The United States is, once again, at the precipice of all-out war, and, if the Pentagon, the Republicans, and the military-industrial monolith have their way, Afghanistan may become another Iraq or Vietnam. One can only hope that President Obama knows his history and will refuse to repeat its mistakes. For he alone, like Jack Kennedy in the early 1960s, stands in the way of the forces of unrepentant, bloodthirsty aggression. The Pentagon and the warmongers think they have him boxed in, with cries for escalation in Afghanistan. They have even dragged out that soulless solicitor of Halliburton business--Dick Cheney--to do their bidding. But, if history tells us anything, expanding the war against an entrenched, indigenous, terrain-savvy tribe like the Taliban is futile. The body counts, the bombings, and the price tag will skyrocket, but the conflict will never be resolved.
The cries of the hawks are all too familiar. In the early 1960s, the military, the CIA, and the right-wing politicians wanted to invade Cuba, nuke Russia, and wipe out the communists in southeast Asia. Kennedy resisted, and that sealed his fate. Maxwell Taylor once said, "At one point, President Kennedy was the only one who DIDN'T want to send ground troops into Vietnam." History absolved his stance. Vietnam turned out to be a bloody, expensive waste.
Will Obama have the same courage his long-ago predecessor summoned up? And if he does, will the forces of evil put a target on his back?
This is why we elected him...to avoid the same blunders that got us into Iraq and Vietnam. Hard as it is to admit, the only resolution to this mess is diplomacy and negotiation, even when it involves a group as repugnant as the Taliban. After all, as Jack Kennedy once said about America's dire enemy in his day, "...we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal."