The Left's Ongoing Viet Con
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Monday, August 27, 2007 4:20 PM PT
Vietnam: Nothing destroys conventional wisdom like the truth. Those on the anti-war left don't like to be reminded that the fruits of their policies are death and defeat. But the lie they agree upon is not history.
In 1975, Sydney Schanberg wrote a piece for the New York Times about the consequences for the region of our abandonment of South Vietnam. It bore the Orwellian title: "Indochina Without Americans: For Most A Better Life." Substitute "Iraq" for "Indochina" and you have the Iraq plank in the 2008 Democratic party platform.
CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite reports from the site of extensive bombing as he covers the aftermath of the Tet offensive for the TV special "Report from Vietnam by Walter Cronkite," during the Vietnam War in 1968. Cronkite broke from the standard of objective journalism when he concluded the broadcast with his observation that the war would end in a stalemate. But the offensive that American media touted as a success was in fact a military disaster for the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese.
Last Saturday, the Los Angeles Times ran a piece by Andrew J. Bacevich, a Boston University history professor and Vietnam War veteran, that fellow vet John Kerry could have written, and which could have borne a similar title regarding Iraq without Americans.
Professor Bacevich takes President Bush to task for reminding the Veterans of Foreign Wars last week that, far from enjoying a better life, the people of Indochina, after they were betrayed by Democrats, became victims of the "killing fields" of Cambodia, inmates of the re-education camps of Vietnam or, if they were lucky, boat people in the South China Sea.
The consequences of following the Democrats on Iraq, Bush said, would result in a similar human catastrophe and a greater terrorist threat to America.
Bacevich's piece is titled "Vietnam's Real Lessons," yet it is he who ignores the truth by writing about a "U.S. defeat" in an "unconventional war."
The U.S. military was never defeated in any battle. Not until 1975, after a Democratic Congress cut off aid in a fit of post-Watergate pique, did Saigon fall to an army of 570,000 North Vietnamese regular soldiers and some 900 Soviet tanks, well supplied and armed by their Soviet and Chinese benefactors.
For two years, South Vietnam stood on its own without U.S. boots on the ground. Had we continued military and economic aid, it would be standing today — like South Korea, which we did not abandon.
South Korea was no Athenian democracy back then, and yet we did not throw it to the wolves. Bacevich says we should look at "the condition of Vietnam today." He should look at the condition of South Korea.
One of the first actions of the Democratic "Watergate babies" was to vote to deny South Vietnam $800 million in military aid, including ammunition and spare parts. Five weeks after that vote, a surprised and delighted North Vietnam began planning an armored invasion of the South, knowing we had grown war-weary and would not help. Bacevich speaks of a "Republic of Vietnam, created by the United States," that was not "able to govern effectively or command the loyalty of its people." Yet, as history shows, Vietnam did not fall to a popular uprising by pajama-clad patriots.
The 1968 Tet offensive by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese was a military disaster. Gen. Giap failed in his plan to seize and hold 13 of 16 provincial capitals and trigger a popular uprising. The communist forces lost upwards of 50,000 killed and as many wounded.
After Tet, the Viet Cong were effectively finished as a fighting force, with the NVA taking over. North Vietnam's 1972 Easter offensive also failed.
It was these failures that led to the January 1973 Paris Peace Accord. But when a Democratic Congress legislated an end to U.S. operations in Indochina that summer, it also stopped U.S. air support of a friendly Cambodian government under siege by Hanoi and the Khmer Rouge.
Former Rep. Tip O'Neill, D-Mass., who was later to become speaker of the House, declared at the time that "Cambodia is not worth the life of one American flier."
The rest — as they say, professor — is history.