I think the lessons of the Vietnam War are obvious. Don’t engage in a war you’re not prepared to or will do what it takes to win. It’s the Old Colin Powell doctrine of you go in with full force or you don’t go in. I’m paraphrasing there, but that is very close. So that would be one lesson, but another one would be don’t try to do for another country what they aren’t willing to do for themselves. Don’t fight other people’s wars especially when they aren’t willing to fight for themselves. The only player in the Vietnam War that was prepared to win was what use to be North Vietnam. The South was corrupt and expected America to win the war for them.
America took a half-assed approach to the Vietnam War. President Lyndon Johnson especially was more interested in looking tough on communism and not having the Right on his back when it came to foreign policy and national security. So he went in to Vietnam with bombs and a lot of personal and we took a lot of casualties, but since he was also playing politics with the war knew that there were only so many casualties that Americans were willing to take especially for fighting someone else’s war. And didn’t go into Vietnam strong enough to actually defeat the Communists and conserve the country for the Democratic but corrupt South.
The lessons from the Vietnam War are the same for the Afghan War and the War in Iraq that America was also involved in. That you can’t fight someone else’s war and expect to win when they are willing to fight for themselves. And hopefully the campaign to destroy to destroy ISIS won’t have the same lesson. That Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, the Syrian rebels will step up to the plate and do what they have to defeat ISIS themselves with America’s help. Because Americans won’t be willing and are unable to win a war for someone else at this point that they aren’t willing to win themselves.