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« Marching as to war | Main | Bergler »

Dec 21, 2006

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John D. Young

I guess the White House, Sec. of Defense Gates and sadly many Democrats will in January explain the necessity for renewed efforts at Pacification in Iraq. Much of this playbook exists on a dusty self.

A description of Richard A. Hunt's book on "Pacification: The American Struggle for Vietnam's Hearts and Minds" may prove helpful in reminding us about that program in one of the other wars we lost.

"During the Vietnam War, the United States embarked on an unusual crusade on behalf of the government of South Vietnam. Known as the pacification program, it sought to help South Vietnam’s government take root and survive as an independent, legitimate entity by defeating communist insurgents and promoting economic development and political reforms. In this book, Richard Hunt provides the first comprehensive history of America’s “battle for hearts and minds,” the distinctive blending of military and political approaches that took aim at the essence of the struggle between North and South Vietnam. Hunt concentrates on the American role, setting pacification in the larger political context of nation building. He describes the search for the best combination of military and political action, incorporating analysis of the controversial Phoenix program, and illuminates the difficulties the Americans encountered with their sometimes reluctant ally. The author explains how hard it was to get the U.S. Army involved in pacification and shows the struggle to yoke divergent organizations (military, civilian, and intelligence agencies) to serve one common goal. The greatest challenge of all was to persuade a surrogate—the Saigon government—to carry out programs and to make reforms conceived of by American officials. The book concludes with a careful assessment of pacification’s successes and failures. Would the Saigon government have flourished if there had been more time to consolidate the gains of pacification? Or was the regime so fundamentally flawed that its demise was preordained by its internal contradictions? This pathbreaking book offers startling and provocative answers to these and other important questions about our Vietnam experience."

(quote from http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/perseus/book_detail.jsp?isbn=0813334594 )

Kirk D.

I've had it with Bush. The man is an incompetent buffoon who never deserved to hold the office. Those who still cling to him as an effective leader are doing so from blind partisanship and should know better.

If Clinton had tried to pull the crap and semantics that Bush is now doing, the GOP and Fox News would have hung him from the nearest yard-arm. The definition of "is" can't hold a candle to what this joke of a president is trying to pull now. We're not winning, but we're not losing? Abizaid announces that he opposes more troops being sent and as such will "retire" in March. Bush always said that the military commanders on the ground had his highest respect and their's was the only advice that "mattered". Well, I guess that's one more thing he's lying about.

The fact that the American people have not started an insurrection is amazing. Two more years of this? God help us all and the brave men and women putting their lives on the line for no plan, no course of action, no strategy. We are foundering and people are paying for it with their lives and limbs.

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