Posted by CODEPINK Staff
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke: We're in Afghanistan because it really matters. We're in Afghanistan because if we fail in Afghanistan, it will have a direct, immediate danger to us. It will increase al-Qaeda's worldwide reach. They will come back with the Taliban in all likelihood, and they will gain a worldwide success which will be very dangerous for our national security interests. So we have to be clear. The American public needs to be clear on why we're in Afghanistan. This is not Vietnam, a war which I participated in as a State Department civilian in the lower Mekong Delta when I entered the government. This is not the Balkans. It's not Iraq. This is quite different, and this one relates directly to our safety at home.
RM: But we tried to do counterinsurgency in Vietnam, too, pretty explicitly. ... When you look back at those efforts, all those years ago, do you really have confidence that a foreign country can help create a state somewhere else, that we really can stand up an Afghan government?
Holbrooke: I think we can if we do it right. . . . The fundamental difference is the one you and I just already mentioned. It matters to our homeland security. Vietnam did not, although at the time, the administrations in power did say it did, but they were wrong. ... It's a process which is not easy, and you only embark on it if you decide that it is absolutely critical for the U.S. national interests, which it is.
Read Rachel's analysis on her blog: http://bit.ly/MaddowAfghanistan