The military's new strategy for Iraq envisions creating "gated communities" in Baghdad — sealing off discrete areas and forcibly removing insurgents, then stationing American units in the neighborhood to keep the peace and working to create jobs for residents.A Washington Post story offers quotes from those who were around in government during the Vietnam war:
The U.S. so far has found it impossible to secure the sprawling city. But by focusing an increased number of troops in selected neighborhoods, the military hopes it can create islands of security segregated from the chaos beyond.
The gated communities plan has been tried — with mixed success — in other wars. In Vietnam, the enclaves were called "strategic hamlets" and were a spectacular failure.
"The administration is making the same mistakes now that we made in Vietnam and I'm really sorry about that," said Jack J. Valenti, an aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson. "I learned in Vietnam when the public loses support for a war, forget about it -- it's all over."
Harry McPherson recalled the March 1968 speech he wrote that shifted the direction of the war and that Johnson used to end his reelection bid. Like then, McPherson said, there are no good options. "Many of the same consequences are being bruited about. What happens if we pull out of there? What happens if they win in Iraq? What happens to American prestige in the world? That's what we talked about all the time."