argue that comparisons cannot be made is not only incorrect but ignores the comparative method and basic principles of counterrevolutionary and revolutionary conflicts characteristic of Malaya and South Vietnam. This is not to suggest that the British experience in Malaya can be applied automatically to South Vietnam. As Mockaitis has written, "Those who have viewed the Malayan campaign as a model to be imitated and those who have seen it as a unique event, never to be repeated, suffer from the same short-sightedness."3
It is important to emphasize that lessons learned or not learned from unconventional conflicts cannot be fully assessed by studying only the U.S. experience. Relying solely on the American experience not only skews an analysis but ignores strategic options and operational guidelines experienced by other states that may have proved more effective and relevant in the long run. Further, a comparative approach promises a more critical and penetrating focus on U.S. strategy and force posture in unconventional conflicts. For all these reasons, this book undertakes a comparative study of U.S. involvement in unconventional conflict based on the conviction that unconventional conflicts are likely to be the most challenging for the United States and are the least likely to be understood and the most difficult to reconcile with the American psyche.
This study uses both primary and secondary sources (published and unpublished) and also relies on participant-observer assessments. These sources include directives and regulations of the emergency government in Malaya and the author's personal knowledge of some U.S. military efforts in Vietnam. This was an outgrowth of the author's brief visit to Malaysia and a longer stay in Vietnam during the war. Over the course of the past two decades parts of this study have been discussed with a number of colleagues. During that same period, some parts were published as journal articles and were included in earlier books by the author. 4 In any case, the final assessments and conclusions are solely the author's.