March 29th, 2009
12:22 PM ET
5 years ago

Holbrooke: Afghanistan is no Vietnam

Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, appeared on State of the Union Sunday.
Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, appeared on State of the Union Sunday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Just days after President Obama announced his comprehensive plan for the next phase of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, a senior diplomat in the new administration sought to put to rest any comparison between Afghanistan and Vietnam wars.

Watch: Obama's 'Af-Pak' strategy

“I served in Vietnam for three and a half years and I’m aware of certain structural similarities,” Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King Sunday.

“But there’s a fundamental difference - the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese never posed any direct threat to the United States and its homeland. The people we are fighting in Afghanistan and the people they are sheltering in Western Pakistan, pose a direct threat. Those are the men of 9-11, the people who killed Benazir Bhutto and you can be sure that as we sit here today, they are planning further attacks on the United States and our allies.”


Holbrooke was responding to concerns raised by some Democrats that the President’s decision to send more troops into Afghanistan opens up the possibility of an extended and ultimately unsuccessful military mission there comparable to the failed U.S. involvement in Vietnam decades ago.

Obama recently announced his plan for dealing with Afghanistan that includes more troops and more civilian aid. The president’s plan to inject more resources into the embattled country comes as polling suggests the American public is becoming wary of the war there.

Holbrooke appeared Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union with Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. CENTCOM Commander, to discuss U.S. strategy in the Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East.

soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. case

    Funny how the "conservative" bloggers are all over the place regarding Obama and Afghanistan...

    They are so intrisically programmed to object to every word that comes out of Obama's mouth they war willing to blatantly contradict themselves.

    Since when were conservatives against sending more troops to Afgan???

    March 29, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Kathy

    Americas seems to be ready to jump on the I hate the president band wagon no matter who he is depending on their political party. Republicans before were the war hawks and got us in this mess and Obama is just trying hard to find an end. Look at statistics before you state untruths.
    Please think with you head and not with your knee jerk gut reactions. Good young men lives are depending on this president we chose and the so called christian right needs to be praying for them daily and for our leaders. Signed methodist ministers wife, nurse, former Air Force enlisted, mother, grandmother.

    March 29, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. France boy

    Simmy.......
    Do not talk down to me. My only son served two combat tours in Iraq. He fought a war that you and the Clintons and Democrats created by your treason. If my son has to go back to war because of continuing Democrat party treason and is injured of killed I will hold you and the Manchurian directly responsible as if you or he pulled the trigger yourselves.

    March 29, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. S Callahan

    The mighty hand of God is the only one to stop all this insanity in the world...and that will happen sooner than one hopes for if people from all countries do not put aside their childish ways and work towards peace.

    March 29, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. France boy

    case...I will tell you why conservatives are against Obama sending more troops to Afghanistan. Obama and Biden and Kerry and Kennedy and Pelosi and Reid and hundreds of other national Democrat party members participated in the rape of the military in Viet Nam by their support of the Marxist North Vietnamese. They also attempted to rape the military by their support of the Jihadists in Iraq. The only reason Obama is sending our troops to Afghanistan now is because he wants to set them up for a loss, a disaster, a failure. He and his comrades in power hate the U.S. military and want it to fail.

    March 29, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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