Vietnam, the ISG, and ADM U.S Grant Sharp

December 6th, 2006 by xformed

I read “Strategy for Defeat” many years ago, back in the days in Newport, RI, while studying such issues, and not promted by any reading list.

Strategy for Defeat Book Cover

The book, written from the viewpoint of the admiral who was CINCPAC (Commander-in-Chief, Pacific), so he was well breifed in as to the “goings on” of the time.

I am working from recall, but Adm Sharp’s premise is the “doves” were the ones who caused the prolonging of the war and therefore the bloodshed, on all sides, and the “hawks” would have had the war come to a much faster conclusion. As a result, his contention was the hawks were actually the ones who would have saved lives.

His thesis was supported, in one chapter, by the story of a major sea port, aerial mines and “peace” talks…..

He said in 1968, he had forwarded a battle plan to mine Haiphong Harbor. The plan was rejected, because Washington felt Soviet ships (that were delivering war materials to the North Vietnamese) might become victims of the functional blockade and therefore a major international incident would be caused.

When the plan was finally executed in 1972, the North Vietnamese were at the Paris Peace Talks and actually talking, as their logistical “tail” had been strangled. This is more important in the light of the conflict between China and Russia as to who was “more senior” in the Communist world, and China was denying the Soviets the use of Chinese railways to send material to Vietnam. Being forced to get their major resupply by sea, and the major seport, with the capacity to offload the items, was cut off. The North Vietnamese quickly become more argeeable in figuring out how to back away from the conflict.

This is a lesson in strategy (recall who were the presidents in the two years listed above), and a show of force (or not when the capability existed), which managed to clearly and consisely communicate to our enemy we meant business. If you think about the metod used, there didn’t even have to be casualties, as the mines become “guards” on the sea ways, and would kill and maim the enemy only when the beligerent chose to cross the area.

Consider how history may be so much different has the A-6s, A-7s, and B-52s had been loaded with bombs for daylight deployment, in full view of the shore defenses, in 1968…..Might the US death toll not have been 58,000+? Would the be more Vietnamese citizens alive today? Most likely.

Adm Sharp contends the “hawkish” approach actually had the great potential to be far more humane, and by waiting, we bought into a “Strategy for Defeat.”

The Iraq Study Group does not speak to a strategy to passively communicate a very strong postion, it advocates a tip toing about the issue to keep everyone in consensus. I’d say if we accept their recommnedations, we are headed for another “Strategy for Defeat.”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 6th, 2006 at 5:16 pm and is filed under Geo-Political, History, Military, Military History, Navy, Political. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 responses about “Vietnam, the ISG, and ADM U.S Grant Sharp”

  1. Sarah D. said:

    They flip-flop several times in that report. Seems to me they don’t know what it is they want.

    A study that is full of “could” rather than “will” is useless IMHO.

  2. cp said:

    Hi; I read your post from June 5 2005 (I believe was the date (?): “How to Bury a Hero”). I was hoping (longshot) that you might know James Pell’s new email. (icu_78@yahoo doesn’t work.) I knew the fallen Marine he was talking about I wanted to get in touch with him. You probably don’t know Pell personally, but I figured it’s worth a shot! Thanks & God bless.

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