Neither Alexander the Great, nor the British nor the Russians succeeded there.”
Velvel said it is understandable the U.S. went after Osama bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan initially but asks “what is our basic reason for, (and) what are we accomplishing by, fighting in Afghanistan now?”
Initially, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan because its government, the Taliban, had harbored Al Qaeda, so the U.S. decided to depose the Taliban instead of simply destroying Al Qaeda’s camps, Velvel said. He called this “a very questionable decision if one that was at least understandable given the temper of the time.”
“But in the long run it didn’t work. The Taliban are back. The opium is back. The warlords continue. And when they have to, Al Qaeda personnel simply go into Pakistan….even if we were to commit a million men, Al Qaeda will simply go into Pakistan,” Velvel said.
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Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda, he notes, have moved to Pakistan , do not need to use Afghanistan as their base and are not doing so. “Are we going to fight in that nation even though Al Qaeda is now ensconced in Pakistan and has no need of Afghanistan ?” Velvel asks. “What is it with the United States — does it have some kind of horrific national death wish?” Two authorities on the Middle East, former Secretary of State Zbigniew Brzezinski and former Colin Powell Chief of Staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson have expressed their opposition to any heavy added militarization by the U.S. in Afghanistan, Velvel notes.
By escalating the conflict in Afghanistan , Velvel points out that “huge numbers” of voters that supported Obama “will leave him and begin assailing him.”
“One can only pray that a smart guy like Obama sees the light on this and does not fight a war in Afghanistan . Otherwise one will in future have to write that war destroyed the presidencies of Wilson, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Bush and Obama,” Velvel writes.
Velvel’s thoughts on Afghanistan are published in his new book of essays “America 2008,” available from Doukathsan press by contacting email@example.com .
The book appears just as U.S. air attacks on alleged terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan and Afghanistan have created widespread dismay among their peoples owing to the civilian casualties they produced.
Velvel cofounded the Massachusetts School of Law in 1988. It was established to provide an affordable, quality education to minority, immigrant, and low-income students who could not otherwise enter the legal profession. He has been honored by legal publications for his contributions to legal education and his essays on the law and political issues have won a number of awards from the book publishing industry.
To arrange for interviews with Dean Velvel, please contact Sherwood Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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