Skip to comments.The Vietnam War We Ignore
Posted on 10/19/2009 12:20:41 PM PDT by neverdem
AS President Obama and his advisers contemplate a new course for Afghanistan, many commentators are suggesting analogies with earlier conflicts, particularly the war in Vietnam. Such comparisons can be useful, but only if the characterizations of earlier wars are accurate and lessons are appropriately applied.
Vietnam is particularly tricky. While avoiding the missteps made there is of course a priority, few seem aware of the many successful changes in strategy undertaken in the later years of the conflict. The credit for those accomplishments goes in large part to three men: Ellsworth Bunker, who became the American ambassador to South Vietnam in 1967; William Colby, the C.I.A. officer in charge of rural pacification efforts; and Gen. Creighton Abrams, who became the top American commander there in 1968.
A closer look at key aspects of how these men rethought their war may prove instructive to those considering our options in Afghanistan today. Among their principles were these:
Fight one war: Abrams, Bunker and Colby agreed that the war would be fought and won or lost in the villages. They decided to put equal priority on all key aspects of the war thus the improvement of South Vietnams armed forces and the elimination of covert Vietcong bases and refuges in rural areas were given the same emphasis as large combat operations.
In Afghanistan, it is vital that American and NATO troops get out of their protected bases to work alongside Afghan forces and build trust with civilians. In some ways this may be trickier than in Vietnam, as our troops will have to navigate the tribal and ethnic rivalries that have long divided Afghan society.
Rethink combat operations: The early strategy in Vietnam was to use large units in search and destroy sweeps often on ground of...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
KHE SAN comes to mind.
Vietnam was lost because bureaucrats in Washington started dictating a more sensitive approach. They started making certain targets off limits and stopped the carpet bombing that brought the North to it's knees. It was the North that tricked the politicians into stopping the bombing by offering to join peace talks.
The Afghanistan war is now, FINALLY, more like Vietnam because our government is trying to find the most politically advantageous course of action to pacify voters and has forgotten about winning or keeping our troops from harm.
Even fewer seem aware of this particular definition of "successful."
The lesson from Vietnam is don’t go to war without popular support behind you.
And by the way, the US never lost a military engagement in Vietnam.
The first requirement in any war would seem to be a desire for our side to win the war rather than a desire to war on the people of this country as they increasingly express their alarm and concerns.
That is the part of the war that I forgot about. John Kerry did his best to stab us in the back along with Hanoi jane. My brother was coming home through Alaska and jane the twit told them to go AWOL and not go. She was telling them don't go home.