Monday, November 14, 2011

The War On Terror Is Unconventional Warfare

Almost 50 years ago I studied American Diplomatic History at the University of Cincinnati. And, right after I graduated in 1964, President Johnson, after his election in November, 1964, took the war in Vietnam to a new level. Before January 1965, the troops in Vietnam were called advisers. I was in basic training when word came out that President Johnson was going to send the 157Th Airborne Brigade to Vietnam as a combat unit. Then U.S. Army sent the 1st Cavalry as an air-mobile division and the bigger war was on. I remember that I read anything I could get my hands on about the fighting in Vietnam and guerrilla warfare. There were even a few books that came out about fighting in Vietnam in the mid 1960s, and I read those too. A lot of good men died fighting in Vietnam and to this day I don't believe our fighting there had anything to do with the National Security of the United States. There were scholars on the history of Vietnam that said the Vietnamese in the North hated the Chinese probably more than they hated the Americans, but our government went ahead and committed men and money at a perceived problem that in reality never existed. I know those are pretty harsh words to say. In 1964, I thought that we could win in Vietnam. I even volunteered to serve there, but the army in their infinite wisdom sent me to Korea.

Today the world is fighting a very different kind of threat. It is not a war in the conventional sense where two great armies meet on a battlefield. The world is the battlefield and their are no great armies. The new "war" is terror, and that is going to be the most difficult kind of war to fight. If we stop terrorist attacks 99 times, but fail to stop them on the 100th time, we lose. This is a type of war that is going to require the very best we have. Foreign aid and building relationships is just a piece of the puzzle to keep us safe. We will win the war on terror by being smarter, not by being louder.

Stay tuned.


LceeL said...

I have long wondered what the real motivation for Vietnam was. I know we have never been told the truth - even when we were there, we felt that the real reason was offshore oil - oil off the shore of Vietnam, that is. That whole "Domino Theory" was one big smoke screen - although there IS a theory that the whole thing was done to protect Thailand - a strong US ally in the region. If so, maybe we actually had the looked for effect. Maybe. But it would have been nice to have been told the truth.

winslow said...

The ideology at the time was the Domino Effect and our leaders were not intelligent enough to know that was highly improbable. The similiarity with Iraq is uncanning.....WMD's.... the intelligence(?) agencies and/or our elected officials and war-mongering Pentagon used the same ideology to attack. The same ideology is being used today by the Republicans to possibly attack Iran....should I tell you how that would turn out?

Robert said...

Domino Theory during Vietnam War might have been exacerbated by folks looking at something called the Mercator Projection map. That's the old maps which hung in classrooms that made everything close to the north and south poles look huge, due to the geometry of translation from the globe to a flat map. Soviet Union was largest country on planet, in land area, but the Mercator Projection made it look even larger and more menacing. On some of those maps, in newspapers and so forth, the "communist block," as they called it was colored in red. It included China, north Vietnam, Cuba near our shores and so forth. Vietnam could have been seen as the finger in the dike. In reality, the communist block wasn't as unified as USA feared. Soviets and Chinese quarreled, Vietnam didn't like the Chinese, as you mentioned. We should have just stayed out and let the block crumble of it's own accord.