The Lessons Learned from Vietnam
Lorenzo M. Crowell discusses the lessons that Americans have learned from the Vietnam conflict in his article "The Lessons and Ghosts of Vietnam." Crowell analyzes the lessons learned from Vietnam and applies them to the military strategies of today. Crowell does overlook some problems involving the power of Saddam Hussein after Desert Storm and the comparison of two dissimilar wars. Crowell is effective in his arguments with the use of first-hand viewpoints, current newsprint, and political figureheads. Although the article "The Lessons and Ghosts of Vietnam" had some weak points, overall the article is effective and informative.
Crowell's main idea in his paper is how Americans have learned from Vietnam. He draws parallels between the Vietnam conflict and Desert Storm. The article discusses the political and military errors made in Vietnam and the solutions to those issues. Military leaders of today have learned from the Vietnam conflict and have changed their strategies on future wars, like Operation Desert Storm. The main mistake that Americans made in the Vietnam conflict was the gradual application of military force on the Vietnamese (230-231). It caused more Americans to be killed and internal political conflicts in the government. The military has learned from mistakes in Vietnam and applied a quick and powerful strategy in Operation Desert Storm without any restrictions. Another lesson that Americans learned from the Vietnam conflict was the negative impact of domestic dissent (236-238). It caused governmental hesitation in Congress and anti-war protests, led by the media on the public. This resulted in the under minding of the troops which led to the loss of the Vietnam conflict. The use and abuse of these lessons learned in Vietnam will continue to be the legacy of Vietnam.
One problem that arises in the article is Crowell trying to compare two dissimilar conflicts. Vietnam was a conflict that did not directly involve the United States. Desert Storm did involve the United States by jeopardizing our oil supply from the Middle East. The military was also prepared and ready to fight during Desert Storm where as in Vietnam the draft was introduced due to the lack of volunteer soldiers. The military strategies used in each conflict were different. In Vietnam man-to-man combat was employed over a slow period of time and Desert Storm utilized a more rapid attack using ballistic missiles. Crowell says, "…military force should be applied without restrictions, reflects an assumption that the unsatisfactory Vietnam experience might have been satisfactory without gradualism… the war could have been ended quicker, perhaps even with victory" (234). These two wars were so different that Crowell should not have compared them and is ineffective in proving his points regarding the two conflicts.
Another main issue that Crowell overlooks in the article is the problems...