The shadow of Tet

2008-02-04 00:00

Forty years ago this week, the American public realised that the United States was not going to win the Vietnam war. Lulled by assurances that “progress” was being made in the fight against the insurgents, Americans had patiently borne five years of growing military casualties in Vietnam, but the Tet offensive shattered their illusions. Could the same thing happen this year in Iraq?

Like 2008, 1968 was an election year in the United States and Tet made it plain to American voters that, while the Vietnamese insurgents might not be able to drive the Americans out, they could go on fighting them indefinitely.

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