Skip to comments.Tet? Not Yet (Comparisons Between Vietnam And Iraq Aren't Valid)
Posted on 10/20/2006 1:07:29 PM PDT by Mikey_1962
When President Bush said that there might be some parallels between the Iraq and Vietnam wars, you would think he had declared unilateral surrender, judging from the press reaction. He mildly agreed with Thomas Friedmans assertion that the recent uptick in violence in Iraq (during Ramadan, note) could be the "jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive," and the frenzy began. It may have been a first for the president, but the Tet analogy is nothing new. Arthur Schlesinger touted Tet with reference to Fallujah in 2004. I first started debunking Tet comparisons back in 2003, during an earlier spate of Ramadan-related violence. For all the Tet talk, we have yet to see anything remotely like it.
It is not a very good analogy, even with the qualifier "jihadist equivalent," which is not setting the bar very high. Take, for example, the respective levels of violence. There were 73 U.S. dead in Iraq for the first three weeks of October, 2006. The average number killed during three weeks in 1968 in Vietnam was 957, over 13 times higher. As well, a simple uptick in indiscriminate violence is hardly something on the level of Tet, which was a comprehensive, three-phased plan to foment mass uprisings in South Vietnam as prelude to a conventional invasion. The planning a preparation for the attack took at least nine months. It was executed nearly simultaneously in cities and hamlets across the country. And even though it was a failure, the insurgents in Iraq have shown none of the strategic or operational acumen of our enemies in the 1960s.
But they really do not need to since the North Vietnamese already did the work for them.
(Excerpt) Read more at cbsnews.com ...
Good statement you made. Sums it up well.
Yesterday morning on network radio news they had a "This Day In History" bit. The first one was on Watergate, the 33rd (?) anniversary of the firing of Archibald Cox. The second one said that in 2005, Tom Delay, TEXAS REPUBLICAN, turned himself in at a Texas courthouse. There were only two items. Maybe they have a new source with only anti-Republican items listed. The left has pulled out all the stops.
I think there is a very strong parallel with Tet. We won; the MSM reported that we lost; the American people bought the MSM story, and we got out - badly.
Maybe they have a new source with only anti-Republican items listed.
A specialty calendar --
Highlights of Republican turpitude!
Popular gift with the moveon and acorn crowd.
Wes Pruden had a fantastic article this past Tuesday, discussing the Tet analogy:
Indulging the luxury of some plain talk
October 17, 2006
The Democratic left, almost all that's left of the party of Jefferson, Jackson, FDR and Truman, compares the war in Iraq to the war in Vietnam. This is meant to be the argument stopper.
A visitor to Washington this week challenges that conclusion. The war in Vietnam dented American prestige in Asia and put the ruling American elites in therapy for a generation, Lee Kwan Yew, the founding father of the Republic of Singapore, told Americans this week, but there were "enormous collateral benefits" to Asia. "It prevented the dominoes of Southeast Asia -- Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia -- from falling," he told scholars at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, "and it changed China's attitude toward Vietnam ... it stopped [Vietnam] from threatening Thailand. ... Without U.S. intervention there would never have been the four Asian dragons -- South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore -- followed by the four tigers -- Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines."
Not a bad decade's work for the Americans willing to take abuse, vilification and insult from a left that was considerably stronger then than now.
If the United States leaves Iraq prematurely, jihadists everywhere will be emboldened to take the battle to America and to all her friends and allies. Having defeated the Russians in Afghanistan and the Americans in Iraq, they will believe that they can change the world." There would be no dragons, no tigers for the Middle East, only more snakes and more scorpions.
Let's hope so, militarily speaking. We destroyed the VietCong as a fighting force, now lets destroy Sadr and the reast of the black burka'd sob's.
I attended the "Vietnam and the Iraq War" presentation given at the University of Chicago Law School by Professor Geoffrey Stone 20 January 2005. As a veteran of the Vietnam War from August of 1969 to January of 1971, serving as an infantry squad leader in a mechanized infantry company, and with another unit as a tank commander on an M48A3 tank; I was keenly interested in the form that the lecture might take. After a cursory reading of Professor Stone's curriculum vitae, I suspected that Professor Stone's take on the South East Asian conflict might indicate a general disapproval of the United States war effort. My suspicions were proven correct. The lecture was an attempt to paint the American war effort in Vietnam as misguided at best and an imperialistic effort to establish SE Asian capitalistic hegemony at worst. The antiwar left was portrayed as being noble and idealistic rather than populated by a hard core that actively hoped and worked for a US defeat, the US government as destructive of basic civil liberties in its attempt to monitor their activities, and the North Vietnamese and Vietcong as nationalists who wished to preserve their unique culture against an imperialistic onslaught. He described the South Vietnamese government in terms that were heedless of the South Vietnamese governments struggle to survive a relentlessly ruthless Communist assault while he stated the South Vietnamese government was engaged in an unwarranted assault on human rights. He neglected to mention ANY of the numerous genocidal atrocities of the Vietcong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA). He described the Tet Offensive as a surprise for the United States in which 1100 American soldiers died and 2300 ARVN soldiers, and not much more about it.
I challenged Professor Stone on the following. The reason that the United States opposed nationwide elections that were to be held in accordance with the 1954 Geneva accords was due to the murder and intimidation campaigns carried out by Ho Chi Minh. This fact is in Professor R. J. Runnel's book Death by Government, in which he cites a low estimate of 15,000 and a high figure of 500,000 people in the murder by quota campaign directed by the North Vietnamese Communist Party Politburo that would have made the election a corrupt mockery. This campaign stipulated that 5% of the people living in each village and hamlet had to be liquidated, preferably those identified as members of the "ruling class." All told says Runnel, between 1953 and 1956 it is likely that the Communists killed 195,000 to 865,000 North Vietnamese. These were non combatant men, women, and children, and hardly represent evidence of the moral high ground claimed by many in the antiwar movement. In 1956, high Communist official Nguyen Manh Tuong admitted that "while destroying the landowning class, we condemned numberless old people and children to a horrible death." The same genocidal pattern became the Communists standard operating procedure in the South too. This was unequivocally demonstrated by the Hue Massacre, which the press did a great deal to downplay in its reporting of the Tet Offensive of 1968.
I pointed out that the National Liberation Front was the creation of the North Vietnamese Third Party Congress of September 1960, completely directed from North Vietnam. I pointed out that the Tet Offensive of 1968 was a disastrous military defeat for the North Vietnamese and that the VC were almost wiped out by the fighting, and that it took the NVA until 1971 to reestablish a presence using North Vietnamese troops as local guerrillas. I pointed out how the North Vietnam military senior commanders repeatedly said that they counted on the U.S. antiwar movement to give them the confidence to persevere in the face of their staggering battlefield personnel losses and defeats. I pointed out the antiwar movement prevented the feckless President Lyndon Johnson from granting General Westmoreland's request to enter Laos and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail or end his policies of publicly announced gradualist escalation. The North Vietnamese knew cutting this trail would severely damage their ability to prosecute the war. Since the North Vietnamese could continue to use the Ho Chi Minh Trail lifeline, the war was needlessly prolonged for the U.S. and contributed significantly to the collapse of South Vietnam. The casualties sustained by the NVA and VC were horrendous, (1.5 million dead) and accorded well with Gen. Ngyuen Giaps publicly professed disdain for the lives of individuals sacrificed for the greater cause of Communist victory. They were as thoroughly beaten as a military force can be given the absence of an invasion and occupation of their nation. The Soviets and Chinese recognized this, and they put pressure on their North Vietnamese allies to accept this reality and settle up at the Paris peace talks. Hanoi's party newspaper Nhan Dan angrily denounced the Chinese and Soviets for "throwing a life bouy to a drowning pirate" and for being "mired on the dark and muddy road of unprincipled compromise."
To this day the anti-war movement as a whole refuses to acknowledge its part in the deaths of millions in Laos and Cambodia and in the subsequent exodus from South East Asia as people fled Communism, nor the imprisonment of thousands in Communist re-education camps and gulags.
When he tried to say that United States should have known it could not put down a local popular insurgency, I pointed out that the final victorious North Vietnamese offensive was a multidivisional, combined arms effort lavishly equipped with Soviet and Chinese supplied tanks, self-propelled artillery, and aircraft. I pointed out to him that it was the type of blitzkrieg that Panzer General Heinz Guederian would have easily recognized. I said how I didn't recall seeing any barefoot, pajama-clad guerrillas jumping out of those tanks in the newsreel footage that showed them crashing through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon. This spectacle was prompted by the pusillanimous withdrawal of Congressional support for the South Vietnamese government in the wake of the Watergate scandal, which particularly undermined this aspect of President Nixons foreign policy. It should be noted that a similar Communist offensive in the spring of 1972 was smashed, largely by US air power; with relatively few US ground troops in place. At the Paris Accords in 1973, the Soviet Union had agreed to reduce aid in offensive arms to North Vietnam in exchange for trade concessions from the US, effectively ending North Vietnams hopes for a military victory in the south. With the return of cold war hostilities in the wake of the Yom Kippur war after Congress revoked the Soviet's MFN trading status, the Reds poured money and offensive military equipment into North Vietnam. South Vietnam would still be a viable nation today were it not for this nation's refusal to live up to it's treaty obligations to the South Vietnamese.
There were legions of half-truths and omissions that this professor spoke to in his extremely biased lecture. When I asked him why he left out so much that was favorable to the American effort in Vietnam, he airily dismissed my argument as being just another perspective, but tellingly he did not disagree with the essential truth of what I said.
Professor Stone struck me as just another liberal masquerading as an enlightened academic.
He was totally unable to relate how the situation in Iraq is comparable to the situation in Vietnam, so I volunteered a comparison for him. A seditious near traitorous core of anti-war protesters is trying to undermine U.S. efforts there with half-truths, lies, and distortions. I said that in that respect, the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam are very similar. A significant difference is that thus far the current anti-war movement has not succeeded in manifesting contempt for the American military on the part of the general U.S. public as it did in the Vietnam era.
When I was in Vietnam, I recall many discussions with my fellow soldiers about the course of the war in Vietnam and their feelings about it. Many, if not most felt that "We Gotta Get Outta this Place," to cite a popular song of the time by Eric Burden and the Animals, but for the most part they felt we should do it by fighting the war in a manner calculated to win it. I do not recall anyone ever saying that they felt the North Vietnamese could possibly defeat us on the battlefield, but to a man they were mystified by the U.S. Governments refusal to fight in a manner that would assure military victory. Even though there was much resentment for the antiwar movement, and some (resentment) toward career professional soldiers, I never saw anyone who did not do his basic duty and many did FAR MORE THAN THAT as a soldier. Nineteen of my friends have their names on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington DC. They deserve to have the full truth told about the effort for which they gave their young lives. The U.S. public is not well served by half-truths and lies by omission about such a significant period in our history, particularly with their relevance toward our present fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They deserve to have the full truth told about the effort for which they gave their young lives.
Thanks for your service, and for attempting to add to the education of the lecturer, and for sharing your experience here on FR.
I have faith that the Vietnam veteran generation will not allow today's military forces or their work to be treated by the media the way you all were. There are millions of Vietnam veterans and their relatives who will not stand for it, who will do what they can to set the record straight.
The only people who do not see this reality are the same anti-war hippies from 30 years ago. Unfortunately, many of them are in positions of authority in schools and media institutions.
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