It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

OP/ED: The Vietnam Syndrome

page: 1
0

log in

join
share:

posted on Sep, 30 2005 @ 05:55 AM
link   
The recent behaviour of coalition troops in Iraq and the severe downturn in public support for the occupation raises some very interesting and important questions which will tax military and political historians for generations to come. In many respects military comparisons between the conflict in Vietnam and the one in Iraq are erroneous. They are superficially very different conflicts, fought under different circumstances within very different geo-political climates but as time goes by the similarities are becoming ever more striking and it raises an intriguing question; Was the troop morale fatigue and domestic unrest witnessed during the Vietnam War symptomatic of a larger general trend in which wars without overwhelming public support, and in the full glare of modern media, will naturally follow in the future or was Vietnam simply the nadir of U.S military prestige, a low point that once overcome can not be revisited, and one peculiar to the society of that time ?
 


For many years after the withdrawal of U.S troops from Vietnam many worried that it might be the former and that pressing military advantage in a democratic country with a free press might make any similar campaign in the future virtually impossible. The professionalism of the U.S military was re-established in this time and a new esprit de corp mentality was rebuilt mostly on the back of increasing technological superiority and sophistication. However when the USSR experienced similar problems in Afghanistan during the early 1980s without democracy and without a free press this position had to be re-evaluated and the notion that such historical situations were a natural stage in the military evolution of a superpower gained credence.

As evidence increases of abuse and drug taking amongst coalition troops and public disquiet in the USA and the UK grows it's time that this position be re-evaluated once again. Attributing unprofessional behaviour by a small minority of troops to the entire combined armies of the USA and the UK is not only misleading but an injustice to the honourable majority. However, denying that such behaviour is cancerous and likely to spread without some form of rectification would be blind folly. No person who does not know what it is like to fear for their lives everyday for months on end can sit in judgement on these people many of whom are national guardsmen or reserves who never expected to leave their families as long as they have been.

Nor should the increasing number at home who have misgivings over the war be bullied into believing that it is in some way disloyal or unpatriotic to voice dissent. Ultimately, in a democracy, our brave soldiers fight on our behalf and support for our troops can take different forms, including safeguarding the wellbeing of those that are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. That is not disloyalty, that is not unpatriotic, that is simply respect and acknowledgement that such sacrifices appear unnecessary or even futile. Rightly, some might ask themselves exactly what those in Vietnam died for. Was their ultimate sacrifice worthwhile ? And yet, as we can see, the administrations of the Vietnam era could still find superficially compelling arguments to continue for years at the cost of thousands and thousands more lives.

When we see these disturbing stories of prisoner abuse, of torture, gratuitous photographs exchanged for hardcore porn, of extra-judicial killings, and drug taking, remember that these are young men who signed up for adventure, as young men do, and who have been warped by extreme experience. Remember too that this war will not last forever. There may not be any decisive victory which will bring the crowds out on the streets in celebration but it will be resolved somehow, probably through political expediency, remember then that your security still depends upon such men accepting orders without question. Honour them for doing their duty and blame those who gave the orders instead when at last you come to total the dead and maimed and mark it against what is eventually gained..

[edit on 30-9-2005 by John bull 1]




posted on Sep, 30 2005 @ 06:04 AM
link   
Thanks for sharing this! The op/ed's have really taken off here lately. I sure enjoy reading them. It's nice to see other people's takes on events.



posted on Sep, 30 2005 @ 07:18 AM
link   
A good op/ed but you kind of leave the reader hanging
Do you think the Iraq war should end in the same manner Vietnam did? i.e. public pressure being brought to bare on politicians?



posted on Sep, 30 2005 @ 07:41 AM
link   
Sun Tzu say, "There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare." He right. He no VC. He Ancient Chinese. His words still true today, for nature of conflict unchanged.

Drawn out conflict loses momentum and gains criticism. Troop morale and support for the effort suffer. That's the way it goes. War is a questionable undertaking to begin with. What we have here is a failure, just like in Vietnam, to adequately estimate and prepare for the strength of the insurgency, the resistance to occupation.

We Americans think we are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Look at how successful our country has been, how quickly we have accomplished the growth to superpower status, and how generous and good-natured a people we are, for the most part. Why wouldn't these other people let us 'help them out'?

We forget others in their own lands have their own vested interests and may not particularly care for us trying to impose our will on them, for whatever moral or humanitarian cause we are rallying around the flag to. Add to this that as time goes by and the conflict drags out, new revelations come to light that bring into question the great moral and humanitarian motivations we rallied behind to begin with. Better to get things over quickly before the truth comes out.

Our soldiers become hardened by the reality of war, and may not end up being such good-natured ambassadors as they started out to be. They too start to question 'why we're there' and morale suffers. IEDS everywhere, car and homicide bombers, and snipers picking them off one by one doesn't help, either.

I say we try to make a graceful exit while we still can. 'Peace with Honor', or some crap like that.



posted on Sep, 30 2005 @ 08:47 AM
link   


Sun Tzu say, "There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare." He right. He no VC. He Ancient Chinese. His words still true today, for nature of conflict unchanged.


Entirely agree. Unfortunately, the lame-ass chickenhawks who dodged Vietnam have now gotten us into a new Vietnam. This, despite the fact that Vietnam veteran generals (Shinseki, Zinni, Powell) tried their best to pursuade the administration from making the mistakes they charged ahead and made. We need to get the hell out of there or increase troop strength and finish the deal. Unfortunately, it's at a political loggerhead and only the troops and Iraqis suffer from it.



posted on Sep, 30 2005 @ 09:08 AM
link   
Agreed, would you pull the troops out if your financial backers were making oodles of money from defence contracts and Iraqi oil contracts? Hell no.



posted on Sep, 30 2005 @ 10:44 AM
link   
Nice Op/Ed, in a gracious, fence-sitting sort of way. The point I got from the piece is, "Don't blame the troops, don't criticise the protesters, but blame the men at the top", and if that is indeed the sentiment here, then I whole-heartedly agree, although if it were my own composition, I would have added a few more expletives and random code ( @%$#%!! ) to make my feelings clearer.

This is another Vietnam in the making - make no mistake. It's got all the trappings: Prolonged conflict, falsified reasons for entering the war, stories of abuse of the locals by coalition troops, waning support at home, etc, etc, ad nauseum. It seems that CAPOC hasn't been doing its job very well, even after all these years of practice. They gave the world Nick Berg's head, but somehow that wasn't enough to keep the war-blood boiling. The curtain came down early on the Evil Saddam Show when pictures from an earlier production with Rummy shaking hands on weapons deals were passed around the stalls, and when the truth of Saddam and OBL's affection for each other became known. And the constantly reported stories of young boys blowing themselves up in pursuit of those famed seventy seven celestial virgins lost their bite, such that the audience is starting to consider more Earthly and plausible reasons why these people are so angry.

No, PsyOps have made a pretty piss-poor effort this time around.

But as Subz pointed out, all of this "stop the war, bring the troops home" ruckus is moot, because war IS business - it has been since back before the Rothschilds were playing Napoleon off against the rest of Europe for nice returns from both ends. The money-makers will milk this war for all they can, and once the chattel start looking like they're gonna stampede enough that profits are threatened, the troops will be pulled out and the next war will start afresh, with heartfelt salutes to flags, talk of "duty, honor, country and sacrifice", and other such silliness.

And so we play the game. We send the troops, we change our minds, we bring the surviving ones back, and then we start the cycle all over again. Are we having fun yet?

[edit on 2005-9-30 by wecomeinpeace]



posted on Sep, 30 2005 @ 12:08 PM
link   


You might call it fence sitting but I prefer to call it consensus building.


Since the beginning of the Iraq War I have seen many disagreements here on ATS and in the media between "talking heads". Many of those disagreements are unnecessary. It is not a choice between support for our troops or being against the war.

There is enough room for anti-war people to except that those under orders are doing their duty and that the circumstances that they live in day in and day out are incomprehensible to us in our comfortable safe homes. We have no idea of the stress this causes or how corrupting it can be to some. That is not an apology for bad behaviour it's a fair statement.

Equally, sooner or later those that begrudgingly have supported the war, if only because supporting their troops abroad is of paramount importance to them, will realise the futility of this entire adventure. Nothing substantial will be gained. Timing of departure from Iraq is not based on achieving a goal or victory of any kind it is down to political expediency, it is down to saving the face of those that organised and ordered the war in the first place.

Now it may be that I will be pulling splinters from by backside after taking this position but it seems petty to me that general consensus might fail to be reached because the nuts and bolts of the argument are deviated from because we get hung up on side issues.

[edit on 30-9-2005 by John bull 1]



posted on Sep, 30 2005 @ 12:57 PM
link   

There is enough room for anti-war people to except that those under orders are doing their duty and that the circumstances that they live in day in and day out are incomprehensible to us in our comfortable safe homes. We have no idea of the stress this causes or how corrupting it can be to some. That is not an apology for bad behaviour it's a fair statement.


I'm not really sure what "bad behaviour" you're referring to here as being the result of a corrupting, stressful environment. Abu Ghraib? Possible false flag ops by the SAS? Or just the run o' the mill, dutiful killing of Iraq insurgents?

But I've never quite understood what all this "if you're against the war and Rummy, you're against the troops" crappola is anyway. It baffles me every time I see/hear it, and here on ATSNN that is a daily occurrence. It is this same banal tactic that people use to deflect any questioning of the events of 9-11, as if one were "dishonoring the memory of those brave souls who died" by daring to investigate the truth of their deaths. Shut up. Don't ask questions. Lay your wreath down and move along please. To my mind there can only be two explanations for this type of reaction: either those spouting such nonsense are indeed amazingly simple in their 'thinking', or, it is a deliberate and transparent attempt at ending debate by putting words in the mouth of, and demonizing those with opposing views. Somehow neither reality is particularly encouraging, nor cerebral.

I wish you luck in your noble quest for consensus, JB1, but you're going to have a tough time of it when without fail, calls for peace are construed as an act of war against Johnny Soldier by the rabid flag-wavers.

[edit on 2005-9-30 by wecomeinpeace]



new topics

top topics



 
0

log in

join