Obituaries of Vo Nguyen Giap, the Vietnamese general who helped drive the American military from his country, noted, as The New York Times put it, that “his critics said that his victories had been rooted in a profligate disregard for the lives of his soldiers.”
The implication is that the United States lost the war in Vietnam because General Giap thought nothing of sending unconscionable numbers of Vietnamese to their deaths.
Yet America’s defeat was probably ordained, just as much, by the Vietnamese casualties we caused, not just in military cross-fire, but as a direct result of our policy and tactics.… Seguir leyendo »
Recently, after Afghan militants unleashed sophisticated, synchronized attacks across Afghanistan, including in the capital, Kabul, the Pentagon was quick to emphasize what hadn’t happened.
“I’m not minimizing the seriousness of this, but this was in no way akin to the Tet offensive,” said George Little, the Pentagon’s top spokesman. “We are looking at suicide bombers, RPG [rocket-propelled grenade], mortar fire, etc. This was not a large-scale offensive sweeping into Kabul or other parts of the country.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta weighed in similarly.
“There were,” he insisted, “no tactical gains here. These are isolated attacks that are done for symbolic purposes, and they have not regained any territory.”
Even granting the need to spin the assaults as failures, the official American reaction to the coordinated attacks reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of guerrilla warfare in general and of the type waged by the Haqqani network in particular.… Seguir leyendo »