Sock and Awe
Deaglán de Bréadún
It’s difficult not to see the funny side of the incident where the “journalist” threw a shoe at President Bush in Baghdad ( see also previous blog on the subject) and I have to share this piece of badinage with you. It was sent to me unofficially by an apparatchik in our own current regime who was taking a break from, er, saving the country.
While I’m at it, there is an interesting piece by Tom Clonan in today’s Irish Times about the gloomy prospects for the US and other forces in their fight against the Taliban. Clonan’s article is based on comments made by US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte during a recent visit to Dublin.
History has shown that Afghanistan is a quagmire for invading forces. President-elect Obama is heavily committed to beating the Taliban but the chances are not at all bright. The Obama victory was a great day for the US but if he gets it wrong in Afghanistan those commentators who are currently drooling and gushing over his presidency will turn against him.
Obama is so reminiscent of JFK: the same adulation for a handsome young prince who overcame the race barrier, in one case, and prejudice against Catholics in the other. But it was JFK who committed the US in a serious way to Vietnam, just as Obama is expected to up the ante in Afghanistan. Had JFK lived, the public might well have turned against him as they did against his hapless successor, Lyndon B. Johnson.
As with the Viet Cong, the great thing the Taliban have going for them is that they are prepared to sustain virtually any amount of casualties. There’s also the pertinent fact that they live there and the West has no appetite for long-drawn-out conflicts with body-bags coming home week after week. I hope I’m wrong, as the Taliban regime sounded pretty awful, as regards women in particular, not to mention the fact that the terrorists of 9/11 were able to use the country as a training-ground.