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Vietnam, 59,000 KIA; Iraq, 3,000 KIA. Any Lessons Here?

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posted on Aug, 12 2006 @ 11:49 AM
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Background
Indo China. A peninsula of southeast Asia. Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The term refers to the influence of both China and India in the region over the last two millennia. More recently, in the 1880s, France took by force of arms what were later named Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The French colonized the part of the Indo Chinese peninsula, hence called French Indo-China.

In 1940, the Nazi’s conquered France. For reasons not to go into here, about half of France centered around the south and east parts became a collaborator with Nazi Germany. Its capital was located in Vichy, hence the term “Vichy France.” Vichy was a small to medium size city in central France, a region rich in agricultural products, but not much in wine.

In 1941, Vichy France ceded the occupation of and control over the colony of Indo-China to Japan, which was an ally of both Vichy France and Germany. A young man, Ho Chi Minh, of the Vietnam part of Indo-China, became engaged with the Allies and America’s OSS. He was offered the independence of his country after War 2 if he would lead the resistance of the Japanese occupation. Ho Chi Minh did that all during the War. Several divisions of Japanese forces were required to keep control over the region and were therefore, unavailable to fight the US. Not a small benefit to America.

In 1945, when the war ended, the Socialist Party in France stood by the agreement to give Indo-China its independence. However, the conservatives under Charles De Gaulle won the next election and reversed that policy. France attempted to restore its hegemony over Indo-China. America was just ramping up the Cold War and having France on our side was essential to our plans for western Europe in which Germany was the lynchpin. Without France, West Germany could not be secured. To have France onboard, the US had to “give up” Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam. That’s ‘Real Politick’ as described by Michaevelli in The Prince.

America’s Vietnam
Following the 1952 election of Dwight Eisenhower, the French were told plainly that they must promise independence to the Vietnamese in exchange for a cessation of hostilities. Ike’s plan would have allowed France to continue its economic dominance of its old colony, but with a new face of political freedom to the Vietnamese. Whether or not Ho would have agreed was never broached, because France would not agree to Ike’s plan. Instead, De Gaulle sent the Foreign Legion to Vietnam and ultimately, to the stronghold at Dien Bien Phu.

On April 7, 1954, Ike responded to a question at a press conference why was Vietnam so important to the United States with the off-hand remark, “All of Southeast Asia is like a row of dominoes, if you knock over the first one, the others will fall quickly.” And with no more thought than what’s behind a quick answer the metaphor was made into United States foreign policy.

One week later, Vice President Nixon offered that the United States should send American boys to aid the French in keeping its colony. This caused a firestorm in Congress and after strong objections to committing American boys, the issue was laid to rest. With the fall of Dien Bern Phu in May, where Vietnamese General Giap re-schooled the French with an old lesson in military tactics; always hold the high ground, a peace conference was held in Paris. It was agreed to divide the country at the 17th parallel. Ho Chi Minh would have a free hand north of the line and France would have a free hand south of the line. After 2 years there would be a re-unification election, winner take all.

The summary of the next 5 or 6 years - 1956 to 1961, 1982 - are a list of treaty violations by the United States of America. We violated the Paris Accords by “inventing” North and South Vietnam. We counseled Pres. Diem to refuse to participate in the 1956 election on spurious grounds. We violated the UN Charter by adding South Vietnam to the SEATO pact by a separate protocol. You name, we did it. And all justified in public by the “Domino Theory.” It is unclear whether the policymakers really believed that themselves.

In 1960 JFK won a narrow victory over Richard Nixon - the one where 1 vote per precinct was Kennedy’s thin margin - he was saddled with the on-going CIA sponsored Bay of Pigs re-taking of Cuba from Castro, as well as the Diem brothers in Saigon. Launched April 15, not 3 months after the swearing in, and failing in 4 days, JFK was stung like a bee! Cuba was back in the forefront on October 18, 1962, in the missile crises that ended on October 29. 11 days that shook the world.

At the same time, things in South Vietnam were going from bad to worse. On June 11, 1963, the first Buddhist monk burned himself to death protesting the Catholic government of Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, head of the Secret Police. Diem’s third brother was the Catholic Archbishop of South Vietnam. One of Diem's brothers had counseled him to fire on the Buddhist demonstrators in the ancient capital city of Hue a day earlier. JFK was looking a lot like Brer Rabbit in Tar Baby, as re-told by Chandler Harris, the more he struggled, the deeper he was caught. On November 1, 1963, the 2 Diem brothers were assassinated. The US denied any involvement. South Vietnam now belonged to America.

Beginning of the End, or End of the Beginning. Churchill. 1941.
On August 4, 1964, barely 9 months into LBJ’s term of office, the USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy reported attacks by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Tonkin Gulf. On the strength of those reports - later discredited - the Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf resolution authorizing the President to do all things necessary to protect America’s’ interest and rights on the high seas. This was as close to a declaration of war we were to get from Congress. It was offered as a precedent for a similar blank check Congress voted to B43 after the Nine Eleven Event.

At one point, around mid-1968, the US had 550,000 men in and around South Vietnam. Only about 70,000 of that number were described as combat soldiers. Richard Nixon won the 1968 election and the public thought he had promised to end the Vietnam War. Nixon and Kissinger did not think so.

Nixon and Kissenger prolonged - extended - enlarged - the War for 6 years, until 1974, when the last American solider came home. During April, 1975, the tragic episode of the flight from the rooftop of Saigon’s American embassy was televised around the world. On April 30, 1975, the red and yellow flag of a united Vietnam was raised over Saigon, later renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

Epilogue
By one count, 15,315 US soldiers and Marines were KIA from 1969 to the end of the US involvement. Those casualties belong to Richard Nixon. The American people had given him authority in 1968 to end the War. Whether they died in vain or for just another dumb mistake, or in the furtherance of a bona fide American foreign policy is up to you the reader to decide. May all our KIA in Vietnam RIP.

Post Script: Which is not to mention the 3,000,000 Vietnamese killed or wounded during what they proudly call their “10,000 Days War of Liberation” from 1945 to 1975.

www.landscaper.net...



[edit on 8/12/2006 by donwhite]




posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 03:03 PM
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I would think that one of the big lessons is that you can't force a victory against a guerilla enemy by throwing in more troops. The US can thus keep its total number of troops in Iraq small, and really dedicate itself to 'iraqization' of the hostilities. That will also be more effective than in vietnam, since the iraqi insurgency isn't being supported by something as powerful as the soviets.



posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 03:16 AM
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You cant force idealogies on a nation. Vietnam-democracy. Iraq-democracy Vietnam-gulf of tonkin proved to be not truthfull. Iraq-WMD's,with the added bonus of: "Iraq is a threat to the U.S"

Its the same thing all over again. Fighting enemy from other countries. Guerrilla warfare tactics. Tell me how you defeat "terrorism". Just like we "defeated communism".You cant defeat a mindset engraved into the childrens mind when they are young,and in school/mosque. There will never be a shortage of ppl who are willing to kill themselves for what they believe is right.

At least the troops have support back home this time around.....



posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 03:45 AM
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ummmmm......that back in the late 60's/early 70's Liberals were called "Hippies"?


That the U.S. government/military establishment actually learned from the Vietnam experience by keeping the Iraqi troop levels pretty reasonable?

That most of these "insurgents" aren't Iraqi themselves, but foreigners? In all actuality, a vast majority of Iraqis are welcoming of our soldiers over there.

I appreciate your posting. You provided lots of information on the subject.

I suppose if we pulled out of Iraq right now, a few days later we'd probably expect to see more Syrian and Iranian flags in Baghdad.



posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 07:22 AM
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posted by CreeWolf

That the U.S. government/military establishment actually learned from the Vietnam experience by keeping the Iraqi troop levels pretty reasonable? [Edited by Don W]


Maybe. Maybe not. I keep hearing we have too few troops on the ground to do the job. So what did the Pentagon learn from Vietnam? It was as a consequence of the unpopular draft for the Vietnam War that we gave up on the citizen soldier concept and moved into the mercenary armed forces which we like to call the all volunteer army. Sounds so much nicer than mercenary. Make both them and us feel better. But straight out of Orwell’s “1984.” I don’t like ‘hired’ armies. At some point in time, a soldier’s loyalty may be tested. Then I can’t help but wonder if his or her loyalty will be to the flag or to the person who signs his or her check. When your fiscal future is on the line, you may hesitate to tell your boss to “jam it.” OTOH, if you are a 2 year conscript, you have no hesitation to follow your basic instincts.

The perfection of Psy-Ops makes me wonder if any is used on our own guys and gals. We know or ought to know from the lesson of 1930s Germany that under “improper” circumstances, good people can do bad things. The conscript army worked for us from the 1775's War of Independence until 1974. 200 years. Conscripts took us through the Civil War, War 1 and War 2. So it can’t be all bad. Maybe we need to go back there? Just remember to make the draft fair.



That most of these "insurgents" aren't Iraqi themselves, but foreigners? In all actuality, a vast majority of Iraqis are welcoming of our soldiers over there.



How can we trust those same guys who told us we’d find: 1. Chemical WMDs; 2. Biological WMDs; 3. Nuclear WMDs; 4. Oil field fires WMDs; 5. Rockets to Israel WMDs; 6 MOAB in Baghdad WMDs; and 7. al Qaeda WMDs. It may be the insurgents are from “outside” the West’s boundaries of Iraq but they are apparently getting the same essential “cover” from the locals as if they were hometown boys. This “inside” versus “outside” stuff may come more from the Pentagon’s wish list than from any on-the-ground reality?



I suppose if we pulled out of Iraq right now, a few days later we'd probably expect to see more Syrian and Iranian flags in Baghdad.



As I mentioned above, keep in mind that under the Ottoman’s until 1922, Damascus was the religious center of the Empire, and Baghdad was an administrative center, with Istanbul as the capital. The Ottoman’s ran a laid back empire. Which meant if you sent in the annual tax payment, you could pretty much do what you wanted locally. When the great navies of the West began to change over from coal to oil, the Germans went down to Baghdad and made a deal for oil. The French and British took the Germans’s place after War 1 and divided the Empire amongst themselves.

We in the West put great stock in boundaries. I believe sharply defined lines on a map are exclusively a Western concept. A cultural mantra. Iran (old Persia) and Syria share common boundaries with modern-day Iraq, a creation of the West. Of geographical necessity if not by design, Syria and Iran will be visible in Baghdad long after we leave. Hey, it is their neighborhood.

We have truly stirred a hornets nest. We are unwilling to do what is required to calm it and put the bees back in the nest. We would need to put about 400,000 men on the ground to “occupy” the place and quash all disorder. Say resistance. We won’t do that, so we might as well haul our butts out of there now and stop the dying and the killing. We are not adding to the security of Iraq, we are the major impetus for the insurgents. Which is now and has been, a civil war, words we doin't want to hear and refuse to say out loud.

When you are the all powerful Commander-in-Chief - a much better job than being president - more like dictating than leading by persuasion - it is hard to admit you have made so many blunders in a row. Just a couple months ago remember our C-in-C appeared on national tv to tell us his army had killed al Zarqawi and now there would now be law and order in Iraq as in West of the Pecos?

But oops! Actually there is now more violence in Baghdad than before Zarqawi died. Or was he ‘helped’ along by a couple of well placed shots? It must be obvious we did not need another Saddam to put on public trial. It seems to me the US is like the fable, Tar Baby, and we are Brer Rabbit.

We are watching a re-run of Vietnam. In slow motion.


[edit on 8/18/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 03:38 AM
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That's pretty heady stuff you've posted Donwhite.

Of course you are absolute right about Iraq/Iran/Syria becomming America's
'slow' Viet Nam.

I have said it time and time again, in another thread, that the US Policy in the region in general and in Iraq in particular, needs to change.

The U.S forces need to start winning hearts and minds. Simple.

Instead of allowing American conglomerates to reap the huge rewards for the rebuilding of Iraq whilst allowing American conglomerates to reap the harvest in expenditure on arms and munitions at the same time, America needs and the Iraqi people are demanding, that they start rebuilding Iraq or at least start on the infrastructure.

My friends serving with British forces tell me that US troops deployed to Iraq live in air conditioned buildings with all mod cons, yet indiginous Iraqis down the road, have no electricity, running water or fuel and food.

Can it be any wonder the Iraqis resent the U.S forces occupying their country when they see a foreign army living [to them] in apparent luxuary whilst they scrabble about the rubble trying to scratch a living?

If U.S policy does not change in Iraq, then your boys might as well pull out and all the lives lost to date, will have been for nothing.

As one Iraqi guy said a couple of weeks ago, 'Saddam was a monster. He had thousands of people tortured and killed, but at least we knew where we stood and things were never this bad!'

Says it all, I think.



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 09:16 AM
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posted by fritz

I have said it time and time again the US Policy in the region in general and in Iraq in particular, needs to change. The US forces need to start winning hearts and minds. Simple. [Edited by Don W]


Impossible! How can anyone change a culture that evolved over 1000s of years in a few years and by dint of arms at that? Change it to what? A nation of Wal-Mart freaks? And just how does labeling a billion people “islamofascists” help win the hearts and minds or is it just meant to encourage the rabble back home? Electioneering. On the cheap. We have become the real victims of our own propaganda. Somehow we have come to think our way is “so much better” that anyone would want it if he just knew about it. It’s called exceptionalism.



Instead of allowing American conglomerates to reap the huge rewards for the rebuilding of Iraq whilst allowing American conglomerates to reap the harvest in expenditure on arms and munitions at the same time . . “


I’m the one who introduced “fascist” into this thread, but what do you call it when private businesses run the government?



My friends serving with British forces tell me that US troops deployed to Iraq live in air conditioned buildings with all mod cons, yet indigenous Iraqis down the road, have no electricity, running water or fuel and food.


Ahh, for those halcyon days of General Clive and India. How a few thousand Redcoats conquered a sub-continent. Look, if we did not provide ac for our hired army, they would quit. I saw the same discrepancy in basic services when I was in Korea in 1953-54. Post the shooting. I’m a veteran but not a war veteran. I guess the differences in basic services in the 18th century between the elite and ordinary people was not so great as it is today. And the underlings had lower expectations, too. But that won’t work today.



“ . . the Iraqis resent the US forces occupying their country when they see a foreign army living [to them] in apparent luxury whilst they scrabble about the rubble trying to scratch a living?


And we are the same ones who produced the rubble. No, Iraq must be the worst managed military adventure since the Brit’s Crimean War's Battle of Balaclava was immortalized in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s recounting the “Charge of the Light Brigade.” * Look, anybody who calls dead civilians inadvertently killed by misguided munitions “collateral damage” is a person I want to avoid. He suffers from what I call the Nuremberg complex. Obedience to orders. Not personally responsible.



If US policy does not change in Iraq, then your boys might as well pull out and all the lives lost to date, will have been for nothing.


Not if you are a true Texan! Remember the Alamo! Remember the battle of San Jacinto! Justice administered West of the Pecos style by the reincarnation of Judge Roy Bean! We are carrying a lot of baggage over here. Unlike the Brits who can get rid of Tony Blair, we are stuck with Bush43 until January 20, 2009.

The best rationale I’ve heard agrees that for the US to leave now will turn the Middle East over to the Iranians - which may not be all that bad - but to avoid that we could post about 30,000 troops in the Kurdish part of Iraq we cannot call “Kurdistan.” That might bolster Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, at least for a couple years. The next American president should be able to turn this one’s “pre-emptive mentality” around and maybe we can enlist help from others to maintain Western dominance in the Persian Gulf which is the crux of American foreign policy. If there are others who agree that is the desirable way to go over the long haul. I’m personalty tired of domination. It’s a sexual deviance as far as I’m concerned. I’d prefer to hear a lore more about “collaboration.”


*Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd ?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd & thunder'd;

Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
While horse & hero fell,

They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!



[edit on 9/10/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 01:28 PM
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Donwhite, what the hell are you babbling on about?

What I was saying is that the hammer and anvil tactics employed by US forces thus far, has alientated the more 'hotheaded' Iraqis and caused them to take up arms against you.

We Brits have done our fair share of bloodletting for sure, but lessons learnt in Malaya, Borneo, Aden [yup, we got our bottoms smacked there] Oman and latterly Northern Ireland, have showed that it is good to talk!'

Winning hearts and minds does not mean just using an olive branch and giving up the stick. No sire. It is an armoured fist in a velvet glove that can come off if the situation warrants it.

The average Iraqi just wants to get on with his life: Make kids, get them an education and be able to provide a home for them and put food on the table. He or she does not want to wage war on the most powerful nation on God's Earth.

So in my view, you need to get the common Iraqi on side. That was what I meant.

Or give up and go home.

Apart from that, why the reference to Balaclava and Red Coats? Not too sure what you're getting at, old boy.

Incidentally, I served three tours in Oman during the so called civil war, fired in anger and shed blood, but thanks to hearts and minds, we won.



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 02:38 PM
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posted by fritz
Winning hearts and minds does not mean just using an olive branch and giving up the stick. No sire. It is an armoured fist in a velvet glove that can come off if the situation warrants it. The average Iraqi just wants to get on with his life: He or she does not want to wage war on the most powerful nation on God's Earth. So in my view, you need to get the common Iraqi on side. That was what I meant. Or give up and go home. Incidentally, I served three tours in Oman during the so called civil war, fired in anger and shed blood, but thanks to hearts and minds, we won.
[Edited by Don W]


Well Done! I am frustrated by the quagmire the US finds itself in which was mostly of our own making. Our efforts are made futile by setting goals that cannot be met. Our expectations are unrealistic. Wining the hearts and minds of the Iraqi is no more in the cards than it was in Vietnam.

I have no quarrel with Iran. My government does. Since I’m not in the government, I can only guess the best way to accomplish what I’d hope would be enough advantage for the government to withdraw from all of Iraq quickly, except the Kurds part. We’d station a substantial force there to prevent the overt entry of Iran into Iraq. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and maybe Oman, too, are potentially threatened by a new Iran-Syria Axis of Influence. Hegemony. Note: we hear the Sunni Shia division is 80% 20%, but I’m wondering if in the Middle East region of Iran and the Arabian peninsula only, it is not more like 55-45% Sunni? Do you know?


[edit on 9/10/2006 by donwhite]



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