I refuse to accept the concept that "North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam". The only people who thought this was two separate countries was us. The reality, as in Iraq, is that a country called Vietnam was having two simultaneous wars -a civil war within its national society and a war with a foreign invader that had decided to intervene in their civil war on the side of one of the factions. In both these wars, the people of the nation are the center of gravity. If the general population had not supported the communists, we would have won. If the general population of Iraq supported us, we would be winning there as well. Why is this so?
There was no consensus in South Vietnam among the populace for a nation called "South Vietnam", and those who fought for it for the most part did so half-hearted. Like Iraq, the people of Vietnam saw the South Vietnamese government as a government of quislings and collaborators, insuring, again as we see in Iraq, a patriotic opposition that would, like all patriotic oppositions, fight with tremendous savagery against both the invader and the collaborators, and unless totally destroyed, would possess the will to fight forever. It is the old maxim, that it is better for a man to die on his feet than live on his knees. It is easy to portray a collabrist government as a group of men living on their knees. Absent the total destruction of the enemy, such psychology is impossible to defeat. The enemy simply lives among the population or finds cross-border sanctuary, and relies on spies and helpful information from the populace to inflict a death of a thousand cuts on the invader while it commits terrorist acts on collaborators or anyone who does anything to help them. Botnst destroys his own argument for our involvement in Iraq by giving the examples of Kenya and Malaysian, where insurgencies failed because the center of gravity, the people, were not supportive of the insurgencies. That is the whole point: it is why one campaign failed, while the other succeeded.
In wars such as Iraq and Vietnam, the biggest mistake is the first mistake: getting involved in the first place in such a calculus. After the debacle of Vietnam and now the relearning of the same lessons in the fiasco of Iraq, perhaps this country will re-learn the philosophies of Total War set forth by General William Tecumseh Sherman that served this nation well from 1863 until the Korean War: War is, and should be waged as, hell. A nation must be totally committed to war, its economy must be totally based on war if war comes, its people must be totally and completely mobilized if war comes, and the ultimate goal of all military strategy and tactics must be the complete and total destruction of the enemy, and this job must be completely given over to the military until it had been achieved, who would be given moral license by national consensus and a committed population to committ any act of moral depravity required to achieve victory.
Given the truth of these axioms, Sherman states that one must conclude that war is nothing more than the unleashing of every unspeakable moral evil, and if we are a moral people, we must commit ourselves to the belief that war should be waged very, very reluctantly, and only if a moral outrage exists that will motivate a nation to go the lengths of moral depravity necessary to completely win a conflict. But the central axiom of Sherman (derived from George Washington's admonitions), the one we have failed to observe in all wars we have lost, is that above all else, this nation must never initiate any war unless a clear and obvious moral outrage has occurred against us, to do otherwise makes us no better than barbarians, or to update his language, fascists and Nazis. Sherman, a man of his times, states it also is a sin against God to waste the life of soldiers for aims that are not based on penultimate needs of national defense, and that the seeds of defeat are sown when we wage wars of aggression, because deep down inside our own population will never be morally at ease with themselves as war unfolds, the current fate of America, and, he believed, was the ultimate cause of the defeat of the Southern Confederacy.
This was the cornerstone of American foreign and military policy until it ended with the firing of Douglas MacArthur by Harry Truman. MacArthur simply wished to do as Sherman commanded: if we were to wage war in Korea, we must be willing to totally the destroy the enemy, or we should not wage war at all. But now the military had atomic weapons at its disposal, and the Sherman Doctrine become a terrifying conundrum for civilian leadership: Total War would now result in the total destruction of both parties. It caused them to become too involved with the mechanics of war, and as time went on, these fools tried to apply corporate management philosophies to war, starting with McNamara and ending with his dumber brother, Rumsfled, abandoning Sherman's Doctrine instead of realizing that in this new world where atomic warfare is no longer a threat, the Sherman Doctrine again applies. McNamara, Rumsfled, Wolfywent: the same clowns in theater of idiots who have now twice attempted to destroy this nation by thinking war is akin to selling soap.
The big question that exists is this: given the attack on 9-11, why did this not happen? Why was Afghanistan not visited with total destruction? Why was the goal in Iraq to reform their society, and of course, why were they attacked in the first place?
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
Last edited by FeelTheLove; 05-26-2007 at 07:47 AM.