I recently asked a friend in military intelligence if the Top Brass in the U.S. military had awakened finally to the reality that Ukraine is losing the war, which means the United States is losing as well. His answer shocked me. He answered succinctly, “NO!”
The U.S. generals reportedly are clinging to the hope that Ukraine will wear down the Russian Army and create a new “Vietnam” for Russia. Looks like these generals — none of them served in Vietnam — are ignorant of the history of the United States in that ill-conceived, unnecessary war. We sacrificed the lives of 58,000 plus brave American youth and perhaps a million Vietnamese in 12 years of fighting that ultimately left the North Vietnamese in control of the country.
That war was sold as a necessary mission to combat the spread of international communism, but that was a lie. Thanks to the courageous actions of the late Daniel Ellsberg, the truth of what the military and intelligence community knew about the war was revealed in the Pentagon Papers. Our military mis-adventure started off with a small group of “advisors” and mushroomed into more than 500,000 soldiers, Marines, Air Force and Navy personnel on the ground fighting Viet Cong guerrillas and North Vietnamese regulars. To what end? We got tired and left. The North Vietnamese took control and, with the passage of time, we decided we could normalize relations with Vietnam.
Ukraine ain’t Vietnam. Very few of the American troops on the ground in Vietnam spoke the language or understood the culture of the Vietnamese people. By contrast, most of the people in Ukraine speak Russian and many have relatives in Russia. Vietnam was half-a-world away from America’s shores. The logistics nightmare of supplying an expeditionary Army took an enormous economic toll on the United States economy. Russia is right next door to Ukraine. The task of supplying its troops with ammunition and food is an easy, sustainable mission. Russia has a clear incentive to fight in Ukraine — it legitimately views foreign troops in Ukraine as a potential existential threat to Russia. What threat did Vietnam pose to America? ZERO!
The only benefit that America derived from that disaster is that there are many Vietnamese Americans scattered across the states who established great Vietnamese restaurants. A damn high price to pay for a good bowl of Pho.
In short, those Generals who think they can turn Ukraine into a new Vietnam are morons. They are indulging fantasies the belie a complete ignorance of history.