Robert Kaplan on modern wars, commandos, and liberal democracies. The best article you’ll read this summer.
This was the best article I read all summer. A good friend of mine did 2 tours in Vietnam as a SEAL, but it’s too hard for him talk about it. This article helps me to get a little sense of the frustrated warrior in him, without his having to go back to a place he’d prefer not to return, even in his mind.
Yes, excellent reading all around there.
I also recommend picking up old Soldier of Fortune magazines when you have the chance. And I
We have had great heroes, no doubt of that. But true to form, Kaplan thinks always in terms of brute force. In fact, Viet Nam was one war and what America is confronting in Iraq is different. In Iraq, there are the Sunnis and the shia and Al Qadea dn the Kurds…and, worse, within some of these faions, sub groups fighting each other! Now in Nam, we confronted
a totally different enemy. Incidentally, I am working with a post-Nam hero to push his book, a book it took ten years to write because of trauma. If you want more on that book drop me a note.
A few years ago I read everything I could get my hands on about LRRPs, SOG, Seals, Air Cav, and other very successful groups and operations in Vietnam.
Like Kaplan says, there was the regular army and then there was the effective military units that were really, really out there. The big problem even for those guys was that all of their ops were telegraphed to the enemy by spies within the ARVN and South Vietnamese government–who had to be notified in advance.
If the regular military had stayed home and just the special ops guys, LRRPs, gung ho helicopter pilots etc. and air/naval support had gone to Vietnam and kept a low public profile, the counter-insurgency lessons could have been learnt and applied efficaciously.