Soldier: Iraqi insurgents 'strongly motivated' as Viet Cong
Over three decades after the young boy fled South Vietnam amidst violence, an American Paratrooper has a unique perspective on whether the Iraq war is the "New Vietnam."
In an interview with CNN, Army Lt. Colonel Viet Luong draws a parallel between the tactics and motivation of the Viet Cong and the current Iraqi insurgency. "Some of my uncles are in their 60s right now and they are still writing me emails in Vietnamese saying 'Hey, these are the things you need to look out for,'" he says. "They are using some very similar tactics and techniques."
Luong points to the insurgent's use of the safe house, such as a church or a mosque, as a way to guard against American attacks. He also notes that like the Viet Cong, insurgents mingle near the general population so US soldiers cannot use their firepower. And he argues that motivation is not that different either. "Nationalism is something you cannot underestimate. The will of somebody to fight and die," he says.
The soldier was less than three during the 1968 Tet Offensive and he remembers scenes of chaos near his home. "People were running everywhere. Dead bodies on the street and gunfire sporadically throughout the city," he says. "My house burning down. My mom trying to get all eight kids out of the house."
He also tearfully recalls his father, a South Vietnamese servicemen, clearing off the Saigon Airport runway so American forces could land. "It was a magnificent view of a fleet of CH53 helicopters. That was the coming of the angels from the air to come and get us."
The following video is from CNN's Newsroom, broadcast on June 26.