Former MPAA CEO Jack Valenti, who was special assistant to President Johnson during Vietnam, offered his assessment of the situation in Iraq to Hotsoup.com, the new opinion site started just before the election by Republican and Democratic strategists. Although Valenti talks mainly in generalities, there’s no doubt that he has a bleak view of American prospects there.
“No conquering army on a foreign soil – which is what we were in Vietnam and what we are in Iraq – can ever defeat an insurgency that springs from the people, their religion, their mores, their customs, their traditions. The only way you can beat an insurgency is when the people of that country rise up against those insurgents, inform them, and try to eliminate them. I don’t know of a single occasion in world history where an insurgency has ever been defeated unless the local population rises up. I begin with our own colonial experience when we were the insurgents in the Revolutionary War and the mighty conquering hoards of British armies couldn’t defeat us.”
He goes on to add…
“What happens in war is what the great German strategist General von Clausewitz called ‘friction.’ Friction he defined as something that happens in a battle or a war that you didn’t anticipate in the planning. As the battle and the war go on, friction multiplies until your battle plan is in shreds. Clausewitz, who had a sense of humor, went on to say that friction is what distinguishes war from war games.”