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November 1, 2001

Narco News 2001

Vietnam Generals:

"This War Fails, Too"

Gen. Van Tie Dung: "War

Doesn't End the Hate"

Afghanistan: "A Quagmire"

By Agence France Presse

Publisher's Commentary: The New Colombia News Agency - ANNCOL - brought to our attention that the Bogota daily El Tiempo published a story Wednesday morning: "Excombatants of Vietnam doubt U.S. success in Afghanistan."

"Curiously," writes ANNCOL, "the article lasted no more than a half-hour on the El Tiempo website. Readers can draw their own conclusions."

The story, by Agence France Presse, appeared in Spanish, but has not been made available in English by the French press agency.

October 31, AFP: The former combatants of the Vietnamese army, that 26 years ago defeated United States troops, doubt that the North Americans will easily obtain their objectives in Afghanistan. They say that U.S. military chiefs have not learned the lesson of the 58,000 soldiers they lost in Vietnam.

To have a chance of winning in Afghanistan, and not of sinking slowly as happened in Vietnam, "The United States must change its strategy and tactics," said Colonel Vu Le Thi, 74. The former communist military official asked if the North Americans had "really learned something from their defeat in Vietnam, that cost 58,000 U.S. soldiers their lives."

At the side of Lieutentant Colonel Pham The Hao, 72, who fought against the North Americans for 15 years, he said that the war in Afghanistan is very different than Vietnam, but remembered that in spite of the incessant bombings of Vietcong positions, and the use of chemical arms like Agent Orange, "the air force and infantry of the U.S. never were able to drive our guerrillas and militias, hidden in tunnels dug in the jungle, out."

"If the North American soldiers are today better equipped than they were during the war in Vietnam, they are not accostomed to ground combat in places where mountain, climate and geographic conditions are very difficult," added the ex-combatant.

"This war, as a consequence, could last longer than predicted and end up with U.S. troops sinking into a quagmire," Hao predicted.

The U.S. "advisors" to the army of South Vietnam and the special forces "did not succeed in impeding the military operations of the North along the Ho Chi Minh Trail," he said. "I fought U.S. soldiers in the south of Vietnam and although it was very difficult to chase them from the zone, their bombings were not very effective," he affirmed.

For his part, General Van Tien Dung, 84, lead strategist of the victory of North Vietnamese forces against the Saigon and U.S. regimes, also expressed his doubts about a U.S. victory over Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

"I'm certain that they will fail," declared the ex-defense minister, who brought the North Vietnamese troops to a lightning-fast victory during the Ho Chi Minh campaign that ended with the fall of Saigon in 1975, marking the end of the Vietnam War.

"War doesn't end the hate. It just adds more gasoline to the fire, provoking more hate and a harder vengence, above all on the part of those who have sworn to die for their religion," added General Van Tien Dung.

"How will the United States put an end to this war? How will it get out of it? Its soldiers will find themselves with geographical difficulties that the Soviets could not surpass before," the general concluded.

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