December 31, 2006, here on slacktivist: A surge of ‘more’
The idea of a troop surge — it’s never clear what these new troops would be doing — arises from the enduring myths about Why We Lost Vietnam. We coulda/shoulda won, the myth says, if we hadn’t lost our nerve, or if we’d committed more troops, or more bombs, or moremoremore of, you know, that stuff we coulda won with if we’d only used more of it.
Part of the reason this myth endures is that there were things that America could have done in Vietnam, and chose not to do. And many of those things have proven effective in the past. Look back a few decades earlier in American history to the enormously effective counter-insurgency our forces employed in the Philippines. Trouble with insurgents in a village? Kill all the adult males. Create gulags and ghettos for the pacified civilian population. Kill 50 civilians for every one of your own soldiers slain. It’s not pretty, but it is effective. (See also Caesar’s successful conquest of Gaul; the successful restoration of order in Tianenmen Square; or the very successful counter-insurgency carried out in Dujail, Iraq, in 1982 by the recently deceased former leader of that country.)