Another Vietnam? Maybe a bad analogy.
It seems that, once again, senior leaders of the military are painting a rosy picture of progress in a war zone. What do you expect from career officers who lead the most can-do organization in the world? The can-do attitude of the America military is both its greatest strength and weakness. Here is an excerpt from the article describing the reaction of DNI Clapper, who is himself a retired 3-star USAF general that has fully embraced the goatee and a less rosy picture of progress as DNI, to testimony regarding the sentiments expressed by the operational commander in Afghanistan, the CENTCOM Commander, and the EUCOM Commander (as well as Ambassador Crocker):
Well, yes [there are differences in opinion], Clapper said, those officials “took issue with the NIE on three counts having to do with the force structure, didn’t feel that we gave sufficient weight to Pakistan and its impact as a safe haven and generally felt that the NIE was pessimistic” about the situation in Afghanistan and “the prospects for post-2014,” when troops are to withdraw. Clapper tried to ease Levin’s concerns. “If you’ll forgive a little history, sir,” he began. “I served as an analyst briefer for General Westmoreland in Vietnam in 1966.” Clapper said he learned there that it’s typical that the “operational commanders sometimes don’t agree” with the intelligence team’s assessment of their efforts.
Here is an example of how foreign armies view the American can-do attitude: