Showing posts with label revisionism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label revisionism. Show all posts

Friday, October 16, 2009

Vietnam Revisionism, Iraq, and Afghanistan

Lexington reminds me to bring up a vastly under-discussed topic: Vietnam Revisionism.

Counterinsurgency broke cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 news after Petraeus and McChrystal, but it was actually very big in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 popular and military imagination during cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 '60s as well. Mao's success in China sparked a huge discussion of how to conduct and defeat insurgency. For obvious reasons, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Vietnam War continued this trend.

Reading A Better War, a classic revisionist account of Vietnam, is like looking at Iraq all over again. The initial commanders in both wars--Westmoreland in Vietnam, Tommy Franks and ocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365rs in Iraq--were basically clueless about how to tackle local insurgency. Westmoreland, for instance, focused on body counts and firepower. He threw artillery and air power at guerrillas, and focusing on winning battles. He exuded optimism and threw out made-up statistics during press conferences. As in Iraq, this led nowhere.

Then you had new generals in both wars. In Vietnam, General Abrams came in. He replaced "search-and-destroy" missions with ones focused on "clear-and-hold" to implement a policy of civilian defense. He focused more on training native Vietnamese units. This coincided with Nixon's "surge" strategy of escalating cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 conflict to leave on better terms. The dramatic change in policy as a result of following counterinsurgency doctrine and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 dramatic change in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 outcome of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 war in America's are not in question. Needless to say, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 surge under Petraeus and Odierno, and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 shift in American doctrine towards COIN, was a similar story.

The disputed part about Vietnam Revisionism is whecá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r Abrams' efforts were enough to win cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 war in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 long run. North Vietnam enjoyed enormous support from Communist states, while Congress eventually killed all military aid to South Vietnam. In cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Revisionist counterfactual, limited military aid would have allowed an insurgency-free South Vietnam to sustain direct attacks from North Vietnam.

I think a fairly convincing argument can be made for that scenario. But in any event; cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365re are better and worse ways of fighting insurgencies, and it takes a while to develop cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 competency and leadership capable of fighting cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m.

The success of counterinsurgency in Vietnam and Iraq doesn't imply that it will work in Afghanistan, a very different country. Nor will it tell you if Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan were ultimately worth fighting. Just because a given tactic can win a war doesn't mean cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 war is worthwhile.

But from cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 point of view of South Vietnam, at any rate, it probably was. South Vietnam remained mired in poverty for twenty years after its war, while it enjoyed growth under a free market before cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 war, and would probably have enjoyed even greater success had it won cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 war--something like a North Korea/South Korea analogue (I might even go so far as to say that if you think cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Korean war was worth fighting, than you should have supported South Vietnam in 1975, even if you opposed sending troops in during cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 60s).