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02 December 2005


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My home made guessing.

1. Saddam police state/intel/military aparatus survive and go underground. (or at least large enough to mount guerilla type insurgency)

2. Al qaeda type (frankly, I think they are just nuisance. suicade bombers, large car bombs, but probably won't survive if the population turns against them. ie. they can't fan anti crusading talk)

3. Religious factions. militias. Large in number, politically coherent, but low training.

4. weekend warriors, arm gangs.


I think if we pull out right now. The likely hood of Saddam regime reconstructing itself is pretty high as long as the upper echelon of leadership doesn't eat each other up. Minor inter-ethnic war with shia's once again silenced and Kurds snuffed to completion.

second likelihood: Sunni vs shia with Iran playing along. Depending how skillfull the Iranian play and how early Israel jumps in, probably the Iranian will get what they want. An Iranian friendly Iraqi regime.

Last and worst scenario:
Lebanon in Iraq.


Our standing now:

-We lost all diplomatic front. Syria and Iran know that. They are bidding their time.

-Our puppet gov. in Iraq is a wash. The minute we pull out, every single one of them will be snuffed out.

-Clock is ticking, Bush can only hold on another 6 months domestically before his administration collapses or at least he won't be able to sustain Iraq war at current level of intensity.


"I participated in several Counterinsurgency (COIN) efforts in South and Central America in the 8th SFGA employing what was essentially the same French doctrine that Krepinevitch et al have “discovered.” These efforts were uniformly successful."

Not sure which operations the 8th SFGA was involved with, but I'd hesitate to use the phrase "uniformly succesful" to generally describe efforts in Central and South America. 7th was involved in late 80s early 90s Columbia. Not successful long term.

Other less than successful operations as well in El Salvador and elsewhere. Guess it depends on your metric for success to some extent.

Some succesful operations - metric=achieved objective - gained success at political and moral cost.

Though generally in agreement.

" ...A prime example would be the “New Left” movement of the ‘60s..."

Is that all true? I really don't know as I was a kid at the time. I've heard accounts and Jane Fonda would seem to lend some evidence, but really, just how prevalent?

W. Patrick Lang


Hey, friend, in human affairs nothing lasts forever. I was talking about the '60s. My criteria may be different than yours.

Did the "New Left" support the VC rather than Peace? You bet. pl

J Thomas

Avedis, I can tell you my experience with the New Left.

I was in college from 1968 to 1970. My stand on the war was that we had to trust the experts, if we fell apart we'd lose. I had trouble finding people who'd agree with me about that. At dinner a rabbi pointed out that you wouldn't ask your barber whether you needed a haircut. I pointed out that these were professional soldiers, they wouldn't lie about how necessary the war was or how well it was going. That would be wrong.

I talked a lot with the local anti-war organisers. They didn't take me at all seriously and spoke freely in front of me. Once one of them asked me to explain why I supported the war so he could demolish it in print, he was getting bored with the same old copy and he thought I'd have something fresh and new and off-the-wall.

About 5% of the guys who thought they were doing leadership in the local antiwar movement thought of themselves as either communist or socialist. They spend some time arguing with each other about arcane dogma that I mostly couldn't follow. When I asked questions I got the impression they mostly didn't follow it either. Most of them appeared to be taking those positions to upset their families.

They tended to upset the other organisers too. They were generally hard to get along with, at least when people were trying to get something done. If somebody was providing them money to support the antiwar movement, they must have been spending it on drugs or something. I saw no indication that the movement would have done any worse without them. At any given time a couple of them would be sulking and not involved, and it looked to me like things went a little smoother when the worst of them weren't participating. But the whole thing wasn't organised well enough for anybody to decide to throw them out.

It looked to me like the whole thing didn't amount to much. They'd have a candle-light vigil which would be kind of pretty, or a mass march which mostly got ignored, or a bunch of people standing with signs in front of the courthouse. They'd get a little media attention but it didn't have much effect. The leftist guys treated it as advertisement for their particular little cults, which of course got the whole thing ignored even more.

What was having an effect was soldiers coming back and telling people what they'd seen. Nobody was very interested in the antiwar movement, they were interested in getting out of the war. I could tell things were falling apart when my aunt, a conservative small-town business woman told me to try to stay out of that veeit nam war, it sounded like it was a bad thing to get into.

The biggest thing I noticed was a rally in DC. They were going to meet in front of the Pentagon etc. Of course I didn't go, I didn't want to demonstrate against the war and I had to study. But it bugged me. It was the social event of the year. Students were going to DC where they'd be completely anonymous. A number of freshmen said they were going to lose their virginity on the trip, including a girl I was interested in, she wanted to do it with a guy who was going, not me. A lot of them came back and said they'd been tear-gassed and they seemed all heroic. Some of them had been threatened by mounted police. Everybody thought it was police brutality, though looking back on it, it was all standard crowd control. I read about the preparations the Pentagon had made. They were concerned that people might try to burn themselves alive to protest the war so they had teams ready with fire extinguishers and blankets and such. If somebody tried to burn himself up they'd put him out and get him hospitalised. But it was the wrong time of year for that. We'd have several suicides and attempts just before and during finals, when people were stressed. They might have done it to protest the war then, but not when it was a big party. Still I was impressed with the Pentagon organisation compared with the antiwar organisation.

Anyway, that's my experience. The New Left was a bunch of posers. They tried to get a lot of publicity because they were posers, and they wanted to use it to recruit. The media gave them a lot of publicity because they told a story the media wanted to hear. They had no role in the antiwar movement that wouldn't have been filled better if they weren't there.

What turned public opinion against the war was first, the effect on the economy. Johnson wanted his War on Poverty and the War on Vietnam at the same time. He fudged the numbers and kept a lot of the military spending off the books. When it blew up it got real bad, to the point that Nixon had to do price controls while he tried to figure out what was going on.

Second was the casualties. Too many people didn't believe the justifications that said they were necessary.

Third was the draft.

Fourth was the receding victory. It was like, "We're winning. We need more troops and more bombs." "We're winning even better, but we need more troops and more bombs." "Now we're *really* winning, but we need even more troops and even more bombs." Maybe we really were winning but it didn't look like it to the public. And the more it sounded like the generals were doing double-talk the less they were trusted.

I think all of those would have gone about the same if the whole antiwar movement hadn't been there at all. It might have gone rather similarly if the media had kept cheerleading the whole way, maybe. Except a few things like the Pentagon Papers maybe actually made a difference. I can't really say how things would have been if they were different, but that's the impression I had from watching it.

Oh well. My sister flew in for her birthday a couple of months ago and wanted to go on a peace march. I went with her. My 5-year-old daughter went too, she carried a sign that said "no hitting". There were lots of police but they didn't threaten anybody. There was a thin line of threatening-looking police around the Treasury, spaced 12 feet apart. Two lines in front of the White House. The city police on the first line were mostly black. The feds in the second line were white. The guys in the second line looked like they were trying to be scary. But when groups of peace-marchers sang catchy tunes the guys in the front line swayed to the music. Nobody had any intention of jumping over the barricades to be with the scary police, and there was no trouble at all. Everybody had a good time and went home. The only problem was the lack of porta-potties. No tear gas, no running from the horses, nobody had an excuse to go home and say the government was oppressing them. I expect hardly anybody felt more outraged after the even than before it. No heroes. They've learned a lot about crowd control since the old days.


J Thomas:

I would add another reason for a fundamenatal disillusionment was the discovery of American sin.

There was a great deal of it at home and abroad.

Conservatives and other defenders of the system did not forcefully take the position, that, "yes we and our allies do wrong, but we have mechanisms that expose some of it and reform some of that and this does make us superior to other systems."

Instead too many went into the same sort of denial that marks systems like the USSR.

Of course much of the left was no better, they seemed to express concern for the world's oppressed and then ratonalized or even celebrated the most awful things in places like China.

A lot of people became lost and did not have the mob instincts that would bring them together.

I think this is why it's so important that this time around members of the system such as General Pace do sometimes make gestures of honor.

I do hope and even belief that the learning and reforming that come from this difficult test will make us better.


Posted by: J Thomas | 02 December 2005 at 08:13 PM

because numerically speaking, the Iraq has very little impact to average people right now. At the peak of peace movement there were some half million troop in vietnam. That was from smaller population base too. The impact in term of personal relationship alone is fairly high.

Compare to now, there is about 150,000 troops in Iraq. Casualty is 2200 or so. With tight media control, Iraq war is really under control. The public is only disproving, but hasn't turned actively rejecting it. The Iraq war hasn't reach sub-urban america yet.

It's only the domain of politically active and concern citizens. For the rest of people it's merely unpleasant subject of conversation.


COL Lang - This may seem like a very broad question to ask, but do you think that the ARVN could have held out against the NVA assault in '75 if they had been fully funded, but without U.S. airpower? From what I have read the B-52s were what saved South Vietnam during the Easter Offensive, and the NVA also suffered from reduced funding from the Sovs in '75 to a great degree (Pribbenow in PARAMETERS, here:

http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/99winter/pribbeno.htm). I remember vaguely reading somewhere that vast quantities of American armaments and supplies were captured by the NVA, especially @ Da Nang --- would not increased funding simply have been captured by the endemic corruption that crippled the ARVN high command?

W. Patrick Lang


We will never know. As for the equipment it was captured after the collapse. pl

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