Friday, August 07, 2009

AFG: garbage in, garbage out

Remember growing up your parents always warned you about the kids you hung out with, to pick them well? Ditto with what you read, and what you listened too. Spend too much time with the wrong ideas in your head, and it starts to rub off on you.

Say what you want about GWB, but in Iraq he listened to the right people when it counted most. Keane and Petraeus. If he had listened to the ISG and then Sen. Biden (D-DE), then Iraq would have never had the chance it has now (that can still be lost BTW) and the consequences for this nation would be ... well ... don't even want to think about it.

Top U.S. officials have reached out to a leading Vietnam war scholar to discuss the similarities of that conflict 40 years ago with American involvement in Afghanistan, where the U.S. is seeking ways to isolate an elusive guerrilla force and win over a skeptical local population.
The overture to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
Stanley Karnow, who opposes the Afghan war, comes as the U.S. is evaluating its strategy there.
When you bring in a person whose intellectual high points are beating a drum of defeat, loss, and his view of national military disgrace into a conflict that he does not support (BTW, what did he want us to do in 2001/02?) and does not believe you can win, what type of advice are you going to get?

If you are looking for a way to win, you don't go picking fruit from that orchard.

If you want to know the world view of Karnow, just watch
this PBS love fest of non-critical self-congratulation hosted by Charlie Rose with Stanley Schanberg, HDS Greenway and other like minded "experts" from Vietnam. Perfect example of the Vietnam those people want the nation to think about - because it excuses their complicity in the death of millions.

Funny, they never talk about what happened in Vietnam the way the military and unbiased history sees it. The facts are simple.

  • Tet was a victory by the USA and South Vietnam ... on the battlefield. The press, leading with the stab in the back mis-characterization by Cronkite, helped the North attack the allied Strategic Center of Gravity (support at home in the USA), by calling it something else.
  • Vietnamization worked so well that by the time the 1972 invasion of the South by the North took place, the North was defeated with South Vietnamese forces with a few USA advisors, financial and material support, and airpower.
  • Defeat in Vietnam only came in 1975 when the post-Watergate/post-74 election Democrat controlled Congress shut down all monetary and military support in time for the Soviet-Chinese supported North to invade again. That is how South Vietnam was lost.
So, back to Afghanistan. If Karnow is who the White House is listening to, then Admiral Mullen needs to get his A-game going and General Petraeus needs to work as best he can to make sure the military is clear and direct on what is needed to win.

Do not let defeatist Democrats and the leftist press once again hang a self-fulfilling prophecy of defeat they engineered around the military's neck.

That is another great lesson from Vietnam. The senior leadership under no circumstances should let themselves take the blame for political actions of others. We are not part of any political administration, we simply report to The President as Commander in Chief and report as required by law to the Legislative Branch. We do not have to spin for politicians, or hew to a political talking points memo. We should always speak the truth as we know it. That goes for Administrations of any Party - and any SECDEF. We support and defend the Constitution, not individuals.

Political administrations come and go - but the truth will always come out. In our professional lives we should never been seen as part of the political landscape.

Sims, Mitchell, Connolly. Study. Read. Reflect. Look in the mirror.

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