Obama and Afghanistan: Two Items I Don't Understand

05/25/2011 02:50 pm ET

I'm going to assume two items:

1) Afghanistan is another Vietman.

2) President Obama is too smart to truly believe this war is winnable or essential.

That said, I don't understand two items:

A) President Johnson, Vietnam's handmaiden, on a psychological level, felt that his administration was hostage to the legacy of the beloved, mourned JFK - and, importantly also, to RFK - whose first speech on the floor of the Senate was to call on LBJ not to abandon his late brother's commitment to Vietnam. As a result, always a tortured man, LBJ would have found it near impossible to make the emotional, if not a cognitive, break with the Kennedy policy.

Conversely, Barack Obama would seem to be a man of rare psychological balance and has, certainly, no debt to the administration of President Bush. Why follow its example?

2) Even if you are the sort of student of history who believes psychology is irrelevant, the following certainly is true: It can be difficult for a new administration to break with the policies of a previous administration, if both administrations are of the same party.

President Obama's administration is not of the same party as the previous, in fact, it is not of the same party of an administration that has been spectacularly discredited. This being said, shouldn't a change in course, a 180 degree change in course, be very feasible - in fact, to be expected?

Other factors being equal, I just don't understand.

And, finally, this one minute film is dated -- but in light of Obama's Afghanistan speech, completely appropriate to revisit.