James McAllister is quoted in an article about the administration seeking advice from scholars of the Vietnam war:
James McAllister, a professor of political science at Williams College in Massachusetts who has written extensively about Vietnam, said the administration could learn a lot from Vietnam.
“American policy makers clearly see parallels between the two wars,” he said. “They know that the mistakes we made in Vietnam must be avoided in Afghanistan.”
McAllister cited analogies between the two wars:
— In both wars, security forces had an overwhelming advantage in firepower over lightly armed but highly mobile guerrillas.
— Insurgents in both cases were able to use safe havens in neighboring countries to regroup and re-equip.
—He pointed to McChrystal’s order to limit airstrikes and prevent civilian casualties, linking it to the overuse of air power in Vietnam which resulted in massive civilian deaths.
McAllister drew a parallel to another failed political strategy from Vietnam — the presidential election.
“That (’67 ballot) helped ensure that U.S. efforts would continue to be compromised by its support for a corrupt, unpopular regime in Saigon,” McAllister said.