Peacekeepers attend the never again school
Mariano, Stephen J.
Eyre, Dana P.
Wirtz, James J.
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This thesis examines the lessons the U.S Army drew from the war in Vietnam and how these lessons influence current Army attitudes toward peace operations. The thesis finds that the Army's failure in Vietnam contributes not only to the Army's aversion toward peace operations, but also to its reluctance to participate in any limited war. It posits that culture has explanatory power in describing the Army's attitudes and policies toward peace operations. The thesis examines the development of the lessons of Vietnam, especially the emergence of the 'never-again' school by surveying the articles written in Army, Military Review and Parameters about Vietnam and peace operations between 1972 and 1995. The thesis describes the Army's confusion over the meaning of Vietnam in the 197Os, shows the Army's building a consensus around certain lessons of Vietnam in the l98Os and examines application of these lessons of to peace operations in the 199Os. Two events were influential in shaping the Army's understanding of the lessons of Vietnam: the publication of the book, On Strategy, in 1982 and a speech given in 1984 by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Harry Summers's book on America's failure in Vietnam and Secretary Weinberger's speech on pre-conditions for U.S. military intervention codified the Army's accepted lessons of Vietnam. These two events codified the many lessons of Vietnam into The Lessons of Vietnam. The thesis concludes by focusing on how the lessons of Vietnam influence the Army's attitude toward peace operations attitudes and influenced its policy. It first describes how Operation Desert Storm curtailed the growth of the competing LIC subculture. Second, the thesis illustrates the hesitant attitudes of authors writing in the periodicals and the Army's reluctance to embrace peace operations. Autobiographies of senior officers are used to support the attitudes found in the military journals.
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