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Thread: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

  1. #11
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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    The two wars are not even remotely comparable.

    In Vietnam we overturned a democracy in favor of dictatorship. In Afghanistan we overturned a dictatorship in favor of democracy.

    In Vietnam we were alone. In Afghanistan we have all of NATO behind us.

    In Vietnam millions were killed. In Afghanistan tens of thousands (I think?) have been killed.

    I could go on.

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    If we aren't fighting to win over there then pull them out!


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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav View Post
    The two wars are not even remotely comparable. In Vietnam we overturned a democracy in favor of dictatorship.
    That's not really accurate. We did not want the communists in charge.

    In Afghanistan we overturned a dictatorship in favor of democracy.
    I wouldn't call the Taliban "a dictatorship", where they did not enforce their version of Sharia was wholly ungovnerned. I'm also not sure the "democracy" we've enabled has earned that label yet.

    In Vietnam we were alone. In Afghanistan we have all of NATO behind us.
    Some of NATO; primarily the Brits, French, Candians and Aussies. Everyone else's role is pretty minimal. We are doing the brunt of the leg work.

    In Vietnam millions were killed. In Afghanistan tens of thousands (I think?) have been killed.
    Hard to say. Certainly not millions, but we are not as reckless with bombing as we were then. Different time, different tactics.

    I could go on.
    Please do; those comparisons were pretty amateur. Think of the framework in regards to the nature of the insurgency, the collective organization of the resistance and governmental response IRT resistance...

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    AS President Obama and his advisers contemplate a new course for Afghanistan, many commentators are suggesting analogies with earlier conflicts, particularly the war in Vietnam. Such comparisons can be useful, but only if the characterizations of earlier wars are accurate and lessons are appropriately applied.

    Vietnam is particularly tricky. While avoiding the missteps made there is of course a priority, few seem aware of the many successful changes in strategy undertaken in the later years of the conflict. The credit for those accomplishments goes in large part to three men: Ellsworth Bunker, who became the American ambassador to South Vietnam in 1967; William Colby, the C.I.A. officer in charge of rural “pacification” efforts; and Gen. Creighton Abrams, who became the top American commander there in 1968.

    A closer look at key aspects of how these men rethought their war may prove instructive to those considering our options in Afghanistan today. Among their principles were these:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/opinion/18sorley.html

    OBL 11/24/02

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    bhkad,
    Great article, thanks for posting. It's a very succinct comparison highlighting the key issues from each war.

    Much like Vietnam, we have failed to get our act together for the first 8 years.

    If we are going to win this, it requires much, much more support than we have. The "civilian surge" isn't going to happen, which once again places the burden on the military to be multifunctional, much like in Iraq.

    Steve Metz from the U.S. Army War College wrote this about the "civilian surge" that just won't happen:

    The Civilian Surge Myth

    How can we snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in Afghanistan? There's one solution that has attracted analysts of all stripes: a "civilian surge," where development and political advisers working for (or contracted by) the State department and the U.S. Agency for International Development flood the country and turn the tide against the insurgents.


    The logic, at least, is sound: It takes more than military success to defeat insurgents. Insurgency grows where a corrupt and weak government does not provide security, justice, and opportunity. Unless these underlying problems are resolved, the military can kill insurgents forever, and more will emerge. Insurgency is a symptom of deeper ills. The rub is that these deeper ills are not military, but political, economic, and social--things that armed forces are not prepared to fix.

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?
    Yes, fundamentally I see almost a carbon copy, save the humidity.

    I could list the similarities, but then someone would argue this or that point, and I think it's important to focus on the big picture.

    Anybody remember the 8 questions in the Powell doctrine?

    1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?

    2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?

    3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?

    4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?

    5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?

    6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?

    7. Is the action supported by the American people?

    8. Do we have genuine broad international support?


    I see the answer as no in almost every case, so I hope to God Obama is taking this time to seriously re-evaluate the reasons to be there and put our amazing young people in harm's way.

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe1991 View Post
    Yes, fundamentally I see almost a carbon copy, save the humidity.

    I could list the similarities, but then someone would argue this or that point, and I think it's important to focus on the big picture.

    Anybody remember the 8 questions in the Powell doctrine?

    1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?

    2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?

    3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?

    4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?

    5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?

    6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?

    7. Is the action supported by the American people?

    8. Do we have genuine broad international support?


    I see the answer as no in almost every case, so I hope to God Obama is taking this time to seriously re-evaluate the reasons to be there and put our amazing young people in harm's way.

    The Powell Doctrine is not set in stone. We can go with 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7....like in Iraq.

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    Why is Vietnam only a US failure, we were only the last ones to fight there but there were many before. I think all wars can be compared from a military perspective. You plan and impliment a strategy and it succeeds or fails. Politics is part of every war.
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    [quote=American;1058329798]Why is Vietnam only a US failure,

    Because it's an endevour we chose...and failed to achieve the objective.

    we were only the last ones to fight there but there were many before.
    Recent to us? The French. That's one. Not "many".

    I think all wars can be compared from a military perspective.
    Compared to what? I don't understand this statement.

    You plan and impliment a strategy and it succeeds or fails.
    Or in our case, multiple strategies in Vietnam.

    Politics is part of every war.
    Uhhh...yeah. It sure is. Remember what CvC said...

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    Re: Is Afghanistan comparable to Vietnam?

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    CNN's Ed Hornick writes thought-provoking article:

    Afghanistan haunted by ghost of Vietnam



    I think the differences between the wars are pretty evident, politically, outside of the similiar nature of the insurgency and despite my disagreement that many Afghans possess any kind of nationalist ideology. I don't believe that they do for the most part. I'm also not convince we can compare Saigon to Kabul, outside of the corruption.

    Thoughts?
    I think the notion that Afghanistan is anything like Vietnam is beyond absurd, it is a farce.

    In Vietnam we only fought a containment fight; we could not go into North Vietnam and we could not conduct total war. Part of the reasons for this was the lesson learned in the Korean conflict when China unabashedly came to the rescue of the communist dictators who ran North Korea.

    The Democrat administrations at the outbreak of Vietnam feared a repeat with China and therefore did not declare it an official war but rather a police action.

    None of the restrictions we had in Vietnam are part of the Afghanistan conflict. We defeated the existing Government, we do not have to fear China or Soviet involvement and we have already replaced that Government with a democratically elected one. We do not have any restrictions on any portion of the country and the only similarity might be the Vietcong using Cambodia as a supply line versus the Taliban using Pakistan.

    The major difference here however is that the Pakistan Government has declared war on the Taliban and Al Qaeda too.

    The only area that is remotely similar is the media's and Libruls typically feckless efforts to argue that we cannot win and how inept our troops are at fighting an insurgency.

    But then, Libruls and the media never did find a war they didn't hate and didn't find inconvenient to their political beliefs.

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