Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The McCrystal Report By Edward W. Ross

Source: http://ewross.blogtownhall.com/2009/10/05/the_mccrystal_report.thtml

October 05, 2009

Reading Gen Stanley McCrystal's unclassified 66-page report to Sec. of Defense Gates, I could not help but think back to my two tours of duty in Vietnam. I kept substituting South Vietnam for Afghanistan and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) for the Afghan National Army. The Vietnam and Afghanistan wars are two vastly different conflicts, of course; and the US armed forces that are fighting in Afghanistan are much different from their Vietnam War predecessors. Nevertheless, the two wars have something important in common. The right counterinsurgency strategy was the key to victory then, and it's the key to victory now.

When General Creighton Abrams assumed command from General William Westmorland in June 1968 he abandoned Westmorland's search-and-destroy strategy and began pursuing a clear-and-hold counterinsurgency strategy, and he expanded training and equipping the ARVN. His strategy was extremely successful and led to major South Vietnam victories over the North Vietnamese Army. Unfortunately, the 1968 Tet Offensive had truned American public opinion against the war, and it was too little too late. General McCrystal's and CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus' recommendations reflect their understanding of the lessons of Vietnam and Iraq wars.

We've been at war in Afghanistan for eight years already, and, as during Vietnam, the American people are war weary. It's not too late in Afghanistan, however, to do the right thing. President Obama should accept McCrystal's recommendation and avoid what happened in Vietnam.

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