Skip to comments.Viewpoint: Counter-insurgency lessons from Vietnam
Posted on 09/19/2012 6:31:44 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican
The rise in so-called insider attacks by rogue Afghan security forces has highlighted the perils of joint operations in counter-insurgency. But former US soldier David Donovan, who fought in Vietnam, says lessons learnt long ago have been forgotten.
If you could feel the heat and sweat of the tropics. If you could hear the noise of battle and sense the fears.
If you could put yourself on the other side of the world where you are the selectee of your government to advise and help a unit of foreign fighters defend their village.
And if you and that unit are at this moment in combat but they are being slow to react, you might come close to understanding how I felt one day in 1969 in the Mekong delta of Vietnam.
The enemy were in a nearby tree-line. They had taken us under fire, and bullets were cutting leaves from the trees.
We already had wounded - one man shot in the foot, another in the side. Everyone had gone to ground and the Vietnamese officer, my counterpart, was down behind a small dike with some of his soldiers. He was fixed in place, not taking the lead.
I was an American infantry officer there to provide assistance when possible and leadership when necessary. Frustrated at our slow reaction, I ran toward my counterpart intent on getting him to lead his men. But as I made my way, a background programme had already begun running in my mind. It asked, "What are you doing here? Is this ever going to mean anything?"
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
Good article. Unfortunately since the end of WWII, the last "Declared War" we have not learned the very first lesson. No foreign adventures without that "Declaration". The Constitution requires it.
With that we would have to use the military for what it is intended to do - kill people and blow stuff up! Do it in the quickest time possible, with the least cost in lives and money. For the Constitution also states that the Declared Wars shall only be funded for two years.
We can't tell our people to head to the mall and that the government will take care of the war.
Since WWII we have expended not only billions of dollars but also wasted over 119,000 of our soldiers with close to 328,000 wounded.
So, "What are we doing? Is it ever going to mean anything?" Sadly "we" don't seem to know what we are doing and it will continue to be such a waste of our treasure!
But the folks will still go to the mall and reelect the politicians who refuse to follow the Constitution!
"America, where are you now?"
Our enemies think we are nearing defeat. I however believe otherwise. Americans are slow to anger. When angered Americans will never be defeated, unless, an act of God is to happen. Americans have yet to fight a war since WWII where "we" have been victorious. This is all too true. When the time comes though, in spite of ourselves, Americans will not surrender. "We" may defeat ourselves by actions and deeds, or God may will it to so, though I believe God loves America. God, helped correct most of our faults, in the blood of our fellow countrymen and women. Will God turn his back on America? Don't know, but "we" are about to find out, and soon.
I believe we forgot the basic lessons of vietnam : In order for the USA to win a war; first the news media and the politicians must be defeated. Wars are not won by winning hearts and minds but by blowing minds into bits
“Wars are not won by winning hearts and minds but by blowing hearts and minds into scattered bits until the entire enemy at every level sincerly begs for mercy “
The problem is that the military keeps wanting to fight insurgencies like conventional war, because that’s what we’re best at and is a lot easier.
Insurgencies can’t be crushed with sheer force, at least not anymore with public opinion. Westmoreland tried to do that, but short of invading North Vietnam and occupying it it wasn’t going to happen.
Lots of people like to say they “learned the lessons of Vietnam”, but keep doing the Westmoreland route, which makes it easy for weak politicians to cave in.
My brother came out of Vietnam — after two combat tours —saying that our soldiers weren’t allowed to win, tahnks to micromanagement from Wasington, and his biggest task was to keep his men alive.
Vietnam wasn’t lost as an “insurgency”. Tet in ‘68 spelled the effective end of the indigenous Viet Cong in the South. After that, it was infiltration of NVA forces from the North via politically protected routes through Laos and Cambodia that did 95+% of all the fighting in the South.
We didn’t crush the North. Period.
Flip the HST scenario on it’s head
1 - Drop two (2) nukes first on large urban Muslim cities
2 - Wait for Andrea Mitchell to call you in the morning
Ping. I know you like to hear from the guys with actual time on point.
In Viet Nam we (I personally) conducted many missions with ARVNs (troops of the Republic of Viet Nam). They may have been seriously lacking in training and discipline, but we never worried about them shooting us.
I know that, but Westmoreland tried to do so with Search and Destroy missions that were too cumbersome to be effective. He was the wrong guy for the war, although I do think he tried his best.
If we were doing what Abrams was doing the whole time through, then I think things had potential to be a lot different. LBJ didn’t really care that much though, he only cared about losing face and harming his precious Great Society programs.