Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
February 2, 2009

Newsweek: Obama Waist Deep In The Big Muddy

Newsweek-Obama-Afghanistan.jpg

“The analogy isn’t exact. But the war in Afghanistan is starting to look disturbingly familiar.” — from: Newsweek cover story: “Obama’s Vietnam.”

Holy ’60’s.

After all the cheery analogies to FDR and Lincoln, Newsweek’s employment of “Vietnam” associates Obama, in big, bold letters, to LBJ or Nixon.

At the same time the cover blackens the hope message (as if drawing heavily from the current deep economic gloom), however, you can still see Obama — with next-to-nothing marring the inside of the letters of his name — remaining largely above the connection.

Pete Seeger: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy (YouTube)

(Newsweek cover. February 9, 2009. “Obama’s Vietnam,” Newsweek’s Evan Thomas and John Barry lay out the growing parallels between the war in Afghanistan and our struggle in Vietnam. Plus: Fareed Zakaria offers a four-step plan to help fix the situation in Afghanistan)

  • http://justbetweenstrangers.blogspot.com/ acm

    it’s particularly striking, given how much the press avoided calling Iraq *Bush’s* Vietnam, even as the parallels piled up. trusty ol’ “liberal” media…

  • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0192335/plotsummary yg

    what’s up with the synchronicity of this meme? pbs bill moyers had a panel on his last show that painted barack as being completely militaristic on the issue of afghanistan/pakistan. they were oh, so disappointed with him. wrong! they completely ignored the fact that obama HAS talked about different kinds of cultural approaches that can be implemented to dampen or offer an alternative to militancy. what’s the use when even freaking bill moyers, the gold standard in speaking truth to power, is offering a slanted and misleading view?
    not even 3 weeks in office and already obama is doomed with the vietnamesque failure. jesus, is there some kind of time conversion table at play here that i’m not hip to? what is it? 4 years of bush equals 4 weeks in obama time?

  • http://www.highcontrastcomedy.com boxcar

    this is absolutely RIGHT ON. Obama spoke on the trail about how we need to be fighting the “right” war.
    When are the talks of an Iraq pullout? Zilch.
    Drones continued bombing in Pakistan.
    Gates stays on as Def Sec. 30K more troops in Afghanistan.
    Sorry, anyone who thought Obama was a man of peace was fooled by his rhetoric.
    Until he DOES something to back up what he says, he needs to be pounded on these warlike traits.
    peace
    box

  • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0192335/plotsummary yg

    When are the talks of an Iraq pullout? Zilch.
    box, obama was asked about this sunday night with nbc brian williams. he asked barack if he expects service people stationed in iraq to return by next super bowl. obama said yes, that he’s already talked with joint chiefs of staff (and generals and officers on the ground) to put withdrawal into play, as he promised he would during the campaign.
    gates is the one who talked bush out of bombing iran. we at least know gates isn’t INSANE.

  • Pat Tillman

    I thought every soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq were shipped to the Super Bowl last night as props for empire.

  • Gasho

    War is dark.
    If Obama is going to be Mr. Transparent, then any fighting and killing will have to be owned and explained and justified and rectified.
    Running a war without PR, Propaganda and Spin.. that would be [impossible].
    Once the spin and secrecy starts.. there goes the righteousness. It’s probably already gone. What an awful job. To hold that job and remain peaceful would be truly miraculous. Best of Luck, Mr. O!

  • lytom

    How long is long enough? War on Afghanistan is vital for what gain? There is no oil, but pipelines are planned. Is it for the extension of empire’s sphere of interest?
    Just like Vietnam was destroyed to be “saved,” just like Iraq suffering occupation and destruction, maiming and killing which has not stopped, Afghanistan will be “saved.”
    “Awful job?” you say, then tell me why does Obama want to keep destroying the people that have had enough, will he stop when they are back to Stone Age? Obama is right in step with Bush, who spent money on Iraq, Obama now plans to charge Iraqi for their keep and to spent US money on destruction of Afghanistan, creating more hell thanks to taxpayers’ money. Look in the eye of Afghan people and say it is worth it!

  • Alan

    Seems like a cheap shot to me, labeling Afghanistan “Obama’s Vietnam”. I haven’t read the article. I’m just looking at the cover, big and bold, simple and direct in its connection of the three names: Obama; Vietnam; Afghanistan. Some of the comments here are curious, too. The man has been in office for less than one month, and he’s already trying to deal with an economic mess of historic proportions. What on earth did people expect would happen? It’s going to take years to extricate ourselves from Iraq and Afghanistan and there are going to be all kinds of set-backs, disasters and disappointments. Let’s be real about it. Let’s give the guy a chance. And when you find yourself getting frustrated, remember: WWMHD? What Would McCain Have Done? That was our other choice – McCain and Palin. I’m glad the country chose the leadership we did; now we have to give that leadership a fair chance to begin the epic task of cleaning up after 8 years of wanton, ignorant destruction.

  • cenoxo

    …you can still see Obama — with next-to-nothing marring the inside of the letters of his name — remaining largely above the connection.
    Working under the law of unintended consequences, it can be tricksy to keep One’s feet dry during a rising red tide…

    …remember when LBJ took over another unfinished Asian war?

  • cenoxo

    …it’s particularly striking, given how much the press avoided calling Iraq *Bush’s* Vietnam, even as the parallels piled up. trusty ol’ “liberal” media…
    Google results for ‘bush’s vietnam‘ — it sure looks like the ol’ “liberal” press just couldn’t avoid piling up parallels between Bush, Iraq, and Vietnam.
    No matter who started it, Obama owns it now. Or is it the other way ’round?

  • http://www.sarahchayes.net Flo

    If they stop the indiscriminate (read,precision) bombing, and start using Sarah Chayes template for renewal, we might get out of this with our butts intact.
    sarahchayes.net

  • http://theforgottenwar.blogspot.com Sergei Andropov

    “War on Afghanistan is vital for what gain?”
    We’re not there for our benefit, or for the Afghans’. We’re there because we were attacked.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes