December 16, 2010

WE SHOULD BE SO LUCKY:

Could there be a Tet Offensive in Afghanistan? (George F. Will, December 15, 2010, Washington Post)

The Taliban is culturally primitive, so any sign of tactical sophistication is unsettling. Although it is unlikely that the Taliban leadership has as nuanced an understanding of the importance and dynamics of American public opinion in wartime as North Vietnam's leadership did, Taliban leaders surely know that North Vietnam won the Vietnam War not in Vietnam but in America.

And they surely know the role played by North Vietnam's February 1968 Tet Offensive. Although U.S. forces thoroughly defeated the enemy, the American public, seeing only chaos and the prospect of many more years of it, turned decisively against the war.

Might the Taliban's tactics, techniques and procedures (in military argot, TTP) make possible a spike in violence in some way comparable to Tet in its impact on American opinion? No one knows this, or how another attack on America, perhaps launched from Yemen, might affect public support for what are explained as prophylactic operations in Afghanistan.


If it were even worth the effort, our entire strategy would be geared towards getting the Taliban to commit the sort of mass suicide that the Cong did, as they basically ceased to exist as a fighting force after Tet. And since there is no foreign power to pick up the slack in Afghanistan it would be determinative.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 16, 2010 6:23 AM
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