The Audacity of War, by Maps and Population

05/25/2011 01:00 pm ET
  • Tom Hayden Former State Senator and leader of sixties peace, justice and environmental movement. Director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center.

My friend Bob Mulholland, a disabled Vietnam veteran and political officer of California's Democratic Party, has rolled out the relevant maps which reveal the staggering scope of the emerging Afghanistan/Pakistan War:

- South Vietnam, where Bob fought alongside 500,000 Americans, was 67,108 sq. miles in 1973;

- Vietnam as a whole is 128,527 sq. miles;

- Iraq, where today there are 150,000 American troops, is 169,234 sq. miles;

- Afghanistan, where Obama proposes deploying some 60,000 American troops, is 251, 772 sq. miles;

- Ff we include Pakistan, where our Predators and special units are attacking, we add 340,403 sq. miles.

Population figures are revealing as well:
- South Vietnam [19,370,000 in 1973]
-North Vietnam [23,930,000 in 1973]
-Iraq [29,257,000]
-Afghanistan [32,738, 376]
-Pakistan [172,800,000]

Bob comments:

The troop surge for South Vietnam went to 540,000 in 1968 and still meant nothing in the big picture. Of course, South Vietnam was a lot of mountains, jungles and rice paddies [unlike Iraq], but it was only 67,108 sq. miles or 26.7 percent of the size of Afghanistan, which is a lot of mountainous terrain - also difficult territory. A million troops would not stop the [jihadist] cause in Afghanistan, as long as they continue to get money and support, which was the key to the N. Vietnamese effort.