Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President

I was wrong. I had been saying that it would be naïve to take too seriously presidential candidate Barack Obama’s rhetoric regarding the need to escalate the war in Afghanistan. I kept thinking to myself that when he got briefed on the history of Afghanistan and the oft-proven ability of Afghan "militants" to drive out foreign invaders – from Alexander the Great to the Persians, the Mongolians, the Indians, the British, and the Russians – he would be sure to understand why they call mountainous Afghanistan the "graveyard of empires."

And surely he would be fully briefed on the stupidity and deceit that left 58,000 U.S. troops – not to mention 2 to 3 million Vietnamese – dead in Vietnam. John Kennedy became president the year Obama was born. One cannot expect toddler-to-teenager Barack to remember much about the war in Vietnam, and it was probably too early for that searing, controversial experience to have found its way into the history texts as he was growing up.

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