Tuesday, August 26, 2003[posted by jaed at 11:39 AM]
Vodkapundit points to this Washington Post column suggesting a strategic approach, rather than more-boots-on-the-ground, for Iraq. One model is the Vietnam-era "Phoenix" program:
If you aren't familiar with Phoenix, it was one of the few things we tried in Vietnam that actually worked. Soldiers -- mostly Marines, actually -- worked closely, and in small numbers, with village chiefs and militia. Their goal was to make the South Vietnamese safe from the Viet Cong, one hamlet at a time. They did so by training up the locals in a non-condescending manner, helping establish a non-corrupt local government, and turning each town into a mini fortress, then slowly expanding the security zone.I wonder about this, because the lion's share of the attacks is coming from a relatively small area of high Baathist support. They're not geographically dispersed, and most towns and cities don't seem to require "pacification" so much as general civil support.
Imagine a war won, not by advancing the front, but by scattered, spreading ink blots slowly merging together.
Still, if VP is right that it worked in Vietnam, it's worth looking at for lessons at the very least.