Richard Nixon on Vietnam, November 3, 1969
The defense of freedom is everybody's business not just America's business. And it is particularly the responsibility of the people whose freedom is threatened. In the previous administration, we Americanized the war in Vietnam.
In this administration, we are Vietnamizing the search for peace. The policy of the previous administration not only resulted in our assuming the primary responsibility for fighting the war, but even more significantly did not adequately stress the goal of strengthening the South Vietnamese so that they could defend themselves when we left. The Vietnamization plan was launched following Secretary Laird's visit to Vietnam in March.
Under the plan, I ordered first a substantial increase in the training and equipment of South Vietnamese forces.
-After 5 years of Americans going into Vietnam, we are finally bringing men home. By December 15, over 60,000 men will have been withdrawn from South Vietnam including 20 percent of all of our combat forces.
-The South Vietnamese have continued to gain in strength. As a result they have been able to take over combat responsibilities from our American troops. Two other significant developments have occurred since this administration took office.
-Enemy infiltration, infiltration which is essential if they are to launch a major attack, over the last 3 months is less than 20 percent of what it was over the same period last year.
-Most important United States casualties have declined during the last 2 months to the lowest point in 3 years.
Let me now turn to our program for the future. We have adopted a plan which we have worked out in cooperation with the South Vietnamese for the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat ground forces, and their replacement by South Vietnamese forces on an orderly scheduled timetable. This withdrawal will be made from strength and not from weakness. As South Vietnamese forces become stronger, the rate of American withdrawal can become greater.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Afghanistan, October 1, 2012
"Political decisions will be taken based on his recommendations as to how we will adapt to the transfer of lead responsibility to the Afghans," he said. "The pace will very much depend on the security situation on the ground."
Rasmussen stressed that any accelerated rate of withdrawal should not be seen as "a race for the exits". The end of combat operations is to be followed from 2015 by a Nato-led training mission for the Afghan security forces, which will also require the continued deployment of fighting units or special forces, – "enablers" as they are called in military jargon.
"The core will be a training mission. Of course, we will have to ensure that our trainers can operate in a secure environment so we need capabilities to make sure that our trainers can operate," said the former Danish prime minister, who was appointed head of Nato in 2009.
Additionally, there will be further US forces remaining in Afghanistan under a bilateral "strategic partnership" deal struck between Washington and Kabul.