Another Vietnam? Again?

I’ve never particularly cared for the phrase “another Vietnam” when describing a foreign policy situation.  That war was so controversial and unpopular it makes it difficult to have a fair-minded discussion on any new conflict if it gets compared to Vietnam.  Nevertheless, I was reading an article online recently and the parallels were quite unsettling.

Start with a place that is half a world away from America and obscure to most Americans.  Add about eight years worth of time, plus a slow erosion of public support.  And the next two factors are quite jarring.  According to an online article entitled “Clinton, Students Have Intense Exchange,” by Associated Press writers Tim Sullivan, Pauline Jelinek, and Matthew Lee,  the United States has taken the War in Afghanistan outside the borders.  Military drones have attacked suspected terrorist positions in Pakistan, killing several people. And according to the article, “The subject has stirred some of the strongest feelings of anti-Americanism in the country, but the U.S. routinely refuses to acknowledge publicly that the attacks are taking place.”

Expanding the scope of an unpopular war–and denying it–got Richard Nixon in a lot of trouble.  There were/are pros and cons for expanding outside the borders, both for Nixon and for Barack Obama, but, wow, coverups are unpopular.  What I don’t get is why there doesn’t seem to be an outcry regarding this.

Let me stress that I’m not complaining about the decision to use the drones.  If our military forces say it makes sense, and our political leaders agree, who am I to second guess them?  But denying the policy–especially after such denials were seen as a horrible idea when Nixon made them–seems troubling.  And they seem pointless if Associate Press writers mention the drone attacks so casually.  Are these writers wrong?  Are we not striking positions in Pakistan?  If we are, which seems to be the case, is the government really denying it?  What exactly is going on over there?  What’s going on in Washington?