Indo-China in Retrospect: The Communist Insurgency
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CARLISLE BARRACKS United States
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This paper is a review of the US involvement in Indo-China since 1954. It is primarily focussed on the US misunderstanding of the Communist insurgency, illustrating how, because of this misunderstanding, our efforts failed to produce more meaningful results. Through an analysis of this experience which continued for more than two decades, four major problem areas are discussed the US failure to perceive the full dimensions of the threat in timely fashion its failure to accept the importance of considering the whole of Indo-China, not only South Vietnam, as the operational area to be addressed, or more specifically, the overall importance of Laos to the Communist plan the failure to immediately orient our efforts on the dominant source of the Insurgency, the Communist infrastructure and, our misplaced emphasis on tactical rather than political objectives of counter insurgency operations. Additionally, several major considerations concerning the US involvement in limited warfare, such as we have seen in Indo-China, are discussed. While not intended to be an all inclusive analysis, Ithis paper is an effort to illustrate several important factors of the US Indo-China experience, thereby affording at least some of the lessons to be considered in future involvements with revolutionary warfare.