Counterinsurgency Campaigns: Vietnam and Afghanistan


Facilitator:    Sidna Rachid, 377-9568 sidnarachid@hotmail.com                                       Dates:           Thursdays, March 24– May 12, 2016     Time:            1:30 PM - 3:30 PM                              Text:             Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam, by Gordon M. Goldstein  Presentations: None required


The War in Afghanistan has often been compared to the Vietnam war. There is a new book which examines the strategic mistakes made in Vietnam through the eyes of McGeorge Bundy, the National Security Adviser from 1961-66. I’d like to examine each ‘lesson’ learned and compare it to the strategic decisions being made about the War in Afghanistan. The two hour class will be split – one hour on the Vietnam War, the second hour on the War in Afghanistan. This is not a finger-pointing exercise, but a look at what happened in Vietnam and compare it to what is happening in Afghanistan.


1. Introduction – The Vietnam War and The Afghanistan War An Overview
2. Counselors Advise but Presidents Decide
3. Never Trust the Bureaucracy to Get It Right
4. Politics is the Enemy of Strategy
5. Conviction without Rigor is a Strategy for Disaster
6. Never Deploy Military Means in Pursuit of Indeterminate Ends
7. Intervention Is a Presidential Choice, Not an Inevitability                                                               8. Watch the movie – The Fog of War