May 19, 2024
The new peace agreement with the Taliban is not our finest hour.
As I have written many times before, the lesson of Vietnam is that if you don’t fight a war in a manner calculated to win it decisively, you will lose it inevitably.
As I have written many times before, the lesson of Vietnam is that if you don’t fight a war in a manner calculated to win it decisively, you will lose it inevitably.

Nearly a half-century apart, two presidential candidates promised the end to wars that had gone on too long. In 1968, Richard Nixon promised “peace with honor” in Vietnam. In 2016, Donald Trump promised an end to our “endless wars” in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

In 1968, the nation was politically torn apart over the Vietnam War. Among thousands of sometimes-violent protests against the war, some chanted that Ho Chi Minh, the communist dictator of North Vietnam, would win. Young men burned their draft cards and some fled to Canada to avoid the draft. Roll calls of soldiers killed in action were read over the nightly news.

The political situation in 2016 was vastly different. The Afghanistan war was fifteen years old but most Americans remained unconcerned and uninformed about the war. They remain so today. There are no huge anti-war protests and those in the media who bother to report on Afghanistan only do so to criticize Trump.

In both wars, the enemy was undefeated, its ideology intact. The North Vietnamese and their surrogate force the Viet Cong — supported by Russia and China — were far stronger than the South Vietnamese. The Taliban — long-supported by Pakistan, and now supplied with weapons, funds, and intelligence by Russia and Iran — are vastly stronger than the Kabul government.

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