In his relatively short speech Tuesday night, Mr. Obama announced his controversial decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, and he defended himself against those who believe Aghanistan is going to be his administration’s Vietnam.
“Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action,” he said. “Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency. And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border.”
I hate it when he’s right. Actually I don’t, but on this issue, I do.
Sure, Vietnam was awful, but think of all the cultural gems that were born from all that bloodshed and political strife. Bell-bottoms. Bob Dylan. Woodstock. Peace signs. Straggly-haired hippies, psychadelic drugs, the Beatles’ later albums, Dazed and Confused! None of these would have been possible without Vietnam.
So, while my fingers are crossed that Afghanistan will not be Obama’s Vietnam in terms of death count and political suicide, do you think we can can still pretend it is, just for a little while, just for the sake of a new cultural movement?
I can do without the LSD, but I would really like to go bra-less for a while, maybe grow my hair down to my waist and sit around in a field of poppies listening to whatever hipster band is currently singing about peace. I would love to start sewing butterflies on my backless shirts, overusing the 2010 equivalent of the word “groovy” and building a shrine to John Lennon out of dove carcasses.
We would obviously have to have a Woodstock. I’d like to nominate The XX, Radiohead, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Mos Def and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as headliners. The lead singer of Ed Sharpe could swing his dreds around stage and smell as bad as he wants, and everyone will love him because he is the anthithesis of that war-mongering Obama!
The really extreme pacifists would eventually start tossing homemade bombs in the name of “peace,” profoundly confusing all of their disciples. Then China would invade us because we began to pose a threat to ourselves, and we would soon become their Vietnam. The vicious cycle would continue until the whole world acknowledged that Jimi Hendrix has been the true Messiah all along and, wait, the Messiah is black?!
I knew it.