“It’s déjà vu all over again” – The Dark Specter of Vietnam

This past week President Obama stated that he would be deploying fifty US Special Operations troops to Syria.

As Written By Allen B. West for Townhall:

This appears to be a reaction; a response to the events that have dictated to the Commander-in-Chief what he must do. After the recent Taliban attack, brief seizure of the Afghanistan city of Kunduz, and the raid against two Al Qaeda bases in Kandahar province, we certainly know that combat operations have not ended. In both of those situations, US special operations forces were utilized.

Then there was the recent Iraqi Soldiers hostage rescue mission in which US Army Operations Detachment (Delta) was involved and MSG Joshua Wheeler lost his life. That is a clear indicator that combat operations have not ended in Iraq and we do have “combat boots” on the ground. The Obama administration struggled through semantic hoops to align the hostage rescue mission with “training, advising, and assisting” and not combat.

However, during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that we would begin conducting direct ground operations – combat. But anyone who has been deployed into a zone where there is an enemy shooting at you will tell you that you are in a combat zone. So history appears to be repeating itself or as the famed Yankee baseball player Yogi Berra would say, “it’s déjà vu all over again.”

This nation struggled with defining its involvement and operations in Vietnam. I will remember that time because my older brother, Herman West Jr., was a Marine infantryman there with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines. He was wounded at a place that perhaps many in the Obama administration have never heard of, Khe Sanh. My brother was one of the lucky ones: he survived. Over 50,000 did not, and we see their names on a memorial in Washington DC. And so the dark specter of Vietnam rises up again as we witness the failure of strategic level policies in defeating the enemy – which begins with the inability to define the enemy and allocate the resources to soundly, defeat them.


Fifty US Special Operators, while brave and valorous, are not a strategy. Heck, at least Spartan King Leonidas had 300. The Spartan sacrifice led to an eventual victory. The dark specter of Vietnam reminds us of the result of nebulous strategy and mission creep – defeat. ~ Allen B. West

President Obama Addresses The Nation On The Situation In Syria

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