Viet Cong View of the Quagmire in Iraq

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
We know that there are repeated comparisons between Iraq and the Vietnam War. The article Viet Cong Advice for Iraqi Resistance discusses Iraq from the perspective of a Vietnamese Official. Tran Dac Loi, Secretary-General of the Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation, who grew up in Hanoi during the war and is the son of a guerilla solidier who fought in the war.

He believes the Iraqi opposition forces are doomed to failure because they are split along ethnic and religious lines. In his view, the U.S. is successfully playing the minority groups against each other in a divide and conquer strategy. As he is quoted saying, ''The absence of a clear political programme is in the interest of the U.S. Then, they can go above you and pretend like they’re solving the problems between you, when really they’re lording over you.''

He also has harsh words for the terror attacks against civilians, which he believes seriously weaken the anti-U.S. rebels. He argues that the Iraqi resistance would need to unify under a single leader like Ho Chi Minh, but sees no such potential leader on the horizon. As a result he sees the current state of the Iraqi rebellion as similar to pre-war, anti-French revolts in Vietnam -- led by elites, and doomed to failure because they could not connect to the masses.

I think he fails to take into account that Iraq is a much less homogeneous country than Vietnam, and as a result misjudges the situation in the country. Nonetheless, it was interesting, considering the Western obsession to compare every war to Vietnam, to see the Iraqi war from the viewpoint of the winners of the Vietnam War.
Tran clearly sees the U.S. as fighting a successful counter-insurgency in the aftermath of OIF.

Link from Harry's Place

37 comments:

David Thomson said...

“Tran clearly sees the U.S. as fighting a successful counter-insurgency in the aftermath of OIF.”

Tran conveniently fails to mention the decisive help the Viet Cong received from America’s MSM. South Vietnam would have never fallen if the legacy media was not committed to its destruction. That is virtually impossible today due to the internet blogs and the other sectors of the new media.

terrye said...

Viet Nam was a different culture and time also.

The Viet Cong did get help from our media, that they have in common with the terrorists in Iraq..but they were also Viet Names whereas Zarqawi is not even an Iraqi.

I think the Viet Cong were also very cruel to civilians, perhaps that has been forgotten over time, but they did terrorize people in an effort to intimidate the populace.

ambisinistral said...

terrye,

Yea, the Functionary's claim they were soooo kind to civilians was an eyeball roller.

Knucklehead said...

One other thing. The Iraqi "insurgents" didn't get to cut their teeth and build up their confidence fighting the French. (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Knucklehead said...

Ambi,

They were kind. They gave them free re-education, complete with camps. Who wouldn't want to go to camp for free especially when its re-educational?

markg8 said...

he is quoted saying, ''The absence of a clear political programme is in the interest of the U.S. Then, they can go above you and pretend like they’re solving the problems between you, when really they’re lording over you.''

You can translate that as: "civil war ain't no way to throw the occupier out."

Peter UK said...

"He also has harsh words for the terror attacks against civilians",This is ripe coming from those who used to exterminate their own people.

truepeers said...

Mark, you can only call it civil war if you believe the two or more sides fighting are members of the same tribe or nation. Lacking a common identity, it is just plain old war.

The English Civil War was a real to honest civil war (for complete control of ENgland in the name of the true faith), the American Civil War was somewhat less a civil war, since the COnfederates wanted to secede and create/renew an alternative national identity.

Sometimes I get the impression, Mark, that leftist utopians want to create a one world order in which all we'll ever have left is perennial civil/ideological/religious war with no ability to build up tribal or national walls to mediate conflict. THat would be truly a frightening world, in comparision to which tribal and national wars are prefarable, i dare to think.

Part of what must be going on in Iraq right now is the realization of many with tribal and religious loyalties to people outside of Iraq, that if Iraq were actually ever to become a strong nation state - which it is not at present (making claims of civil war dubious) - it would force them to compromise these loyalties to tribal brothers in Syria, Saudi, or wherever and become, potentially, truly loyal to a state that might have serious conflicts with the states in Syria, Saudi, etc. And that is a step they don't have the faith to take.

From this perspective, if the Americans could create an Iraqi nation and an ideological civil war for control of it - and not just a war to dominate the neighboring tribes - then this would be a great achievement on their part, a contribution to an international (not one world) order. But I don't think we're there yet.

Having the French-Christians as their models of a nation and state, perhaps the Vietnamese were further along the road to nationhood when their war exploded than are today's Iraqis. But the oppressiveness of the COmmunists is arguably a sign that any common nationhood was weak at best and that tribal loyalties were never far below the surface. And the Americans made allies of tribal minorities like the Montagnards.

terrye said...

truepeers:

I read many years ago that before our civil war the US was often the united States and not the United States. It was the Civil War that created the nation as it is now. It made us one people.

markg8 said...

Iraq has had the same borders and home rule for over 80 years now. When our civil war started we had self government for 78 years. I think there is as much of an Iraqi national identity now as there was here when our war started. The Sunnis aren't fighting to secede they're fighting to be kept from being cut out of the pie. The Kurds and Shia want strong provincial governments that keep the lion's share of oil revenues for their own benefit. Southern Iraqis, mostly Shia have no love for Saudi Arabia to the south where their kind are considered heretics. They and the Kurds have an affection for their allies and benefactors in Iran but don't share a language or racial background with Iranians. The Sunni Arabs have no real love for the whahabbi nutcases from SA and even the Baathists have long been estranged from the Baathists in Syria. I think most Iraqis feel if they can get all the foreigners to leave, especially Americans they can sort out their problems themselves and their oil wealth will make them prosperous. The main obstacle is their coddled politicians who are protected in the green zone and are jockeying to guarantee their particular tribes as much wealth and power as they can.

truepeers said...

Home rule for over 80 years? Saddam's tyranny doesn't exactly compare with the democracy of the early American republic, howevermuch the moonshiners hated the federals there.

BUt I hope you're right Mark, I hope there is in Iraq the sense of national identity you wish to see there. If such an identity triumphs over these times, along with the principle of democratic elections, then overthrowing Saddam will have clearly been the right thing to do, howevermuch the new Iraq is or is not a US ally. Terrye's point about the uS/US would then be a good analogy.

BTW, the ENglish civil war was not simply English, in the sense that it involved people all over the Atlantic world. But at heart it was a war for England. That was always clearly the main stake; the present situation in Iraq strike me as much less clearly focussed, for many reasons. And blaming it all on coddled politicians in the green zone and the AMerican presence strikes me as naive scapegoating.

Peter UK said...

The majority of Saudis are Sunnis,the Wahabi are also Sunni.

Peter UK said...

One good thing about this Markg8,you supported them,now the are supporting you.

markg8 said...

The majority of Saudis are Sunnis,the Wahabi are also Sunni.

Duh. The majority of whahhabis think as much of themselves and as little of others as you do Peety with little apparent justification in either case. As usual you have no point, except of course on top of your head.

Come quick Buddy! He made a typo! He made typo! Sheesh.

Peter UK said...

Becausemy point Markg8 make yours "The Sunni Arabs have no real love for the whahabbi nutcases from SA"into your typical uninformed gibberish.
The wahabis are a sect within the Sunnis,
You never did that homework I set you on the differences between Shia and Sunni did you?

Peter UK said...

Wahabi

gumshoe1 said...

excerpt:

"then this would be a great achievement on their part, a contribution to an international (not one world) order. But I don't think we're there yet."
- truepeers

that distinction
has fascinated me for a while...

"Inter-National vs. One World"


the utopians *hate* nation-states and the realpolitik between them
(and Borders,and National Identity,etc.),
and long for the UN/OneWorldGov't
(NannyState)that will usher in
the Golden Age.

but:

a)there's little that is likely to be multi-cultural about a OneWorldGov't...its development would tend to move in the opposite direction,imo...homogenization,
central control,uniformity,etc.

b)who monitors the OneWorldGov't
once it takes power??
there will be no counter-balance
to it.

and i seem to recall
many who harrangue about
"absolute power and absolute corruption"....

the current UN looks like a pretty good science experiment.

Buddy Larsen said...

Gumshoe, who will be more equal?

truepeers said...

Gumshoe "united" nations says it all: utopian nonsense. If conflict is inevitable in the human condition, and i think it is, it is how we should acknowledge and mediate it - without dreaming of avoiding or imperiously controlling conflict - that should be our central, never-ending discussion.

Strong democratic nations with global economic interests, pushing each other within the bounds of a game none will want to turn over to apocalyptic violence, strikes me as the horizon we should strive towards. The desire for one world is, in contrast, inherently apocalyptic, for it relies on the great and final unveiling of the big lie that supposedly has us chained to conflict. BUt conflict cannot be denied, only deferred.

The fear of nationalism is founded in some obviously brutal history. But the dream of moving beyond it strikes me as a recipe for yet greater violence: global civil war. It is like communism: the dream of moving beyond violent differences, when systematically implemented, only creates greater violence.

Buddy Larsen said...

That conflict is inherent, intrinsic, and endemic is probably well understood among the tranzi theoreticians. The idea is to drive it into smaller and smaller places, until it is all individualized in solitary souls, too exhausted for war and revolution. Then there will be 'peace', in the material dialectic.

truepeers said...

Break the people, their humanity, their will to resist, and then we will have peace? Yes sir, yes master, whatever you say sir, master... s.o.b.

gumshoe1 said...

"The desire for one world is, in contrast, inherently apocalyptic, for it relies on the great and final unveiling of the big lie that supposedly has us chained to conflict."

true peers -
i could use a little clarification
on your intent there,pls.

specifically the "big lie"
to be unveiled.

__________________
buddy -

your description of the conflict being driven to smaller and more and more intimate levels sounds(and feels)vaguely familiar.

truepeers said...

Well, I don't believe in a big lie that is the essential stumbling block to peace and happiness. But the tranzi internationalists and many "intellectuals" do, and it goes by many names: the secretive Jews controlling the world, war for Haliburton, the patriarchy's lies to justify its dominance, white supremacy, the bourgeois myths of normalcy, etc. etc., ad nauseam.

truepeers said...

Because of all these above-mentioned beliefs in some devil or lie that must be unveiled in the apocalyptic revelation that initiates the age of perpetual peace, the most sophisticated form of apocalyptic thinking is that which denounces all the other forms and says that only when all forms of demonizing and scapegoating are revealed for what they are - the sinful, fallen, human immersion in the scapegoating instinct - will we learn to live without violent conflict. But even this is not true. We cannot ever hope to escape conflict, only to minimize its violence. And to minimize violence, we have to be willing to fight to resolve things now - preferably in the field of ideas - rather than to let cancers grow.

truepeers said...

"fight to resolve things now" is bad wording on my part... it would be better to say "fight to defer conflicts", since "resolve things now" is itself a utopian idea. Fighting to defer conflict might sound contradictory. But mediators have to fight to mediate and defer conflicts because it's not easy to do, and most of the time we want to ignore problems, bury our heads in the sand, let the cancer grow. But if we don't fight to defer, to temper resentments for a time, our conflicts just grow and get out of hand.

Buddy Larsen said...

Gumshoe, it ought to feel familiar, it's currently mainstreaming as "PC".

Buddy Larsen said...

I get the thrust, 'Peers, and agree--final solutions have to involve inhumanism. Great expectations lead to flattened spirits, and thence to the darkest resentments. Work is our highest calling--work at managing ("man" "aging") ourselves, our animal natures (no cannibalizing of any sort, metaphorical or otherwise), as well as our spirit natures (no false prophets, up to you to know).

Without this managing on the individual level, we can be sure the tranzis will win in the end.

gumshoe1 said...

"Gumshoe, it ought to feel familiar, it's currently mainstreaming as "PC"."
-Buddy L


i wasn't sure...

the water in the pot
keeps getting just a little warmer
at a time.

Syl said...

Southern Iraqis, mostly Shia have no love for Saudi Arabia to the south where their kind are considered heretics. They and the Kurds have an affection for their allies and benefactors in Iran but don't share a language or racial background with Iranians.

Uh, Mark. The Kurds are Sunni. The only ties they have with anyone in Iran are the Iranian Kurds--who are also Sunni.

You speak gobbledygook.

markg8 said...

syl the Kurds may be Sunni but of the Iraqis they are the most secular and naitonalist. They are already issuing their own travel visas. Their leaders regularly travel to Tehren to consult with the mullahs. There is concern among all the surrounding states with Kuridsh populations, Syria, Iran and especially Turkey that a independent Kurdistan will stir up nationalist sentiment among their Kurds. So far the Kurds have navigated those concerns (with strong support of the US) and their own split between the PUK and KDP factions deftly. Their eye is still on the prize of an independent state. More troubling is the two factions maintain checkpoints between their regions of control.

Chickenhawk of course Wahhabis are Sunni. Where did I say they weren't? It's the radical Saudi based subsect that inspired Osama Bin Laden and is roughly as powerful as the religious right here in the US. Mookie Sadr went to Saudi Arabia a little while ago reportedly to negotiate safe passage for Iraqi Shia religious tourists for the Haj.

The little bigmouth is turning out to be quite the politician. Even though he's Shiite he's arguing against the loose federation UIA and the Kurds want in favor of a strong federal government in Baghdad which both the US and the Sunnis want. One of his spokesmen says he supports the DAWA guy over the SCIRI guy for PM and his party won't accept a government ministry where they have to work with Americans. They prefer the Health and Human Services post.
Hey it works to build him support in Sadr City and it works for Hamas
in Palestine so why wouldn't he?

markg8 said...
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markg8 said...
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Peter UK said...

Markg8
Puritanical Saudi Islamic sect founded by Muhammad ibn-Abd-al-Wahab (1703–1792), which regards all other sects as heretical. By the early 20th century it had spread throughout the Arabian peninsula; it still remains the official ideology of the Saudi Arabian kingdom.
There you go Chickenbrain some background information,not really analogous to the Christian Right,more the national religion.
Will you stop cutting and pasting disparate pieces of information,it comes out as very confused.

markg8 said...

You're apparently easily confused. Why am I not surprised. Supposedly the Saudis are trying to rain in the more outrageous Wahhabi clerics and mitigate their influence on the educational system. The religious nuts are more powerful in SA than here but not by much, that's why I said "roughly".

When Donald Wildmon can dictate to TV affiliates what their viewers should see, nutcase preachers can turn their services into political rallies, when an entire state decides to teach creationism as a valid alternative to evolutionary biology, and the president of the United States thinks we should all debate the two as competing theories of science I'd say we're catching up.

Peter UK said...

No Markg8,reading your pointless,in the true sense of the word,screeds gives an insight into why you did not get a degree.

You have the invulnerable confidence possessed only by the truly stupid.

Throwing in every snippet of information on a given subject is not an argument, have a basic point,use quotes to back up that point,and do try to give some structure to your comments.
Over and out Lilyliver.

markg8 said...

Thanks for the critique chickenhawk. Let me know when you have a rebuttal.

Peter UK said...

When you make a point Markg8,you will get the usual rebuttal correcting your errors.