The Vietnam War was the greatest U.S. military catastrophe of the 20th century. It left deep gashes in the American psyche. It instilled an aversion to wars of choice that became known as the Vietnam syndrome.
The allergy might have lasted for generations. It didn't. In 2001, just 26 years after the fall of Saigon, the United States invaded Afghanistan. American troops have been fighting there twice as long as we fought in Vietnam.
How could we be repeating the mistakes of Vietnam already? It was not a one-step process, writes Steve Champan. It occurred through a succession of military interventions that convinced us we were clever enough to avoid the pitfalls that had brought us to such ruin in Southeast Asia.
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