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January 31, 2005



Interesting article…
I’d always held that Iraq is our Vietnam. But the article made me think about a few things. Now I think that I got to that conclusion from the fact that I view this from the military point of view.
From that point of view, It looks similar: we are policing a foreign nation where some of the local population are against us, these insurgents are supported from outside, they terrorize the local populace, and they country is full of reporters looking for their own Pulitzer prize winning photos of a naked child napalm victim. You’d figure that every war college in the world would be studying ways to ‘fight Vietnam better’ because limited police-type actions seem to be the order of the day.
Then again, who is to say were not doing better... I mean we can’t even fight organized crime and gangs well here in the friendly confines of the US. We’re doing more with fewer troops: 150k in Iraq vs ~500k in Vietnam. The 1,400 casualties seems high, but it’s nowhere near what we had in Vietnam, and it pales in comparison to the 17,126 DUI fatalities in the US (1996 numbers). Oh, yeah one last thing I forgot…we’re winning: old regime out, elections held.
But who the hell would know that from reading the news or watching TV. It seems that the military has learned its lesson and is *not* fighting Vietnam again but the media is. Let it go.

Russ Goble

Yeah, good point on the military angle. Our military tactics and doctrine of the last few decades are a direct reaction to Vietnam. No doubt, our military doctrine for the next 25 years will be a reaction to what we've learned in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think someone somewhere made a quote that said something about we're always fighting the last war. But, the military SEEMS to adapt better and quicker to situations on the ground than any other government run agency. I do think, assuming Rumsfeld is able to change the military into a more agile fighting force, that you really don't want to be the next country in our gunsights. Things might be even more lopsided should a shooting war come again anytime soon. Let's hope that Syria and Iran fall over with little help from the Marines.


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