FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Same Strategy, Different War, Same Failed Results

In brief, you will find that the illogical direction the Pentagon and Department of State have directed this nation’s foreign affairs and military has its roots in the defeat of the United States Military in Vietnam. The Vietnamese used terrain and guerrilla (insurgency) strategy to oppose the US tactical deployment which was organized to fight like a WWII main force enemy. The US fielded a military force of draftees and inexperienced officers to fight a war they did not understand or desire to participate.

As the war lingered on, much of it on TV, the American wins were insufficient to continue the support for the war back home. General Westmoreland’s light at the end of the tunnel was fading. President Johnson sent the “A” team into the war to reorganize it under one director, combining all military and civilian personnel into the organization CORDS. This did not help; the tactics only got worse.

With new organization came new tactics, the strategy was the same, that of full military dominance of the population of South Vietnam and total destruction of the North Vietnamese communist government. (As an embarrassment for Russia, I assume). There were two misguided tactics promoted; the first was the “Oil Slick” theory which believed if the military continued to cover more area the security and pacification would spread like oil on water. The trouble with it was the lack of enough military to secure the ever-enlarging perimeter; it often created a safe haven for the enemy.

The second tactic, if I heard once in briefings I heard it 40 times, “Cut the head off the snake and the snake dies.” In short, the American strategy for victory in Vietnam was to kill the leaders and anyone who happened to be in the path to the leaders, whether they were soldiers or civilians, government officials or innocent women and children. It is unbelievable the military has continued to this day to deploy resources following this tactic. This is one of the prime reasons the American Military was thrown out of Vietnam in defeat and cannot claim a military victory in any war or deployment since.

Anyone can determine from collective news sites that the “counter” insurgency Afghanistan war is not going well. It is a complex problem that many think is unsolvable. Like the Vietnam War, the government is placing the American military’s mighty and powerful war machinery up against the determined indigenous population that wants no part of the western nation’s controls over them. A lesson that never seems to be learned by Americans is that our culture, style of living, and the constant hammering of our doctrine of government into the lives of Third World populations are not welcome and violently opposed on occasion.

It is impossible to obtain dominance by an outside force, however powerful, without completely destroying the society. This is counter-productive as the world media exploits the results. US Military must be transitioned from belligerent war mongers to keeping peace while actively defending our country. The repercussions of the US military’s failed yet aggressive deployments, from Vietnam to Afghanistan, will bring more violence and even more militarization into the lives of Americans.

Harry Wagner is an 88-year-old veteran of  Vietnam. He worked in Military Intelligence, Psychological Operations, USAID, and the Phoenix Program. He has written a book about his experience in Vietnam and includes proven strategies to transition our military from a belligerent agent of war to an advocate on a quest for peace:  The Headless Snake.

More articles by:

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail