Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/17/2001 9:56:17 PM EDT
This is a long, but very interesting read. It describes, in detail, the mistakes the Russian military made during their invasion of Afghanistan. Everything from uniforms to moral are discussed. I hope we can avoid the same mistakes if America chooses a similar course of action. [url]www.bdg.minsk.by/cegi/N2/Afg/Waraf.htm[/url]
Link Posted: 9/17/2001 10:02:21 PM EDT
Lessons learned Modern, mechanized forces are still in peril when committed to fight guerrillas in the middle of a civil war on rugged terrain. The Soviet-Afghanistan war demonstrated that: A guerrilla war is not a war of technology versus peasantry. Rather, it is a contest of endurance and national will. The side with the greatest moral commitment (ideological, religious or patriotic) will hold the ground at the end of the conflict. Battlefield victory can be almost irrelevant, since victory is often determined by morale, obstinacy and survival. Secure logistics and secure lines of communication are essential for the guerrilla and non-guerrilla force. Security missions, however, can tie up most of a conventional force. Weapons systems, field gear, communications equipment and transport which are designed for conventional war will often work less effectively or fail completely on rugged terrain. Tactics for conventional war will not work against guerrillas. Forces need to be reequipped, restructured and retrained for fighting guerrillas or for fighting as guerrillas. The most effective combatants are light infantry. Tanks have a limited utility for the counter-guerrilla force, but can serve as an effective reserve on the right terrain. Infantry fighting vehicles and helicopters can play an important role in mobility and fire support. Mechanized forces usually fight effectively only when dismounted and when using their carriers for support or as a maneuver reserve. Ample engineer troops are essential for both side. Field sanitation, immunization and preventive medicine are of paramount importance in less-than-optimal sanitary conditions. Immediate medical support to wounded combatants is often hard to provide. Journalists and television cameramen are key players in guerrilla warfare. The successful struggle can be effectively aided when championed by a significant portion of the world's press. Logistics determines the scope of activity and size of force either side can field. Unity of command is very important, yet sometimes impossible to achieve. Domination of the air is irrelevant unless airpower can be precisely targetted. Seizure of terrain can be advantageous, but is usually only of temporary value. Control of the cities can be a plus, but can also prove a detriment. Support of the population is essential for the winning side.
View Quote
Thanks, interesting stuff. Esp. #1. Quoted the above for those too lazy to click the link.
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 12:36:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/18/2001 12:36:44 AM EDT by Getsome]
Hmmmm......reminds me of a war in South East Asia.
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 4:15:39 AM EDT
Yes, but you will have to admit that following the Soviet 'dangerous adventurism' (as Commies like to call such stuff) in Afghanistan, that country was in such utter ruins that it ceased to be a threat to any of its neighbors! And regarding US 'dangerous adventurism' in SE Asia, you will have to admit that after ten years of conflict, the Peoples Republic of Vietnam was in such utter ruins that it ceased to be a threat to any of its neighbors. When the North finally 'won' in 1975, it had lost approximately one million men under arms during the preceding decade. It had suffered approximately 330,000 'MIAs' in that conflict. The NVA had just enough strength to move into Cambodia, where it got its collective ass kicked for another four years. And when it finally withdrew from Cambodia, it was at the point of a bayonet! I just wished we had film of the NVA abandoning Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. It would have eerily resembled the US pell-mell withdrawal from Saigon! Now just imagine if the NVA had arrived in Cambodia WITHOUT the losses caused by American involvement in Vietnam's civil war. The year would have been 1965, not 1975, and the whole 'domino theory' would have come true! Good bye Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and finally, Singapore! As I've always said, America should view Vietnam the same way that Lincoln viewed Chancellorsville. It was a loss, but it cost the enemy dearly, and ultimately 'won' the war. Eric The(Don'tYouKnowThatStonewallWouldHaveWonGett­ysburg?)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 4:36:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/18/2001 5:58:36 AM EDT by AR_Rifle]
The Russians lost because the U.S supported the Talibans.....The U.S lost in Vietnam because the Russians and China supported Hanoi.... Now it's a whole different ball game, no one supports the Talibans...No One!...while everyone support the U.S., China included.
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 5:49:39 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 5:54:39 AM EDT
AR_Rifle. Good Point
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 7:42:19 AM EDT
There is one significant difference between the Soviets in Afghanistan and the U.S. in Vietnam. In Vietnam we were attempting to prop up an existing government, in Afghanistan the Russians tried to install a puppet government. Perhaps the most revealing comparison between the two is the fact that in both cases, while conventional forces could consistently win battles, only the special forces came close to winning the war. to paraphrase Col. Hackworth, you have to out Guerrilla the Guerrilla!
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 3:45:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: The NVA had just enough strength to move into Cambodia, where it got its collective ass kicked for another four years.
View Quote
If they were stong enough to maintain a major force in Cambodia for 4 years, we didn't damage them as much as you claim!
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: And when it finally withdrew from Cambodia, it was at the point of a bayonet!
Kinda like when we left?
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: Now just imagine if the NVA had arrived in Cambodia WITHOUT the losses caused by American involvement in Vietnam's civil war. The year would have been 1965, not 1975, and the whole 'domino theory' would have come true!
View Quote
Huh? Vietnam invaded Pol Pot's Communist Cambodia. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos all fell to the Communists, despite US involvement. The viets still had the stuff to fight off a Chinese invasion in '79, so I don't see their military "weakness". The truth is that it takes much, much more to invade someone than to fight off an invader. This is why the US, Vietnam, and China all did so poorly in their South East Asia adventures. What [i]has[/i] been accomplishing what military forced failed has been the free market. Vietnam has been opening up to capitalism, do to trade and capitalists, not due to war and the military.
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 3:49:37 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 4:55:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/18/2001 4:59:53 PM EDT by EricTheHun]
Post from DonS -
Huh? Vietnam invaded Pol Pot's Communist Cambodia.
View Quote
Yes, beginning with border skirmishes in 1975, almost as soon as 'Vietnam' was reunited. The actual invasion came in December, 1978, with a massive conventional ground force. If Vietnam has been reunited in 1965, they would have invaded Norodom Sihanouk's non-communist Cambodia, if after 1969, it would have been Lon Nol's non-communist Cambodia. Only after April, 1976, would it have been Pol Pot's Communist Cambodia. What's your point?
If they were stong enough to maintain a major force in Cambodia for 4 years, we didn't damage them as much as you claim!
View Quote
So what's your point? That losing as many men under arms as they did was [u]not[/u] damage? That this damage did not hamper their future aggressive movements against their neighbors?
Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos all fell to the Communists, despite US involvement.
View Quote
Yes, of course, but a [u]long time after they would have fallen without US involvement[/u]!
The viets still had the stuff to fight off a Chinese invasion in '79, so I don't see their military "weakness". The truth is that it takes much, much more to invade someone than to fight off an invader. This is why the US, Vietnam, and China all did so poorly in their South East Asia adventures.
View Quote
Yes, a border incursion of Vietnam by China of a rather short duration occurred in 1979 and lasted from February to March. China withdrew after declaring that it taught Vietnam a lesson! We're not certain when and or even if these Sino-Vietnamese border conflicts have ended, as of today! Proves nothing of Vietnam's military strength, as they were fighting a defensive action in their own mountainous terrain!
What has been accomplishing what military forced failed has been the free market. Vietnam has been opening up to capitalism, do to trade and capitalists, not due to war and the military.
View Quote
Yes, Starbucks has opened up in Hanoi, but when are the first free and open popular elections scheduled, I seem to have missed that! Eric The(MaybeAfterTheyGetMoreMacDonalds!)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 10:20:44 AM EDT
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: If Vietnam has been reunited in 1965, they would have invaded Norodom Sihanouk's non-communist Cambodia, if after 1969, it would have been Lon Nol's non-communist Cambodia. Only after April, 1976, would it have been Pol Pot's Communist Cambodia. What's your point?
View Quote
Cambodia had already fallen, despite US involvement. Our "help" was no help at all.
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: So what's your point? That losing as many men under arms as they did was [u]not[/u] damage? That this damage did not hamper their future aggressive movements against their neighbors?
View Quote
Clearly, the war didn't damage them all that much, if they went about invading their neighbors. Actually, yes, the war made them [i]more[/i] dangerous. They could replace the people--they are good at that--but the war left them lots of war material they otherwise would not have had. First, the Soviets and Chinese provided them with hardware [i]to fight off the Americans[/i]. And second, we left a lot of stuff behind. We left them [i]stronger[/i] militarly than they otherwise would have been.
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: Yes, of course, but a [u]long time after they would have fallen without US involvement[/u]!
View Quote
Who knows. We propped up the Communists in Vietnam during WW2, and later, through French proxies, we aided the Communits so they could help overcome Vietnamese criminal organizations. We nurtured the embronyic Communist organization in Vietnam, and it came back to bite us. Without US involvement, the Communist may never have been a significant player in Vietnam. But, even assuming you are right about everything, was it worth it to postpone Communism in the region for several years, at the cost of what? 50,000 American lives?
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: Yes, a border incursion of Vietnam by China of a rather short duration occurred in 1979 and lasted from February to March. China withdrew after declaring that it taught Vietnam a lesson! We're not certain when and or even if these Sino-Vietnamese border conflicts have ended, as of today! Proves nothing of Vietnam's military strength, as they were fighting a defensive action in their own mountainous terrain!
View Quote
Well, they did a better job of holding back the Chinese than we did in Korea. Holding off an enemy does say something about one's military strength. The Chinese were just saving face in claiming they accomplished their goal. Clearly, in the wake of the war with the US, the Chinese invasion didn't teach the Viets much. Most likely, the Chinese found out what a bad mistake they had made real quik. Note that in the past, the Chinese have been successful in invading Vietnam. The Vietnamese were militarly stronger than in these instances.
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: Yes, Starbucks has opened up in Hanoi, but when are the first free and open popular elections scheduled, I seem to have missed that!
View Quote
How many "free and open popular elections" were held when we were running the show in SVN? The fact is, Vietnam has opened up considerably. This is due to the free market. Not to military might. In particular, America's military might, which failed to save South Vietnam despite some 10 years and 50,000 American lives.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 10:34:10 AM EDT
Originally Posted By motoguzzi: There is one significant difference between the Soviets in Afghanistan and the U.S. in Vietnam. In Vietnam we were attempting to prop up an existing government, in Afghanistan the Russians tried to install a puppet government.
View Quote
A more significant difference is that we were, in reality, fighting the forces of another country: North Vietnam. And we were doing so without any major ground invasions of this country. Sure, the rebels in Afganistan received aid from Pakistan, but the Russian's enemies were in fact the Afgans. Our enemies in Vietnam were the North Vietnamese, who not only made up the NVA, but also a significant portion of the VC as well, and also provided the VC with the bulk of their weapons and supplies.
Originally Posted By motoguzzi: Perhaps the most revealing comparison between the two is the fact that in both cases, while conventional forces could consistently win battles, only the special forces came close to winning the war. to paraphrase Col. Hackworth, you have to out Guerrilla the Guerrilla!
View Quote
I do not believe that our Special Forces ever came close to winning the war in Vietnam. An invasion of North Vietnam by conventional forces (with Special Forces teams sent in to grab or eliminate key North Vietnamese) would have been the way for us to win the war. However, it would have risked a Sino-Soviet response.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 10:41:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: And when it finally withdrew from Cambodia, it was at the point of a bayonet! I just wished we had film of the NVA abandoning Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. It would have eerily resembled the US pell-mell withdrawal from Saigon!
View Quote
I doubt it. In both cases, countries were pulling out of a brush war they couldn't win (at least, at a cost they were willing to bear). However, the US withdrawal was being done when the conventional forces of the North were invading. This is what made our withdrawal so "pell-mell". We either had to reinforce our people there, or get them out quick. The Vietnamese withdrawing from Cambodia were not under any such pressure.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 11:42:49 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DonS: However, the US withdrawal was being done when the conventional forces of the North were invading. This is what made our withdrawal so "pell-mell". We either had to reinforce our people there, or get them out quick. The Vietnamese withdrawing from Cambodia were not under any such pressure.
View Quote
This is quite incorrect. Our forces were out of south VietNam well before the NVA re-invaded the south. We had bombed them into submission at the Paris peace tables. They gave us our prisoners back and both sides agreed to stay out of south VietNam. They immediatly reneged & we ignored their invasion. The TV footage we've been bombarded with was the Marine embassy guard pulling out of Saigon. The helicopter hovering over a roof was CIA. We won it. We left. They came back after we left, breaking their promises. We ignored it. Norm
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 1:14:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Norm_G: This is quite incorrect. Our forces were out of south VietNam well before the NVA re-invaded the south. We had bombed them into submission at the Paris peace tables. They gave us our prisoners back and both sides agreed to stay out of south VietNam. They immediatly reneged & we ignored their invasion. The TV footage we've been bombarded with was the Marine embassy guard pulling out of Saigon. The helicopter hovering over a roof was CIA. We won it. We left. They came back after we left, breaking their promises. We ignored it. Norm
View Quote
You are correct that US combat troops had left earlier. Advisors and various civilian personel were still there. However, you are incorrect in claiming we won. We did not. The Paris Peace accords were hardly a set of stipulations we forced down their throat. Rather, they contined a set of compromises, including our disengagement from Vietnam, their returning of POWs, and the 'peaceful' reunification of Vietnam. We got our POWs, and they got the big prize: US disengagment. They didn't have to worry about 'peacful' reunification after that. Ford demanded funds from congress to save Saigon, but congress refused. It isn't so much that we ignored it, it is that we didn't want to get back into that mess.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 2:00:27 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AR_Rifle: The Russians lost because the U.S supported the Talibans.....The U.S lost in Vietnam because the Russians and China supported Hanoi.... Now it's a whole different ball game, no one supports the Talibans...No One!...while everyone support the U.S., China included.
View Quote
You are sure of this? I think you are dreaming. I believe that this is not a matter of who supports the Talibans but rather who opposes the Americans and there is no shortage of people in this world who would love to see us get our asses kicked. Any country that has supported terrorism in the past will support the Talibans in one way or another, whether it be with arms shipments or more suicide bombings of American military targets or civilians. The terrorists have succeeded in pitting the Muslum world against the Christian world and I believe Muslums will support the Talibans on that basis alone.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 2:11:12 PM EDT
I think the differences between Russia's situation and ours are huge. First, Russia was invading and trying to occupy and passify the population. When we go in it will be simply to kill terrorists and their supporters, and break their stuff. Another difference is that we helped the Afghanis a lot when we gave them Stinger missles that could down nearly any aircraft, fired by a lone man on a camel. It became decidedly unsafe to fly there. My understanding is that they probably don't have many Stingers left and those that do remain are likely to be out of service. There is a battery life issue, but I don't know if they were aware of it and if they could do anything about it.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 3:02:53 PM EDT
In regards to this Vietnam discussion, the Vietnamese had a good army. The Chinese were overrated. Everybody who I have talked to who was in Korea did not have a real high opinion of Chinese troops, and thought the only reason we did not whip them was political limitations imposed by that dipshit Truman. The Chinese found to their discomfort what a well trained and equipped army the Vietnamese had. The Vietnamese kicked the Khmer Rouge's ass in the initial invasion. It was a first-class operation. The usual indecisive guerilla warfare occured after that, but it was no route. The Vietnamese had to eventually leave because they were broke and the Soviets would no longer support the war. I am not saying that we could not have conquored Vietnam; we had plenty of strength to do that. The American military is a wonderfully terrible thing. But our strategy was not aimed at achieving that goal. SVN was hardly a democratic paradise, but it was certainly better than NVN. The people there would have been much better off materially if we had won; Vietnam would probably be one of the "tigers" of the region, rather than a poor cousin. Lon Nol was a fruitcake. The Vietnam conflict undoubtedly slowed down communist expansion in SE Asia, but the cost was too high. We almost lost the cold war due to that fiasco. And not because we could not afford 58,000 casualties, but because we almost lost the will to confront communist aggression. If we were not going to adopt a serious strategy for winning the war, I think we would have been better to leave in 65 and let the commies have Indochina. We lost the war in Vietnam becuase we failed to adopt a realistic strategy and to martial the resources necessary to carry it out. I agree that we did not lose any battles, but to say that we won the war will cause us not to not study and learn from our mistakes. The same goes for saying "the price was worth it." We have to fight wars better. Our failure was definately not due to our soldiers, except the brass who should have resigned when ordered to implement by a no-win strategy. I think both George Bushes have learned the lessons of Vietnam very well. Foreign support and sanctuaries was definately a key issue in both Vietnam and Afghanistan. I wonder what the Iranians will do.
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 9:34:56 AM EDT
Originally Posted By imposter: In regards to this Vietnam discussion, the Vietnamese had a good army. The Chinese were overrated. Everybody who I have talked to who was in Korea did not have a real high opinion of Chinese troops, and thought the only reason we did not whip them was political limitations imposed by that dipshit Truman.
View Quote
Most of the guys I've known who served there thought that we outfought the Chinese, and that our troops were superior. However, based upon my study of history, I'd have to say that [i]our[/i] troops were the most overrated, at least in the beginning. It was thought by most Americans and South Koreans that the Americans would immedietly walk over the NKs. Instead, we started off by getting beat up bad by the NKs. After awhile, we got a handle on the NKs, but then we got beat up pretty bad by the Chinese. I think that in the end we could haver taken all of Korea, and that we failed because our political leadership had lost confidence in our military, and also a fear of increased Chinese or Russian involvement. The Chinese were very tough troops, who could walk Americans into the ground, particularly in hill country. Their leadership was often very good, and the tended to take objectives by flanking. Some of their troops displayed very poor initiative, but then the same could be said of ours. One suspects our markmanship was better, but certainly some of our Army units displayed poor marksmanship (from what I understand, the Chinese were impressed with USMC marksmanship). Our troops also tended to look down on our ROK allies, but the fact is they sometimes held the line while our guys ran. All in all, I'd say we were better than the Chinese [i]due to our support weapons and technology[/i]. Of course, from 1952 to 1979, quite a few things may have changed in the Chinese army (during that period, quite a few things changed in ours). Many Chinese troops Americans faced in combat in the early 50s were WW2 vets with extensive combat experience. My guess is that the Chinese army lost a lot of its personal initiative during the Cultural Revolution. I also think the Chinese underestimated their southern neighbors and overestimated themselves in 1979. They clearly didn't obtain their objectives. The Viets were battle hardened and well equiped. Overall, it isn't clear that our involvement in SE Asia even slowed the Communists down. We aided them in both Vietnam and China in the early days. Certainly, our war in Vietnam slowed their conquest of South Vietnam down somewhat, if you want to view [i]taht[/i] part of our involvement in isolation. Clearly, it wasn't worth the cost in men or in our nation's pride and self-confidence. After the war, we had a militarly strong Communist Vietnam that was able to invade its neighbors and ship arms around the world to places like El Salvador (some of the "Reagan M-16s" the El Salvadorian Communist insurgents boasted of in fact had Vietnam serial numbers, per SOF magazine). Of course, Communist Vietnam was doomed to fail, from the very beginning. Not due to anything we have done, but due to the inherent weakness of central planning and socialist economics. Free markets will win the war in the end.
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 12:14:01 PM EDT
Don S: I'd agree that our Army ititially did pretty poorly in Korea, but Ridgeway turned it into one of the finest we have ever fielded. Its quality degraded somewhat after that. In fact, it may have gotten pretty bad towards the end. But our emphasis was not on quality infantry after Ridgeway left, it was on superior firepower. I think the Chinese army may have been OK in the beginning, but its quality was reduced dramatically after taking immense losses. Most of the guys I talk to who fought in that war do not really have that much to say about individual Chinese soldiers, but they all agree that the Reds did not have a chance with our artillery and airpower. They say that the only thing that saved the Chinese from anhialation was the truces. From what I have read though, it was pretty tough going for us when the Chinese first intervened. But I have never talked to anyone who was there for that fiasco. I would hardly say the defeat of communism was inevitable. Things were looking pretty bad in the late 1970s, in large part because of the Vietnam War's destruction of our will. Communism was on the ascendancy everywhere, and was even making inroads here. You can not ignore tyrants and just hope that your system will prevail because it is superior. Sometimes these battles have to be fought, but the key is to not fight them as poorly as we did in Vietnam. Absent some change in strategy, we would definately have better off to leave in 65. The Reagan Rebound, IMHO, was in the nick of time; without it, I think maybe free markets and all of that might have been snuffed out. I think I am going to change my username from "imposter" to "longwinded."
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 12:46:49 PM EDT
couple of points: 1) we lost Viet nam, period. 2) We may need to consider Viet Nam as a lost BATTLE in the cold war-which we won. 3) When the chinese attacked Viet Nam in 1979 they went against what were still essentialyy battle hardened troops. There is little substitute for experience in almost any endeavor. My 2 centavos.
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 1:27:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/20/2001 1:32:32 PM EDT by DonS]
Originally Posted By imposter: I would hardly say the defeat of communism was inevitable. Things were looking pretty bad in the late 1970s, in large part because of the Vietnam War's destruction of our will. Communism was on the ascendancy everywhere, and was even making inroads here. You can not ignore tyrants and just hope that your system will prevail because it is superior. . . .
View Quote
By the early 1970's, Communism in the Soviet Union and China had basically folded into Fascism. Communism had already failed. I think that this is the reason that Pol Pot's Cambodia went on such a murderous rampage to destroy any and all Western ideas. They had seen the failure of China and the USSR, and they felt they might avoid it if they destroyed anything that might contaminate true "Communist man". The Soviet Union still had considerable military might, but its economic system was a looser. I agree that, from our perspective, it seemed ascendent. I also agree that we had to defend ourselves from it. Even a sick animal can be dangerous--perhaps even more so. I'm not convinced that our interventionist policies added to our defense, however, and since you wrote:
hings were looking pretty bad in the late 1970s, in large part because of the Vietnam War's destruction of our will.
View Quote
I'm not sure you are either.
Originally Posted By imposter: The Reagan Rebound, IMHO, was in the nick of time; without it, I think maybe free markets and all of that might have been snuffed out.
View Quote
I don't agree. The Soviets were waging a war (the Cold War) that they couldn't win. The biggest danger we faced was an outbreak of a major hot war, one involving nuclear weapons. Their system would never prevail over our system, but their nuclear weapons could kill many of us. The way I view Reagan's part in this is he upped the anti and called their bluff. He may have increased the chance of a hot war, but he also placed heavy demands on their weak system. Reagan was only able to prevail because our system was healthy, and theirs sick. Somewhat beside the point, I think Reagan helped our system get a bit healthier. The Keynesian policies of previous presidents were harmful to the US economy, and the Reagan tax cut and deregualtion of the oil industry have been instrumental to US prosperity since 1982, IMO. However, even under previous presidents, the US system essentially worked. The Soviet system didn't. In the days of the Czar, Russia exported grain. In fact, Russia was the "bread basket" of Europe. Under Soviet control, Russia had to buy grain from the US--using money "borrowed" from US taxpayers (one more debt that they will never repay).
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 1:30:53 PM EDT
"Hearts and minds"
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 2:36:07 PM EDT
DonS: An interesting book I read in the 80s was "Why Democracies Perish" by a guy named Revel (yes, a Frenchman! - and yes I know the difference between a republic and a democracy). His thesis was that while our system undoubtedly produces better economies, it also produces weak political structures that are in some degree incapable of defending themselves effectively. Rembember 1979: Carter was president, most of our allies were run by communists or communist coalitions, we were losing countries left and right in Africa and Asia, the commies were establishing themselves in Central America (!), the Iranians of all people showed "the most powerful nation in the world" was completely impotent, and we were enjoying the second round of stagflation. Our NATO allies were close to folding. France had already partially withdrawn from NATO. The West Germans were trying to accomodate the Soviets. IMHO the only thing that was saving the West was the Sino-Soviet split. While bigger economies generally win wars, that is not always the case. Totolitarian regimes are simply better at mobilizing and controlling whatever limited resources they do have. North Vietnam v. the US is perhaps the best illustration of this. Ho did not have to worry about the domestic opposition, because he could just send them to the camps. I have always questioned whether someone less charasmatic and determined than Reagan would have been able to do the things necessary (Pershings, defense buildup, tax cuts, SDI, etc.) to reverse the tide. Freedom is hardly inevitable; in fact, historically it is an abberration. The number of years that people have enjoyed freedom in historical times is very small, and even when freedom has existed on the earth, only a small percentage of those alive have even heard of it.
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 3:37:40 PM EDT
Well did the Taliban use up all those stingers and advanced weapons we gave them back during the Afghan War??? Or will we be facing some of our own weapons?
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 3:58:02 PM EDT
We aren't Russians, and the Afghans are scared sh*tless right now. They've been experiencing a 4 year drought, famine, 10 year civil war right behind the Russian withdrawal that already left the place in ruins. I don't care how baddass they think they are, they're about to face some really baddass PROFESSIONALS who are REALLY PISSED OFF and won't hesitate to get a little pay-back. The Taliban has enemies in Afghanistan that will gladly work side by side with American troops. They want pay-back too. Badly. One of the things the Taliban fighters like to do is skin heads on live prisoners. There are a lot of Afghans just itching for the chance to get even. Reguardless of how bad these guerrilas are, we will always own the night. And we should have DOGS. One thing America should be doing is raising an extremley large War Dog division. Millions of killer dogs. Diaper heads hate dogs. They can't come in contact with dog saliva. It's like pig to them. Set the dogs on em. Kill em with dogs.
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 4:04:38 PM EDT
Wow, I kinda like the dog idea, for certain applications.
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 4:17:54 PM EDT
One thing America should be doing is raising an extremley large War Dog division. Millions of killer dogs. Diaper heads hate dogs. They can't come in contact with dog saliva. It's like pig to them. Set the dogs on em. Kill em with dogs.
View Quote
Nah, pigs are much better. They can sniff out Afghans in caves like they sniff out mushrooms in the ground. And they are more threatening to these guys.
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 5:08:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Hitman: Well did the Taliban use up all those stingers and advanced weapons we gave them back during the Afghan War??? Or will we be facing some of our own weapons?
View Quote
I dont think anyone knows. Wont make much difference. They were older Stingers and we know the limits, and if they arent out of them they cant have many left. Well recovered one of our Stinger launchers from a Irainian minelayer in 1988. So some were already shifted to Iran to fight the latter stages of the Iran-Iraq war. I doubt that they have sent them back to Taliban since the two have been at war for the last two years. Also, where did they get batteries and gas cartridges for the launchers? The rounds are considered "wooden rounds" but the tracker on the launcher requires a gas cartridge to provide cryogenic cooling for the seeker while it is running. The Stinger also requires a battery pack that is unique to the Stinger launcher. They come in two models, one if which is a NiCad rechargeable that we use for training, and there have been a whole series of non-rechargeables that offer better per charge life for use in combat. Hopefully we gave them the combat type and not the rechargeables, in which case they may not have batteries left- although someone with enough of a EE background could jerry-rig something I'm sure.
Link Posted: 9/21/2001 1:11:27 PM EDT
Originally Posted By imposter: . . . His thesis was that while our system undoubtedly produces better economies, it also produces weak political structures that are in some degree incapable of defending themselves effectively.
View Quote
The US has done well in war when it though it had too. We don't do as well when we are in some country for some reason we don't understand. But then, the Russians haven't always done so well in such situations, either. We really won both world wars; the whole point of the two U-boat campaign s was to separate Britain from US supplies. Britain and France would not have been in the First World War by 1917 if it weren't for US aid (well, the Germans wouldn't have taken Britain, but they would have driven the BEF from the field). In World War Two, the German army was initially the most motorized. By the end of the war, however, the Germans still relied upon horse transport. Yet we were able to fully motorize our army, as well as those of the Commonwealth nations, Poland, the free French, and the Soviet Union. Our high-yield powder was critical for Soviet tank and anti-tank guns, and we also supplied most of the world with aircraft, tanks, and other war stuff. We are perfectly capable of defending ourselves, although we have all sorts of problems when we get involved in the world's various bush wars.
Originally Posted By imposter: Remember 1979: Carter was president, most of our allies were run by communists or communist coalitions, we were losing countries left and right in Africa and Asia, the commies were establishing themselves in Central America (!), the Iranians of all people showed "the most powerful nation in the world" was completely impotent,
View Quote
The popularity of communism in Europe in the '70s can't be blamed on our "democratic" system. Nor can the problems of the former European colonies be blamed on our system. Likewise, Latin America's problems do not originate with us, except in as much our efforts at installing anti-communist strongmen have backfired, and caused the locals to resent us. I do not believe Iran showed that we were impotent.
Link Posted: 9/21/2001 1:12:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By imposter: and we were enjoying the second round of stagflation. .
View Quote
This was due to too much central control of the economy: too much regulation and taxes.
Originally Posted By imposter: Our NATO allies were close to folding. France had already partially withdrawn from NATO. The West Germans were trying to accommodate the Soviets. IMHO the only thing that was saving the West was the Sino-Soviet split.
View Quote
Militarily, the Soviets were much weaker than they appeared. Their economy was weak. They couldn't feed themselves. In the early 60s when they had massive military maneuvers, they scared the hell out of the West. Yet most of their tanks on maneuvers had only one man in them, and by the time they were done, most of their tanks were worn out. It is understandable that the Germans would be threatened by the Soviets, considering their proximity. And the French were, well, French.
Originally Posted By imposter: While bigger economies generally win wars, that is not always the case. Totolitarian regimes are simply better at mobilizing and controlling whatever limited resources they do have. North Vietnam v. the US is perhaps the best illustration of this. Ho did not have to worry about the domestic opposition, because he could just send them to the camps.
View Quote
The fact is, to wage war one needs the support of one's population. American efforts, such as the bombing of the North, ensured Ho's support. Even Stalin needed to appeal to popular opinion during WW2, reinstating the Orthodox Church, and appealing to Russian patriotism, not communist ideology. No government can survive without the support of the majority of its population.
Originally Posted By imposter: . . . Freedom is hardly inevitable; in fact, historically it is an abberration. The number of years that people have enjoyed freedom in historical times is very small, and even when freedom has existed on the earth, only a small percentage of those alive have even heard of it.
View Quote
Certainly this is not true, simply because through most of history organized states did not exist. However, I agree that freedom is fragile. During the Great Depression, my dad had several acres of tomatoes. The government bought some from him, and told him he had to plow under the rest. He couldn't even give them away (he did inform the neighbors, who had little food, that he couldn't do anything about it if they [I]stole[/I] them). If the government can tell you what you can and can not do with the tomatoes you grew on your property, you are not free. The greatest threat to freedom isn't foreign powers, but our fellow citizens voting freedom away for a little more safety & security.
Link Posted: 9/21/2001 2:10:26 PM EDT
Don S: I must say that what I disagrees with most of what you have said, but, fortunately for both of us, its a free country. Stagflation was more than taxation and overregulation; OPEC, another indication of our relative weakness and dependence, was the biggest factor. Taxes and spending are not really any different (as a percentage of GDP) now than they were then. And the Code of Federal Regulations is surely longer. As far as the Soviets being a paper tiger, I guess nobody's Army is perfect. With our rampant drug problems and the laughable state of some our allies militaries, I wonder how we would have compared. But your information there is no more scientific than mine, and certainly there was a real fear. It certainly looked very bad for us on paper. Rembember how our troops had only two weeks worth of munitions? As far as liberty being more than an isolated event, tell me when it has existed. There was a semblance of liberty in Ancient Greece and in Rome, but then again both of those states had slavery. Then they fell. Skip forward to "Christendom" some 1,000+ years later, and you have at least some form of freedom existing since the rennaisance. That is it. And then look how many people in the world are free today. There are some in North America and some in Western Europe. Japan is free. Maybe India some places in South America are free. But all of Africa, China, Indochina, Pakistan, the Middle East, Russia, etc. etc. is not free. They have never in history been free. So you maybe half of the world's population free right now, and this is the best it has ever been in history. Go back 20 years, before communism fell, and probably only 25% of people were free. Go back 100 years and it was probably 10%. Go back 500 years and it was 0%. That is the usual state of affairs. You do not need the majority of the population to rule a country. Why is 51% magical? Do you think the Khmer Rouge had 51% support? Did Stalin have 51% support in 1940. I doubt it. The Werchmat was welcomed with open arms by the populace, until the SS arrived. Stalin resorted to Nationalism and Orthodoxy only after Barbarossa had begun. Before that, he could have cared less about popular support. All you need to control a country is the support of the people with guns. In regards to your saying that we can defend ourselves, that is certainly true when the threat is clear. Like the examples you cite of WWII or WWI. But when the threat is less clear, and a sustained, subtle and perhaps underhanded approach is necessary, we do not do very well. Totolitarian regimes can ignore public opinion (excepting of course the security services), and take losses for longer periods of time. They are better at secrecy. They also have the advantage of being able to develop a single plan, without having to worry about some new bunch getting elected and changing course.
Top Top