There have been a number of refutations of George III’s infamous Iraq/Vietnam comparison statement of this week. Here’s an excellent one:
by Larry Beinhart | Aug 25 2007 – 7:44pm |
George Bush — and other Iraq War supporters — have argued that if we withdraw from Iraq the result will be like the slaughters — the killing fields -in Cambodia.
Here are the facts:
- The killing fields were real. The genocide against their own people was committed by the Khmer Rouge.
- The Vietnamese — the Communist Vietnamese — were the people who went in and put a stop to it.
- The United States then supported the Khmer Rouge.
MUDGE isn’t doctrinaire about history. He won’t trot out George Santayana (yeah, okay, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”).
On the other hand, the world isn’t some Magic Slate, wiped clean every night, starting afresh every day, sparkling and new.
Some middle ground is preferred between codgerdom (we who remember everything, just before we start to forget everything) and Gen Y, who seemingly haven’t bothered to learn anything outside the narrow confines of MySpace and YouTube.
So take a look at the rest of this cogent posting:
[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
The old analogy of ships of state is an apt one. The USA sails through history, accumulating barnacles which slow it down and inertia and ponderousness cause it to stay on a course way longer than necessary or advisable.
And, the generals are fighting the last war (albeit as we heard again from the White House this week with very selective memories).
The result, as we all can see, is that change comes rarely, if at all. War is still prosecuted for the same (often obscure or selfish) reasons; the face of the enemy changes, but that’s a detail.
What the generals have not yet worked out is a successful solution to the conundrum of asymmetric warfare.
Mentioned this in a comment over at Monte Asbury’s Blog (a new regular read, courtesy of A View from the Bridge at ClapSotronics): all of our accumulated $trillions of military spending did not protect us from 19 guys with airline tickets. The $trillions don’t protect Iraqi civilians nor our courageous but under-protected troops from Saudis with a clunker and some plastic explosive.
Vietnam was one of the first indicators that asymmetric warfare was a tougher challenge than the generals and their political masters had ever before faced.
Our vaunted economic might, capable of purchasing the most advanced technology and putting it and manpower in overwhelming numbers into the field, a formula that worked so well in the period roughly corresponding to the Industrial Revolution in North America (i.e., 1830-1950, Mexican Wars through WWII), didn’t protect us from a determined enemy in pajamas (albeit with powerful friends — of course, think of France’s role in our own Revolutionary War).
Have the generals and admirals and the politicians learned from this? Not well enough.
And of course the incredible irony is, that the White House finally agrees with the Cindy Sheehan and the kneejerk peaceniks: Iraq = Vietnam.
It’s it for now. Thanks,