Tags: Afghanistan | America's Forum | Iraq | military | Vietnam | Afghanistan | Iraq

Daniel Bolger: US Still Using Vietnam's 'Losing Recipe'

By    |   Friday, 21 November 2014 12:36 PM

When it comes to military force, "halfway measures result in halfway results," retired Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger said Friday on "America’s Forum."

"You go in there hard and you finish these guys off and you don’t' screw around," Bolger told the Newsmax TV program.

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Discussing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bolger said that the efforts, in some ways, are beginning to resemble Vietnam, which history has shown was a "losing recipe."

"The right way to use US military force is to go in in an overwhelming manner and do a rapid, decisive operation," he said.

"That is what our military is designed to do. We did that in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Afghanistan in '01, Iraq in '03, and then we stayed around instead of just turning it over to locals and letting them sort their business out."

While a continued presence in the region makes some sense, it is a terrible idea to try to dictate to another country how their government should work, he said.

"We saw that in Vietnam, we saw that in Iraq, we saw it in Afghanistan," Bolger said. "These countries don't understand democratic republics, not because they're evil people. The average person in those countries is just trying to raise their family and do their work at their farm or in their shop.

"But it's very, very difficult to expect these people to suddenly make a jump from a very authoritarian structure and in many cases not a lot of education. Heck, the literacy rate in Afghanistan among adults is 85 percent cannot read and write," he said. "It's asking a lot of those folks to suddenly make the jump to Jeffersonian democracy.

"So they're going to have to pick something that works for them and it may not be something that we like, but then maybe leave a small presence of advisers and assisters with enough security to keep ourselves safe and do what we can to help them and that is a winning formula.

"That is what we did in the Korean War," Bolger added. "We didn't dictate the government of South Korea, but we did provide them a guaranteed support over the years and they've done pretty well with it."

The United States knew that both Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq and Hamid Karzai were not legitimately elected leaders and would struggle with democracy, said Bolger, author of "Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars."

"Elections must be seen as fair and truthful or the people lose faith in their government," he said. (Maliki and Karzai) were our partners. You've got partners like that, you're hooked to a donkey. You're not going very far.

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When it comes to military force, "halfway measures result in halfway results," retired Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger said Friday on "America's Forum."
military, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq
Friday, 21 November 2014 12:36 PM
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