Archive for December, 2009

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The Lessons of Vietnam: Some still need to learn them!!!!

December 2, 2009

From the President’s West Point address on our Afghanistan policy.

“First, there are those who suggest that Afghanistan is another Vietnam.  They argue that it cannot be stabilized, and we’re better off cutting our losses and rapidly withdrawing.  I believe this argument depends on a false reading of history.  Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action.  Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency.  And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border.  To abandon this area now — and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance — would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies.”

From the book, Allied Participation in Vietnam.

by Lieutenant General Stanley Robert Larsen and Brigadier General James Lawton Collins, Jr.

http://www.history.army.mil/books/Vietnam/allied/

“More than forty nations provided assistance to the Republic of Vietnam in its struggle against North Vietnam. This aid ranged from economic and technical assistance to educational and humanitarian contributions. Hundreds of Free World civilians worked in Vietnam as doctors, teachers, and technical specialists. Eight nations also provided military assistance. The flags of these Free World countries-the United States, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of China, and Spain-flew alongside the colors of the Republic of Vietnam at the headquarters of the Free World Military Assistance Forces in Saigon. The military contributions of these nations included combat troops, army medical teams, and individual political warfare advisers. The degree of assistance and co-operation among the concerned Free World nations resulted from years of work and involvement. While many nations expressed sympathy for the plight of South Vietnam, aid did not always come easily, quickly, or to the extent desired. Many nations, beset by their own internal economic and political problems, could do little to help; others did nothing. The story of the efforts of the contributing nations and the efforts to enlist their aid is the subject of this monograph.”

In addition to American troops, between 1966 and 1970 there averaged over 50,000 allied combat troops in Vietnam each year.  One country alone, South Korea, had over 5,000 combat troops killed during the Vietnam War.

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