Hearts and minds
"There's a considerable sentiment of those who really studied Vietnam and, ideally, served there, that the approach to the war after Westmoreland left was on a new track," said retired Army Col. Stuart Herrington, another Vietnam veteran who has advised the Pentagon on Iraq policy. "It was a radical change in the approach to the war, and there's no question that even [former North Vietnamese] adversaries now admit that the second approach was extremely, extremely damaging to them."
Much like in Vietnam, the new strategy is being pushed after several years of large-scale combat operations that may have killed thousands of insurgents, but also alienated the local population.
Perhaps more troubling is that like the Abrams' initiatives, which ran from 1968 through 1973, the current move to step up training of the Iraqi forces comes at a time domestic support for war is on the wane and political winds are blowing in favor of a quick pullout of combat forces.
"There are certain things you just can't do in a military situation like Iraq or Vietnam, and if you violate these tenets, you're at great risk," said Herrington. "One of them is to take too long to figure out what you ought to be doing so the American public falters in its support."
Those ages which in retrospect seem most peaceful were least in search of peace...Whenever peace-- conceived as the avoidance of war-- has been the objective of a power or a group of powers, the international system has been at the mercy of the most ruthless member of the international community."