Sunday, November 02, 2003

Tet? Not (Yet) 

So what's with the week of intensifying attacks on the Coalition and the Iraqi people? I think it has to do with two factors: increased coordination between FRLs and Jihadists, and the hopes of inflicting a "Tet Offensive". Contrast the ICRC and police station bombings, which are considered to be tactically representative of the Jihadists, and the Al Rashid Hotel attack, which did not involve the deliberate death of the perpetrator, suggesting FRLs. And by timing the offensive at the beginning of Ramadan, when local emotions run high in any case, both sides seek to generate a general uprising.

This is precisely what the Vietcong/North Vietnamese Army (VC/NVA) seeked to do during Tet 1968: a massive coordinated attack designed to inflame sentiments against their enemies. However, Tet proved to be a military disaster for the VC/NVA, and the "success" of Tet was only due to its portrayal in the American press as a debacle for the US and South Vietnamese.

What will happen in Iraq? Much will depend on how the American public views what happens, just as the case 35 years ago in Vietnam. The mainstream media is still stuck in the last quagmire, but a developing alternative voice has grown out of the ghosts of Vietnam: whether they can tip the scales this time is yet to be known.
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