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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Is Robert Gates the new Robert McNamara?

Is Barack Obama the new Lyndon Johnson?
Today, Robert Gates and his boss, Barack Obama, might want to learn a thing or two from Robert Strange McNamara.

On CNN back in 1996, McNamara said: "External military force cannot reconstruct a failed state, and Vietnam, during much of that period, was a failed state politically. We didn't recognize it as such."

We ought to recognize that Afghanistan is a failed state politically.

“Today, Afghanistan is a mafia state,” Malalai Joya, the feminist member of the Afghan parliament, said in a speech in Oslo in early June. “The U.S. and its allies are busy in the warloridzation, criminalization, and druglordization of our wounded land.” (The Progressive is reprinting her speech in its August issue, along with a great speech by Naomi Klein on Sarah Palin. Subscribe now to get that issue when it comes out in a few weeks.)

Gates and Obama, like McNamara and Johnson before them, believe that “external military force” can get the job done, despite the failed state that exists.

It didn’t work in Vietnam. And it won’t work in Afghanistan.
-- from "Robert Gates, Meet Robert McNamara" by Matthew Rothschild

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