Studying Vietnam Doesn’t Really Help

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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4 Responses

  1. Michael Drew says:

    As was clear from jump, then, Iraq was nothing if not a domestic political coup for the Republican party.Report

  2. Slugger says:

    If the war would have been won, what would have been gained? How would a continued division of Vietnam into two countries have helped?
    Would the Soviet Union have collapsed one day sooner?
    Would the current reasonably cordial relationship with unified Vietnam have developed faster?
    By losing in Vietnam, what did we lose?
    I am told that we won in Iraq. What did we win?
    What is there to win in Afghanistan?Report

  3. Bayesian says:

    It might seem like a nit, but you really need to distinguish between the “Vietcong” (~NLF) and the PAVN in discussing the later stages (roughly post-Tet) of the war. My understanding of the literature is that the command structures were not unified at the operational level.

    I remember reading COL Sorley’s book a few years ago, but I don’t remember it well enough to argue its points in detail – my recollection is that he didn’t address the deep state breakage caused by Diem’s exteme favoritism to Catholics.

    I wouldn’t lean on Vietnam experience much either way re Afghanistan, although studying our higher level failures (e.g. the US’ collective overreaction to the Tet offensive) is probably a good idea, if difficult.Report