December 23rd, 2006

Revising history: Vietnam (yes, again)

Dean Esmay has linked to my second post on Cronkite and Tet, and a commenter there named “mikeca” called what I had to say “revisionist history.”

His comment was identical to one he posted on this blog as well, which I now reproduce here in full:

This is conservative revisionist history and rationalization.

According to the new history, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese were defeated in Tet and we had the war won. Only the media, and Walter Cronkite snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Totally wrong. Before Tet the US government was saying that the war was winding down. Tet showed that the enemy was far from defeated. In fact it was clear that if the US had not had 500,000 men in Vietnam, the South would have been overrun. More than half of the Americans killed in Vietnam came after the Tet offensive was over.

What Tet showed was that it took 500,000 American service men in Vietnam to keep the South Vietnamese government in power, because the South Vietnamese people did not really believe in their government. The fact that the South Vietnamese military and government collapsed like a house of cards as soon as the US left, shows just that. The US was just propping up a corrupt and incompetent government.

Cronkite talked with lots of government and military officials off the record. Many of them told him of their doubts about the situation in Vietnam. The US government knew the South Vietnamese government was probably a hopeless cause. The US could keep the South Vietnamese government in power by keeping 500,000 men there forever, but that effectively made South Vietnam a US colony. The American people eventually realized that while the US could keep the South Vietnamese government in power forever, we could not make the South Vietnamese people support that government.

You can rationalize all you want. Try to blame the Democrats in congress, try to blame the media. The facts are there are limits to what can be accomplished with military power, even overwhelming military power. If you fail to learn that lesson from Vietnam, perhaps you will learn it in Iraq.

The following is based on a reply I posted on Dean’s World. I decided to highlight it here-and expand on it–because I think mikeca’s comment is an excellent example of the sort of argument often mounted when there’s an attempt to portray the Vietnam War in a way that contradicts the original MSM version of the truth.

First I want to say that rationalization is most assuredly not my motive. In fact, if I were trying to rationalize, I actually would have a vested interest in holding onto the original viewpoint of the war that mikeca expresses. After all, I protested that war, and was relieved when we pulled out and it was over. If I were going to rationalize my own role in things, I’d be with mikeca all the way (and see this for a lengthy discussion of how those who were against the war tend to use rationalization when they decline to take responsibility for its aftermath).

Second, I want to say that my post is revisionist history, but not in the way mikeca means the term. “Revisionist” often is used to refer to history rewritten falsely as propaganda, such as by the Soviets. That’s the sense in which mikeca is using it, of course, only in this case—as he writes—it would be “conservative” revisionist history.

But sometimes that “first draft” of history—such as the Vietnam War as perceived in real time and told in the MSM—cries out for revision, as in “to revise.” To look at again with fresh eyes and new information, and to question whether the standard viewpoint of the time was correct. Here’s another definition of revisionist history, the one I’m using (a revised one, as it were):

In its legitimate form (see historical revisionism) it is the reexamination of historical facts, with an eye towards updating historical narratives with newly discovered, more accurate, or less biased information, acknowledging that history of an event, as it has been traditionally told, may not be entirely accurate.

So to mikeca and those who agree with him, I suggest that they read Braestrup’s The Big Story on what happened during Tet (including the incorrect MSM evaluation of it), a book recommended in my Cronkite post. Or read this shorter Bishop discussion and review of Braestrup’s book.

If you’ve read Part II of my Cronkite/Tet post, you will see that I briefly summarized some of the myths Braestrup’s book challenged, as discussed in Bishop’s article. Here, though, I’ll spotlight one in particular, since it reflects on mikeca’s contention about the sanguine war predictions of the US prior to Tet:

Misconception: There had been no warning of a coming offensive. Actually, the press ignored cautions expressed by General Earle Wheeler and General William C. Westmoreland in December and January.

Braestrup concluded that the press had made a two-pronged error: minimizing US military warnings before Tet that something big was still in the works, making it seem as though they were far more falsely hopeful than they actually were, and then maximizing North Vietnamese/Vietcong victories during Tet.

As far as the South Vietnamese people’s lack of support for their own government went, it was actually during Tet that the North Vietnamese and Vietcong learned the South Vietnamese wouldn’t support the North, if given the choice. The North had expected a great many South Vietnamese to join them during Tet, but it didn’t happen:

..the NLF apparently did expect large sections of the urban populace to rise up in revolt. With a few exceptions, this didn’t happen. South Vietnam’s city dwellers were generally indifferent to both the NLF and the Saigon Government but the VC clearly expected more support than it actually got.

I’ve never indicated that Walter Cronkite singlehandedly lost the war, or that the task would have been easy otherwise. But it would have been a lot easier if the truth of Tet had been told at the time, and if Cronkite hadn’t taken it on himself to be judge and jury of the war effort. The point is not that, but for Cronkite, the war would have been over after Tet—it most certainly would not have. The point was the mischaracterization of Tet by our own media, and Cronkite’s sudden switch to agenda-driven opinion journalism.

And now for that South Vietnamese government which, according to mikeca, “collapsed like a house of cards after the US left.”

In this post I discuss the drawdown in troops known as “Vietnamization.” Take a look at this diagram, featured in that post. You’ll notice that by early 1972 there were very few US combat troops in Vietnam; by August of 1972 they were all gone.

Read this article on the fall of South Vietnam, and note that the ARVN was not doing half badly several years later (late 1974), until the US Congress pulled the plug on them and left them with sharply diminshed funds to pay their troops or to arm themselves. That was the turning point, not the much earlier departure of US combat forces. The financial betrayal occurred at a time when there were no longer any US fighting forces in Vietnam, and had not been for years (here’s a history of that shameful episode). Meanwhile, the North saw its golden opportunity, fully and generously funded by its Chinese and Soviet allies.

Here are some of the details of how it happened:

In May 1973, Congress voted to cut-off all funds for military action in Indochina, including air support. Having deprived Saigon of U.S. firepower, Congress then cut aid to South Vietnam in [December] 1974, resulting in shortages of fuel, spare parts and ammunition. A month after this Congressional action, the Hanoi Politburo decided to launch a new invasion in 1975. The Soviets increased their military aid to Hanoi, building a heavily armed force that the abandoned Saigon government could not stop. When President Gerald Ford asked Congress for an emergency grant of funds to rush ammunition to South Vietnam on April 10, 1975, he was turned down.

The author of these words, William R. Hawkins, believes that the antiwar Left of the Vietnam era could not tolerate the idea that the South Vietnamese might actually hold off the North; this would contradict some of their most dearly cherished notions. And so, even though there were no longer any American combat soldiers at risk there, funding (which at the time was very modest) had to be cut off; the South had to be abandoned so that the North could win and vindicate the Left.

I’m not quite that cynical; I’m not at all sure that was the motivation. But reading the Hawkins assertion certainly gave me pause, I have to say. Because that’s the sort of mindset I see all too often today regarding Iraq—a need on the part of many on the Left to have us fail there, in order to prove themselves right. I’m not saying that’s true of everyone on the Left, but it most definitely seems to be the sentiment of a significant portion. And I think one can detect what may be a trace of that sentiment in the final paragraph of mikeca’s comment:

The facts are there are limits to what can be accomplished with military power, even overwhelming military power. If you fail to learn that lesson from Vietnam, perhaps you will learn it in Iraq.

If we don’t “learn it in Iraq”—if our Iraqi endeavor were to ultimately succeed on some level–it would call into question some of the most deeply and long-held notions of the Left. That can be a very upsetting experience.

Did Vietnam show “the limits” of “military power,” “even overwhelming military power,” as mikeca contends? For political and PC reasons, as well as fear that the conflict would escalate further, we never did unleash our full and overwhelming military power. And it’s indisputably true that, when we cut the ARVN’s funding, we not only were not using our military power, we were not even allowing them to use their military power—which was certainly less than overwhelming.

But back to Tet and the MSM, the topic of my original post: Braestrup (who was a seasoned war reporter and Korean war veteran, and who did exhaustive research on Tet for his “revisionist” book, considered the definitive text on the subject) wrote:

Rarely has contemporary crisis journalism turned out, in retrospect, to have veered so widely from reality. . . To have portrayed such a setback for one side as a defeat for the other—in a major crisis abroad—cannot be counted as a triumph for American journalism.

Braestrup also called the coverage of Tet by the MSM “press malpractice.”

And so it was. Sounds like a history that might cry out for just a bit of revising, doesn’t it?

101 Responses to “Revising history: Vietnam (yes, again)”

  1. VietPundit Says:

    dacher, your arguments are certainly valid; however, I happen to disagree with their premise, and therefore their conclusions.

  2. Jimmy J. Says:

    Sounds as if you’ve struck a Leftist nerve. Mikeca is not about to accept any changes in the party line. The Vietnam War was an immoral aggression and interference in the life of some peaceful agrarian reformers and don’t you dare tell him otherwise!

    I just visited Russia, East Germany, and Estonia. It’s been 14 years since the end of the Soviet Period (as the Russians call it.), but these countries are still struggling to get caught up economically. Russia is still struggling to become truly free.
    These people suffered immensely under Communism and anyone with any insight should shudder at the idea of any kind of totalitarian rule anywhere in the world.

    Although Vietnam is trying to get their economy going somewhat on the Chinese model, think where they would be if we had been able to keep South Vietnam free. Millions would have lived to see better days and they would probably have an economy on a par with South Korea. Two facts that the Left just would not want to acknowledge.

  3. dacher Says:

    Still immoral to do it by force if you are the aggressor. the equivalent is kidnapping Native American children to convert them to Christianity to ‘save’ them.

    This was a country colonized by France for many years, why should they trust America to be different? Or the case of Philippines was occupied by America and rebellion was successfully crushed by American troops. They haven’t exactly become a first world nation.

  4. camojack Says:

    I hope that the MSM can’t do in Iraq what they did to us with Vietnam.

  5. Jimmy J. Says:

    dacher,
    Read “The Pentagon’s New Map” by Thomas P.M. Barnett. He makes a pretty good case for the morality of helping countries locked into the backwardness and misery of theocracies and dictatorships. You might disagree but you need to look at it before closing your mind on the subject.

  6. dacher Says:

    These Vietnam war revisionists give Americans of that time too little credit and basically calling them ignorant coward liars. Today we call them the “greatest generation.” Back then they where in their 40s, the ones really in charge of the country. The college kids and peace-movement would not have made a bit of difference if the ‘greatest generation’ did not eventually back them up.

    Compare to today, where the 40 yos from the Vietnam generation (Clinton, Bush Jr,Kerry,McCain,Braestrup) are in charge. Back then, the ‘greatest generation’ was in charge. I think I’ll trust the greatest generation’s first hand accounts, decisions and analysis of the Vietnam war from their leadership position and life experiences.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    In May 1973, Congress voted to cut-off all funds for military action in Indochina, including air support. Having deprived Saigon of U.S. firepower, Congress then cut aid to South Vietnam in [December] 1974, resulting in shortages of fuel, spare parts and ammunition.

    Propaganda paves the way for victory. The victory of the Left in Vietnam was facilitated by Cronkite’s propagandization and demoralization campaign. Because it would have been harder to create political and decisive bills to do such, if the country wasn’t already hurting and feeling the need to cower in shame. It doesn’t matter how much firepower you have, if your mind has been decimated, you have lost. And you will keep on losing, even if you might have had a chance at something, because you fullfill your own prophecy or the prophecy that others have convinced you is true.

    I’m not quite that cynical

    You could probably look up the votes and who voted for what, in Congress, Neo. Although there probably isn’t any direct testimony, there might have been if there was an recordings of the house or senate debate or footage of committe discussions. It is guaranteed that it was a motive, the Left in their victory wanted absolute complete vindication, with no chance for the Republicans to decry any such foolishness as a loss of human dignity or rights, the Left had those in abundance back then no one else may threaten that monopoly. The only question is to what extent the motive motivated other folks to vote on the bill. Other people were obviously motivated by something other than a long term interest in corrupting the American culture and spirit by winning a war for themselves through making America and American allies lose one.

    That can be a very upsetting experience.

    More upsetting than the national psychotic episode which occured when they realized Bush was re-elected in 2004? Really.

    would escalate further

    Sherman, if he was still alive today, would probably have told you that if you don’t escalate things in war, then you might as well just go away because it is just a game to you. A game is played by rules, and if war is a game, then you shouldn’t be playing.

    And it’s indisputably true that, when we cut the ARVN’s funding, we not only were not using our military power, we were not even allowing them to use their military power–which was certainly less than overwhelming.

    The Democrats and their allies in the Left won’t even try to obstruct and cut funding to Egypt or whatever funds is given to Saudi Arabia. So how did you think they cooked up the political support to cut funds to Vietnam? Because of Cronkite. While Cronkite did little to actually change the reality on the ground, politics is not based in Vietnam, the US political situation was based in America, and Cronkite did everything in his power to corrupt that for his side.

    This was a country colonized by France for many years, why should they trust Ame

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    Because we freed France.

    Or the case of Philippines was occupied by America and rebellion was successfully crushed by American troops.

    Which is why the P guerrila supported starving US troops in kicking the Japanese off and being teary eyed when the Americans left.

  9. VietPundit Says:

    Thank you, neo. I left this comment at Dean’s post:

    Mike,

    I’m originally from South Vietnam. Yes, I agree with your views, as do over two million South Vietnamese boat people (who somehow left their country after the liberators came?), including hundreds of thousands now lying at the bottom of the sea, who unfortunately can’t quite express their support for your views, but would if they could.

  10. expat Says:

    How much do you think the civil rights movement affected faith in America and its institutions? We had just learned that our country had ignored horrible injustice for 100 years after the abolition of slavery. We (the baby boomers) all wanted very much to atone and sin no more. And when we heard of things like massacres, corrupt governments, and downtrodden peasants, we interpreted them emotionally as the same story.

  11. Ymarsakar Says:

    It was designed that way, expat. You don’t just demoralize a person by repeating the same things about the same people to them. You try to create the “stereo surround sound” experience, so to speak. Get it going everywhere, anywhere, and everywhen.

    Tie everything up, escalate the propaganda, push and push, until the American spirit snaps. Then you go in and reap a harvest of power, and the Democrats did. They used the power of Vietnam to accrue much power, and acquired many immunities from justice in the process.

    You have heard people say that Bush is using the terrorists to gain power. But of course, the Democrats would never have thought that attack up, if they themselves were not already masters of the technique.

  12. dacher Says:

    2 million anti-Communists left Vietnam? What can I say. These South Vietnamese should of taken up arms and fought as hard as the Communists did instead of sitting back and relying on the USA bear the brunt of the fight and pay year after year. Maybe then things would have turned out differently. America freed itself from Britain, many other countries free themselves from tyranny. Why should America grant this expensive gift indefinitely to a people who won’t put equal skin in the game.

    Blaming American “left”, when the people you are helping are acting entitled to unlimited US military support, is misplaced. Cutting the entitlement of never ending flow of US military and financial support to a non-supportive government and people is as good business practice as cutting off the welfare recepient who just refuses to work year after year.

  13. Matthew M Says:

    Thanks for another stimulating post, Neo. I appreciated seeing mikeca’s rebuttal of your essay. It was fairly well written and seemed to conform to the excogitative spirit of your blog.

    However, it lacked a single reference, included the errors in fact that you pointed out, and exhibited the imprecise conceptual thinking that goes a long way to explaining how the left gets things so wrong.

    You explained the difference between rationalism and analysis. I’d like to add that ‘colony’ is a strange word to describe the US subsidization and defense of South Vietnam while receiving nothing in return.

    Concepts are objective and valid when they are properly defined; they correspond to reality and make it possible to know things with certainty and precision. When inquiry is displaced by dogma, however, it’s all down hill from there. And the left is at the bottom of the hill (as is the portion of the right enamored of religious dogma).

    In addition to high quality analysis, your blog does an excellent job shedding light on the shoddy thinking of the left, whose preposterous selfrighteousness is more galling by the day.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if mikeca believed that Al Gore’s case for global warming is convincing.

  14. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    dacher, I notice that you work in the points that you wanted to say – that you already had on disc, so to speak – but don’t address the issues of the three related posts. You may indeed have engaged the ideas presented at some point in your life, but I see no evidence that you have engaged them here. You simply dismiss. That may give you a sigh of relief when you finish, but it does nothing to persuade me.

  15. dacher Says:

    Sorry for any rudeness or offense. I’ll lurk for a bit. I confess I’m new to the site, by way of google. I got a wee bit overly excited reading some of the very interesting posts and posters, that I just couldn’t wait to jump in.

  16. Al Fin Says:

    Nice response, neo. The biggest problem I see to a rational and documented response to leftist rant, is that it is the leftist rant that is being taught to hundreds of thousands of students every day across the continent.

    In other words, neo’s rational response reaches thousands–the steady leftist drumbeat financed by taxpayer dollars reaches millions, when you include the mainstream media. The mainstream media is made up of graduates from the leftist diploma mills euphemistically referred to as universities.

  17. Dean Esmay Says:

    America did many wrong things in Vietnam. Many.

    But the moment of our greatest shame was when we abandoned our promise to the elected South Vietnamese government, and then just sat on our hands and watched as more than a million fled from Ho Chi Minh’s murderous horde, and watched while hundreds of thousands drowned and did nothing.

  18. grackle Says:

    These South Vietnamese should of taken up arms and fought as hard as the Communists did instead of sitting back and relying on the USA bear the brunt of the fight and pay year after year.

    For the commentor: The South Vietnamese DID take up arms and fought HARDER than the communists. But you can’t fight a war without bullets. When the anti-war Congress cut the funding it was over. One wonders who the commentor thinks was financing the North Vietnamese.
     

  19. Scrapiron Says:

    The American Media, Dhimmi’s in U.S. congress and cowards of America sold out South Vietnam in hopes of gaining power. Hanoi John and his lying liars were leading the charge. If I had anything to do with the cut and run that caused the slaughter of up to 5 million ‘humans’ in Southeast Asia I’d try to rewrite history to. It won’t help the cowards and their offspring. All of you have the blood of millions of people on your hands and you’ll never really get rid of the guilt until the day you die.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    dacher: please read the post carefully. I make it clear that the North Vietnamese were fully funded by their allies and backers in China and the USSR. Why expect the South Vietnamese to have pure hands and do it all themselves, when they were facing an enemy armed by the Communist superpowers? For years we had funded the South Vietnamese, to be sure, but the amounts we were giving them were small compared to the amounts the North was getting from its sources. It would have been very little hardship on the US to have continued the funding, and it would have made all the difference to the struggling South Vietnamese. Penny wise and pound foolish.

    What’s more, the withdrawal meant that all the sacrifices Americans had made there previously, in blood and treasure, were as for nothing.

  21. MartyH Says:

    dacher-

    You cite America freeing itself from England as proof that the South Vietnamese could have held out against the North after America cut off funding.

    American independence would not have been possible without intervention from the other European superpower of the time-France.

    I think that Jimmy J is right-South Vietnam would look similar to South Korea today if we had not cut off funding.

  22. TallDave Says:

    Vietnam was one of the most successful acheivements of the Soviet disinformatziya campaign. They had no chance of prevailing militarily in Vietnam, but the destrcutive memes they implanted in the intellectual class back here in the West were at the heart of the anti-war movement. A little nudge was all it took to put the press on their side.

  23. TallDave Says:

    I mean, it’s really a pretty incredible feat of delusion when you consider how the Communists treated free press. You’d think they would have been leading the charge against such an ideology.

  24. Ariel Says:

    Neo, excellent post. Hawkins point of the need for SV failure as a form of vindication I’m sure was true for some (Hayden and Hanoi Jane come to mind), perhaps too many, but not all, as there is no such thing as a monolithic Left or, for that matter, Right.

    The cutting off of funding was a truly disgraceful act. I’d be curious to see if any in Congress used the then condition of the American economy (Oil Crisis, Wage & Price Freeze, etc.) to justify the end of funding. Now that would be a rationalization.

  25. syn Says:

    Oh sure Dacher, like the poor living in oppressed countries who haven’t even the ability to feed themselves have a prayer in the world of beating down totalitarian regimes.

    The problem with the Left is that they cannot look at themselves in the mirror and see what destruction looks like.

    The Republicans now represent the Party which used to represent Classcial Liberalism and the Democrat Party which used to represent what Conservatism is now attempting to preserve is representitive of Illiberal Insanity.

    Ever consider Dacher that the MSM is Big Brother acting on behalf of the form of collective government it would like to have in power?

    ‘We the People’ does not mean Collectivist Mob Rule nor Banana Republic Communism.

  26. Cappy Says:

    Coming from the same time period as Neo, I can attest that the meme was the same from the left then as it is now. “America -bad, all others good. Respect for third world cultures. Blahblahblahblah”. It was the same void of treason coming from the same throats.

  27. Ymarsakar Says:

    fWhy expect the South Vietnamese to have pure hands and do it all themselves

    Because if they fail, everyone will have pure hands. The SV will have pure hands when failing, and the Democrats will have pure hands because they knew they didn’t have anything to do with the failure.

    These South Vietnamese should of taken up arms and fought as hard as the Communists did instead of sitting back and relying on the USA bear the brunt of the fight and pay year after year.

    Pure hands, as they say. Let them fight, it is none of our problems.

    America freed itself from Britain, many other countries free themselves from tyranny.

    Which means this is not so much about other people’s freedom, via De Oppresso Liber, than it is about selfishness and “do what I did” because what I did was patently golden or some such. But on its face, it isn’t what dacher did, because dacher wasn’t around in the Revolution Days, so this is old ancestral history being applied to the problems of today. The same people who pay lipservice to American exceptionalism, curiously don’t support American Empire or using American models to build an Iraqi Constitution and government.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Hey Neo – I thought you were tolerant of other viewpoints? Particularly those based in fact and truth.

    It’s sadly predictable you’d leave out mikeca’s response from your link.

    What’s up with that?

    Are you interested in propaganda or truth?

    I’m guessing from your penchant for deleting that which rubbishes your claims that you are running a propaganda site?

    Are you taking orders from somewhere?

  29. dacher Says:

    How much material support did China and the Soviets contribute to the NV side? I know they didn’t provide ground troops or air power anywhere on the level that America provided the South. Did the Soviets and Chinese even supply the NVA any weapons other than light weapons? Please correct me if I’m misinformed.

    What I’m getting at is the USA provided much more substantial support to the South than the NV got from their allies. And not only the US, the South Vietnamese had Canadians, South Koreans and others fighting their fight for them. The US had a compulsory draft just to support the South Vietnamese side — how much more should we have escalated our assistance? After a long period of unlimited giving and sacrifice by us it is only normal for war fatigue and weariness to set in, both among the troops and the populace, especially when it later seems more a war of choice. Maybe there would have been more domestic enthusiasm to continue the war if we and our allies where fighting equal numbers of Chinese and Russian troops. Just killing thousands upon thousands of Vietnamese in Vietnam, even if they are Communist, doesn’t cut it as a good enough reason to keep fighting after a few years.

    And on comparing our support to France supporting the American Revolution: They kept up their support because [b]WE[/b] where materially winning. They would have cut off most if not all support for the Revolution if the Revolutionary war dragged on for 10 years. Contrast to the Brits cutting support of the American Torries/loyalists, who like the South Vietnamese, did not fight with the Brits against the American Revolutionaries. When the Brits lost the Torries had to run to Canada. Sounds like the South Vietnamese.

  30. george hoffman Says:

    Neo,
    I was a medical corpsman in Vietnam from 31 May 1967 to 31 May 1968. So I talked with the wounded grunts from the major battles during my tour of duty including the Tet Offensive of 1968. The majority agrees that the American soldiers defeated the VC guerillas and NVA soldiers in all the major battles. But most of the wounded grunts also agreed that the VC guerillas and NVA soldiers would not give up the struggle despite high losses. The wounded grunts were not members of the so-called liberal MSM. They just knew what a grand folly the war really was.

  31. Danny Lemieux Says:

    Excellent post, Neo. My only recommendation would be that you link the name “Cambodia” to that of South Vietnam. We betrayed the Cambodians in the same way, with far worse consequences. Also, the comparison of South Vietnam to revolutionary America is disingenuous – the Americans, at the time, enjoyed one of the most powerful economies in the world, as well as the world’s most advanced political system. Many Brits (e.g., Edmund Burke) lacked the political will to fight its “cousins” and saw the American revolution as a stimulous to domestic reform. Even with these advantages, it was a very close battle for America’s freedom. As far as popular support for the Communists was concerned, VietPundit has it right: people didn’t flee Vietnam during the war, they fled when the communists began their slaughter and oppression.Your rendition of events regarding Tet and the culpability of the press, incidentally, is amply supported by NVA General Giap’s memoirs. Finally, Neo-neo, I recognize that I may be far more cynical than you on this point – I suspect that many on the Left (e.g., Christopher Dodd, Teddy Kennedy) could not bear the thought of any of Richard Nixon’s policies bearing fruit. Had the South Vietnamese won, Nixon would have been vindicated and the Democrats would have lost power. The historical revisionism of this period is still being practiced by the Democrat Left, in hope that time will wash the blood from their hands. History, however, is catching up.

  32. Old Dad Says:

    We can debate the morality of our intervention till the cows come home, but the point of the thread is Cronkite’s spin of Tet. He got it wrong. The US kicked crap out of the VC. Had we continued to bomb VC staging areas in Cambodia, and all military targets in the north, South Vietnam would be free today.

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    Hey Neo – I thought you were tolerant of other viewpoints? Particularly those based in fact and truth.

    Neo’s been learning from bad influences like me, I suppose.

  34. DonkeyKong Says:

    Read this article on the fall of South Vietnam, and note that the ARVN was not doing half badly several years later (late 1974), until the US Congress pulled the plug on them and left them with sharply diminshed funds to pay their troops or to arm themselves.-Neo

    South Vietnam fell in FOUR MONTHS! The communist expected it to take two years.

    In 1973 after the signing of the Paris Peace Accord, the South Vietnamese fielded the fourth largest military in the world. New combat and transport aircraft, tanks, helicopters, artillery pieces and other military equipment worth $753 million were shipped to South Vietnam. This arm shipment was a gesture welcomed by the South Vietnamese government, but due to the lack of sufficient training, dependence on America for spare parts, fuel and ammunition causes maintenance problems for the ARVN.

    At the same time, the North Vietnamese themselves were recovering from the ill-fated offensive of 1972 with little Soviet and Chinese military aid. The bombing(150,000 civilians killed) and invasion of Cambodia would weaken then toppled the Lon Nol government.Expanding the ranks of the Khmer. How many troops would we have had to use to stop that genocide. Another 500,000.

    Neo, you live in a dark isolated corner of the american mind. A corner less and less frequented by the sane and rational. Revisionism is a symptom of your current mental state. You thought the revised way of looking at Vietnam justified the iraq war. You were wrong, but you just can’t let go. Our policies in vietnam lead to the south, laos and cambodia’s fall after millions dead, just as the iraq war will be known for kicking off a 30 years war style bloodbath in the middle east.

    Conservatives and neoconservatives will busy themselves trying to pin the blame and wipe the blood on others. It’s the only thing you do well. The only thing.

  35. Ymarsakar Says:

    None of dacher’s attempted historical parallels does anything to solve any actual problems. It is just a self-justification after the fact. Has nothing to do with the war.

    Wars are won by actions done during the war, not actions a few centuries ago. It is something a lot of people try to cover up. Just as the Arabs try to cover up their losses due to American support of Israel, totally ignoring the support the Soviets provided the Arabs.

    They pay not attention to what is going on right now, it is all about historical confluences and fake injustices. Totally useless.

    After a long period of unlimited giving and sacrifice by us it is only normal for war fatigue and weariness to set in, both among the troops and the populace, especially when it later seems more a war of choice.

    People would have you believe that it was the military defeats in Vietnam that demoralized the American people. But it wasn’t, it was the political campaign of propaganda and demoralization at home that accomplished the trick. Even now in Iraq, it is not the Iraqis who Americans rightfully blame for obstructionism, it is Wasington politicians, it is the media propaganda apparatus, and it is the demoralization campaign both the Left and the enemy are using that is doing the trick for Iraq.

    They kept up their support because [b]WE[/b] where materially winning.

    That’s the facts, jack. So long as the propaganda machine back home can make it look like the US and their allies were not winning materially, they could cut off aid much easier. Both dacher and Kennedy are operating out of the same bag of tricks.

    Convince someone that their side is losing, and they will either stop fighting or jump to the other side, in support of the other side, as a way to rationalize their previous support for a losing team. It is not very loyal, but then again, America’s conduct towards America’s allies has not always been loyal.

  36. Ymarsakar Says:

    Neo, I recommend you read this, if you haven’t already. It addresses in more detail some of the points you have raised and were raised at Dean’s place.

    Source Link

  37. Sally Says:

    An aside:

    Ymar: Hey Neo – I thought you were tolerant of other viewpoints? Particularly those based in fact and truth.

    Neo’s been learning from bad influences like me, I suppose.

    Neo can speak for herself, obviously, but I’ll just interject that, contrary to what Ymar is implying, neo is in fact tolerant of other viewpoints, particularly those based in fact and truth — so if you thought that you were correct. If you find that your comments are deleted, then you should at least be able to think that much out.

  38. Sally Says:

    Jimmy J: Sounds as if you’ve struck a Leftist nerve.

    Donk: Neo, you live in a dark isolated corner of the american mind.

    Sounds as if Jimmy’s got it right.

    As Dean Esmay said above, many things went wrong in Vietnam. Many things have gone, and no doubt are going, wrong in Iraq. But that’s what happens in war. And, by and large, that’s been admitted by all the proponents of these wars, lefty propagandists notwithstanding. What’s really at issue here isn’t criticism of any particular strategy or tactic but rather the underlying agendas involved. For the MSM, for example, then and now, that underlying agenda is a kind of generic, mushy, bien-pensant liberalism fused with hubris over their own role in society; for partisans on both sides — though it was and is the Democrats who seek to prosper politically from national failure — the agenda is simple party advantage at whatever cost to larger values; and for large portions of the left, then and now, the agenda is a real identification with the nation’s enemies, as means of expressing their hatred and contempt for their own country and culture.

  39. DonkeyKong Says:

    After a long period of unlimited giving and sacrifice by us it is only normal for war fatigue and weariness to set in, both among the troops and the populace, especially when it later seems more a war of choice.-Ymarsakar

    What have you given or sacrificed you little snots. Really, you guys are pathetic. All of you.

    [Donkey, this is Neo: you're warned for the "little snots" remark. I try to keep things civil here. One more statement anything like that, and you're banned.]

    Edited By Siteowner

  40. mikeca Says:

    Here is the Wikpedia description of the 1975 Campaign that led to the collapse of South Vietnam. As it explains, the attack was only intended to capture the town of Ban Me Thuot, which would then give the North a base in central Vietnam from which they could continue their campaign over the next year or two. To the complete surprise of the North, the ARVN completely collapsed and fled in disarray:

    On 10 March 1975, General Dung launched Campaign 275, a limited offensive into the Central Highlands supported by tanks and heavy artillery. The target was Ban Me Thuot, in Darlac Province. If the town could be taken, the provincial capital at Pleiku and the route to the coast would be exposed for a planned campaign in 1976. The ARVN proved no match for the onslaught and its forces collapsed on 11 March. Once again, Hanoi was surprised by the speed of their success. Dung now urged the Politburo to allow him to seize Pleiku immediately and then turn his attention to Kontum. There would be two months of good campaigning weather until the onset of the monsoon, so why not take advantage of the situation?

    President Thieu, fearful that the bulk of his forces would be cut off in the northern provinces and Central Highlands, decided to redeploy those troops southward in what he declared to be a “lighten the top and keep the bottom” strategy. But the withdrawal of the northern forces soon turned into a bloody retreat as the VPA suddenly attacked from the north. While ARVN forces tried to redeploy, splintered elements in the Central Highlands fought desperately against the North Vietnamese. ARVN General Phu abandoned the cities of Pleiku and Kontum and retreated toward the coast in what became known as the “column of tears”. As the ARVN retreated, civilian refugees mixed in with them. Due to already-destroyed roads and bridges, Phu’s column slowed down as the North Vietnamese closed in. As the exodus staggered down the mountains to the coast, it was shelled incessantly by the VPA and, by 1 April it ceased to exist.

    On 20 March, Thieu reversed himself and ordered that Hue, Vietnam’s third-largest city, be held at all costs. But as the North Vietnamese attacked, panic ensued and ARVN resistance collapsed. On 22 March, the VPA opened a siege against Hue. Civilians jammed into the airport and docks hoping for escape. Some even swam into the ocean to reach boats and barges. The ARVN were routed along with the civilians, and some South Vietnamese soldiers shot civilians just to make room for a passageway for their retreat. On 31 March, after a three-day fight, Hue fell. As resistance in Hue collapsed, North Vietnamese rockets rained down on Da Nang and its airport. By the 28 March, 35,000 VPA troops were poised to attack in the suburbs. By the 30th, 100,000 leaderless ARVN troops surrendered as the VPA marched victoriously through Da Nang. With the fall of the city, the defense of the Central Highlands and northern provinces collapsed.

    This was

  41. Anonymous Says:

    Continued from above.

    This was a failure of leadership in the ARVN, from the top generals who ordered the disastrous, disorganized response, to the field officers who deserted their men in the field and left them to surrender. This was not a collapse that a small amount of military aid in 1974 would have prevented.

    Some ARVN units did put up fierce resistance during April 1975, but by that point the ARVN was hopelessly outnumbered because of the earlier losses during March. By April 10, 1975 when Ford finally asked for emergency aid for the ARVN, the bulk of the ARVN had already been captured, killed or had deserted. Even if Congress had approved it, it would have made no difference in the outcome. It might not have even arrived before the fall of Saigon.

    My point is that US military kept the South Vietnamese government in power against the assault by the North for more than 10 years. The US military power could probably have kept the South Vietnamese government in power forever, but the US is not a colonial power. The price for keeping the South Vietnamese government in power for 10 years was 50,000 American dead and more than 1 million Vietnamese dead. The American people did not want a colony in South Vietnam. The American people will not stand for their army being used to defend weak, corrupt governments on the other side of the world indefinitely. While the US could keep the South Vietnamese government in power by military force, they could not create a government or army that could defend the South on its own. Too many South Vietnamese just didn’t care whether the South or the North won.

    Note, that I think we could have won the Vietnam War by invading the North, but we were afraid the Chinese would then invade, so we never were willing to take that step. With that limitation, we needed to build a strong South Vietnam that could resist the attack from the North mostly on its own. We could not do that.

    In Iraq, military power was easily able to overthrow the Saddam, but it has not been able to create a strong government to replace him. We can keep the current Iraqi government in power forever with US military power, but the American people will not stand for keeping a large American force in Iraq forever, and US military power cannot create a strong Iraq government. Only the Iraqi people can create a strong Iraqi government.

  42. Jimmy J. Says:

    dacher,
    The Soviets supplied MIGs, MIG pilots, anti-aircraft radars, AA guns, ammunition, fuel, and ultimately….SAMs. ChiComs supplied fuel and food. The French and English supplied a lot of fuel and some vehicles and parts.

    What was needed to bring North Vietnam to the negotiation table in earnest was to: blockade the country, close Haiphong Harbor, cut the rail lines into China, breach the Red River irrigation dams, and bomb Party Headquarters in downtown Hanoi. This was what the JCS wanted to do on day one of attacking the North. Johnson deferred, believing he could bring Uncle Ho to the table with gradual escalation. We now know that was a fool’s strategy.

    As a Vietnam vet I believe any time a country decides to go to war, the humane and smart thing to do is to wage total war with a goal of unconditional surrender in the least possible time. Anything less always seems to end up in an unending war of attrition. Of course that’s difficult when you are dealing with non-state jihadis, and that is a major part of our problem today.

    But we have to remember that in South Vietnam it was the North that was the aggressor. All the South wanted was to be left alone to build a non-Communist society.

    And so it is today. We are the ones who have been continuously attacked by Islamists since 1979. Our goal is to convince them to leave us alone and coexist in peace. We can argue over methods, but we don’t want to lose sight of who is the aggressor and what the end goal is.

  43. Ymarsakar Says:

    As a Vietnam vet I believe any time a country decides to go to war, the humane and smart thing to do is to wage total war

    Another Total War proponent, for you Neo. They seem to flock to your banner, along with the load of Leftists.

    Sally, you don’t know what I’m implying. So stop making mistakes in interpretations. Stop trying to act as if you speak for me, you don’t and you were never able to do so in the first place.

    After a long period of unlimited giving and sacrifice by us it is only normal for war fatigue and weariness to set in, both among the troops and the populace, especially when it later seems more a war of choice.-Ymarsakar

    What have you given or sacrificed you little snots. Really, you guys are pathetic. All of you.
    DonkeyKong | 12.24.06 – 5:19 pm | #

    You can be like Kong, Sally, in mislabeling my positions and misinterpreting my words (or just making stuff up as you go along). Or you can do something else, what doesn’t particularly matter to me.

  44. Ariel Says:

    “What have you given or sacrificed you little snots. Really, you guys are pathetic. All of you.”

    Well, it seems Jimmy J. is a Vietnam Vet, George (while disagreeing respectfully) is a Vietnam Vet, I’m sure others might chime in with lost family, friends or their own service, and I put 4 years in as a USCG Gun Fire Control Tech from 73 on.

    One issue with the current war, perhaps Vietnam too, was no daily sacrifice at home shared by all. No rationing, no doing without.

    And you, DonkeyKong?

  45. Ymarsakar Says:

    Chomsky’s great as a source from which you may learn propaganda first hand.

  46. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Sorry anonymous, but successive posts of that length I just don’t read. Comments sections are a discussion. In a discussion, one person might hold the floor for a long period as an exception to the general social rule, because her point requires more development than one would usually expect. You seem to think it is advisable to just throw in every debate point you can manage to find. If you want to do that, write your own blog, create a precis of your piece to comment here and link to the rest.

    Dacher, I am unable to find exact figures for the amount of aid from the Soviets and Chinese to North Vietnam in the 1960′s. I repeatedly am encountering descriptors such as “extensive,” “enormous,” and “huge,” from both leftist and rightist sources. Apparently both the Chinese and the USSR also contributed a few thousand soldiers and lots of training in addition to the food and military supplies. I don’t know what “huge” would be in relation to, but it is fair to suppose that it was indispensable.

    Comparative note: the US always claimed it was in many places, such as Central and South America, because the larger communist nations were financing leftist revolutions. This was laughed at by the left, and dismissed as ridiculous. Now that the USSR no longer exists to support communist revolutions, the US is not in those nations anymore. They run their own show. Nations do as they please, and are not required by the US to do what we would prefer. We have proved ourselves truthful in this. It was the USSR and China that were the hegemons – we played defense.

  47. DaveindeSwamp Says:

    Well, we were winning when i left.

  48. Sally Says:

    mikeca: This was not a collapse that a small amount of military aid in 1974 would have prevented.

    mikeca has demonstrated that he’s able to copy and paste from the Wikipedia, nothing more. He certainly hasn’t demonstrated that he’s able to make a credible statement about what a “small amount of military aid in 1974″ would or would not have accomplished. In any case, it remains a lasting stain on the American national character that they refused even a “small amount of military aid” to their erstwhile ally, even as their totalitarian enemies were continuing to support their own ideological fanatics.

  49. DonkeyKong Says:

    You can be like Kong, Sally, in mislabeling my positions and misinterpreting my words (or just making stuff up as you go along). Or you can do something else, what doesn’t particularly matter to me.
    Ymarsakar | 12.24.06 – 6:36 pm

    Kid, if you can’t stand by your posts, don’t post. I don’t blame you for trying to disavow what you said.

  50. yak Says:

    Just for the sake of argument – does it really matter what the reason for the fall of SVN was after we left?

    They were invaded by a foreign power, with assistance from other major powers, and were denied promised aid from us. You can argue that it was due to SVN ineptitude all you want, but the fact is that the aid and assistance promised to them by the US was denied in their time of need. And millions died.

    Yup, makes me proud.

    And for all you folks out there who believe that diplomacy is the answer, just remember that diplomacy works best when trust and military power are included in the package.

  51. Ymarsakar Says:


    Kid, if you can’t stand by your posts, don’t post. I don’t blame you for trying to disavow what you said.
    DonkeyKong | 12.24.06 – 8:13 pm | #

    There’s my present from Donkey, for Christmas.

    Here’s the origin of the real comment Donk quoted.

    What I’m getting at is the USA provided much more substantial support to the South than the NV got from their allies. And not only the US, the South Vietnamese had Canadians, South Koreans and others fighting their fight for them. The US had a compulsory draft just to support the South Vietnamese side — how much more should we have escalated our assistance? After a long period of unlimited giving and sacrifice by us it is only normal for war fatigue and weariness to set in, both among the troops and the populace, especially when it later seems more a war of choice. Maybe there would have been more domestic enthusiasm to continue the war if we and our allies where fighting equal numbers of Chinese and Russian troops. Just killing thousands upon thousands of Vietnamese in Vietnam, even if they are Communist, doesn’t cut it as a good enough reason to keep fighting after a few years.

    And on comparing our support to France supporting the American Revolution: They kept up their support because [b]WE[/b] where materially winning. They would have cut off most if not all support for the Revolution if the Revolutionary war dragged on for 10 years. Contrast to the Brits cutting support of the American Torries/loyalists, who like the South Vietnamese, did not fight with the Brits against the American Revolutionaries. When the Brits lost the Torries had to run to Canada. Sounds like the South Vietnamese.
    dacher | 12.24.06 – 12:36 pm | #

    Don’t worry Donk, Neo will fix your silly messed up psychologically imbalanced brain right up, you just got to open up to the therapist. Stop being so hostile.

    Thanks for the present, Donk. Don’t expect a card though.

  52. Wild Rice Says:

    We “lost” Vietnam in mid to late 1946. All the subsequent actions simply had the effect of delaying the inevitable. This is very sad because a lot of people were killed and incapacitated – some of whom I knew and know.

  53. Wild Rice Says:

    But most of the wounded grunts also agreed that the VC guerillas and NVA soldiers would not give up the struggle despite high losses.“:

    And that is the truth. Had we not ended it in 1973 we might still be there winning ever battle.

  54. Wild Rice Says:

    ever battle.“:

    Should be “every battle”.

  55. Richard Aubrey Says:

    My father and his veteran friends said the same thing about the Germans and the Japanese.
    Seems we won.

    People can not give up fighting until they’re dead. Then they’re dead and can’t fight any more and the fact that they won’t give up is irrelevant, seeing as they’re dead, and all.
    So, in addition to killing lots of guys who wouldn’t give up, the Allies wrecked the Axis’ center, the capacity to continue to send the guys who wouldn’t give up–but got dead anyway–and their supplies to the front.

    We won.

  56. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Slightly different topic.

    The left needs Vietnam to have been unwinnable from the get-go.
    That way, when they label any other US enterprise as “another Vietnam”, it’s supposed to mean we can’t win, from the get-go, and so we shouldn’t even start.
    ’cause if we start, we might win, and that the left really, really doesn’t want.

  57. Wild Rice Says:

    the Allies wrecked the Axis’ center“:

    Exactly! That’s the point. In the prosecution of WWII we had a strategy to win and the logistics to support that strategy. In Vietnam we had no such strategy available (irrespective of the logistics). However, the North did. And their strategy required a not very large logistics tail.

  58. Wild Rice Says:

    The left needs Vietnam to have been unwinnable from the get-go.“:

    By the “left” I assume you mean those people who actually fought in Vietnam and not those who had “other priorities”.

    In any case I’m surprised to hear you say that we have lost in Vietnam. Are you not giving up too soon? You, alone or in the company of others, are at liberty to continue the fight. Why don’t you show us how it is done?

  59. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Wild.

    By the left, I mean those who, among other things, root for the other side, whichever side that is. They favored the communists after WW II, right through the end of the Cold War.
    Now, they favor the Islamofascists.
    They have other negative virtues, as well.

    But, as I say, their primary concern for the history of the Vietnam war is to present it as having been, as a matter of definition, unwinnable from the beginning, for the reasons I mentioned.

  60. Wild Rice Says:

    They favored the communists…“:

    In that case you would be talking about a very small group – much too small to have any political weight in the US. You can safely ignore them.

    If, however, you feel that you are unable to ignore them then I again suggest that you not give up so easily. Please continue the Vietnam War and win it for us.It is not too late!

  61. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Wild. It is really quite a large group.
    It includes those liberals and dems who hope and work for a US loss in Iraq in order to humiliate Bush.

    And, since they are not stupid–morally unspeakable, yes–they attempt to get to positions of influence to be considerably more influential than their numbers would suggest.

    Take Radosh’s “The New Left, The Old Left, and the Leftover Left”. He’s a pink-diaper baby, as are a number of folks who write of their misspent youth–they are now conservatives–and detail their tactics.

    They do more than simply wait around for the weighing of numbers. Fonda and Kerry, for example, had a great deal to do with our screwing the South Vietnamese, yet they are only two people.

    Ron Dellums is pretty awful, but will have more influence than a single person ordinarily would, shortly.

    There are other examples, of whom I am sure you know. But the “small group” excuse is crap, as you know.

    What you should know is that everybody else knows why the left wants Viet Nam to be considered unwinnable from the beginning. Nobody’s fooled.

  62. Wild Rice Says:

    It includes those liberals and dems who hope and work for a US loss in Iraq in order to humiliate Bush.“:

    I think you will have observed that the “liberals and dems” of whom you speak have been quite happy to let President Bush humiliate himself. It is his only field of competence. In any case, given the former political situation, it was the only strategy available to them.

    The problem with the “liberals and dems” approach is that Bush, being the president of the US, humiliates us by humiliating himself. Neither you or President Bush can blame the “liberals and dems” for the strategic cesspool in which we now find ourselves.

    My guess is that it is your position that anybody with whom you disagree is acting in the interests of some enemy of the US. But the truth is that, by invading Iraq, President Bush has advanced the interests of Iran at the expense of the KSA, the UAE and the US. And, I think, it will become obvious in the future that our invasion if Iraq will be seen to have advanced the interests of Syria. Good work for a US president who is elected by the voters to look to the interests of the US.

  63. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Wild.

    You make some spectacularly unsupported presumptions about the future.

    The KSA and UAE have similar interests? Really? How do you know? And if they do, are they similar to our interests? Should they be?

    Let me ask a hypothetical, a double.

    Suppose there had been peace in Viet Nam because we’d won.

    Suppose we win in Iraq.

    Whatever will you do? I dealt with lefties who haven’t yet gotten over the fact that Central America has elections instead of the virile revolutionary totalitarian governments they favored.

    There is a curious thing about one observation of Orwell’s.
    People are always reminding us that he said “objectively, the pacifist favors the fascist.”
    This is true, but is sometimes dismissed as an appeal to authority.
    Problem is, it isn’t one of his most blinding insights. It’s a blindingly obvious insight. Most folks had figured out something like it long before they’d heard of him.
    But, because he was famous and the rest of us aren’t, it seems that we need to have an attribution to keep from being accused of stealing from him when we suggest the obvious.
    All very circular, but the point is that it is clear that the pacifist favors the fascist, in the Brit meaning which means enables or facilitates and does not necessarily include intent.
    So, yes, those who disagree with me are facilitating the Islamoterrorists. Their reasons could be many. BDS, for example, is a biggy. The calculation that, for a local election, the swing voter or two are suffering from BDS. The self-indulgence of feelings over facts. The interests of the party.
    To the extent that they hinder the WOT, they serve the interests of the enemy. I believe there is more intent than is acknowledged, which is important, but the actions have their consequences with or without intent.

    I also think that, had Bush put our efforts elsewhere, the same complaints would be heard, with only the nouns changed.
    Imagine Saddaam with no sanctions, no inspectors, boatloads of oil money and no inconvenience from the outside. Imagine the complaints from folks like Wild.

    You could have discussed the strategic issues of Iraq or Viet Nam without the gratuitous insults toward Bush. That you felt you had to insert them demonstrates that you are a sufferer from BDS and whatever Bush does, whatever it is, you will argue, making up whatever you need, that he is wrong.

    So your arguments are shown to be baseless and to merit no further attention.

  64. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Amazing! Wild rice started out as a calm discussant and reverted to insulting, irrelevant overgeneralization in very few posts. The folks with BDS just don’t see how their actual thoughts leak out so quickly. It really is all about their own tribe having authority.

    Whenever I begin wondering whether I am being too harsh, and leaping to conclusions about the voices of the left, someone like this comes along and demonstrates one of these Screwtape caterpillar things to reassure me.

  65. SDN Says:

    “The facts are there are limits to what can be accomplished with military power, even overwhelming military power. If you fail to learn that lesson from Vietnam, perhaps you will learn it in Iraq.”

    Of course, mikeca and the rest of the Fifth Column studiously ignore the fact that the last war in which we actually used whatever force was required was also the last war we achieved our objectives on, namely WWII. When I see us spend even one year of thousand plane raids on Iran, let alone the nuclear wareads carried by one Trident sub that they deserve, and fail to achieve another unconditional surrender, then I’ll concede the limitations of force. Until then, I suggest that mikey and dacher need to run the “violence never solves anything” BS past the ghosts of Hitler and Tojo.

  66. Wild Rice Says:

    Suppose there had been peace in Viet Nam because we’d won.“:

    Again I return to my original suggestion. Why is it that you feel the need to resort to a hypothetical proposition? Why is it that you feel that the Vietnam War is already lost? If the Vietnam War is ours to win then go ahead and win it. Prove your point by doing.

  67. Wild Rice Says:

    …the nuclear wareads…“:

    The purpose of the military forces of the US is to defend the national interests of the US. You proposal would trash the national interests of the US.

  68. Ymarsakar Says:


    Again I return to my original suggestion. Why is it that you feel the need to resort to a hypothetical proposition? Why is it that you feel that the Vietnam War is already lost? If the Vietnam War is ours to win then go ahead and win it. Prove your point by doing.
    Wild Rice | 12.26.06 – 7:27 pm | #

    once Bush stops listening to the Democrats and start listening to real America, to Jacksonian America, the war will be over pretty soon.

  69. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Wild Rice, yes very clever. You’ve repeated that joke several times. You seem to think it a killer point. I find it closer to random than pertinent.

  70. SDN Says:

    The national interests of the US are to have every Islamic nutbar, and more importantly, that Islamic nutbar’s friends, family, and neighbors, to be far more afraid of the certainty of what we will do to them than ANY threat the nutbar and his fellows can pose. Nukes are excellent for that. We certainly saw no militias in the streets of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    “Let them hate us, so long as they fear.”

  71. Wild Rice Says:

    You’ve repeated that joke several times.“:

    I’m not sure which joke you are referring to. However, I am very serious in suggesting the proof to the antithesis of the proposition is to proceed and win the Vietnam War. And, by doing so the left would be forced to stop labeling any subsequent US enterprise “another Vietnam”. From the violent right’s (aka Neocon’s) point of view this proof is such an attractive solution to the problem identified that I cannot understand why they consistently avoid it.

    And, if you adhere to the proposition, you may care to give Richard some help.

  72. Wild Rice Says:

    …listening to real America…“:

    There is another election scheduled in just under two years from now.

  73. Wild Rice Says:

    Nukes are excellent for that.“:

    Yes. Of course. Your solution is genocide.

    And you have proposed that solution in response to which problem? Is there any serious claim that the US is about to be invaded by Iraq, Iran or Syria? Is there anybody claiming Iranian fighter bombers are going to be seen over Washington in the coming weeks? The answer is no. The security of the US is not at risk.

    So what is the basis for the solution you propose? You want to elicit immediate obedience to the American Imperium’s commands. Its empire or genocide.

  74. Wild Rice Says:

    Nukes are excellent for that.“:

    I should point out that we have been doing Idiot Loops in plain sight of Iranian radar. We have not yet been able to get them to modify their policies. What are you going to do now?

  75. Sally Says:

    WR: The security of the US is not at risk.

    Wrong. The security of the US is at risk now as it was on Sep 10, 2001. But “empire or genocide”? Please. Try not to worsen the already bad reputation of the left for general irrationality, derangement, and hysteria. The basis for which reputation, by the way, is precisely what makes it unlikely that anything at all would “force” the left to “to stop labeling any subsequent US enterprise ‘another Vietnam’”, or indeed to acknowledge that the world is round if that were thought to conflict with their prior certainties.

  76. Wild Rice Says:

    …as it was on Sep 10, 2001.“:

    Neither Syria, Iraq or Iran were connected in any way to the events of Sept 11, 2001. The events of that day cannot be used to attack any of these countries (and most others).

    Once you remove the justification of defense you are not left with much other than an Imperium.

  77. Wild Rice Says:

    So your arguments are shown to be baseless and to merit no further attention.“:

    Can I take that as a promise?

  78. Sally Says:

    The events of that day cannot be used to attack any of these countries (and most others).

    Sure they can. Syria, Iraq, and Iran were all deeply involved in state-supported and tolerated terrorism, of which the attack on 9/11 was but one instance. I understand, of course, that much of the contemporary left has a secret admiration for the islamist terrorists, since they share an abhorrence of Western individualism and freedom, and so would like to think the terrorists are invulnerable to state attack. But in this they also share the delusion of the terrorists. In fact, the whole of the Middle East and its larger Islamic neighborhood is rotten with failed states, tyrannies, and corrupt dictatorships, which shelter a wide variety of terrorist outfits. The objective is to put an end to this threat in general, not simply to “avenge” one particular attack by one particular band of suicidal murderers. Let the left gnash its teeth and tear its hair about “empire or genocide” — in the real world the rest of us have a problem to solve, and, sooner or later, will do so.

  79. Wild Rice Says:

    …Syria, Iraq, and Iran were all deeply involved in state-supported and tolerated terrorism…“:

    Oh? Which state supported terrorism are we talking of now? And, further, which of those instances of state supported terrorism constituted an attack on the US? That is, which of those instances could be used as a defense in a war crimes trial?

  80. Sally Says:

    An attack on a US ally is as good as an attack on the US when it comes to a casus belli. Indeed, supporting international terrorists is as much a reason for war as supporting pirates was a few centuries ago. The lefties can hold as many phony, performance-art “war crimes” trials about this as they like, but nobody else is going to bother with them. And you’ll find they won’t provide much cover or protection for the left’s pet islamists once the shooting starts.

  81. Wild Rice Says:

    An attack on a US ally is as good as an attack on the US when it comes to a casus belli.“:

    Partly true. The fact is if we were attacked then we may do so much as necessary in order to defend ourselves. And the same stricture applies when those countries with whom we are bound to by a security treaty.

    All that remains for you to do is to identity the ally in question and the attack that has been made upon it.

  82. Sally Says:

    All that remains for you to do is to identity the ally in question and the attack that has been made upon it.

    Sorry, Wild — you’ll find it a good exercise to do a little thinking on your own. Give it try. See what you can come up with.

  83. Wild Rice Says:

    Sorry, Wild…“:

    As I thought. You cannot identify the attack or the ally. Could it be that they do not exist? Yes, I think that’s it.

  84. Sally Says:

    As I thought — you can’t think for yourself. Not that that’s unusual in your little end of the political spectrum..

  85. Wild Rice Says:

    …performance-art “war crimes” trials…“:

    This is what leaders such as Videla, Agosti, Massera and Pinochet, et al thought. And, before them it was what these leaders thought as well.

  86. Wild Rice Says:

    …you can’t think for yourself.“:

    Well, unless and attorney can be found who is able present evidence for the defense in a more competent manner than you have here, your man is going down.

  87. Sally Says:

    Oooh. Scary.

  88. Sally Says:

    It’s an interesting side light just to note a few of the symptoms of delusions — of grandeur and beyond — that afflict so many contemporary lefties here. WRice first thinks that there really is some world state that just happens to coincide with lefty opinions and values, and that is not only able to legitimately establish laws and courts, but to enforce its judgments. Second, he fantasizes that he is the world’s judge before whom others must present their “defense”. And third, of course, he thinks that as long as he’s got in the last word, however inane, he’s vanquished his opponent. But in reality he’s just one more little, obsessive/compulsive troll.

  89. Wild Rice Says:

    But in reality he’s just one more little, obsessive/compulsive troll.“:

    If that were true then, since it is you that have been trolled, I would be the obsessive/compulsive troll that has suckered you.

    I do not refer to any “world state”. I’m not sure where you got this from. What I do have in mind is a US prosecutor and grand jury and, if appropriate, a US court and jury. Our legal system is quite capable of handling war crimes trials.

    I feel sure that you will agree with me that “our great Republic is a government of laws not men” and that, as a consequence, we must follow due process in this matter and bring all those who have a case to answer to trial.

  90. SDN Says:

    What does Rice grow best in? Bullsh*t.

    Obviously, you don’t understand the difference between genocide and self-defense.

    If Muslims want to stay at home and tend their own crops, more power to them. If they want to send out fighters to blow up our embassies, or our military barracks, or fly airplanes into our buildings, or attack our allies repeatedly, then there’s a price to pay. If that takes the same level of violence that ended German or Japanese aggression, so be it.

  91. Wild Rice Says:

    …send out fighters to blow up our embassies…“:

    Absolutely nothing to do with Iraq, Iran or Syria.

  92. Sally Says:

    I would be the obsessive/compulsive troll that has suckered you.

    Whack-a-troll is an old game, rice, that has its own enjoyments — one of them being to sucker the trolls.

    As for that US prosecutor and grand jury — who, I wonder, would be involved in that? The same ones involved in the Clinton war crimes trial for bombing Bosnia and Serbia? The figments of a fevered political revenge-fantasy, i.e.? Yes, I think they would be.

    While we’re talking about imaginary trials, you might bear in mind that there’s a much better chance of indicting lefty terrorist sympathizers for providing aid and comfort to the enemy than there is of anyone in the Bush Administration for “war crimes” — since I do agree with you, at least, that we have an obligation to “bring all those who have a case to answer to trial”.

  93. Sally Says:

    WR: Absolutely nothing to do with Iraq, Iran or Syria.

    Oh, and where’s your evidence for that?

  94. SDN Says:

    Wild Rice and the rest of the Fifth Column are the reason why it will take a two comma casualty count attack to get this country serious about fighting the war on radical Islam. The first step in that war will be to hang the Fifth Column from the nearest tree.

  95. Wild Rice Says:

    The same ones involved in the Clinton war crimes trial…“:

    Could be, or not. I do not think that prosecutors’ rosters are of the first order of importance. What is most important that prosecutors are willing and able to do their duty.

    Of course if there are “lefty terrorist sympathizers” who are indictable as you claim then that is what should happen. However, I suspect that you have over estimated the number. I think that most of the prosecutions that you envision will fail because of First Amendment issues.

    Your use of the adjective “imaginary” hints to me that you are not completely on board with the proposition that our Republic is a government of laws and not men. I hope that I am mistaken.

  96. Sally Says:

    WR: Your use of the adjective “imaginary” hints to me that you are not completely on board with the proposition that our Republic is a government of laws and not men. I hope that I am mistaken.

    Rest assured. Though in your state of mind, it’s just as likely you think there are aliens in mother ships hiding behind comets that are “hinting” to you all manner of things. If you’re going to retain any contact with reality, Wild, particularly if you would like to prognisticate with any credibility regarding indictable lefties, you’re going to have to work with something better than “hints”.

    By the way, how is your research regarding American allies in the Middle East that have been attacked by terrorist proxies from Syria, Iran, and/or Iraq coming along? Making any progress? Any hints? No?

  97. Wild Rice Says:

    …American allies in the Middle East that have been attacked by terrorist proxies…“:

    I have already addressed that issue.

  98. Sally Says:

    I have already addressed that issue.

    No, you just dodged it.

  99. douglas Says:

    How about involvement in attacks on the United States? Iran taking over the US embassy? Hezb-allah bombing of Marine peacekeeping force in Lebanon (Iranian proxy). Syria keeps offices for Hezb-allah, and also act as Iranian proxy.

    As for Iraq, how about plotting to kill an ex-president? Under the circumstances, enough for me.

    And we now have Iran sending military advisors into Iraq…

    Want more? Get it yourself next time.

  100. Purple Avenger Says:

    If that were true then…

    If you weren’t a troll, you’d have your own blog rather than being a remora on the side of other people.

    Its the nature of trolls to avoid any sort of blowback on themselves.

  101. Lose Arm Fat Says:

    Lose Arm Fat…

    [...]neo-neocon » Blog Archive » Revising history: Vietnam (yes, again)[...]…

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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