Vietnam, 1971

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Like the photo several days ago of a Vietnamese woman with a rifle, this photo also illustrates why no nation, especially not the U.S., should ever again engage in an insurgency war. Insurgencies and guerrilla warfare eat away at a military, at the minds of soldiers, and at the country sending their troops abroad, since the enemy can be anyone, and almost always is very difficult to locate. In addition, a foreign military force is fighting on someone else’s soil, stuck in a foreign country with a different language, culture, and history from what you’re used to, and this too is part of why the photo speaks volumes. Also, the exit strategy in an insurgency war is almost always muddled with politics – “If we leave now, we’ve shown weakness” or “Just a couple more years, and we’ll be able to prop up the government we want.”

Now, am I saying I agree with communism? No, not at all, the Vietcong were brutal and committed war crimes and I think Saddam was a madman, and that Al-Qaeda is evil. But Vietnam in hindsight was a terrible mistake, especially when you consider the number of enemy killed, along with civilian and U.S. casualties, in addition to the lopsided ratio of death, that still resulted in the U.S. leaving Vietnam:

“According to the Vietnamese government, there were 1,100,000 North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong military personnel deaths during the Vietnam War (including the missing).

United States armed forces
Casualties as of 28 February 2013:
58,282 KIA or non-combat deaths (including the missing & deaths in captivity)[36]”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War_casualties

Fighting in someone else’s land, for the purpose of occupying the land and imposing a political objective, while at the same time fighting an insurgency, is never a wise course of action. It didn’t work for the British in 1781, our country in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, etc. and the latest wars in Iraq and Afghanistan show exactly why we should have learned the lessons of Vietnam and never engaged in those wars.

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