Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Wornout (And Inaccurate) Analogy of Vietnam (Updated 4/4)

Today at American Thinker, Dr. Ben Voth of Miami University has a very good piece that focuses on the outcome of the 10,000 day struggle known as the Vietnam War.

I'd like to expand on Voth's piece.

These popular perceptions ring throughout American History Classrooms, American Movies, and especially the preconceived notions of the American Media.

  • The United States "lost" the war.

  • The war was impossible for the US to win.

  • The US's final withdrawal solved the problems of the war.

  • The lives of those given in the conflict were "wasted".

Hence, as Voth alludes to in his piece, the term "Vietnam" is synonymous with military failure. It has become the mnemonic device of many who associate any military campaign with inevitable failure.

In my writings I have not been shy about to whom the blame falls for this misperception. In December of 2005, J.R. Dunn, one of the premier American Thinker writers, posted a piece entitled "The Legacy of Tet", an article I have cited countless times in my writings.

Without completely rehashing Dunn's argument, he cements my point that the Useful Idiots of the Mainstream Media created many, if not all, of the misperceptions listed above by inaccurately reporting events on the ground in Vietnam. In the heyday of the Useful Idiot's influence (before the internet, naturally), when Walter Kronkite reported world events, it was the equivalent of Moses and the Stone Tablets. Once Walter stated "that's the way it was," reality and perception would morph into one and not a Head of State in the world could convince Americans otherwise. In January 1968, North Vietnam's Tet Offensive took place; a massive invasion of the South by North Vietnamese regulars equipped and trained by the Soviet Union. Walter's verdict? America was essentially defeated during Tet, and the war was all but lost.

Dunn's sources recall a different outcome (bold emphasis mine).

"The result of all (North Vietnamese Commander Nguyen) Giap's efforts was a total rout. The South Vietnamese, utterly horrified by the prospect of a Communist takeover, sat tight while U.S. and government troops crushed the attack in a matter of days. The sole holdout was the old imperial citadel at Hue, which required three weeks to be retaken. The government stood firm, the ARVN, once recovered from its initial surprise, did a creditable job."

He continues:

"The Viet Cong (South Vietnamese Communist Sympathizers), on the other hand, were ruined as a military force, their rural infrastructure left in tatters. They never fully recovered, forcing the PAVN (People's Army of North Vietnam) to take over the bulk of combat duties. Giap, his reputation saving him from the usual fate of failed generals in communist societies, went back to the drawing board. (Though not very fruitfully —— his next scheme was a 'mini—Tet' in April, which ended much the same way.)"

In A Patriot's History Of The United States, Larry Schweikart and Micheal Allen tell a story identical to Dunn's (again, bold emphasis mine).

During Tet, the "Vietcong troops reached the U.S. embassy in Saigon, where they (contrary to popular movie renditions) were killed to a man... for every American Soldier or Marine killed, 50 North Vietnamese died, a ratio 'approaching the horrendous slaughter....between the Spaniards and Aztecs in Mexico or British and Zulus in southern Africa.'" At the old capital of Hue "the surprised and outnumbered U.S. Marines evicted 10,000 Viet Cong and Vietnamese regulars from a fortified city in less than three weeks and at a loss of only 150 dead."

More: " A U.S. military historian, Robert Leckie, referred to Tet as 'the most appalling defeat in the history of war' for Hanoi-an 'unmitigated military disaster'. Even General Tran Van Tra, a top-ranking communist, agreed, 'We suffered large sacrifices and losses with regard to manpower and material, especially cadres at the various echelons, which clearly weakened us.'"

How did the circa-1968 Useful Idiots report Tet? Schweikart and Allen continue:

"....yet the media reported this as a communist victory. 'Embassy in Saigon Captured!' read one erroneous headline.... Scenes were cut and spliced in the studios into thirty-second clips of marines and body bags, with an accompanying text, 'American troops mauled (p. 694).'"

When the dust finally settled in 1972, Schweikart and Allen tell a story few of my generation have ever heard.

"Realizing they could not beat the United States as long as Nixon remained in the Presidency, the North Vietnamese boldly sought to influence the November elections by convincing Americans of the hopelessness of their cause."

Once Nixon thrashed McGovern in the 1972 election: "Out of options, consequently, on January 23, 1973, Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam signed an agreement with U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers ending the war. Nixon made clear his intention of keeping U.S. Warships in Southeast Asia and of using American air power stationed in Thailand or the Philippines to maintain the peace. The North promised to return all American POWs. Like any such agreement, it largely hinged on Nixon's willingness and ability to enforce it. For all intents and purposes, America's longest war was over."

More: "Having won every major military encounter in the war, American armed forces withdrew and Vietnamized the war, as had been the intention since Kennedy."

DO NOT MISS THIS - "Vietnamization, however, worked only as long as the U.S. Congress and the American President remained committed to supporting South Vietnam with aid. In the wake of Nixon's resignation, Vietnam could no longer count on the president, and shortly thereafter Congress pulled the plug on further assistance, dooming the free government in the South (p. 715-716)."

Let's recap: The US and South Vietnam essentially won every major military confrontation of the war. The North and the Viet Cong were running out of options and forced to sign a Peace Agreement. South Vietnam, today, would still be a free and most likely vibrant nation with a north/south contrast similar to Korea. However, once Nixon was run from office and Congress pulled the plug on the fledgling but surviving government in the south, all was lost.

The consequence?

  • The emboldening of communist movements worldwide which would not only enslave millions, but be a security and financial thorn in the side of the West for the next 15 years.

  • The ushering in of brutal regimes in both Cambodia and Laos.

  • The horrors of Vietnamese "re-education camps" throughout South Vietnam.

  • A demon on the shoulder of American Military readiness that would not be shaken until the rapid defeat of Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein in 1991.

  • A still existing, but seldom reported, repressive regime in Vietnam to this day. This link to Human Rights Watch, hardly a pro-American organization, details such.

The blame for this? Many fingers can be pointed, but the most square of them would be at the Useful Idiots of the Mainstream Media, who systematically reported events on the ground in Vietnam inaccurately and with devastating effects on American psyche.

Fast forward, if you will, to Iraq in 2007. Entering the fifth year of US involvement in Iraq, the situation vis-a-vis the Useful Idiots and operations on the ground are similar. The US and its coalition partners have

  • Deposed a brutal dictator

  • Freed millions from the looming presence of Rape Rooms and Torture Chambers

  • Established a Constitutional Government via overwhelmingly successful elections

  • Have begun training the Iraqi Police Force and Military to be self sufficient defenders of the new order.

  • Begun to rebuild the infrastructure.

The success of these endeavors can be viewed here and here.

Yet, what do we hear in the MSM daily? Carnage, Bombing, US Death Toll and "Civil War".

See a pattern? The only similarity between Vietnam and Iraq that I can see - well, two:

  • The sloppy, incomplete reporting by the Useful Idiots

  • The HORRIFIC consequences of our failure in Iraq, which can only happen if we lose our will to fight. How will we lose our will to fight? If the Useful Idiots continue to point an erroneous picture of what really is happening on the ground.

Stop comparing Iraq to Vietnam, Power Whores of the Democratic Party and Useful Idiots of the Media. The only way it can become Vietnam is if you people LET IT.


Addendum: Sunday, April 1, 2007

Wrong, Wrong, WRONG - Yesterday at AT, as a follow up post to Voth's piece, Andrew Sumereau comments that "Bush and company should have known this from all that history teaches. They, and we, are paying the penalty of ignoring the lessons of Vietnam."

I have to respectfully disagree with Sumereau. Again, the entire premises of his piece yesterday and his earlier piece he references from 2005 are flawed as I have outlined above. We did NOT lose the Vietnam War any more than we "lost" the Korean War. Sumereau is a case study in the type of thinking that my entire post above is meant to address.

The lessons of Vietnam are not the ones that Sumereau speaks of. The lesson of Vietnam is that the American Public should never solely depend on the Useful Idiots of the MSM for their information on the day-to-day results of a military endeavor. While Sumereau to some extent makes valid points about the needs of effective war fighting (and Bush et al, along with commanders on the ground in Iraq have made adjustments in tactic, as does every commander in war) he is basing his entire argument on a false premise ~ that Vietnam was a defeat.