Bernard Fall and Vietnamese Revolutionary Warfare: A Missed Opportunity for Counterinsurgency Doctrine?

A recent article by Nathaniel Moir in the Small Wars Journal is well worth the read. In it, he argues that “the legacy of the United States’ Counterinsurgency doctrine includes a contentious foundation” and that the work of Bernard Fall “provided a more circumspect corpus of work from which the United States’ Counterinsurgency doctrine may potentially still benefit.”

FM 3-24, written at the height of the Iraq war, was drawn largely from the work of advocates of the French doctrine on “la guerre révolutionnaire.” These included Charles Lacheroy, Roger Trinquier, and David Galula, who fought in Southeast Asia prior to 1954, but as Moir argues, “they failed to integrate understanding of cultural and historical nuances of the Vietnamese Revolution – particularly in terms of what such history meant for Vietnamese – into their operational doctrines.” Instead of understanding the complex origins of the Indochinese War, they developed theories that could be turned to operational use in other contexts, primarily Algeria. T

Conversely, “Bernard Fall integrated sustained scholarship of historical developments and dynamic cultural transformations occurring in Indochina prior to, and during its revolution.”

Read more here: Bernard Fall and Vietnamese Revolutionary Warfare: A Missed Opportunity for Counterinsurgency Doctrine?

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