Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lessons from Vietnam?

What Not to Learn From Vietnam
OK, here is the nice, neutral commentary from a professor. But I take major exception to this whole "let's not try to take any lessons from that experience" view. There are always lessons to be learned from experiences, the problem here is that different people operating off different sets of information can come up with lessons that contradict each other. There is simply no way to get some people to accept the idea that even will all the horrendous messes our various incompetent leaders made over years, the repulse of the Easter Invasion by the ARVN demonstrated that the South could manage to get itself together well enough to defend itself.... IF properly supported by the USA to offset the massive support of Russia and China. That was the simplest point of the Marines hitting that Da Nang beach in '65, to shore up RVN until it could take care of itself. In '72 that success was made clear. But again, simply, once Hanoi and Moscow saw Congress cutting back the aid, and Nixon was out of office, they knew they could eventually roll over the steadily weakening South. So they took their time, built up enormous bases and resources in Laos and Cambodia, and came in like thunder in '75 with masses of tanks and artillery and won. Which was entirely predictable, by many, including myself. The simplest lesson of Viet Nam is "Don't go to war unless you are ready, willing, and able to bring to bear the resources to win, and stay in the fight with full effort, until either the enemy is destroyed or their will to fight is gone." We did that in both Gulf Wars, but civilians trying to run Iraq after our military did a magnificent job managed to create and nurture an insurgency that was far worse than the war. And in Afghanistan we've fallen back to all the mistakes of Viet Nam plus even more. Del

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