U.S. army major Daniel A. Sjursen joins Scott to talk about his experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, the supposed military tactics of “The Surge,” and his latest piece on the legacy of the Vietnam War, “The War That Never Ends (for the U.S. Military High Command).” Sjursen draws parallels between the Vietnam War and the Iraq and Afghan Wars and makes the case that misconceptions about the Vietnam War have persisted into the tactical approach to the forever wars of the present. Finally Sjursen explains why the ingrained orthodoxies in the military make any attempt at a shift in focus impossible.
Sjursen is a major in the U.S. army and former history instructor at West Point. He writes regularly for TomDispatch.com and he’s the author of “Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge.” Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet.
Discussed on the show:
- “Petraeus: Afghan war a ‘generational struggle’ that will not end soon” (PBS News Hour)
- “The War That Never Ends (for the U.S. Military High Command),” by Danny Sjursen (TomDispatch.com)
- Westmoreland’s War: Reassessing American Strategy in Vietnam, by Gregory Daddis
- A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam, by Lewis Sorley
- “The Myth of the Better War” (Reason)
- Wrong Turn: Americas Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency, by Colonel Gian Gentile
- Robert Gates
- “America, the Kurds, and History: Only a Pawn in Their Game,” by Ted Snider (Antiwar.com)
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Scott Horton has done over 5,400 interviews with military leaders, whistleblowers, and investigative journalists. Avoid being part of the mob that calls for innocent blood by learning from foreign-policy experts, and spread the message of peace to others.