Bagram Attack Near Cheney is Bush's Mini-Tet

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average had it's biggest drop this week since the day the market opened after 9/11. 2001; right after a suicide bomber killed more than a dozen people at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where Vice-President Richard B. Cheney was staying.  Vice-President Cheney was unharmed and never threatened.

   The Tet Offensive, thirty-nine years ago, is widely recognized as the turning point of the Vietnam War; the event that persuaded the vast majority of the American people that the war could not be won.  In response, military analysts repeatedly explain that the Tet Offensive was a military defeat for the Vietcong and the  North Vietnamese.

   The Tet Offensive, though a military defeat, was a political victory for the Vietcong and North Vietnamese because it exposed the over -optimistic hype of the Johnson Administration.  William Westmoreland had addressed a joint session of Congress in November, 1967; and painted a rosy picture of progress in the war.  The Tet Offensive, two months later, demonstrated to even the most obtuse that the emperor had no clothes.

   Similarly, the attack on Bagram, while a military nullity (except for the dead American soldier and the dead and wounded Afghanis) was shocking inasmuch as it demonstrated that the war could come so close to Vice-President Cheney. The proximity of the attack plus the British decision to send more troops, not its military significance, was a clear message to anyone willing to look - indeed, it was all but unavoidable - that the war in Afghanistan, not to mention Irtaq, is not going as well as the Bush  Administration is alleging.

   It is the attack on Bagram, along with the basic economic fundamentals, that led to the historic market drop this week.

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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf