Monday, April 1, 2013

Are We Repeating Vietnam In Afghanistan?

U.S. Army Sgt. Dionicio Montano, left, uses his binoculars to scan a ridge while providing security for a shura at the Marawara District Center in Afghanistan's Kunar province, March 20, 2013. Montano is assigned to the 101st Airborne Division's Integration Detachment Team Hawk, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Hallgarth

Seeing Khe Sanh; Thinking Kabul -- Bing West, NRO

Like the South Vietnamese army in 1968, the Afghan army faces its government’s fall.

Khe Sanh — In the greenness of spring, this tiny plateau in southern Vietnam looks as tranquil as a cow pasture; in 1968, it was as cratered as the moon. In an epic battle, a Marine regiment defending Khe Sanh killed an estimated 20,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. In the half century since then, no enemy has again hurled thousands of troops against American forces; our firepower is too overwhelming. Here at Khe Sanh, 100,000 tons of explosives were dropped, ten times the amount expended in all of Afghanistan during the past decade.

In Afghanistan, we severely restricted our firepower in order to win popular support. That support was not achieved. Americans were viewed as infidel outsiders; they could not substitute for the absence of responsible indigenous officials. Although the Taliban were intensely disliked, the population did not rally behind a Karzai-led government that offered neither justice nor concern.

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My Comment: A sobering analysis from one who has seen both conflicts. This is my must read for today.

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