Thursday, March 3, 2011

Great New Book

I am currently reading a great book call "Grunts" by John C. McManus. Here is a Paragraph from the chapter on Marine Combined Action Platoons (CAP) in Vietnam. For a little background on this program Marines and Corpsman were sent at first to local villages around the Marine base at Phu Bai. These Marines were sent to augment the PF (think village militia) at these villages. The Marines would eat, live, patrol, go on ambushes, and protect the villagers from the Viet Cong. Does any of this sound familiar? This is Counter Insurgency warfare something the Marine Corps has been doing for a very long time. I am going to add somethings to this paragraph so that it will be relevant to today's conflicts.

"The average Vietnamese (Afghani) peasant was caught in the middle of a vicious struggle that raged among the PFs, ARVN (South Vietnamese Military), the NVA (North Vietnamese Army, the V.C. (Taliban) and the American. This meant that most of the people simply wanted the security to be left alone and live their lives in peace. 'Its not that so many people in Vietnam are Viet Cont,' one CAP leader explained as the combined action program was just starting to grow. ' Its that most of them will swing with... whoever's got the strength. Because they don't have anything to lose by going over to the Viet Cong (Taliban) are in their village; or going back to the government when the government comes in the village. But now you've got a ville that's go khaki (a CAP) in it its got medical attention there, its got people that care and people that show some friendliness and some interest. So the villager like any other human being begins to develop loyalties(McManus, 2010)."

No do not get me wrong the Marines were not there roasting marshmallows they were killing VC and NVA alongside their PFs. They were defending their new homes and the homes of the villagers. Currently we are in the COIN fight of our lives and now that we are re-learning the book turns out there was already one written. Yes the new COIN operations are loosely based on what the Marine Corps has done in the past we still though have a penchant for large scale search and destroy missions they failed in the 60s I just hope we will get it right this time.

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