Social Scientist. v 2, no. 14 (Sept 1973) p. 3.

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Inters entionism After Vietnam


IT is a well-established adage that military strategists always prepare for new wars by planning to re-fight old ones. What may have been true once, however, scarcely applies to the present: US defence planners, glad to be recalled from the Indochina quagmire, are planning today not for more Vietnam-type wars but for new scenarios in new locations. If current Pentagon doctrine is applied in future crises, we can expect quick, 'surgical^ strikes—with massive use of air and sea power—followed by just as rapid withdrawals from a conflict zone. And the scene of such attacks, if authorised, is more likely to be the Eastern Mediterranean or Persian Gulf area than the Far East.

No one can, of course, predict with certainty the outcome of future events; nevertheless, military organisations must behave as if certain events will happen in order to be prepared for all likely contingencies. As of this moment, the Defence Department is acting as if intervention in the Middle East is inevitable : battle plans are being formulated, bases established, weapons tested, and soldiers trained for deployment in the region. These developments are in themselves an ominous sign of trouble ahead; even more frightening is the fact that—as shown in Vietnam—military planning develops

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