Right Of The Star

Monday, May 09, 2005

Would We Recognize A Modern Tet?

What would it look like? How would you plan it? Is it even possible in today's world?

Tet is considered by many to be the turning point in the Vietnam conflict. It is the point when the media turned against the war and their influence on public opinion was virtually insurmountable in 1968. What, "was militarily a defeat for the Communists; it had weakened them very substantially," became one of the greatest propaganda victories of all time. The old line was that once we lost Walter Cronkite the war was lost.

But today we have a media that has been hostile toward the administration and has always been against the GWOT (Greater War On Terror), including the fronts in Iraq and as strange as it may sound some were even against Afghanistan. As such, like the boy who cried wolf their cries of Tet would have little effect.

Terrorist organizations by their very nature are about propaganda and influencing public reaction and behavior.

Following the terror attacks of the past 3 decades, including the spectacular attacks of 9/11 would we recognize a Tet style coordinated attack? More specifically if you were a terrorist organization what would be effective enough to shock and impact the American public into believing that the war was lost without pissing us off worse then we were (and some of us still are) following 9/11?

Would it have to be a day of coordinated attacks with attacks big and small taking place around the world? Imagine attacks on every continent, some big, say truck bombs and some small, say one of those fake grenades.

It would prove to the faithful and those on the fence in the GWOT that al Qadea was still functional and had an intact command and control structure. As a recruiting and retention technique they have to prove they are still relative and that has become harder and harder as we have dismantled their organization.

Would an attack of that magnitude have the Tet effect or would it just cause the world to come together and redouble it's efforts on terror? It is hard to say, but I wouldn't put money on the terrorists.

My guess is that, for it to have the desired effect, a modern Tet would have to take place in just Iraq and perhaps Afghanistan and would have to be coordinated and country or region wide.

Al Qadea hasn't been known for it's rational military and political planning since 9/11 but as a dying gasp would a spectacular day of attacks be out of the question?

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