The lessons of Vietnam

Over the years there has been much discussion over the lessons we learned from our craven withdrawal and defeat in Vietnam.  The lessons I learned were pretty simple:  (1) Don’t go into a war unless you intend to win it.  “Limited war” is an oxymoron.  (2) Don’t go into a war unless you have clearly defined what constitutes victory and how you are going to get out again (the fact that we hadn’t done this is why I opposed our invasion of Iraq to begin with).

But it now appears the liberals in American have learned a different, and quite dangerous, lesson.  Liberals learned that if things go wrong in war we can simply leave and that will be the end of it.  Oh, sure, our allies are destroyed and we lose the war, but the war is over and America goes on as if nothing had happened.  I think that’s what the liberals believe will happen if we announce our defeat and cravenly withdraw from Iraq.  Oh, sure, our allies will be destroyed and we will lose the war, but the war will be over and we will go on about our business as usual.

Liberals really don’t understand that our enemies in Vietnam wanted Vietnam (well, our direct enemies; I don’t even want to get into the domino theory).  Our enemies in Iraq want the entire world.  The liberals really do believe we can just walk away!  No wonder they only argue for withdrawal, without fully considering the consequences of that withdrawal.  They don’t understand that there are any.

I suppose the question this raises is how we help the liberals to understand that Islamic jihad is not a war we can simply walk away from.  If 9/11 (you remember, that thing that happened before we invaded Iraq) didn’t make the point, what will?

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  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    I think it’s going to take a Dem Admin who is bending over and grabbing the ankles, and THEN we take some serious hits. Whether the Left actually “gets it” at that point is beside the point — the American people will not listen to them until the danger has been dealt with.

    Of course, how much better for all of us if we don’t have to learn this lesson by experience….but instead actually open our eyes and look around.

  • Trimegistus

    I think you’re all missing the point: the Democrats saw America defeated in Vietnam, saw the country plunged into isolationism and disarray for nearly a decade, saw the enemies of freedom advancing all across the globe — and LIKED it.

    Defeat isn’t something they disregard. Defeat is the GOAL. They don’t actually give a damn about the people of Iraq or even who our enemies are. It’s making America lose that counts.

  • Ymarsakar

    I’m not exactly sure what the point is to winning a war that requires you to have a “get out again” strategic objective. Specifically this one. I don’t know why Bush believed or bought into the get out rhetoric, but it does not truly achieve any strategic benefits for the US. Nor is the justification for continuing to keep troops in South Korea, very strong anymore. One country gets troops for decades while another country which is even more important to the security of the US, has to get a “get out again” requirement put into effect if the war is won?

    There will still be wars with Syria and Iran or Syria against Israel or even Iran vs Iraq in the Middle East after Iraq. How much more will the US pay to “flow” forces to the region when they could have already been there ready to take on the new age threats to the US order? Is maintenance of South Korea and Germany and Italy such a powerful inertial function of bureacracy that the requirements of the present no longer matters?

    North Korea is a old threat that Bush has decided not to use military force to resolve. Yet South Korea still maintains its parasitic grasp on US strategic resources. This is not even including Italy and Germany. Certain bases like Landstuhl is important as a transition for the wounded and those on the way back to the states, but what justifies the upkeep of a Cold War era base structure all over Germany?

    The lesson of Vietnam was simple and bruatl in its efficiency. It was essentially, “don’t lose”. If you do lose, nobody will care what might have been or could have been. And even if they did care, nothing would change.

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  • Ymarsakar

    The world learned something about America that gave them power over us. It was a simple thing. “Not even America can resurrect the dead and the fallen”

    When terrorists and VietCong kill Vietnamese or civilians loyal or sympathetic to America, then no amount of American good will, promises, compassion, or military force can resurrect those that are dead and mutilated.

    The millions that died in Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon was the purest demonstration of America’s weakness, pride, and eventual downfall. It taught the world that even the mighty US superpower could be taken down. Amusingly, the US returned the favor to the Soviets in Afghanistan. However, that didn’t stop the proxies on both sides into thinking that they were the ones responsible for humbling the Great Superpowers.

    It is connected to why so many Canadians think they burned down the White House (Presidential Mansion actually) in the War of 1812.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    Hi Trimegistus,

    You are probably right as to a certain portion of the Democrat elite, but the vast majority of Democrats would take strong exception to your characterization, and rightly so. Do not tar the majority American party with a brush that only fairly applies to a relatively small percentage of their activists and leaders (and I say this speaking as a proud member of the Republican minority).

  • Mike Devx

    I agree with DQ, Earl, and Y on all points they made above.
    I want to comment on DQ’s original 1st point: Don’t go into a war unless you intend to win it.

    I don’t think we’re actually in a war right now. I consider it a very expensive and hot conflict. In a war you go after the civilians who are supporting the enemy. (As an example, consider the Dresden bombing, and how certainly there were dissidents in Dresden who did not support the Nazi party.) By the standards of war, after the Palestinians celebrated 9-11 so broadly and enthusiastically, and continue to support Islamic terrorism, we’d go after THEM all guns blazing. Irregardless of any lamenting or seething or anger of any sort.

    War IS hell, absolute hell. It’s vicious and monstrous, as you exercise your destruction and will over your enemy and complete horror rules the day. Our jihadist enemies are fortunately weak, and so we are not seeing hell unleashed on us to the degree that the jihadists wish. But they WOULD if they COULD – which is why THEY are at war with us. We, on the other hand, continue to hold back to an amazing degree. We still believe we can end the jihadist war via careful, cautious measures that do not comprise (total) war. I hope we are right. However, that is why I do not believe we are at war. Yet.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    Hi Mike,

    We are at war; we’ve just chosen not to fight yet. That’s the only way we could be losing to a vastly inferior foe. Does anyone really believe that the “careful, cautious measures” have one chance in a million of working? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

  • Al

    Hi DQ,
    The majority of the modern Liberals don’t get the point because they don’t think as adults, they think as pre-adolescents. And those Liberals are encouraged in said pre-adolescent thinking by the small minority of Lib leaders who do want us to lose for the enhancement of their own power.
    And those Lib leaders are not just pushing for the loss of a war. They want the people to loose the ability to learn, work, and think for themselves. Gives ‘em more control.
    Al

  • Danny Lemieux

    Hi Al and TriGem – thank you for enlightening me that I not the only one who entertains such dark thoughts.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    Hi Danny,

    You are surely not alone. Bookworm sometimes has many of the same dark thoughts. I tend to be more of an optimist about people’s motives and we’ve had some interesting discussions on the point. People such as the ones Tri and Al talk about certainly exist, but I’ll bet there are far fewer of them than you might think. Most people who disagree with me on most issues are fine people, with fine motives — they’re just wrong!

  • Mike Devx

    A relevant aside:
    An excerpt article from today concerning the Hamas funding trial based on 1993 activity here in Dallas…

    ————————————————
    The men discussed creating a new American organization to work on politics and public relations. The conversation was so sensitive, participants agreed not to discuss HAMAS by name. Rather, they agreed to reference “SAMAH,” HAMAS spelled backward. Or better yet, sister Samah.

    “War is deception,” defendant Shukri Abu Bakr said. Abu Bakr was the HLF president until the organization’s assets were frozen in 2001 for its alleged support for terrorism. “Deceive, camouflage. Pretend that you’re leaving while you’re walking that way. Deceive your enemy.”

    Also at the Philadelphia meeting, Omar Ahmad, a CAIR co-founder, who today serves as CAIR’s chairman emeritus, picked up on the theme, offering an analogy of a basketball player’s fake. “He makes a player believe he is doing this while he is doing something else,” Ahmad said. “I agree with you … like they say, politics is a completion of war.”

    Jurors also saw a 2002 sworn statement from Abu Bakr submitted as part of a civil suit involving the HAMAS murder of an American teenager. In the statement, Abu Bakr dismissed the SAMAH/HAMAS references as silly, saying it was “a whimsical and ironic play on words” because SAMAH translates to “forgiveness.” The “Islamic intellectuals, academicians, community leaders and representatives of American Islamic organizations” had no reason to conceal their conversations, he said.

    The transcripts, however, tell a different story. When a meeting participant mentions HAMAS by name, it is Abu Bakr who shoots back: “Didn’t we say not to mention that term?”
    ————————————————-

    This is 1993, deep into Bill Clinton’s first year in office. Desert Storm was long over. And yet they are preparing for and gearing up for, in their view, the Continuing War. We ourselves had no idea that the war was on yet. We wouldn’t even CONSIDER the possibility for another eight years.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    We are at war; we’ve just chosen not to fight yet. That’s the only way we could be losing to a vastly inferior foe.

    Bush chose to fight. He just didn’t choose to fight the logistics of terrorism by hitting Syria, Arafat, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the European enclaves all at once. Or even peicemeal with targeted bombs and assassinations.

    What’s up with this “only way we could be losing” bit, Don? Military history is replete with numerically superior folks being defeated by numerically inferior folks. There’s a lot of ways to lose, and it isn’t limited down to one way and only one way.

    In point of fact, the Islamic Jihad conducts psychological warfare a million times better than the United States military or any other Western power. Almost as good as the Soviets. You don’t factor in the psychological angle, Don, when you consider whether a foe is inferior or superior. That is an unwise case of underestimating the enemy.

    Sparta vs Athens in the Pelopenese War is a good example of asymmetrical warfare in action and why just because your enemy lacks something you have, it doesn’t make them innately inferior to you.

    Does anyone really believe that the “careful, cautious measures” have one chance in a million of working?

    Petraeus believes that it can work. He’s certainly not advocating we nuke Syria or Iran as MacArthur did with Chinese targets in order to get rid of the supplies our enemies were using.

    The problem with LImited Wars is that the price of de-escalation and pretending that the Soviets and the US were not doing everything they could to arm and train proxies to fight hot wars in the Cold War, was warfare through attrition. The Soviets were always masters at warfare through attrition. Even though the US is superior at attriting an enemy’s army and their guerrila cells, the enemy attrited the US’s morale first. And that was all she wrote.

    If you could solve the problem of morale attrition, then Limited Wars would have worked historically. It was already working in Vietnam; still slowed down by people without vision and the State Department. Limited Wars provide the advantage to the US’s enemies and those that are superior at attrition of morale and manpower in warfare. To the communists, losing a few million was nothing. A cakewalk.

    Technically, the use of nuclear demonstration strikes as a psychological terror weapon can maintain Limited Wars and also win them for the US. Since it provides the US with a morale upkeep tool to prevent morale attrition by enemy propaganda or psychological warfare actions. Soldiers are trained to resist enemy propaganda and interrogation. Civilians never are. Though even soldiers are not immune to psychological attacks. The US was faced with the problem of how to translate conventional power into unconventional power in the latter last century. Since you cannot defeat the enemy until you fight on his chosen field of ground. Sparta and Athens again. It has taken the US awhile, but they have discovered one way to translate conventional military power into unconventional propaganda/psychological weapons. The invasion of Iraq.

    The truism behind American Total War is still applicable. If you are up against an enemy that will risk everything to destroy you, while you place restrictions upon what you will do to harm this enemy, then the odds favor your enemy. This goes back to that Napoleon saying about the morale is the physical as is 3 is to 1. Although these modern days that is more like 10 to 1.

    You are surely not alone. Bookworm sometimes has many of the same dark thoughts.

    That would be logical given the atmosphere she escaped from.

  • Marguerite

    I don’t get the idea that the U.S. armed forces have been free to fight to win and am deeply frustrated by the ‘holding back’ that Mike Devx. mentions in #7. I’m frustrated when I hear our trained combat forces lauded for building schools – shouldn’t that come later after, you know, winning?

    I’m currently listening to the book “To Destroy You is No Loss” in which a then 15-year girl old recounts the brutal take-over of Cambodia by the Kahmer Rouge following our abandonment of Viet Nam. Doesn’t this recent history enter the minds of the let’s-leave-now crowd? Maybe it will take the destruction of a major city before the left gets it.

    I agree w/DQ that my friends who mentally inhabit the left are fine people who are just dead wrong and I would add, terribly naive when they draw their moral equivalency conclusions. I notice that they feel very virtuous about their position, whereas I just think I’m right but don’t feel any virtue at all.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    Marguerite, Nice point about virtue. Why is it that the people on the right think they are more insightful and less naive and people on the left think the are intellectually and morally superior? And what, if anything, does that fact alone tell us about the substantive merits of each side?

    Y-man, You’re right that there are a million ways to lose and we’re lousy at propaganda. But don’t you think we’d do better in the propaganda wars and pretty much everything else if we started with a better grasp of the reality of Islamic jihad? Consider that we are up against an enemy who respects power more than anything, and we have all the power. We just don’t have the will to use it or the slightest clue how to use it effectively. The saddest part of the war in Iraq was that we thought we could “shock and awe” these people by bombing buildings while trying to minimize the loss of life. If we’d taken a clue from the suicide bombers and tried to maximize the loss of human life, we really would have shocked and awed an enemy that respects such a show of true power.

  • Mike Devx

    Re Marguerite (#14)
    Marguerite, I understand your frustration about the “holding back”. But I myself am not very frustrated by it. For the most part, it seems appropriate to me. With the exception of the fact that the Iranians have such freedom to kill our soldiers, and our military and diplomatic corps should be screaming holy blue hell about it, at the very least, and they’re not – that part is frustrating. They’re our soldiers, and they’re being killed by Iran, for crying out loud! But enough of that.

    I suppose I simply wonder if everyone these days realizes how horrific WWII was. And how “unfair” our occupation of Germany and Japan were even through the rebuilding. We’re delicate, cautious little angels in Iraq compared to THAT. I just hope everyone understands that. I think we’ve forgotten the true catastrophe of remorseless war. Our soldiers are dying, they are in the field and fighting every day, it’s true. I call it a conflict because there is such a cautious, rule-oriented dance to it all. A deadly dance to be sure. It is war, but it is extremely limited war. We should be grateful.

  • Marguerite

    I can’t see ANY merit to believing oneself morally or intellectually superior. That journalist who moments before he was decapitated was heard to say to his murders ‘I know we can talk about this’ probably really believed the stuff he wrote. Of what merit is it to believe you’re morally or intellectually superior if you can’t recognize evil when it’s looking back at you w/a sword? This tells me that it’s very dangerous for this country and MY NECK to have a lefty in the White House.

  • BigAL

    I concur with DQ, I believe a large percentage of Americans (specifically those who are actually trying to educate themselves–and in the process may be exposed and influenced by bad information and bad people–seriously who hasn’t at some point?) are fine people, with sincere motives, and true patriots.

    I disagree with each and every one of you on many issues, and yet I hear passion in your voices, and an obvious desire to gain knowledge and do what is best for America and Americans. I’ve been reading posts at this site for almost a year now, and I don’t doubt your sincerity and good intentions for a second. All the while, I often think your neo-conservative world-views have the potential to ruin this country (possibly sooner rather than later if things don’t change).

    But I don’t think you are bad people, just dead wrong on a lot of issues.

  • BigAL

    “Unfortunately, we continue to concentrate on the obvious mismanagement of a war promoted by false information and ignore debating the real issue which is: Why are we determined to follow a foreign policy of empire building and pre-emption which is unbecoming of a constitutional republic?

    Those on the right should recall that the traditional conservative position of non-intervention was their position for most of the 20th Century-and they benefited politically from the wars carelessly entered into by the political left. Seven years ago the Right benefited politically by condemning the illegal intervention in Kosovo and Somalia. At the time conservatives were outraged over the failed policy of nation building.”

    Read the entire article “The Neoconservative Empire” by Ron Paul

  • BigAL
  • Mike Devx

    Hi BigAL,

    I’d like to hear your definitions of “neoconservative” and “conservative”. As well as “libertarian”.

    One narrow definition of neoconservatives is that they are liberals who abandoned the Democrat party in the 60’s and 70’s, believing liberalism “no longer knew what it was doing”. A broader view is that they brought their idealism with them and now use militarism to forcibly bring democratic institutions and freer economies to foreign countries.

    Sometimes I think the word neoconservative is tossed around facilely these days, simply to “tar” anyone whose views are simply conservative.

    You state “I disagree with each and every one of you on many issues”, as well as, “I don’t think you are bad people, just dead wrong on a lot of issues.” Yet you didn’t state what your position is, at all – unless you agree with your Ron Paul quote entirely, in which case by proxy you have stated a solid belief. It’s hard to know from your above posts in which ways our beliefs “have the potential to ruin this country (possibly sooner rather than later”.

    In any case, welcome! You appear ready and capable of engaging thoughtfully on issues, as opposed to others (such as “G”) who simply post wild flames. As Book continues to post her topics, I am interested in reading your comments on more of them. It will over time become clear what your positions are, and why you think many posters here are misguided.

    I have been taken aback by the shallowness of my own positions when the shallowness is (gently but clearly) pointed out by DQ and Book and fellow commenters. That’s invaluable! I wonder if you’ll find yourself challenged in the same way.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Reflecting upon the Liberal/Left members of my own extended family, I believe that a significant part of the problem is a lack of imagination.

    They are like Tolkien’s Hobbits of the Shire in “The Lord of the Rings”, far removed from what happens in the world, content with the comforts of their little lives and incapable of imagining how all this could change. In the world of the Hillarys, Pelosis, Obamas and Paul, how could losing to Islamofascists in the Middle East possibly affect our comfortable little lives?

    My brother-in-law lives in a small town, where he is a prominent attorney. When he gets up in the morning, he drinks his coffee, smells the air, looks around, and sees nothing but a sense of permanence. How could things happening in the Middle East possibly affect his comfortable little bubble? How could people elsewhere possibly behave badly and not think and not hold the normal values that are “so obvious” to him. It’s just not reasonable that “they” can’t be reasoned with.

    As far as a U.S. “neo-con” empire – strange empire. We destroy our enemies only to build them up to compete with us economically (Japan) or disdain us politically (Europe), we demand no tribute but instead expend billions in their defense, and instead of conscripting their young into our armies (as the Romans did), we expend our own soldiers in their defense and the defense of their oil supplies, leaving them free to descend into turgid welfare states and nanny bureaucracies.

    Yes, we do all this in our self interest, but “empire”? Give me a break!

  • Marguerite

    I, too, await Big Al’s definition of neo-conservative.

  • Al

    Big Al,Mike, and Marguerite,
    Ditto.
    Al

  • Chris

    It’s true that we are fighting this war with only part of our strength. Our media and a large part of the elite are not on board with it (yet) and this is causing us to appear to be losing the propaganda war. However, we consistently overlook the one propaganda weapon we have always used well, and that is our culture. We have a free, open, tolerant, and above all, wealthy society. This is the weapon that the Soviet Union was unable to overcome. The Islamists recognize the power of this weapon, which is why they have identified us as their enemy. They respected the physical power (and willingness to use it) of the Soviet Union, but they fear our cultural power.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    Danny, well put! Anyone who thinks American are the slightest bit interested in true empire building is delusional and our refusal to accept the fruits of empire is conclusive proof. Consider that we invaded Iraq and DIDN’T take her oil! Heck, we even paid out of our own pockets (our children’s pockets, really, by tacking it on to the national debt) to rebuild Iraq. Any self-respecting empire builder would have taken the oil and made them rebuild themselves. Plus, all Americans constantly argue about is how fast we can get out of Iraq. An empire builder would stay forever. I know liberals constantly debase the language, but charging America with empire building is pure foolishness.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    But don’t you think we’d do better in the propaganda wars and pretty much everything else if we started with a better grasp of the reality of Islamic jihad?

    In so far as knowing your enemies also convinces people that they are a threat and thus convincing them that action is required, yes.

    The saddest part of the war in Iraq was that we thought we could “shock and awe” these people by bombing buildings while trying to minimize the loss of life.

    I would agree with that, although I have to add that the Highway of Death in Gulf War 1 did indeed accomplish shock and awe. However, people already saw that and the air campaign was never given a go at targets because the targets all started hiding, so surprise was lost there.

    If we’d taken a clue from the suicide bombers and tried to maximize the loss of human life, we really would have shocked and awed an enemy that respects such a show of true power.

    Only in the case of human shields to deter the use of such tactics. The enemy will respect what they think you won’t do. So potentially, the enemy can be surprised at anything so long as they didn’t expect you to do it. Mass civilian casualties is only one of the things the Jihad utilizes and expects us not to. However, their methods require them to terrorize. They don’t really have a choice given their beliefs and operating principles. I don’t think such a limited set of strategies is beneficial, given its predictability. So I don’t want the United States to emulate such, regardless of whether the US kills too many or too few consistently.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Also Johnson told people not to attack the enemy logistics in Cambodia and elsewhere. For fear of escalation. However, like I said before, if you are more willing to restrain yourself than your enemy, then your enemy has the odds against you. I don’t like how the US refuses to destroy and nuke terrorist training camps in Iran that is the source of the logistics for Iranian operations in Iraq. Sealing the borders isn’t enough. You have to make examples out of people.

    The only reason to have delayed would be to deceive the Iranians or Syrians into a false state of confidence, and then shatter their minds with a devastating attack that they would never expect; an attack such as a nuclear demonstration strike near or on terrorist camps that the US is already aware of. By terrorist I also include Iran’s Hizbollah and Al Quds forces.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Johnson had one feeble excuse. MAD and Soviet retaliation. What excuse does Bush have? Compassionate conservatism perhaps.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar
  • Mike Devx

    Y,

    I agree very much with your series of posts! To be predictable is to invite defeat. On the other hand, to hold back in restraint is admirable if you believe that in the long run the benefits will be tremendous… but you’ve got to survive your enemy’s implacable remorselessness, to get to the longer-term fruition.

    As far as unpredictability goes, do you remember Reagan mining the Nicaragua harbors, or Clinton bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in error? Unpredictability has its benefits. However, “nuking Iranian supply sites and camps”… now that’s breathtakingly unpredictable! I don’t think we’re anywhere near needing to introduce that kind of wild card.

    But I’d like to see much more unpredictability from the Bush administration. Gen. Petraeus’ efforts do appear to have the enemy guessing and uncertain in Iraq, at this time.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    do you remember Reagan mining the Nicaragua harbors

    I was still in elementary school when that happened. So, no.

    I don’t think we’re anywhere near needing to introduce that kind of wild card.

    Reputation can win you half or even all of the battle for you. Attila the Hun, the Mongols, Napoleon, Washington, etc all had reputations whether as a good leader, a terrifying leader, a bunch of barbarians or anything else on the horizon.

    Stalin grabbed the H bombs and other secrets from the US but never used it on us, and I cannot help but think that seeing two cities in Japan go up in mushroom clouds by Truman’s orders helped in his decision. People don’t mess with the crazy folks because you never know what the “crazies” will do. However, you do know that whatever the crazies eventually decide to do, it will be very bad for you. Same reason why the International media bowes down to the intimidation of the Islamic Jihad. Reputation.

    All of the methods and techniques from humanity’s history of war and destruction is still useful. New technology doesn’t change that although it might require us to adapt certain traditions.

    In the end, what I learned from Vietnam was the value of psychological shock and some methods to induce it if you lack military firepower. The US doesn’t lack military firepower, however, so America’s options are a bit more expanded than what the Vietnamese had. However, that is its own problem because the more freedom people have, the less focused and the more confused they get. Give a person two choices, death or freedom, and watch how fast he thinks about it. Give a person 50 million choices and watch how long he thinks about choosing the best choice.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    This is a re-post of a small portion of the arguments at a Villainous Company thread.
    ______________
    The effects of losing Vietnam are influencing Iraq right now given the number of people in power that also caused Vietnam to fail. Kennedy being one of them. The point is, the reason why there is such opposition to US wars and what not is due to the Left knowing that they can win because of Vietnam.

    This will plague the military’s attempt in any war or conflict should Vietnam and Iraq both be lost. It will set a tradition and the military understands the power of traditions

    Success will motivate more success while failure will motivate more failure. The chattering over failure would be almost trivial in comparison.

    Every future member of the armed forces will have to live with the consequences of Vietnam and Iraq affecting their deployment. Because the truism that the victors write the history books cannot be bypassed. Just as Vietnam may be argued as a “could have won” war, does it then change anything or anyone’s views? No. Because those views were locked in by that event. Just as the defeat of Germany and Japan were locked into the psyche of Germans and Japanese.

    I hear a lot of people say that Vietnam may have been won if more time was given to them. I don’t really want Iraq to become like that.
    _________

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Clinton bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in error? Unpredictability has its benefits.

    That I remember. But that wasn’t so much unpredictability as it was a liability.

  • Danny Lemieux

    YM – you don’t remember Vietnam because you weren’t there (you just dated yourself with the Nicaragua question). It wasn’t a question of us “winning” in Vietnam because we had already largely “won” in the sense that South Vietnam was fighting the North Vietnamese independently (the Viet Cong had already been defeated) and U.S. forces had already been withdrawn from Vietnam two years before its fall.

    However, we were obligated under a negotiated treaty to support the South Vietnamese and Cambodians with funding and/or air support in the event of a large-scale North Vietnamese attack. However, when South Vietnam was faced with a major North Vietnamese offensive (and the Cambodians with a Khmer Rouge offensive), the Democrat-controlled Congress (led by people like Sen. Kennedy and Dodd) reacted by violating our treaty obligations and cutting off all funding and military support to Vietnam.

    I believe to this day that a large part of their rationale was to destroy Nixon’s legacy. You had to live in those times to truly appreciate the visceral, foam-at-the-mouth hatred the Left had for Nixon – far worse, in my view, of the hatred they have for GW today. Had Nixon’s plan been allowed to work, the defeatist Democrats would have lost power for a very long time.

    For the record, I also believe that the Democrat Left tried to do the same to Reagan’s legacy by trying to impede every action that ultimately led to the demise of the Soviet Union. Even today, they try to credit then-Soviet Premier Gorbachev as the engineer of the Soviet Union’s collapse. The Left really can’t stand Reagan having been right.

    Nixon campaigned on the promise of pulling U.S. forces out of Vietnam, a promise called that he had fulfilled through his plan of “Vietnamization”. This is why I predict that the Democrat Left would do the same to the Iraqis today, given a chance, in order to destroy GW’s legacy.

    The Left has deliberately and successfully twisted the history of the Vietnam War to suit its own world view. If you ask most young people today (those that are even aware that there was such an event as the Vietnam war, that is), they will likely tell you that it was “Nixon’s” war (rather than “Kennedy’s and Johnson’s War” and that the famous rooftop/helicopter photo was of panicked American military and embassy personnel fleeing Vietnam, rather than Vietnamese refugees trying to escape Vietnam on American helicopters following America’s Democrat-engineered betrayal of our treaty obligations.

    A similar lie is that the American military “lost” the war, when in fact, the U.S. military never lost a single battle against the North Vietnamese or Viet Cong and, in fact, inflicted casualties upon the enemy at a 10-20:1 ratio. We only “lost” the War because we had an active Fifth Column in this country that eroded the will of the American people by distorting events on the ground through a Leftwing-controlled media that, at the time, could “set the agenda”, in Walter Cronkite’ immortal words. The fact remains, the fall of Cambodia and South Vietnam to the communists happened two years after the U.S. military had left and only through the deliberate actions of the Leftwing Democrat-controlled Congress.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    It wasn’t a question of us “winning” in Vietnam because we had already largely “won” in the sense that South Vietnam was fighting the North Vietnamese independently (the Viet Cong had already been defeated) and U.S. forces had already been withdrawn from Vietnam two years before its fall.

    And what does this have to do with me?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Specifically, are you disagreeing with something I said?

  • Danny Lemieux

    No, YM, I do not disagree per se with what you said – I actually disagree with very little of what you write: I just believe that those people who tell you that Vietnam could have been won if we had had more time overlook the fact that Vietnam was already won militarily, then lost through a willful and, frankly (considering the consequences) evil political act.

    I still confront people who claim that we “lost” the Vietnamese war militarily, which is a meme created by the Democrat/Left but which deliberately distorts history. This is an important point, for as you yourself pointed out, it has a very direct bearing on how events in Iraq will unfold in the months and years to come. This time, however, there will be very real and damaging consequences for America.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    I just believe that those people who tell you that Vietnam could have been won if we had had more time overlook the fact that Vietnam was already won militarily, then lost through a willful and, frankly (considering the consequences) evil political act.

    The only people that recognize the significance of Tet as a victory for our side and believed that things in Vietnam were working better than people thought it did, are the ones that already recognize what the Democrat Congress did at the time leading up to the Fall of Saigon.

    They would not, in my experience, deny that the military situation was better than the political one here at home in those days.

    I still confront people who claim that we “lost” the Vietnamese war militarily, which is a meme created by the Democrat/Left but which deliberately distorts history.

    They like to bring up an issue and make something of it, in order to confuse the search for the truth. In this vein, it doesn’t matter how Vietnam was lost, to me, so much as the fact that it was lost, by these people, and with the effect of creating problems in Iraq and other future US wars.