Vietnam IIgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I am convinced that NATO is making a mistake in interfering with Serbia. Clearly the logic they are using is, "We kicked ass in the Gulf War, and this is much the same doctrine-wise." It is NOT much the same, for the following reasons: 1. Iraq-Kuwait was a simple, unambiguous invasion. There were clear border lines to define, simple objectives of victory. The Balkans have been a world troublespot for HUNDREDS of years. The issue is nowhere near as simple as a straight invasion. To think that brute force could be used to sort this out is a massive underestimation of the ethnic and religious issues involved here. 2. The Gulf War was fought in the desert, across flat land. The desert is ideal for US doctrine because airpower and artillery rule; there are unlimited fields of view and fire. There is plenty of space for Schwarzkopf's tank divisions to be utilised to effect. There is no opportunity for guerillas, for infiltrators.. While the Balkans are largely a mountain range. You can fight a guerilla war in them very effectively, and for a long period of time. Look at Afghanistan. (Okay, the Balkans are NOT the Hindu Kush Mountains. But the Serbs have tanks and some pretty effective conventional forces here, too. Even without airpower.) Serb units will be able to play hell with supply lines; running across the border to blow stuff up in Riyadh would be impossible for Saddam's men because of the desert, while attacking ground forces based in Turkey or Croatia would not be hard at all for Serb infiltrators to do. Likewise, the terrain will make it harder for US aircraft to have the decisive effect they had in the Gulf. AA weapons will be easier to conceal, and ground-attack helicopters will be many times more vulnerable. 3. The Gulf War was opposed lightly by Russia; they didn't make any moves to commit anything, and they didn't get TOO annoyed. Arabia is nobody's sphere of influence, and the few local countries that did object (Syria, Jordan, etc) were only mildly annoyed. The Balkans are territory that the Russians consider to be THEIR sphere of influence. They have gone to war in the past over them (WW1), and they have already made moves to assist Serbia (that plane containing Russian aircraft and pilots, interdicted over Belarus. How many other planes got through, that we don't know about?)
The Russians have a motive for war, too. In July 1914, when the shooting in Sarajevo happened, the Tsar was shaky. His regime was being rocked by a lot of unpleasant people, such as Communists and other revolutionaries. A winning war, Russian nobles thought, would strengthen the Tsar's hold again. Thus they went to war. (And lost, badly.) It is possible that Yeltsin could be thinking the same way. The United States blissfully discounts the possibility of Russian interference because "They need us too much. They'll protest, but they depend on us." This is arrogance of the highest order. I believe that the possibility of Russian ground forces meeting Americans in the Balkans is plausible at best, probable at worst. 4. We have no clear objectives. In the Gulf, we had the objective "to free Kuwait". Here, we do not. Here, we have the somewhat hazier intention "to stop the bloodshed". How do you stop bloodshed with guns..in my knowledge, guns and planes CAUSE bloodshed. (Just of different people, ie Serbs instead of Albanians). Clear objectives are what we lacked in Vietnam, too. Doubtless the diplomatic restrictions (Don't invade Serbia proper, something like that) will be as bad as they were in Nam. I do not think that the Pentagon or the White House are behaving intelligently here. We are committing ourselves to an unwinnable war, to a second Vietnam where our objectives will soon slide from "Total victory" to "partial victory" to "holding the line" to "honorable withdrawl" to "rapid withdrawl" to "withdrawl at all costs". We are not fighting on the "right" side here (the situation is morally ambiguous at best..I'm not saying we're the bad guys, just that we're not the clear-cut good guys we were in WW2 or Vietnam). Add the Russian Factor, and y2k, to this mess, and I think we will be looking at some major trouble. --Leo
-- Leo (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 24, 1999
-- Kato (email@example.com), March 24, 1999.
Uhhh,,,,we were the good guys in Nam?,,,really? Burn the village to save it?,,,It was wrong then and it's wrong now, don't try to rewrite history, we need to learn from it,
Other than that,,,you're right on
-- CT (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 24, 1999.
You are correct sir. If the Serbs have a spine at all, air power won't win this. Personally, I view the former U.S.S.R. as a wild card. I'm not sure what they are capable of. I can't believe that they have let their military degrade to the level that we have been led to believe. Apparently, during the cold war, the Soviets used wood mock-ups of weapons during their parades to appear stronger. They used a lot of trickery to appear more menacing than they were. I believe that they are using trickery to appear less potent than they are. I've read Sun Tzu's "The Art of War," and I would wager that the military leaders of the former Soviet Union have as well. In that context, things may get very scary. Then again, it could be simple posturing.
-- d (email@example.com), March 24, 1999.
Our motives in Vietnam were just and moral: to protect the South from communism. Our methods were, in many cases -as CT rightly says- amoral or villanous. (One thing that isn't as widely known, however, is that the VC were generally MORE brutal than the CIA; raping, brutalising, torturing and murdering liberally in order to keep people under their control. Still, being brutal just because the other side is is NOT a justification if you want to be considered the good guys.)
Based on what I've read about logistics in the Gulf War (ie that had the offensive been forced to last another two weeks, we would have started running out of munitions/fuel/parts), I don't think we'll be able to maintain a high-intensity air offensive forever. Once it gets down to the ground fighting, a well-trained American with a M-16 is no better than an experienced Serb with an AK. In fact, the American would be inferior -because he's used to immaculate supply lines, perfect communications, and total air superiority. The Serb would know the terrain, speak the language, have a strong motive (beyond "we're just obeying orders") and be able to function at the end of a long and tenuous supply line; scrounging food and using ammo sparingly. Most Serb units would have experience (if a certain percentage of men in a unit have experience, they pass it on to the others by example and instruction; thus an experienced unit can include a few amateurs) in fighting a war in this country.
If it got to the down-and-dirty phase (and I personally think that the Serbs will fight an air guerilla war, moving their radar from hiding place to hiding place and attacking the odd US fighter plane in the air..or firing mortar shells into ground bases), the Serbs are going to have the advantage. The US will have the same choice that Johnson faced in Vietnam: Pull out and show weakness in front of the world, or commit more men to defend your airbases. Withdrawl would be costly and embarrassing, but reinforcement will be costly and ultimately unwinnable.
I can't believe that the White House/Pentagon is making this mistake.
-- Leo (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 24, 1999.
WhY???? IT IS eaSY TO belieVE OncE You REALisE ThaT BIlly boB'S BRaiN HASn't bEEn "massAGEd" LAtELy!!!!!! JAckASS In chIEf!!!!!
-- Dieter (email@example.com), March 24, 1999.
The war in d'Nam was moral, ethical and efficient...at first. The US got sucked into that war by the French..there's some interesting comparisons there by the way. The Vietnamse AS A PEOPLE were well worth saving. The regimes that cropped up to control power were not worth the sweat of a US serviceman let alone his life. The regimes were corrupt, vendictive, lazy and vicious.
The war (?) in Kosovo will be another one of those micro-managed public broadcast melodramas that serve Billy Bob so well. We will possibly do well with the air strikes but God Help Us if we send ground troops in there. You will see a high fatality rate and the public will not stand for that (provided they are told the truth).
My predictions (for what it's worth). NATO will continue air strikes on and off for the next 9 months. Ineffective results.
The US will have several (3+) 'terrorist' attacks on sites on US soil between now and August 1.
The attacks will be used by Clinton administration to unleash a Federal Antiterrorist Task Force to enforce gun laws, restrict ammunition sales and 'search' for subversive elements.
You think not? The funding for the Task Force was passed today by the US Senate--2.8 billion dollars. Keep a low profile, people.
If LBJ can use the FBI and CIA to infiltrate 'subversive' groups in the 60's, what is to stop the current administration from doing the same??? This is what any internment camps would be used for, not the 'helping hand' to the citydwellers. There is not a way for FEMA to supply the needs for 1/3 of the population.
Leo, I agree with most of your post. Been there, done that. Don't want to go back.
-- Leo (Hiding@woods.com), March 24, 1999.
FOlisHNESS!!!!! WE DiD Not gET INVOLveD IN VIetnAM FoR A moRaL PURPose JACkaL!!!!!! WE wERE TrYInG TO heLP The frENCh tO RE- estaBLIsH THeiR COLoniAL EMpiRE AFtER wWII, IDioT!!!!
-- Dieter (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 24, 1999.
Dieter, you're wrong. There was a major fight between the French and the US over their colonialism. Viet Nam was important for the following reasons:
1. To act as a bulwark against communism. Actually, it was meant to show resolve against the Russians.
2. To ensure that the tin and rubber industry in VN remained available to the industry in the US. In short, $$$$$$$$$$$$$. (What else do the politicians send in the troops to protect?)
3. To protect our interests in the port of Cam Ranh Bay...which was used as a 'safe haven' by the tankers belonging to Mobil, Texaco, Esso and Dutch Shell. Again, can you say $$$$$$$$$??
It is a beautiful land with gentle, kind people that just want to be left alone. They merely got in the way of two countries that had ulterior motives. I lost a lot of friends there. Do I blame the Vietnamese? No. I do place all the blame squarely on the shoulders of the administraions in charge during 1956-1975. Again, it was just pure and simple $$$$$. The same reasons we're going into Kosovo and went into Kuwait/Iraq.
-- Lobo (Hiding@woods.com), March 25, 1999.
Moral and Just! Baloney. Cast yourselve back and read the U.S. News and World Report,o of l954, the article entitled:"Why U.S. risks war in Indo-China," Subhead: " One of the world's riches areas is open to the winner in Indo-China. That's behind the growing U.S. concern. Communists are fighting for the wealth of the Indies. Tin, rubber, rice, key strategic raw materials are what the war is really about. The U. S. sees it as a place to hold--at any cost."
And Eisenhower said, in l963 and 64,"The loss of all Vietnam together with Laos in the west and Cambodia on the southwest...would have spelled the loss of valuable deposits of tin and prodigious supplies of rubber and rice," and later tungsten.
And another article was entitled:"The Big Prize--Southeast Asia"? Our young men killed and maimed for commodities, and the poor people of VietNam having their lives, farms, and infrastructure shattered, for raw materials we needed to support our affluent lifestyles.
Lobo is right, what we were there for was renewable and nonrenewable resources. It makes me sick. Mark Twain said people are like the moon, the bright side you see and the dark side you don't. Governments are the same.
-- gilda jessie (email@example.com), March 25, 1999.
The Serbs have been described as 'the tallest and toughest fighters in Europe.' They have extensive combat experience and it is unlikely they will simply roll over. They fight for their country, we fight for money. We are an imperial power, fighting to protect imperial interests, which, since the 18th c. (at least) has meant the interests of multinational corporations, and the international investment houses that bankroll them. Which would have been the better investment: $12 BILLION dollars for 3 B2 bombers, or the same amount invested in infrastructure in Southern Yugoslavia? It better serves the multinational's interests to build high-tech death stars than to help the peasants, whether they reside in the Balkans, El Salvador, Vietnam, East Timor, or Peoria. It's always and forever about money. They talk about morality, and they murder people.
-- Spidey (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 25, 1999.
REgarding trying to curb the Serbs by air power alone:
Old joke among NATO officers back in the Evil Empire days: Two Soviet tank army generals meet in a Paris bistro after France has fallen. One says to the other, "By the way, who won the air war?" Lesson being, wars aren't won from the air, but on the ground. Most recent lesson, Iraq. Next lesson, Serbia.
-- Cash (email@example.com), March 25, 1999.
Given that there seems to be no mention of committing ground troops to the fighting in Serbia, perhaps we have learned a little from history. Have you done any reading on the partisan war in the Balkans in WW2? If not, take a look at Milovan Djilas or any one of several other contemporary authors, or at Robert Kaplan's book (I think the title is _Balkan Ghosts_). The Germans had something like 30 divisions tied down in the area at one time during the war, and still only controlled the ground they stood on.
I agree that the intervention is likely a serious mistake, for several important political reasons. I wonder if we will escape from this one unscathed. The myth of air power is getting another headline run- you have to admit it does make good press propaganda, with all the thundering engines and video of jet exhaust against the darkening sky. And speaking of propaganda, I have never seen the Mighty Wurlitzer crank up so loud so fast before- politicians and press in awesome concert. And it seems to be working on the mindless masses here in the states pretty well too, if the polls can be believed. The ultimate insult to me is our peerless leader importuning the moral necessity of killing for peace yet again, as if he had any moral high ground to speak from whatsoever. It is sickening.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 25, 1999.
Now that our leader has started another conflict, skirmish, police action or whatever (Congress did not declare war as I recall is the normal procedure), he must end it by early December 1999 as the supply system will collapse to provide supplies to the military force that still may be over there. Even simple things like fuel and food will be disrupted. The president either did not understand Y2k or he will use the chaos for his own purposes. It does not look good.
-- Steve (email@example.com), March 25, 1999.
Well Cash, about wars not being won from the air: we 'won' the final phase of Pac theatre WWII 'in the air' in the sense that despite many bloody battles on atolls with subsequent Japanese pullbacks, J. had yet many thousands of troops all over Asia. The bombing was hampering resupply and the 'air war' nuking finished 'em off.
-- Blue Himalayan (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 25, 1999.
Not that I'm advocating us nuking Belgrade or Moscow, perish the thought, Boris, if you are reading this, getcher finger off that button...
-- Blue Himalayan (email@example.com), March 25, 1999.
A question for Dieter. Were the Vietnamese worse off under the French colonial administration, or under the Communist Regime? Just wondering....
-- Right Winger (RW@Right.com), March 26, 1999.
a TiM Commentary By Bob Djurdjevic
3-25-99 PHOENIX, Mar. 25 - Time after time today, retired generals and active-duty high brass of the "world's most powerfully military," which the trigger-happy Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Sam Berger, William Cohen and other Washington warmongers began to use yesterday against a small European predominantly Christian country, expressed their bewilderment as to why the Serbs have not so far used their sophisticated air defense systems. Instead, for the second day in a row, the Serb military lay low, pretending to be taking it on the chin, as the NATO cruise and tomahawk missiles pounded the country, destroying its surface military targets and killing mostly Serb civilians, but leaving the country's underground military structure largely intact. They used only the traditional AAA (anti-aircraft artillery). And even that, it appears, was sufficient to hit some NATO planes, as you saw from our earlier reports. Guess someone forgot to punch in the "playing possum" scenario into the Pentagon war games computer models? That Serbs won't waste their missiles against unmanned NATO missiles, and will instead wait for the NATO pilots to come calling before sending them home in body bags, or taking the survivors prisoner. Meanwhile, the Belgrade TV kept broadcasting to the nation the images of the wanton and needless destruction of civilian structures which the NATO "smart bombs" had hit. In the Belgrade suburb of Rakovica, for example, two elementary schools and one junior high school were damaged by the NATO bombing, our Belgrade sources report. A Novi Sad-based correspondent reported to the Truth in Media today that, NATO had "also bombed Vrdnik in Fruska Gora, which is not very far from where I live." The target was close "right next to the Ravanica Monastery, where the nuns still keep the collar bone of Prince Lazar" (the Serb leader in the battle of Kosovo against the Turkish invadors in 1389). Earlier on, we had also reported to you that "several civilian areas have already been hit by cruise missiles, including the village of Gracanica, where one of the most sacred Serbian Orthodox monasteryies is situated," according to a report by Father Sava Janjic of the Decani Monastery. Meanwhile, anti-NATO and anti-American protests are erupting around the world, including in the NATO countries. If you have any doubts that this is Vietnam all over again, only worse (because it may lead to WW III), read on... In Toronto, Canada, America's neighbor and closest NATO ally, more than 1,000 people - many of them Serbs with young children in tow - gathered in front of the consulate, shutting down University Ave, according to today's Toronto Star report. When police finally managed to clear protesters and reopen the major city artery 3 1/2 hours later, many of the U.S. Consulate windows were broken, and debris, broken eggs and rocks littered the street. "Hey, hey U.S.A., how many Serbs have you killed today?'', chanted the crowd, refreshing a Vietnam war protesters slogan ("Hey, hey LBJ, how many have you killed today?''). Truth in Media's (non-Serbian!) Toronto sources report that many Canadians joined in the protest, outraged by the fact that four Canadian CF-18 fighter jets were among the planes that dropped the bombs on Serbia. "I can't believe Canada is standing for this. I'm so ashamed,'' a 27-year-old Toronto woman, holding small baby in her arms, told the Toronto Star. In Prague, the capital of one of the three new countries admitted to NATO membership, about one hundred Serbs, some of them wrapped in Yugoslav flags and waving banners condemning NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia, staged a protest march past the embassies of the USA and Germany today. The march ended outside the Yugoslav Embassy. That's where about one thousand people, most the newly-minted "NATO citizens" (the Czechs), signed a petition against NATO attacks in an hour. In Moscow, thousands of protesters pelted the American Embassy with eggs, paint and stones throughout the day. Thousands of volunteers signed up to fight with the Serbs against NATO. In Skopje, as we had reported earlier, several thousand Macedonians attacked first the western journalists' equipment, and then the American Embassy in that Balkan country. In Canberra, the capital of Australia, demonstrators expressed their anger at, what they called, the "West's Mafia Tactics," according to the Australian, a national daily newspaper. We could go on, but we'll stop here with reports of the world's outrage with the NATO bombing of the Serbs. Meanwhile, amid all these examples of the world's common citizens' outrage against a wanton aggression by NATO against a sovereign country, signs of cracks within the NATO alliance have begun to show today. First the Greek prime minister, Konstantinos Simitis, announced today in Berlin that Greece, a Balkan country, and one of the key components of the NATO alliance opposes the NATO air strikes. Then the Italian prime minister said the same. Even the French Chirac-cum-Vichy government has started to waiver, perhaps remembering what happened to the vassals, like Vichy? All of which makes Madeleine Alibright, the U.S. secretary of state, who claimed today at State Department teleconference, that she had been in constant communications with the NATO allies, who were unified and 100% behind the bombing campaign against the Serbs. In light of the above PUBLIC statements by the leaders of Greece and Italy, could it be that Madam Halbright has been consulting with alter-ego, perhaps even less bright than the Albright? Finally, unlike Iraq during the Gulf War, Serbia today reportedly expelled all foreign journalists from its territory. So no longer will the American Joe-Six-Packs be able to snack on their beer and chips while entertaining themselves with scenes of the almighty Pentagon "smart bombs" destroying the designated targets without any "collateral damage." But that's the least of the problems which this will pose for the warmongers in Washington. As a retired American general (Neal) freely admitted today in a live CNN broadcast, he and Gen. Schwartzkopf, the top U.S. commander during the Gulf War, had relied heavily on such CNN and other reports from the western reporters within Iraq. In other words, by showing the likes of CNN's Christiana Amanpour (Albright's James Rubin's Iranian-born wife) the way to the door, the Serbs have now deprived the NATO bombers of their eyes and ears on the ground. From now on, all the news the Joe-Six-Packs gets, will be from the Belgrade brewery (a far better brew than the Budweiser or Coors, by the way. For what it's worth...) And so, tisk, tisk... The Pentagon thought they could "play a TV war" with the Serbs? How stupid! How did they think the Serbs kicked out the Turks from their lands after a 500-year occupation (no kidding - 500 years!)? Or the Austrian imperialists? Or Hitler's 20 divisions, supplemented with the local collaborators, including the Kosovo Albanians? By kissing up to the invaders? So, c'mon Comrade Klinton and Madame Halfbright. Get real. Do you relally think you can intimidate the Serbs by killing their women and children with your "smart bombs?" That you can scare the people who had lost one-third of their male population in WW I, fighting foreign imperialists like yourselves? (Austrians and Germans back then). Maybe Klinton-Halfbright should return to the Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service from which you had (miraculously?) graduated, and do a remedial course on the Balkan history? Maybe then they would learn that "playing possum" is a favorite Serbian pastime? And that, pitting our (American) fighting men against the Serbs is an act of treason against America and all the values our country stands for - such as liberty and justice for all. As a triple U.S. veteran (China-Korea-Vietnam) recently put it in his recent letter to me, "I never would have believed I would say the following: we need to get our - kicked for being in Kosovo. You would think we would have learned in the above mentioned conflicts." (see the Wall Street Journal, Mar. 16, available at our Web site). Bob Djurdjevic TRUTH IN MEDIA Phoenix, Arizona e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the Truth in Media Web site http://www.truthinmedia.org/ for more articles on geopolitical affairs.
-- a (email@example.com), March 26, 1999.
Congradulations UNCLE SAM! You are have now earned an esteemed place in the hallowed halls of the SOCIETY OF GLOBAL HYPOCRISY FOR THE PERPETUATION OF ARROGANCE, STUPIDITY, BULLYING, and GENERAL MAGGOT-LIKE TENDENCIES!!!
Napoleon and an ill-fated, 3rd century Roman "Barracks Emperor" will be there to greet you!!
You are cordially invited to stir up the world in blinding hatred toward you while gradually manipulating the public in such a way that they sell away all of their hard-won liberties in exchange for "security" and "prosperity."
By all means, feel free to act as boorish and stupid as possible! You now have an official liscence.
-- coprolith (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 26, 1999.