Monday, October 23, 2006

Iraq, Viet Nam Again?



October 23, 2006

Much has been said since we first invaded Iraq to depose the Saddam Hussein regime, comparing it to the War in Viet Nam. According to the left, we are mired in another Viet Nam. Ted Kennedy claims it is George Bush’s Viet Nam. John Kerry, rumored Viet Nam Veteran and self proclaimed hero, lauds it as “Wrong War, Wrong Time, Wrong Place,” during his failed bid for the Presidency. Protestors even chant the same swill they chanted during their youthful but misled protests against our fight in Viet Nam.

It is my fear that if the left regains power or succeeds to forcing the President to cower once again to an enemy, Iraq will have a much worse outcome than we saw in Viet Nam. To begin with, some history on the Viet Nam conflict, also wrongfully labeled as just a civil war.

Viet Nam’s struggles between North and South date as far back as 207 BC. Without addressing the lengthy history of that time, I’ll just say that the French became involved in the ongoing fighting in the 1700s and installed Colonial Rule. Other than the years under Japanese occupation, the French pretty much ruled Viet Nam. After the massive defeat the French suffered in Dien Bein Phu, they decided enough and began withdrawing after a cease-fire was signed in Geneva.

Elections mandated between the North and South in the cease-fire were to take place within two years, but never did. Ho Chi Minh, already a staunch Communist, had been installed as leader in the North while Bo Dai was installed in the South. Diem was brought back by emperor Bo Dai as Prime Minister and through strong-arm tactics, became the “elected” President in 1955, defeating Bo Dai. Diem proved he wasn’t going to be a “puppet” ruler, doing things his way.

Several reasons have been given for the elections not taking place. One was the massive influx of refugees, some 850,000, from the North to the South after Communist rule was installed. The South, which had not signed the Geneva Accords, did not feel the Communists in the North would allow fair elections. In January 1957, the International Control Commission (ICC), comprising observers from India, Poland, and Canada, agreed with this perception, reporting that neither South nor North Vietnam had honored the armistice agreement.

The U.S. aligned itself with South Viet Nam under Diem in a continuance of our opposition to the spread of Communism. Diem was neither a puppet of the US nor a very fair leader. We protected him from assassination attempts up until the time he, being part of the minority Catholic ruling class, began oppressing the majority Buddhists, resulting in the now famous scenes of Buddhist Monks setting themselves on fire. Through the CIA, Kennedy decided to stop protecting Diem and allowed the CIA to encourage a coup de tat to oust Diem from power. He did not expect Diem and his brother to be assassinated, as they were.

America’s entire involvement was designed to stop the spread of Communism, as the majority of the South Vietnamese indicated they didn’t desire. Viet Minh, later the Viet Cong, originally opposed to the French, became aligned with the Northern Communists in a shaky alliance with the Viet Cong eventually being decimated and made largely ineffective in the Tet of ’68 offensive. Viet Cong wished to be the ruling party in the South, the North wished to make all of Viet Nam Communist. Viet Cong were actually very small in number compared to the South Vietnamese Army and could never have achieved their goal by themselves. They were sort of parallel, but with different goals.

Our concern was to first bolster the French Forces, supporting them but staying out of the fight, to counter strong opposition they were receiving from the French Communist Party. After they left, our concern became preventing a Communist take over of the country, enslaving the peoples. A look at the massive deaths and the slipping into Communism by surrounding countries, as well as the massive “Boat People” evacuations of the late 1970s and early 1980s bears witness to what we were trying to prevent.

I urge all to seek out some of the Vietnamese “Boat People” that made it to our shores and ask them about it all. Who better knows than they?

It was never a civil war, as portrayed by mostly Communist supporters and sympathizers. It was outright aggression by Communist forces that cost us 58,000 souls and untold millions more from them and the South Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians and more.

Preventing the spread of oppressive Communism was as much our concern as is standing up to radical Islam terrorists today that desires world domination under their perverted view. Like WW2, we are going to have to fight them wherever they may be or wherever their support may come from.

A suggested book to read. “Unheralded Victory” by Mark W. Woodruff. It has one of the best backgrounds to the Viet Nam conflict I have ever read. He also details most all of the major battles. I don’t necessarily agree with all of his conclusions afterwards, but his research into the history of it all is meticulous.

As in every other war, there were opposers from the start. In Viet Nam, the opposers, who happened to be more leftists than anything other, received a huge boost in the arm on February 27, 1968, when Walter Cronkite announced about the Tet of ’68 Offensive launched by the North Vietnamese, “To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in a stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion.”

Apparently unbeknownst to Mr. Cronkite, the North Vietnamese Forces were soundly defeated. Their forces were decimated and the Viet Cong nearly ceased to exist. General Vo Nguyen Giap, Commanding General of North Vietnamese Forces and Defense Minister, is reported to have been considering negotiating a surrender. Although there is much speculation on the veracity of this thought (as claimed) relegating it to the status of Urban Legend by the anti-war left but embraced by others, sources have come forward now indicating there is a distinct possibility of it being factual.

On page 38 of the October 2005 edition of VIETNAM magazine, there is an interview with retired North Vietnamese General Nguyen Duc Huy where he is asked, “After the war, Giap told a group of Western reporters that Communist losses in the Tet Offensive [of 1968] were so devastating that if the American forces had kept up that level of Military pressure much longer North Vietnam would have been forced to negotiate a peace on American terms. Do you agree?”

General Huy replied, “If the American army had fought some more, had continued, I don’t know. Maybe. I can’t say what would have happened.”

Along these same lines, we have the August 3, 1995 Wall Street journal account of the interview with Colonel Bui Tin. When asked what the purpose of the Tet Offensive was, he replied, “To relieve the pressure Gen. Westmoreland was putting on us in late 1966 and 1967 and to weaken American resolve during a presidential election year.”

Asked about the results of the Tet Offensive, he said, “Our losses were staggering and a complete surprise;. Giap later told me that Tet had been a military defeat, though we had gained the planned political advantages when Johnson agreed to negotiate and did not run for re-election. The second and third waves in May and September were, in retrospect, mistakes. Our forces in the South were nearly wiped out by all the fighting in 1968. It took us until 1971 to re-establish our presence, but we had to use North Vietnamese troops as local guerrillas. If the American forces had not begun to withdraw under Nixon in 1969, they could have punished us severely. We suffered badly in 1969 and 1970 as it was.”

Obviously, Walter Cronkite was wrong as was the anti-war left of the time. In effect the opposition ended up costing us more than had we fought the war to a finish, which was possible. In American lives, it cost us nearly 40,000 more dead. The Vietnamese loss of life runs into the millions, both before and after our withdrawal and the surrender of Saigon.

Like Viet Nam, we have the same opposition and undermining of the war effort by Democrats. Whether we agree with the war or not, we are in it, we have troops in harm’s way and our enemy’s will fight us whether we face them there or here. It is said,”Nobody bothers to care what the cost was to the other population.” This time around, the left is failing to care what it is going to cost OUR population. The left fails to see that much of the anti-Americanism in the world is due to us abandoning allies when they need us most. Bay of Pigs, Viet Nam, Lebanon, Somalia, the First Gulf War, Rwanda, the list just grows as we allow our allies to languish and do not support them. We have the reputation of “Paper Tiger” and thanks to the left we earned it.

Several Democrats have vowed to launch investigation after investigation with the sole goal of impeachment, should they regain power. This is nothing more than childish tit for tat get back games. It would also mire our troops down in a real quagmire, as the President would be unable to properly focus on prosecuting the war. This alone could raise our casualty list considerably and if we just left, as many want us to do, we leave a vacuum that would most likely be filled by the Islamofascists, which would then result in untold death and casualties and enslavement of citizens of both Iraq and Afghanistan. My guess is the number would make the numbers we saw in Southeast Asia in the 1970s and 1980s pale in comparison.

We have others vowing to de-fund the war effort as well raise taxes again. Virtually everything the Democrat Party has vowed to do I see as detrimental to our country and to our troops in harm’s way.

Much like has been revealed by the North Vietnamese, fundamentalist Islamofascists are seeing they only need to wait us out once more and they can achieve victory, at a severe cost both to us and to our fledgling allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. This time, though, the cost will not only be bore by those in other countries, but by our citizens as well as the terrorists have shown they can easily breech our shores and their goal is not just to remove us from the Middle East, but to eliminate Western Culture as we know it.

The only correlation I see between Viet Nam and Iraq is how the leftist Democrats and lamestream media are attempting to sway public opinion against our fight there to eliminate terrorists and to give the Iraqi and Afghani peoples a good chance at choosing their own style of governing themselves.

As has been said, “if we leave, they will follow us.” Electing Democrats will accomplish that.

Lew

3 comments:

JMK2006 said...

Most Americans, it seems, don't know how good we have it: Our federal government fulfills one of its few Constitutional obligations (national defense) by unleashing the most powerful military on the other side of the planet. Iraq is a dangerous place, but whatever safety is there is no thanks to the many European nations that haven't followed America's lead by committing to its rebuilding.

At the same time life goes on domestically: the economy keeps rolling, no sports stars are missing prime playing years (e.g., Ted Williams missed 5, counting Korea), the worst gripe people have is that gas climbed to $3/gallon.

For reasons like these, it seems imperative to shame the major Democratic players for their BDS, and to vigorously engage the electorate. How long can the US support overseas combat operations with hope of achieving objectives when less than 2/3 of the country backs it?

Ms. Calabaza said...

I agree with your last paragraphs but I would add that unfortunately this war has not been fought "full force". I always thought if Barry Goldwater would have won in 1964, he would have terminated and won that war in short order. It seems we are fighting this war on a budget and according to many with less manpower than is needed. Either we get in and win sans politics or we get out. My 2 cents. Thanks.

Lew Waters said...

Unfortunately, since we belong to the Useless Nations and actively participate in their doings, our going all out is severely restricted.

I don't care much for them, as I think you can tell, but we bolster them and adhere to their rules. I'd just as soon withdraw and send them to France or elsewhere.

The original concept sounded good, but as a group, they cannot tell the good guys from the bad guys and give equal weight to all, except for when it comes to money. That's when they need us.

Jeremiah is correct. Our lives go on unhindered as we have troops in harm's way. We have no sense of a war in progress, other than the daily body counts (after the lamestream media complaining about weekly body counts during Viet Nam).

As for how it is going there:

From an interview in the current (December 2006) edition of Viet Nam Magazine, page 26 to 33, retired Marine Colonel Harvey C. Barnum, Medal of Honor winner and current Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Reserve Affairs;

VN: As with Vietnam, the ultimate success or failure of the United States' Iraqi invasion depends on the Iraqis-how viable a democratic government they are able to establish and maintain. Are you optimistic that there will come a point when the United States can afford to withdraw its forces from that country?

Barnum: It's very important that we get out of Iraq when the Iraqis are prepared to take over on their own security. You know, there are 18 districts, and 13 of them are in good shape. Three of them are bad, but many of them are ready to be turned over to Iraqi security forces, which will allow U.S. forces to pull back. So success is being realized, but it will take time. That's the reason the insurgents keep this chaos up-those IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and ambushes. There's no military sense to it, they just kill civilians hoping that the United States and the coalition forces will finally say, 'That's enough, we're out of here." But I don't believe that's going to happen.