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News - Is it wrong to compare the military action in Afghanistan to Vietnam?

Yes. Unlike Vietnam, this 'war' will never end

The moment it became evident there would be a military response to the horrific acts of Sept. 11, aging hippies raced to their attics to retrieve their mothballed "Make Love Not War" placards.

While the dust was settling in southern Manhattan, groups of sanctimonious granola-heads were organizing anti-war rallies in the park. Along with left-wing journalists and neo-pacifists, they ominously warned us that U.S. military action in Afghanistan would become "another Vietnam." Only if the sum total of their "Vietnam experience" was the opportunity to smoke weed, listen to Bob Dylan records and demonstrate against the war. But I digress.

To compare the current U.S. action in Central Asia to America's war in Southeast Asia four decades ago is an ignorant load of crap, and here's why.

American involvement in Vietnam originated in the anti-Communist fervor of the Cold War and the domino theory. Add the unbridled enthusiasm of the military industrial complex and some CIA shenanigans and you have the Vietnam War. The current campaign in Afghanistan is not the result of some over-zealous military types or diplomatic fiasco. It is a prudent, appropriate and necessary response to a de facto act of war.

And here's something else for the peaceniks to ponder: This "war" will never end. In fact, it's not really a war at all. There will be no Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of the last U.S. helicopter atop some far-off embassy rooftop. Afghanistan is merely the first step in an endless game of global leap frog. There is no finite military or diplomatic objective to the current war, save the identification and elimination of assets of the al Qaeda terrorist network, and any other misguided would-be martyrs who might appear along the way.

This war will not be fought exclusively in Afghanistan. If terrorists set up shop in the Sudan, Iraq, the Philippines or Peoria, Ill., they will be located and terminated. There will be no peace talks in Paris. There will be no treaty to mark the end of the conflict. This "war" will be waged forever.

While it is true that, as in Vietnam, Americans will lose their sons, brothers and fathers in Afghanistan, the demons of the Vietnam War that still occupy our national psyche should not prevent us from taking military action. Nor should the fears or memories born of that war be used to dissuade us from the undesirable, yet no less justified task that confronts us.

So while the knee-jerk apologists and weak of spirit wring their hands like battered spouses wondering what we've done to provoke bin Laden, and while they beseech our leaders to "give peace a chance," I will accept the sobering fact that it is the use of military force that enables both of us to offer our opinions on the matter.

Chris Renaldo has read more than 100 books on the Vietnam War.??





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