Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
The failures of military leadership redux (update)
Posted by: McQ on Monday, May 14, 2007

Ralph Peters makes some interesting observations about today's top military leaders:
The Army hasn't fielded a four-star with the breadth of vision to wage war at the strategic level and the killer instinct to win on the battlefield since Gen. Barry McCaffrey retired a dozen years ago.

As the generals who led infantry platoons and companies in Vietnam fade from the ranks, we face an incongruous situation in which our lieutenants, captains and majors are combat veterans, while the generals above them never fought in a direct-fire engagement or led daily patrols through Indian country.

Junior officers now have a better grasp of what war means than Army generals do. Platoon leaders want to win. The generals want to make people happy.

For two generations, we've trained military leaders to be statesmen in uniform, downplaying pugnacity and guts. We sent promising officers for Ivy League doctorates (thereby cutting off at least one of their . . . um . . . eggs), stressed political assignments, and inducted them into the Washington-insider cult of Salvation Through Negotiations.

Now we have bobble-head generals who nod along with the diplomats who want to hold their Versailles Conference before winning the war.
This, in much more direct terms, essentially restates LTC Yingling's concerns about the top military leadership and where they have led us (or failed to lead us, if you prefer). He boiled it down to three points:
First, generals have a responsibility to society to provide policymakers with a correct estimate of strategic probabilities. Second, America's generals in Vietnam and Iraq failed to perform this responsibility. Third, remedying the crisis in American generalship requires the intervention of Congress.
I agree completely with his first two points. I disagree completely with his solution in the third. But that's really neither here nor there in terms of his and Peter's main points. It is the responsibility of the military leadership to provide a correct estimate of "strategic probabilities" to our civilian leaders. And, as noted, in both Vietnam and now Iraq, that leadership has failed in its duty.

In Vietnam, while not lacking in combat experience, the leadership was convinced that its conventional tactics and structure were adequate to any type of warfare. And like Iraq, we spent most of the war adapting our tactics because of that lack of strategic vision. In the end, when the plug was pulled on our involvement, we had gotten pretty darn good at that method of warfare - what we now like to refer to as "asymentrical' or "counter-insurgency".

But because Vietnam was such a low point in terms of the mliitary (not how we fought, but how it ended through no fault of those who actually fought the war), we couldn't wait to put it behind us. Within a year, the "Vietnam villages" which were so prevalent on Army posts and used for training, were gone. And so was any emphasis on insurgent warfare.

The lessons of 30+ years ago were boxed up and put away. And, given the opportunity, the military leadership again happily turned its attention to conventional force-on-force warfare provided by the Soviet threat. In fact, they embraced it. All the while the specter of asymetrical warfare stood on a hilltop directly in front of our military leaderhips, announced its presence and waved its arms right in our face. But the military leadership essentially ignored it.

It built a force that demonstrated in the early '90s it could dismantle the 4th largest army in the world in record time. But it failed miserably to properly prepare for the strategic probabilities which had continued to stare us in the face for over 30 years. Hundreds of wars were fought during the time with well over 95% falling into the category of "asymetrical". Yet after the fall of the Soviet Union, we doggedly stuck to building more carrier battle groups and funding future jet fighters, almost hoping for the rise of another peer among conventional foes. We've almost willed China to become such a threat.

Instead of making the proper call on our strategic possibilities, we essentially lied to ourselves. Instead of building a force which was trained in COIN and structured to fight it, we ended up in the fight with a poor strategy and inappropriate tactics.

Oh, we've progressed, and we've adapted and we've most certainly gotten better. And as everyone knows, we are now employing what most agree are the proper tactics to the proper strategy over in Iraq. But we must also remember that we wrote the doctrine in the middle of the war. The point, of course, is the doctrine should already have existed and our troops should have already have been trained up on it before we ever entered Iraq.

And that is where our military leadership failed us. There's no getting around it. One of the knocks critcs of Bush like to make is that he doesn't listen to the generals. In this case, actually, it may have been a case of listening too well. Donald Rumsfeld's oft criticized statement, "you go to war with the Army you have" is more prophetic and disheartening than you might imagine. The Iraq war we're fighting today should have been the war that our military planners recognized as probable and properly prepared our soldiers, strategy and tactics to fight. But they didn't, instead defaulting to building a force they understood and which drove the great procurement machinery of the Pentagon.

It is that failing which is most disheartening to me. I have no idea if we can pull the cat out of the hat in Iraq. I have every confidence that if anyone can do it, it is Gen. Petraeus. But I remain disappointed that those who were in charge of the military leadership to the point where we were committed to combat in Iraq did such a poor job of preparing us for the fight we really faced there.

As Peters points out, we need leaders with good strategic vision and the ability make happen what is necessary to build and train the proper force to accomplish that vision. The LTs, CPTs and MAJs now in combat in Iraq are where they're going to come from. We need a better promotion system (something Yingling discusses as well) within the military to identify and groom those type leaders than that which exists today. We must replace the "manager/diplomat" general with combat commanders with vision. If we don't, we'll see another repeat of the same failures of vision we've seen in Iraq the next time we go to war.

UPDATE: Well here's an interesting claim:
Appearing on NBC’s Chris Matthews Show this morning, Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker revealed that sources within the military are warning of “a revolt from active-duty generals if September rolls around and the president is sticking with the surge into ‘08.”

[...]

TUCKER: Look for a revolt from active-duty generals if September rolls around and the president is sticking with the surge into ‘08. We’ve already heard from retired generals. But my Atlanta Journal-Constitution colleague Jay Bookman has lots of sources among currently serving military officers who don’t want to fall by the wayside like the generals in Vietnam did, kept pushing a war that they knew was lost.
You have to be forced to read Bookman every week like I am to know how laughable it is to believe any military officer worth his salt would confide anything like that in Jay Bookman. But that said, anyone, raise your hand if you think what's being said is true? If so, tell me why, because I'd be interested in your reasoning.

On the other side, if true it would only stand to reinforce what was said above.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Yingling has just joined the good folks at Small Wars Journal, the group that is spearheading the use of a proper COIN strategy in Iraq.
 
Written By: Charles Bird
URL: http://www.redstate.com
McQ,
Whatever dude....
Who knew the "Next War in Europe" was going to involve us bombing the Serbs....I was always told that the NWIE was going to be a desperate struggle in the Hof and Fulda Gaps.

My point beings, as Ian Hogg, once wrote, "the shortage of chrystal balls being what it is...." that complaining about not focusing on LIC/COIN was a wise decision. We had had our @rse handed to us by the NVA/NLF and the US military was focused on defeating a Soviet heavy assault into Europe, Japan, or a Soviet-style assault into the RoK. Anything else was politically inconceivable.

Your complaint is akin to saying that the US Army focused too much on fighting Indians in the 1870’s and 1880’s and should have been planning on fighting the Kaiser in Europe. I guess if Crook and Custer had had chrystal balls they would have, assuming Congress, the President, and the Indians had let them.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
For two generations, we’ve trained military leaders to be statesmen in uniform, downplaying pugnacity and guts. We sent promising officers for Ivy League doctorates (thereby cutting off at least one of their . . . um . . . eggs), stressed political assignments, and inducted them into the Washington-insider cult of Salvation Through Negotiations
I don’t know how or why you expect to have effective generals when our society practically demands the "humane war", which is in effect, fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Indeed, if that’s the kind of war you wage (ie: not focused on winning), then having a general who is a statesman, a spokesperson, can charm the media etc. is probably more called for.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Well first, we never had our @rse handed to us by the NVA/NLF. They never won a single, solitary bn level combat (the basic maneuver unit of armies) and didn’t control the countryside or fight when we left. And, as everyone knows, the NLF ceased to exist as a combat effective force after Tet and it took the NVA three additional years, after we’d left, to finally take the country.

Secondly, strategic probabilities is what the brass get paid the big bucks to prepare for, and as I said, with 95% of the hot wars at the time being asymetrical in nature, it didn’t take a rocket-scientist to figure out the type conflict we’d most likely find ourselves in.

And that leads to the most important point, which you seem to have missed. When you get the strategic probability right, you then structure the force properly. That means you adapt tactics, training and procurement to meet the challenge of that strategic probabililty.

That simply wasn’t done.

So, whatever dude, that’s why we’re relearning our lesson in Iraq right now. Crystal balls weren’t needed, real balls were ... balls enough to stand up to the force-on-force guys and tell them, "your screwing up". Of course with the "go along to get along" mentality that Yingling talks about being necessary to be promoted to the rank of general, that wasn’t going to happen.

And here we are ... again.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
We had had our @rse handed to us by the NVA/NLF
Hogwash. Read up on the tactics used by the NVA against the Khmer Rogue. Airmobile anvil with a mech force hammer.

Screwing up COIN/LIC operation wouldn’t lose Europe in a conventional battle, which was always an option. An Army that knows how to do COIN/LIC probably would not have been able to conquer Iraq in the first place. IMO.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Screwing up COIN/LIC operation wouldn’t lose Europe in a conventional battle, which was always an option. An Army that knows how to do COIN/LIC probably would not have been able to conquer Iraq in the first place. IMO.
But nothing says you have to have only one flavor of army, especially to the detriment of the obvious probable mission. As I mentioned before, had the army expanded it’s SO function and given it primacy in this sort of warfare, all the while giving a dual mission to conventional forces (of at leasst being minimally trained up in COIN), we’d probably not be still having these problems in Iraq.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well first, we never had our @rse handed to us by the NVA/NLF. They never won a single, solitary bn level combat (the basic maneuver unit of armies) and didn’t control the countryside or fight when we left. And, as everyone knows, the NLF ceased to exist as a combat effective force after Tet and it took the NVA three additional years, after we’d left, to finally take the country.
Question:
Is the city named Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City? Alternatively, who’s helicopters flew off the roof of the US Embassy in 1975? Alternatively further, why are there Vietnamese and Hmong communities in the US?

Answer:
Because the US/RVN LOST-Big Time! Sorry, I take no joy in reporting this to you McQ, but your argument is akin to the German’s arguments about how somehow the numbers of T-34’s and M-4’s simply was unfair and that if it weren’t for that Hitler fellow and all those Allied Tanks and Jabo’s they’d have won the war. There is NO South Vietnam, it was conquered. We LOST, BIG-TIME.
Secondly, strategic probabilities is what the brass get paid the big bucks to prepare for, and as I said, with 95% of the hot wars at the time being asymetrical in nature, it didn’t take a rocket-scientist to figure out the type conflict we’d most likely find ourselves in.
Uh no McQ from 1975 until oh 2003 the US SCRUPULOUSLY avoided commitments in a COIN role...not the US military, but the US GOVERNMENT. You might have missed the Presidential announcement in 2001 but the US was backing away from "Nation-building" after the failures in Haiti, Bosnia, Somalia, and then Kosovo.

Again, the US was WRONG to have done this, and I admit I was WRONG to have believed it good policy, but nonetheless the US military, understandably, didn’t believe it was going to be doing a lot of COIN work, because it’s political masters didn’t believe in it either.
And that leads to the most important point, which you seem to have missed. When you get the strategic probability right, you then structure the force properly. That means you adapt tactics, training and procurement to meet the challenge of that strategic probability.

That simply wasn’t done.

So, whatever dude, that’s why we’re relearning our lesson in Iraq right now. Crystal balls weren’t needed, real balls were ... balls enough to stand up to the force-on-force guys and tell them, "your screwing up". Of course with the "go along to get along" mentality that Yingling talks about being necessary to be promoted to the rank of general, that wasn’t going to happen.
Two points, so you mean that the US Flag officers, should have told the SecDef, the President, from whom they take orders, that THEY were planning on COIN operations and if the Executive Branch didn’t like it they could "pound sand?" Further, the US military should have told Congress that they were planning on COIN operations and that Congress needed to provide forces and equipment for that role, even if Congress thought that COIN was a bad idea? You remember the idea of "civilian control," right?

Secondly, after having told the "Force-on-force guys" that they were "screwing up" how would we have defeated Saddam’s Army in the 1st place so that we could engage in a COIN operation? Had we attempted OIF with the COIN force structure you’d be whining that we tried to go toe-to-toe with the wrong forces and we needed a different force structure and that the generals had got it wrong!

Dude, the best that can be said or hoped for, it seems, was that COIN not be TOTALLY forgotten. But it was NEVER going to be the focus of US planning from the period 1975 until 2002. Further you make a false dichotomy, that the US Army could focus on COIN or Force-on-force, one or the other, not both. And yet, the British Army from 1972 until 1989, focused on both, and managed to fight successful campaigns in both areas, Northern Ireland and the Falklands, whilst remaining committed to the North German Plain and NATO, and being listed as one of the MOST capable forces in NATO-best trained, worst-equipped, or good in spite of their gear! It was never an either/or situation and no force can be structured that way. The US’ failure, such as it was, was that it decided to de-emphasize COIN-after the disaster in SEA- to an unreasonable extent.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Is the city named Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City? Alternatively, who’s helicopters flew off the roof of the US Embassy in 1975? Alternatively further, why are there Vietnamese and Hmong communities in the US?
And the date of that was? And the US ground combat units in the country at the time were?
Two points, so you mean that the US Flag officers, should have told the SecDef, the President, from whom they take orders, that THEY were planning on COIN operations and if the Executive Branch didn’t like it they could "pound sand?"
You obviously haven’t an inkling of how that planning process works, so I wonder at the utility of even attempting to discuss this with you.
Secondly, after having told the "Force-on-force guys" that they were "screwing up" how would we have defeated Saddam’s Army in the 1st place so that we could engage in a COIN operation?
Well the most obvious way would be to understand that what I’m not talking about is an ’either/or’ situation.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Now we have bobble-head generals who nod along with the diplomats who want to hold their Versailles Conference before winning the war.
You have touched on a problem, but perhaps not THE problem. Even if there were Generals with the right stuff, the political leaders would have bypassed them in favor of Generals that gave them the answers they wanted.

The requirements for military victory (including victory of the military occupation) should not vary much between general officers. They may have somewhat different philosophies and strategic ideas on how to accomplish goals, but in the end, it should be a numbers game. It takes this many soldiers, tanks, guns, planes, etc to beat this many soldiers, tanks, guns, planes, etc, and it takes this many combat troops, this many support troops, to occupy an area with this many citizens.

The problem with Iraq was the generals who gave the correct answer to these questions were ignored in favor of the generals who gave the answers the political leaders wanted to hear.

We don’t just need generals with, um, "eggs", we need all of our generals to have a pair. Otherwise, the weakest link will cause the entire chain to break.

When are you folks going to face the fact that if the political leaders listened to the generals that actually knew what they were talking about, and recognized the fact of what they would have to commit to winning in Iraq (through the aftermath), the political leaders would have realized that as a nation, we did not have the political will to accomplish this mission.

As a nation, we were simply not prepared to do what was required to invade, defeat, occupy, and hand off a stable government with a peaceful society, in a nation that had not attacked us and was not an imminent threat.

Cap

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
You obviously haven’t an inkling of how that planning process works, so I wonder at the utility of even attempting to discuss this with you.
YOU obviously have an odd view of who works for WHOM in the US Constitutional system and it makes me wonder at the utility of debating policy with YOU, McQ...

Captin Sarcastic wanders into a point, here:
Even if there were Generals with the right stuff, the political leaders would have bypassed them in favor of Generals that gave them the answers they wanted.
AND McQ, the Generals DID learn from Vietnam. They wanted a small foot print in Iraq. Because 500,000 troops in Iraq was unsustainable, with the AVF and Vietnam demonstrated it was not sustainable POLITICALLY. And, the US realized that it failed in Vietnam, in part, because it never forced the ARVN to function well. Instead the US came in to fight their war for them. This time, the US military explicitly decided that the Iraqi’s would fight the war, and that the US would only be there to buy time until the Iraqi’s "stood up."

I’m sorry McQ this looks like "strategic thinking" to me, and sound strategic thinking. Two major problems arose, the US did not stand the Iraqi Security Forces up well enough or fast enough and the US military was reluctant to ask for a "Surge" in order to contain the sectarian violence.

The problem isn’t Generals Per Se, it’s that the Generals made mistakes....or did they? Was it Rumsfeld and Rove signaling low troop numbers and the Generals agreed? Or did the Pentagon select Generals that agreed with Rumsfeld?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
But enlighten me about that planning process McQ? SPECIFICALLY what should the US military have been doing? Cancelling the M-1/M-2 series? Buying more Light Infantry? Because I’d like to see how this planning process survives it’s contact with Bush ’41, Clinton, and Congress, both Tom Foley’s and Newt Gingrich’s.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
And the date of that was? And the US ground combat units in the country at the time were?
The troops were gone, BECAUSE THE NVA HAD DEFEATED THE UNITED STATES, McQ. Our @rse handed to us.

I might add, that David Hackworth disputes the idea that the US "won" at the tactical level, too. Now I realize he was only one of the US’ most decorated soldiers, but you might read About Face, again, and note he believes the NVA achieved their battlefield objectives as often as not. Their battlefield objective was NOT to destroy US Battalions, but to bleed them. Often by ambush and/or siege operations necessitating US/ARVN forces move to their assistance and into minefields and ambuscades. The sole purpose was to inflict casualties on the US, casualties the NVA could take, but the US wouldn’t. Hackworth’s point then being, that every time we claimed "victory", "They didn’t take that fire base" the NVA were successful, as it was NEVER their intention TO TAKE the firebase, but merely to attrite US/ARVN forces. They succeeded in their battlefield goals, and in fact tied their tactical objectives to their ultimate military/political objectives excellently!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
YOU obviously have an odd view of who works for WHOM in the US Constitutional system and it makes me wonder at the utility of debating policy with YOU, McQ...
And you’ve now proven that a) you have no idea of the process being discussed and b) this isn’t about "who works for whom". Think quadrennial reviews in the short term. Think strategic planning 20 and 30 years out and the commensurate force structure planning and procurement which that requires and drives.

But do carry on, you being an expert in who works for whom and all.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
" They never won a single, solitary bn level combat"

Any particular reason you restricted your comment to batallion level? Do you mean one batallion vs. one batallion? In any case, to paraphrase that NVA colonel, it really doesn’t matter, since they won the war.

"And the US ground combat units in the country at the time were?"

And the reason there were no ground combat units in country at the time was...?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
" Think strategic planning 20 and 30 years out and the commensurate force structure planning and procurement which that requires and drives"

Plans aren’t worth much without the resources to implement them. Where do these resources come from? MacArthur had some very nice plans for the defense of the Phillipines. Unfortunately he didn’t have the resources required to implement these plans. Generals may propose, but civilian politicians dispose.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The troops were gone, BECAUSE THE NVA HAD DEFEATED THE UNITED STATES, McQ. Our @rse handed to us.
Really? And what universe did that happen in Joe, because it d*mn sure wasn’t this one.

They defeated the RVN.

And anyway, I was speaking specifically of the "we" being the US military.

There’s a difference between lack of political will and having our "@rse handed to us" on the battlefield and you seem, somehow, to have missed that. I was talking about the battlefield and the discussion is about military leadership.

And as such an expert in who works for whom, you may remember that "we" were ordered out of there by our political masters. So "we" were not handed anything, @rse or otherwise. When "we" left, the host country still controlled its territory.

But the NVA victory came not because of "we", but because of thee, for whom "we" worked.
Now I realize he was only one of the US’ most decorated soldiers, but you might read About Face, again, and note he believes the NVA achieved their battlefield objectives as often as not.
I read About Face and came away wondering what war Hackworth had been talking about. If the NVA achieved their battlefield objectives while fighting US units, I’d love to know what they were. As I observed it, their predominate battlefield objective seemed to be to engage us, break contact and flee after getting mostly destroyed and giving up 10 to 1 KIA ratios to US units. Helluva strategy.

If, as with most ground combat units, the objective was to seize and hold enemy territory, they were a singular failure in that regard, hanging out mostly in Laos and Cambodia and not South Vietnam.

I’ll tell you what, here’s an easy one for you, Joe ... find me a single battalion level engagement between the US and the NVA in which the NVA walked away a winner.

Just one. After your futile search for that example, explain to me how they achieved "battlefield objectives" in the absence of a single tactical win on the battlefield.

Now if you want to talk about strategic objectives or political objectives, that’s an entirely different subject, but one that you and Hackworth seem not to be able to differentiate from "battlefield objectives", just as you don’t seem to understand the difference between a lack of strategic poltiical will vs. tactical military success.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Think strategic planning 20 and 30 years out and the commensurate force structure planning and procurement which that requires and drives.
So in your example in 1982 or 1972 the US ought to have planned for OIF? Or to have planned for COIN? Examine your premise, internally you are inconsistent. The Force of 2003 was set in 1993 or 1988, tell me what was the likelihood of the US military thining it would be fighting COIN in 1988-1993?

And it’s funny, a libertarian, that you’d advance this line of thought. Five Year plans are failures, but the US ought to have foreseen out 20 years, or 10 years? Not only is your argument internally flawed, your philosphies conflict too. The economy can’t be planned and predicted out too far but force structures can and should be?

The best any large military can hope for is a "balanced" force that has some capacity to do everything, e.g., the Special Forces for COIN, the 1st Armoured Div. for Force-on-force and hope it gets its mix right or that it has enough time to adapt its forces to the battlefield requirements.
But do carry on, you being an expert in who works for whom and all.
I don’t know McQ, I just took a few Constitutional History and US History classes, where we discussed who worked for whom. And I will point out that US defense Policy, is generally set by the President and the Congress. Set at the "rubber meets the road" level of appropriations. The Marines may have THOUGTH about Securing Advanced Bases and the US Army might have THOUGHT about large wars from 1890-on, but it was not until the President and Congress agreed with this vision that forces and equipment for those roles were CREATED. Walk me thru this planning that would have occured, in say 1993. In Clinton’s first term the US military was going to start structuring itself for COIN in the 3rd World, even as a President came in who’se motto was, "It’s the Economy Stupid?" So the DoD ought to ahve been planning and buying for COIN, under a President and SecDef that had just trashed the US for being too focused on overseas adventures? This would have been Constitutional how and it would have worked, How?

You’ve got that PERFECT 20/20 hindsight thing going right now McQ.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
If the NVA achieved their battlefield objectives while fighting US units, I’d love to know what they were. As I observed it, their predominate battlefield objective seemed to be to engage us, break contact and flee after getting mostly destroyed and giving up 10 to 1 KIA ratios to US units. Helluva strategy.

If, as with most ground combat units, the objective was to seize and hold enemy territory, they were a singular failure in that regard, hanging out mostly in Laos and Cambodia and not South Vietnam.
Then read the book for COMPREHENSION this time, McQ. Or read my posting on it...
To reiterate:
...and note he believes the NVA achieved their battlefield objectives as often as not. Their battlefield objective was NOT to destroy US Battalions, but to bleed them. Often by ambush and/or siege operations necessitating US/ARVN forces move to their assistance and into minefields and ambuscades. The sole purpose was to inflict casualties on the US (emph added.), casualties the NVA could take, but the US wouldn’t. Hackworth’s point then being, that every time we claimed "victory", "They didn’t take that fire base" the NVA were successful, as it was NEVER their intention TO TAKE the firebase, but merely to attrite US/ARVN forces. They succeeded in their battlefield goals, and in fact tied their tactical objectives to their ultimate military/political objectives excellently!

OUR goal may have been to take and hold terrain, THEIR goal was to kill Americans.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So in your example in 1982 or 1972 the US ought to have planned for OIF? Or to have planned for COIN?
Or both!? Anything wrong with that?
And it’s funny, a libertarian, that you’d advance this line of thought.
You know about as much about libertarians as you do military planning. And that’s what we’re talking about here. You’re not talking about buying a tank or airplane here. You talk about buying that tank or airplane after you’ve considered the type foe you’ll be faced with. And as I’ve mentioned, and you’ve studiously ignored, the vast majority of hot wars in the last 30 years have been asymetrical.

Proper force configuration isn’t something which happens at the snap of a finger. It happens over decades. You’re talking about configuring your entire military service to face what you consider to be the most strategically probable foes you will face in the future. That is the failure being discussed here. There is no question the signs were there. And there seems to be no question that they were mostly ignored, given the force, structure and doctrine under which we went into Iraq.

I’m not sure how you can deny that or, really, why you want too?
You’ve got that PERFECT 20/20 hindsight thing going right now McQ.
Heh ... yeah Joe ... that’s what guys like you said after Vietnam too.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Then read the book for COMPREHENSION this time, McQ. Or read my posting on it...
Trust me Joe, I understood what he was talking about much more than you ever will.
OUR goal may have been to take and hold terrain, THEIR goal was to kill Americans.
Yehaw. How is that a "battlefield objective" that leads to tactical victory if you never won a tactical victory using it?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You talk about buying that tank or airplane after you’ve considered the type foe you’ll be faced with. And as I’ve mentioned, and you’ve studiously ignored, the vast majority of hot wars in the last 30 years have been asymetrical.

YOU can’t grasp this fact apparently McQ! THE US HAD NO PLANS FOR FIGHTING AN ASYMETRIC WAR! Having come in Second in the SEA War Games, the US intended to AVOID COIN operations.

The US procured in 1972 the force structure it desired, built around the Big-Five, IIRC, the M-1, the M-2, the UH-60, the DIVAD, and.....MLRS? Because the US Army planned on fighting the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact, in the Fulda Gap, or in Japan....that was who we wanted to fight and who we felt we could sustain the political will to fight! COIN was NOT an option in the 1970’s, in fact the Big Five emerged as the Vietnam War wound down, and the Army re-focused. So from 1972 until 1982 no the US Army wasn’t planning on fighting guerillas in 3rd World countries.

That changed, slightly with the LID’s of the 1980’s but even then the focus or justification was ease of transport to areas of conflict and fighting a conventional campaign.
You’re talking about configuring your entire military service to face what you consider to be the most strategically probable foes you will face in the future.

Which the US judged to be, the USSR and conventional force-on-force...because the military felt it could accomplish those missions and was less sure of its ability to accomplish more diffuse COIN missions, or put better, would the US Congress/Public support them or spit on them in airports? It was preferable to plan on fighting someone that you COULD defeat than someone you had doubts about defeating!
You know about as much about libertarians as you do military planning.
More so, though I know quite a bit about both.....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe
the military didn’t come in second, the country did.
And it showed all the way through to the end of the decade that, to me, never was.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
OUR goal may have been to take and hold terrain, THEIR goal was to kill Americans.
Yehaw. How is that a "battlefield objective" that leads to tactical victory if you never won a tactical victory using it?
Are you that dense...their goal was to kill Americans....when they set out on the mission their goal was to kill Americans....They besieged firebases, to lure American/ARVN forces into ambushes, to kill the troops. They ambushed and boob-trapped American companies in order to inflict casualties. If enough pressure was put on the units, American units moved to support them and ran into ambushes, the goal of which was to inflict casualties on the US. The NVA were Ok with losing 10:1, they felt, it turns out correctly, that they could sustain that loss rate and that the US would quit.

Ironically, McQ BOTH sides had the same tactical/strategic objective, to inflict casualties. The US did not seek to hold terrain, it sough out, in Search and Destroy VC and NVA units for destruction. Once they were "destroyed"-several returning for multiple destructions- the US forces moved on. Vietnam was an atritional campaign from both sides. Each believed that if it inflicted enough battlefield pain the other would quit. It turns out that the NVA were the more successful in its application.

Now you may think that the goal was to take and hold terrain and that therefore, the NVA failed, tactically, but IF that wasn’t their goal then mayhap they didn’t. Hackworth makes the argument that taking and holding or defeating was never their intention, and so they were NOT defeated tactically, as they achieved their goals by inflicting casualties. Is this correct? I don’t know, I haven’t read much about the NVA side of the war. But certainly if it was they did a good job...and how THEY judged their tactical successes is what is important, here. Already we know that they had a STRATEGIC success, in the words of Bruce Springsteen, "They’e still there and he’s all gone...."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
the military didn’t come in second, the country did.
And it showed all the way through to the end of the decade that, to me, never was.
Actually the Military did too....the US military didn’t/doesn’t like to admit it, but it wasn’t just Johnson/Nixon, McNamara/Laird, the Press/Hippies that lost that war.

The US mis-fought that war....from training, from NCO procurement, from individual troop rotation, to 6 moth command policies, to Route Packages, to ignoring the SAM threat, the US military had multitudinous failings and contributed its own share to the failings in SEA.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
But by your own arguments, short of totally destroying North Vietnam and it’s population, regardless of the tactics or rotation policies, or failure to perceive SAM threats, we would have lost because as a nation we weren’t into a war of attrition and they were.

When the other guy is willing to continue to sustain a 10:1 loss ratio, the only way you can ever defeat him is to kill him down to some level of military inoperability and keep him there.

If your argument is correct, had we done things ’right’ in every case, we would have merely killed more of them quicker. They’d already demonstrated for a over a decade before we got there, they were willing to sustain that. And they knew we were never going to actually set foot in force above the DMZ, so they just had to keep on keepin on.

As a strategy the only remarkable thing about it is the willingness to die (or, given a good politburo style government, the willingness to send other people out to die, and we should remember that lesson when considering our Islamic acquaintances).
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Think strategic planning 20 and 30 years out and the commensurate force structure planning and procurement which that requires and drives.
But make sure that strategic planning doesn’t include any long-range CIA assessments made on the basis of something that might have come from NOAA, right?

You must be having a bad hair day.
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
But make sure that strategic planning doesn’t include any long-range CIA assessments made on the basis of something that might have come from NOAA, right?

You must be having a bad hair day.
Umm ... and you must be having an non sequitur day.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
But make sure that strategic planning doesn’t include any long-range CIA assessments made on the basis of something that might have come from NOAA, right?
You must be having a bad hair day.
Umm ... and you must be having an non sequitur day.
Or to quote the Good Book, "There are none so blind as those who will not see."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
AND McQ, the Generals DID learn from Vietnam. They wanted a small foot print in Iraq. Because 500,000 troops in Iraq was unsustainable, with the AVF and Vietnam demonstrated it was not sustainable POLITICALLY. And, the US realized that it failed in Vietnam, in part, because it never forced the ARVN to function well. Instead the US came in to fight their war for them. This time, the US military explicitly decided that the Iraqi’s would fight the war, and that the US would only be there to buy time until the Iraqi’s "stood up."
Nonsense!

There was no such planning. 500,000 troops were needed, but not to fight the war, but to occupy the country and to put Iraqi troops in a position where they could stand up. The reason we did not send 500,000 troops had NOTHING to do with military strategy, and everything to do with political strategy. The political leaders knew they could not sell these troops and the accompanying casualties to the American people.

We had no after-action military strategy, and the after action political strategy was wishful thinking, planning for the best case scenario, as it were.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Well Looker, I’m not sure that you’re wrong. Or alternatively, I’m not sure that we COULD have won in Vietnam....

Certainly we could have done better, and not just in killing MORE, QUICKER....

Had Rolling Thunder hit the North’s POL stores early, hard, and continuoulsy, had we suppressed the PVN Air Defense Forces, hitting SAM sites and Air Fields, had we mined the harbours early and risked hitting the bridges into the PRC we would have LIMITED the North’s capacity to wage war in the South.

And had we killed the NVA at a rate of 15:1 or 20:1 there is a possibility that combined with the Rolling Thunder damage that the North MIGHT have acquiesced....MIGHT.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe - from what I’ve read even the North was a little aghast at Nixon’s approach to bombing them back to the peace table. At least that seemed to be the sensation the POWs had in the difference they saw in their wardens.
So, if perhaps we had done that much sooner. I’d commit to nothing for certain as I don’t feel even now it’s a 20/20 proposition.

Could we have won, I don’t know, I look to the English winning against the Irish.
If you’re willing to be, pun intended, revolting for 800 years, eventually people will get tired of winning and leave you to your own devices.

Not the same though as we weren’t the government of RVN, I think we’d have left there as a fighting force in exactly the same way we’ve left Germany and South Korea. I wonder if we wouldn’t be experiencing resistance even now if we’d ’won’ and stayed or would it be more like ROK perhaps?
(And if I keep thinking hard about it I’m going to drift back to my isolationist youth as I ponder all our bases in all those places ).
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Nonsense!

There was no such planning. 500,000 troops were needed, but not to fight the war, but to occupy the country and to put Iraqi troops in a position where they could stand up. The reason we did not send 500,000 troops had NOTHING to do with military strategy, and everything to do with political strategy.
Actually there was that kind of planning. It was presented to Rumsfeld and Rumsfeld threw it out, largely because there was no way we were going to be able to field the 500,000 troops it required in the first place. We just didn’t have that many people in uniform. So Rumsfeld ordered up a plan we could actually implement at the current force levels.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
Looker, I really can’t hazard a guess as to IF the US could have "won" in Vietnam...A better Rolling Thunder, a better US Army/Marine Corps, a better Vietnamization program, a better RVN Government.... all might have changed the outcome, all operating together, each changing one piece of the equation t until the entire result is changed.

I don’t think that the US would have been required to "kill ALL of the DRVN", just inflict a hole lot of pain on it...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Actually there was that kind of planning. It was presented to Rumsfeld and Rumsfeld threw it out, largely because there was no way we were going to be able to field the 500,000 troops it required in the first place. We just didn’t have that many people in uniform. So Rumsfeld ordered up a plan we could actually implement at the current force levels.
Yes, that is a better way of stating it.

The point remains the same, it was the military that failed in Iraq, it was the civilian leadership that ignored the military that failed in Iraq.

This war was lost before we went in, and the military did everything it could with what it was allowed to use, but the fact that the political leadership KNEW that the American would not suppport this war if what needed to be done to win was done, they chose instead to prosecute the war with what they could sell, rather than what was needed, and they relied on best case scenarios for their strategy to have any chance at all of working.

Iraq was a dumb idea, McQ and a few others would have supported it if the President had presented this adventure with the required troop levels and forecasted casualties accordingly, but the vast majority of Americans would have screamed "Bad Idea" before this war ever close to happening.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Are you that dense...their goal was to kill Americans....when they set out on the mission their goal was to kill Americans
Look Joe, I appreciate you playing but it is completely obvious you haven’t the foggiest idea about what a valid ’battlefield objective’ is.

Ground combat units have a particular missions, and their mission is dictated by their type and their abilities. But interestingly, all combat units set out to "kill" their enemies as a part of accomplishing those missions. It’s part of their job. But it isn’t their "battlefield objective".

So before calling someone else dense, step back a minute and consider that perhaps it is you who doesn’t fully understand what you’re spouting.

A battlefield objective is a tactical mission which is congruent with the type of combat unit to which it is assigned. While they all will "destroy the enemy", infantry and armored units will be assigned offensive battlefield objectives which usually entail seizing and holding ground (in conventional warfare). Artillery’s mission is a fire support role which and be direct support, general support or reinforcing (or gsr for that matter) ... etc., etc.

Pretending the NVA’s battlefield object was to run willy-nilly into American units and try to ’kill them’ isn’t going to impress very many people who know about such things.

So when you say things like...
They besieged firebases, to lure American/ARVN forces into ambushes, to kill the troops. They ambushed and boob-trapped American companies in order to inflict casualties. If enough pressure was put on the units, American units moved to support them and ran into ambushes, the goal of which was to inflict casualties on the US. The NVA were Ok with losing 10:1, they felt, it turns out correctly, that they could sustain that loss rate and that the US would quit.
...you come across as either someone who doesn’t understand the reason for such tactics or who chooses to ignore them for the sake of trying to score a rhetorical point. They besieged firebases with the objective of overrunning them and taking them. Just like every other army they fought recon and counter recon fights which entailed ambushes and attempts to canalize their enemy by the use of mines and booby traps as area denial weapons.

None of that has anything to do with a battlefield objective of "killing the enemy" just to do that.

And such thinking relegates the NVA, who were good and disciplined soldiers, to mindless bots running around at random with glazed eyes trying to kill whatever they could find. That isn’t how they fought and it isn’t what they were attempting and pretending it is shows a gross ignorance of the NVA and tactics.

Believe it or not they had operations plans, mounted coordinated attacks to attempt to seize and hold areas and attempted to overrun bases for the same reason any other army does. We know that because we fought them as they attempted it and even captured their orders. And it may come as a huge surprise to you to know that nowhere on those orders was their tactical battlefield objective spelled out as "kill Americans".

Nope. Instead they had mundane orders like ’seieze and hold’ or "attack to seize first objective and on order continue the attack to seize second objective", just like ours.

Their problem was they simply couldn’t muster the combat multipliers, such as the amount of artillery we could or any air support, of course, to actually succeed. And that’s why they never did.

But it wasn’t because of some foolish notion that their "battlefield objective" was to just "kill Americans" no matter what their casualty rate might be. If that were true they’d have fought to the last man each and every time. And they, of course, never did.

Go figure.

Which brings us back to this:
The NVA were Ok with losing 10:1, they felt, it turns out correctly, that they could sustain that loss rate and that the US would quit.
No the NVA wasn’t, because it directly effected its ability to conduct and sustain combat operations.

The government of North Vietnam, however, may have been. And that goes to the point I made earlier and you again ignored. If you want to talk about the strategic objectives of the government of North Vietnam and it’s willingness to fight a war of attrition, that’s one thing. But huge losses to Americans in order to kill a few was not ever a "battlefield objective" of the NVA (and btw, NVA means "North Vietnamese Army", not the government of North Vietnam).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Years after then end of the war a conference was held featuring high ranking officers from North Vietnam and the United States. During the talks an American officer pointed out the U.S. forces never lost a major battle. A Vietnamese General replied, "That is true, but it is also irrelevant"
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
I was talking about the battlefield and the discussion is about military leadership

Perhaps

"How is that a "battlefield objective" that leads to tactical victory if you never won a tactical victory using it?"

Define tactical victory, and why it is preferable to win a tactical victory to a strategic victory. They won a strategic victory, so, once again, tactical victories are irrelevant. If your strategy is one of attrition, as was that of the communists, winning or losing individual battles is irrelevant.

"the military didn’t come in second, the country did."

Our military may not have come in second, but it sure was in p*ss poor shape back then. As many have testified, it took years to rebuild it into an effective force.

*************************8

"Pretending the NVA’s battlefield object was to run willy-nilly into American units and try to ’kill them’..."

That is a misstatement of what he said.

"But it wasn’t because of some foolish notion that their "battlefield objective" was to just "kill Americans""

I think you are confusing tactical and strategic objectives.


" They besieged firebases with the objective of overrunning them and taking them."

And then what? Did they intend to hold them? No.

"Believe it or not they had operations plans, mounted coordinated attacks to attempt to seize and hold areas"

I would be curious as to what areas they planned to hold. Got a cite?

"No the NVA wasn’t, because it directly effected its ability to conduct and sustain combat operations."

Well evidently they were, because they did.




 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
...you come across as either someone who doesn’t understand the reason for such tactics or who chooses to ignore them for the sake of trying to score a rhetorical point. They besieged firebases with the objective of overrunning them and taking them. Just like every other army they fought recon and counter recon fights which entailed ambushes and attempts to canalize their enemy by the use of mines and booby traps as area denial weapons.
Funny McQ though you keep saying this, I never see you point out any NVA sources that confirm it...

Hackworth’s view, and for that matter Bernard Fall would probably agree, claims that defeating US forces on a battlefield was NOT an objective. It was not possible.

Read Galloway’s We Were Soldiers Once and Young. The battle at LZ X-ray was a draw. The US showed up to kill a lot of NVA regulars and teh NVA fought to develop tactics to fight US forces. Neither side cared about the terrain per se. Both sides achieved their aim(s).

I’m sorry it IS a tactcal goal to bleed your enemy. It was teir operational objective, and thru propaganda and the use of the Left in the US their strategic goal. They intended to waer down the US’ will to fight. The best way was to inflict casualties.

You are the one who seems incapable of accepting that an opponent doesn’t believe taking the hill is a necessary goal. Not every thinks like McQ, and I’d bet that the NVA didn’t.

Again, "That mya be true, but it is also IRRELEVANT"....They handed us our @rse and then they went on to defeat the RVN. And the US government and the US military decided that COIN was NOT a viable mission for the US Armed Forces.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
If you read Tommy Franks’ biography, its apparent that CENTCOM commanders do a lot of diplomacy and flying around a huge region talking with national leaders, and it jibes with this post about them being diplomats.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Funny McQ though you keep saying this, I never see you point out any NVA sources that confirm it...
Reduced to this?

That’s warfare at its most basic, Joe. The most junior officer in any army would know this. And you need confirmation?

Pretty poor, Joe, pretty darn poor.
You are the one who seems incapable of accepting that an opponent doesn’t believe taking the hill is a necessary goal. Not every thinks like McQ, and I’d bet that the NVA didn’t.
Yeah, Joe, you know all about it don’t you?
Read Galloway’s We Were Soldiers Once and Young.
I’ve read it Joe. And I’ve fought the NVA. Right there in the Ashau valley. Good old route 548 down the middle of that beauty. The Ashau Expressway. We owned the eastern rim, they owned the Laotian border. And we fought in the middle. And they never won. Not even once.

Yeah, Joe ... real NVA regiments. And not a one of them wandered around with the mission of killing Americans. Not one of ’em got past us either.

You know, I’d never tell you how your neighborhood was simply from reading a book. Because I’d understand that you actually were there and you would know what part of the book was BS and what part wasn’t. I’d expect that your experience of actually living there would lend you a perspective and a first hand knowledge of the place I could never get. Of course, from just reading a book, I wouldn’t have that, would I Joe?

But hey, you tell me all about the NVA from the books you’ve read, ok?

Now, I have better things to do than to continue this stupidity.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I think you are confusing tactical and strategic objectives.
I’m not confusing at thing, Tim ... get into the game or STFU. I stated more than once that there’s a difference between the tactical battlefield objectives given to a military unit and the strategic objectives of a nation. Joe has studiously ignored that point.
And then what? Did they intend to hold them? No.
Yes. See Hue.
In the early morning hours of 31 January 1968, a division-sized force of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) soldiers launched a well coordinated multi-pronged attack on the city of Hué.

Their targets were the Tay Loc airfield and the 1st ARVN Division headquarters in the Citadel, and the MACV compound in the New City on the south side of the river. Their strategic objective, however, was to "liberate" the entire city as part of a country-wide popular uprising to sweep the Communist insurgents into power.
Notice what is said: Their "targets", i.e. their tactical objectives were ARVN HQ and MACV compound.

The strategic objective? Liberate the entire city.

Does that sound like a plan to give it back?

If you’re familiar with the battle, you know it certainly wasn’t their plan to give it up either. They had to be driven out. And, of course, there a many more examples of the same sort of planning and attempts in the war.

The fact that they were unable to accomplish their plans doesn’t mean that plans didn’t exist or they didn’t try. Because of their lack of the combat multipliers we had, they had to attack in overwhelming force and then quickly and dramatically reinforce. They were never able to do that successfully.
Well evidently they were, because they did.
They did because they weren’t suicidal and didn’t do what you and Joe contend.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If you read Tommy Franks’ biography, its apparent that CENTCOM commanders do a lot of diplomacy and flying around a huge region talking with national leaders, and it jibes with this post about them being diplomats.
Gee Harun, you actually want to talk about the subject of the post?

How unusual. But you better save it. Joe’s going to tell us how it really was in Vietnam, because, you know, he’s read books and stuff.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Yes. See Hue."

"The strategic objective? Liberate the entire city."

No, the strategic objective was to liberate the entire country.

The Tet offensive was an exceptional case, and did not reflect the strategy used before or after the offensive. It was intended that this would be the final battle, so the contention that they planned to hold the conquered territory is rather redundant. I doubt you can find any example of where VC/NVA forces planned to hold ground after defeating US forces.


"We owned the eastern rim, they owned the Laotian border. And we fought in the middle. And they never won. Not even once"

That doesn’t seem to be my recollection. I think others might agree. For example, "Ripcord Screaming Eagles Under Siege, Vietnam 1970", by Keith Nolan. I am not sure what your definition of "win" is, but I think the fact that the NVA continued to use the valley as a supply and staging area with only a few temporary interruptions speaks for itself.


"They did because they weren’t suicidal and didn’t do what you and Joe contend."

My contention, and I think Joe’s also, was that they were willing to accept a lopsided loss ratio, and the proof is that they did so. I do not understand this response.

They won. We lost, and the reasons are a little more complicated than the old stabbed in the back by disloyal politicians rationale.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"It built a force that demonstrated in the early ’90s it could dismantle the 4th largest army in the world in record time. But it failed miserably to properly prepare for the strategic probabilities which had continued to stare us in the face for over 30 years. Hundreds of wars were fought during the time with well over 95% falling into the category of "asymetrical"."

Since so many "asymetrical" wars were fought, yet the only war we were involved in was a conventional one that dismantled the world’s 4th largest army, why should the generals have assumed we needed to place a major emphasis on such an improbable event? Perhaps they assumed, with some justification, that the probablility of us being involved in such a war, one that would require a major commitment of resources, was low enough that they need devote only a small share of their limited resources to "asymetrical" war. Events may have proved them wrong, but it is a defensible position. Planning for the future always involves guesswork, and sometimes the guesses are wrong. This is not the first time they made a wrong guess, and it won’t be the last. It isn’t a structural fault that can be solved by new regulations or a change in the system, it’s a human failing.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I’m confused. How did the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) get brought into this debate?
 
Written By: Hoystory
URL: http://www.hoystory.com
They won. We lost, and the reasons are a little more complicated than the old stabbed in the back by disloyal politicians rationale.
No they aren’t.

If the Congress had not cut off support to the RVN, it would be an independent, relatively free market economy today, and one having made much progress towards the respect of human rights such as freedom of association, speech, and popular sovereignty, certainly as compared to what the North Vietnamese wrought with that Congress turning a blind eye.

There is no evidentiary reason to suspect anything else.

Erb, et al, are clinging as desperately to what they know yet is not true, as they are the Anthropomorphic Global Warming fraud which within 15 years will be impossible for them to sustain.

I hope sincerely for the extinction of all their memes, and the end of their narrative.

There is nothing good to be had from them but they stand as an example of how to fail in the pursuit of the goals of the American Revolution.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
If the Congress had not cut off support to the RVN, it would be an independent, relatively free market economy today, and one having made much progress towards the respect of human rights such as freedom of association, speech, and popular sovereignty, certainly as compared to what the North Vietnamese wrought with that Congress turning a blind eye.
Asserting an alternate history over and over is nice, but you really can’t know. Most analysts I’ve read disagree with your opinion. But anyone can always make up an alternate history where by "if only X then Y." It’s fun for speculation, but it’s not reality. And your support for it is to assert it and ask for evidence that something that didn’t happen wouldn’t have happened! LOL!
I hope sincerely for the extinction of all their memes, and the end of their narrative.
Or, perhaps, you’re just on the wrong side of these issues but don’t have the ability or desire to think self-critically and accept that perhaps those you’ve been attacking have been right on issues like Iraq or global warming. Your "memes" aren’t faring too well these days. But it’s all a leftist conspiracy, right?

You could be taken more seriously if you talked about these as issues with legitimate differences rather all the mush about "memes" and "narratives," which makes it sound like some kind of conspiracy and fraud. But when you don’t have the evidence to talk about issues, I guess conspiracy theories are a good cop out.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
That doesn’t seem to be my recollection. I think others might agree. For example, "Ripcord Screaming Eagles Under Siege, Vietnam 1970", by Keith Nolan. I am not sure what your definition of "win" is, but I think the fact that the NVA continued to use the valley as a supply and staging area with only a few temporary interruptions speaks for itself.
A "few temporary interruptions"?

[snort]

Again, you read ’em Tim and I’ll go with what I saw and experienced.

A "few temporary interruptions" indeed.

They continued to use the valley, not because they were particularly successful, but because for that area of the country, they didn’t have any choice.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Most analysts I’ve read...."

What sort of grade would you assign if a student turned this in?

The assertion was that the Congress cut off funding to the South Vietnamese when the North invaded, allowing the North to prevail. The cessation of military aid is a fact. The American ground forces had already been withdrawn. That is also a fact.

It would require mental gymnastics that I am not capable of to conclude that cutting off supplies in the middle of an invasion would have no effect on the ability of South Vietnamese forces to prevail.

You can argue the North would have won anyway. You need facts to convince me, not an appeal to authority.






 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://

The assertion was that the Congress cut off funding to the South Vietnamese when the North invaded, allowing the North to prevail.
I don’t buy the assertion that a few more dollars would have stopped the North Vietnamese victory. No one has shown me convincing evidence of that. He’s making the assertion, he has the burden of proof.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"you read ’em Tim "

Alas, I have no choice. Since, for example, I was born in the wrong century to have served in the Civil War, and was born in the wrong country to have served in the VC/NVA, I must rely on books written by those who have some expertise in the subject to inform me on the tactics, equipment, etc. used.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"They continued to use the valley,..."

The point, of course, is that they did continue to use the valley.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Hello all! Yeasterday was opened new more interesting forum about [url=http://megatron.stonehill.edu/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=706]Cheap cigarette[/url]. there are all about cheap cigarettes . Whichs cheap cigarettes is the most healty for you or dangerous. Cheap cigarettes forum, let’s join http://megatron.stonehill.edu/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=706 http://www.pucpr.edu/facultad/hvera/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=721 [url=http://www.pucpr.edu/facultad/hvera/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=721]Cheap Cigarettes[/url]
 
Written By: Ralf
URL: http://megatron.stonehill.edu/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=706

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider