Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Iraq 2004 Looks Like Vietnam 1966

How many of us knew this was coming? And could just watch helplessly.

1 comment:

S.W. Anderson said...

Quite an interesting, informative article. But I don't buy all of it.

For starters, Vietnam was a very mixed format affair. You had air-air combat early on, then new-tech ground-to-air. You had some large-scale battles between conventional formations and a whole lot of guerrilla warfare here there and everywhere.

Iraq is guerrilla warfare through and through. As such and absent free reign to find and rout the enemy, collateral damage and casualties be damned, our troops are at the classical disadvantage of conventional occupying forces in such circumstances.

The writer mentions "medical, doctrinal, and technological improvements" but seems to effectively discount the dramatic impact of night-vision capabilities and improved body armor.

He writes, "Today's commanders fight differently, first shaping the battlefield with air power and artillery, then committing ground troops to attack enemies weakened by these barrages or bypassing them altogether."

This is precisely what was done in World War II, elaborated from World War I doctrine, updated with Blitzkrieg tactics, usually called "softening up." It was done somewhat less in Vietnam engagements involving the dropping-in of Air Cav units on short notice. Today's commanders may be able to do it more thoroughly, more on their own terms, but it's by no means anything new and different.