Reporter’s Podcast: Afghan Dilemma Recalls Vietnam Lessons
This month the Military Review, the Army’s leading professional journal, published an article called “Refighting the Last War: Afghanistan and the Vietnam Template.” NewsHour deputy senior producer Daniel Sagalyn spoke with one of its authors, Thomas Johnson, who said many of the mistakes made in Vietnam are being repeated in Afghanistan.
Both wars took place in rugged terrains of Asia, thousands of miles from the United States, with 80 percent of the population in rural areas, said Johnson. Politically speaking, in South Vietnam and Afghanistan, both regimes were viewed as illegitimate by a vast majority of the population, he said.
“Many scholars have suggested that one of the prerequisites for a successful counterinsurgency is having a government or a governmental partner … that seems legitimate by 80 to 90 percent of the population, and that just doesn’t hold in Afghanistan,” he said.
Hear their full conversation here:
View more Afghan conversations:
Greg Jaffe, Washington Post Pentagon reporter
Matthew Hoh, former State Department official who resigned over Afghan policy
Marc Sageman, former CIA operative
Rory Stewart, author who spent two years walking across Afghanistan
Bruce Riedel, former CIA officer and author
Ashraf Ghani, former Afghan finance minister and presidential candidate