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In 1968 Bobby Kennedy entered the race for President in large part because he felt he needed to end the war in Vietnam. He was vociferous in opposition to the policies of escalation of the Johnson administration. Now, 40 years later, we find ourselves again bogged down in a war in Afghanistan and a President facing a decision about escalation. The original purpose is long confused. The Afghan government is illegitimate and corrupt. We have no partner and don't know the enemy. And yet, the generals are asking for more troops, more war. At what cost? To what purpose? Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The former Soviet Union bogged down in Afghanistan for 9 years before leaving without "victory".

At the University of Kansas in March 1968, Bobby Kennedy said:

I would like to see the United States government to make it clear to the government of Saigon that we are not going to tolerate the corruption and the dishonesty.   I think that we should make it clear to the government of Saigon that if we're going to draft young men, 18 years of age here in the United States, if we're going to draft young men who are 19 years-old here in the United States, and wer're going to send them to fight and die in Khe Sanh, that we want the government of South Vietnam to draft their 18-year-olds and their 19-year-olds.

It is past time to leave Afghanistan just as it was past time to leave Vietnam in 1968. There is no longer a clear mission. There is no defined enemy. Not another American soldier should come home in a flag-draped coffin. If President Obama follows the recommendations of his generals and sends tens of thousands more young men and women into war in Afghanistan, the question becomes, who will be our generation's Bobby Kennedy? Who will have the courage to speak out against the war? Who will stand up and say, no more!

Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet, it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change. -RFK

Originally posted to docstymie on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 07:49 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips for ending the war (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RFK Lives, vcmvo2, kevinpdx, bigsurtree


    I'm a Bobby Kennedy Democrat

    by docstymie on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 07:49:38 PM PST

    •  Oh, how true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RFK Lives, docstymie

      I have been waiting for years now -- most of those years without even realizing it -- for someone of Robert Kennedy's mettle to rise up once more.  I have been waiting for the kind of man who will say what he is thinking, and for that matter what nearly everyone else is thinking, but is afraid to say because they will be thought a fool or a coward or worse.  I have been waiting for a man with heart to lead this country -- we've had plenty of men with brains run this country, and plenty without brains too, and neither one has really gotten us to where we need to be.  The men with brains run things a little more smoothly, a little more intelligently, but ultimately if they haven't got the heart they end up serving the same masters as the ones with no brains at all.

      And I look around, and I try and find someone like Robert Kennedy, and I cannot see a single solitary soul who can speak as he did.  Perhaps Robert Kennedy was a cosmic singularity, a comet that burst out of nowhere, only to disappear for a century or so, if not longer.  I try very hard to find someone like him, but I cannot.  If there is anyone you know of who even comes close to being Bobby, I'd like to know... but then, I suppose if you knew, you wouldn't have written this.

      Where are you, Robert Kennedy?  Are you looking at us from heaven now, with tears falling down your cheeks?  Where is your heir, the one who could pick up your banner?  It was not your brother, though he tried.  Where is he?  Too much was left unsaid, undone, unfinished.  It should have been you in 1968.  Now, I sometimes fear that there is no turning back, that we will have no second chance, that 1968 was it, the turning point, and that everything after that is just water following the path of least resistance.

      And then I remind myself that while I'm still alive, I can still act, and that nothing is over until it's over.  I haven't got it in me to do all that Robert Kennedy did, but I think I could manage to do a little of it.  Still, tips on who to watch would be useful; I'd like to send them a little money.

  •  We don't have anyone to stand up against (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    docstymie, kevinpdx, bigsurtree

    the looming escalation in Afghanistan.  God how I wish that we did.  There are no countervailing forces here.  God how I wish that there were.

    One way or another, Obama will almost inevitably increase his commitment to an inherently unwinnable war.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 07:54:15 PM PST

  •  My brother came home from Vietnam.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    denise b, DaNang65, bigsurtree

    in the spring of 1970. There were a lot of people being 'our Bobby' for a lot of years.

  •  Yes, Moral Courage is what it takes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    docstymie, DaNang65

    to confront an immoral war. In Vietnam, moral courage could not even slow down the slaughter, despite tens of thousands of us protesting. McCarthy and RFK tried, and LBJ threw in the towel, but the war persisted five more years. At least we put on the pressure, and it eventually the message resonated.

    The pressure of the MIC is immense, and that may be putting it lightly. That's why it takes moral courage; political strategies are not enough.
    I'm afraid the Afghanistan adventure will be in the news quite a while. And it certainly may bring down President Obama (along with other things).

    Moral Courage is also what it takes for Healthcare reform. You can feel it when it's there, a n d
    when it's not.

  •  when another bobby shows up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will her supporters get her back by picketing the 1000 right wing talk radio stations that will  broadcast hours of continuous attacks, lies, distortions and swiftboating coming from the bowels of the GOP think tanks --- and laundered into the MSM as acceptable one liner drivel for the sunday political talk?

    or will they turn the dial and whine that she doesn't have the spine to do the job.

    ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

    by certainot on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 08:46:43 PM PST

  •  i can't agree with santayana (0+ / 0-)

    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    i can learn all the history i want but we repeat the same tragic histories over and over because for those deciding history they are profitable to repeat.

    ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

    by certainot on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 08:56:13 PM PST

  •  Perhaps I'm prejudiced by VVAW ties, (0+ / 0-)

    but if the video of young Lt. Kerry asking the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who will ask the last man to die for a mistake is rerun enough, that young lion might emerge from the gentleman from Massachusetts.

    If you're going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.

    by DaNang65 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 11:22:09 PM PST

  •  Who will be our Bobby? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Please...only Bobby Kennedy was Bobby Kennedy. Secondly, you discount the millions of older voters that voted for Obama because they saw him as their "Bobby Kennedy." Thirdly, did you not see the diary about Obama rejecting all the proposed plans for sending more troops overseas? Really. You really need to understand that these are false comparisons. It's like saying of music "Who's the next Bob Dylan?" Only Dylan was Dylan.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. -FDR

    by caseyaaronsmith on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 02:30:58 AM PST

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