Monday, November 20, 2006
Someone Tell Bush We LOST Vietnam
Larry Johnson speaks. You listen:
I had my Scooby Doo moment for the day when President Bush, speaking in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, said there were lessons to be learned from the divisive Vietnam war:God only knows, Larry, because Bush sure doesn't. The best guess I can come up with is that this is yet another variation on the decades-old Dolchstoßlegende, the one the right-wingers used to blame Germany's defeat on those pesky Jewish liberal intellectuals who allegedly stabbed the war effort in the back just as the Kaiser was about to lead his troops to glorious victory. But I digress. Here's Larry again:
We tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take awhile . . .We'll succeed unless we quit.
What in God's name is he talking about?
I realize W missed the last few months of his time with the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, but I had not realized, until now, that he completely ignored what happened in Vietnam. Mr. President. We fought in Vietnam for more than twelve years. More than two million U.S. soldiers fought there. Almost 57,000 American soldiers died and several hundred thousand were wounded. We trained hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese troops, we killed almost one million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, we dropped more explosives on Vietnam then we used during World War II, and we defolitated significant portions of Vietnam's rain forest.Well, we did one thing there: We built up some lovely state-of-the-art submarine bases at Cam Ranh Bay that the Soviets got to use for a while, once we left. So I guess it wasn't a total waste of blood and treasure.
And what did we achieve in the end? The United States fled the South Vietnamese capital, Saigon, to escape the invading North Vietnamese Army. North Vietnam "freed" the South from yankee imperialists and set about "reeducating" the South Vietnamese. News flash George. WE LOST!
So, what lesson are we to draw from all of this? Are you arguing that if we had stuck it out in Vietnam and spilled the blood of another 50,000 Americans and one million Vietnamese that things would be better today in Vietnam? Mr. President, that is bullshit.
The lesson of Vietnam for our policy in Iraq is that we should not waste the blood or limb of one more American soldier without a clear vision and plan of what we are trying to achieve. Most of the violence we face today is from indigenous Iraqis who see us as occupiers. The insurgents may not agree among themselves what the future of Iraq should be politically, but they are united in expelling us from the country.
We shed precious blood and treasure in Vietnam and then we abandoned the South Vietnamese to the North. Politicians in that day issued dire warnings that our retreat from Vietnam would lead to the communist takeover of Southeast Asia. That never happened. Instead, Vietnam developed on its own, fought a war with China, and is now adopting capitalism rather than communism as its model for growth. So much for falling dominoes.
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