Saturday, November 14, 2009

VIETNAM, OVERLEARNING AND TRITENESS

For years we had to listen to, "If man can go to the moon, then we can.......[fill in the blank]." It became one of the truly NoDoz requiring predicates in American Speech.

But fear not! That little beauty has now been replaced by "As we learned in Vietnam.....[fill in the blank]"

First, a lot of people didn't learn anything from Vietnam. Second, what the speaker is saying is really "What I'm about to say is my opinion, but I want to make it sound historic and scientific."

Military historians and guerilla activists already knew everything that could have been learned in Vietnam. Everybody learned a little something different from it, as is always the case of human experience.

Here are mine for a "war of choice". They don't have any predicate and they are based on a bit of experience and a good deal of study. No claim is made to any scientific or historic basis for them:

Define your objective clearly (What will victory look like?)

Make sure your assets are sufficient and reasonably assured of continuing.

Know what "normal" will look like after you achieve your objective.

Have a clear picture of how you transition from seeking the objective to maintaining "normal" (sometimes simplistically dubbed an "exit strategy").

Share the above four prongs with an expert who is likely to disagree with you and see if your vision holds up under encouraged criticism. (important footnote "expert" does not necessarily imply rank--some of the best intelligence wienies and tactical thinkers over time have been draftees.)

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