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Afghanistan War Turning Point

Updated on October 6, 2009

 It has happened. The shift. The feeling of victory slipping from the grasp and will of the American government. It resonates on the evening news, the internet, newspapers. You sense it yet remain hopeful but know inside it's nearing the end.

In all wars, there is a such a time. In WW2, for Hitler, it was the world's greatest tank battle at Kursk, 1943, that started the shift out of his favor. In 1968, it was the shock of the Tet offensive by the "invisible" enemy in Vietnam. One could sense that from the media to joe blow on the street, the shift turned against the US. We tried to do the same things we are now trying again in Afghanistan- win the hearts and minds of the Afghani- then, it was the Vietnamese. We built roads, schools, Americans married Vietnamese, spent millions to support the South Vietnamese government despite it being so very corrupt and built and trained their Army, Airforce. In the end, after 10 yrs, the American people, media, and more importantly, government had had enough. The Vietnamese failed themselves, they only wanted it if we stayed, yet, many did not want us there and as soon as we left an area, the opposing force entered and took over because the locals feared them. The airbase at Da Nang was US built and is now their international airport. Many countries in history tried to take over Vietnam, China and Russia new better, the US followed the folly of the French in Vietnam during the 1950s.

Those say Afghanistan has no resemblence to Vietnam, must be only viewing from geographics and climate. For everything else, there is an uncanny repeat of history in policy, direction, issues and debate. Those in the US Senate and Congress know this all too well as many were in that war. The news channels and the men behind them all know Vietnam history well, they were alive at the time. 

Today, the pendulum is swinging against the US. Time is not on our side.  The Taliban know it. They will outlast our patience and resources. Current news media is now turning against the war also, just as it did from 1968 onwards. You can sense it in the cutting remarks, the tone, the questions that commanders try to spin into a positive, like a few success stories in Afghanistan. When confronted about the Karzai corruption and how the public there does not like it, the only answer is, Karzai is not the best choice, but the only choice and we can only hope.

As Lara Logan of CBS news reported, the Taliban smell success and are becoming much bolder in confronting the outnumbered US troops in remote areas. A small battle in a remote outpost may seem insignificant, but the impact on troop morale is costly to the loser and a major boost for the victor. They all add up and lately, the Taliban have had several successes of battling US forces and cutting off major road arteries with bombs-even US troops avoid them.

The writing is on the wall. And it is a bad thing for the world.

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