New Tactics in Afghanistan Resemble Vietnam Phoenix Program

Friday, August 06, 2010

In the last five months, U.S. military raids in Afghanistan have captured or killed more than 130 insurgents deemed significant in the war. The recent shift in the military's counterterrorism approach now focuses more on targeted killings. According to a senior White House official, the intent of the new strategy is to pressure the Taliban to come to the negotiating table.

But some historians say what they are seeing in Afghanistan is reminiscent of the Phoenix Program, a strategy used during the Vietnam War intended to target, capture and kill important people within the Viet Cong. The program led to widespread killings of innocent civilians.

We talk with Neil Sheehan, legendary Vietnam reporter, about the parallels between the two wars. Sheehan is the author of "A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam" and "A Fiery Peace in a Cold War."

Guests:

Neil Sheehan

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [2]

Paul Hodel

If we want to achieve peace in Afghanistan, we should use peaceful non-violent means such as those implemented by Greg Mortonson, author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools.

Aug. 06 2010 11:41 AM
Richard Kruger from Mansfield, MA

Two thousand years ago, the Chinese War Philosopher, Sun Zu said that you cannot defeat a people on their own land and that is the lesson learned from WWII and Viet Nam. It is unfortunate that we are repeating this mistake.

Richard Kruger

Aug. 06 2010 09:47 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.