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Saturday, August 25, 2007


Killing fields then and now

The Democrat/Liberal/Media Axis has been comparing Iraq to Viet Nam for years. Making the case that we should not have gotten involved, predicting our defeat and working actively – as they did during the Viet Nam war - to bring that defeat about.

That is what is so curious about the Axis’ reaction to President Bush’s reference to Viet Nam in his speech to the VFW.

For a hard-to-top example of pure unmitigated gall, the editorial in the Virginian Pilot of August 24th is a sterling example.

The president’s decision this week to compare the wars in Iraq and Vietnam isn’t about the lessons of history, or the danger of insurrection and guerilla tactics. It is about feeding red meat to a political base grown anemic on a diet of bad news from the Middle East.
In other words, the blood of millions of people in southeast Asia belongs to an America unwilling to fight there forever.
The certainty of reopening old wounds is precisely what the White House wants. At a time when the nation should be focusing on what to do next in Iraq, the administration is hoping Americans can be diverted by another political sleight-of-hand to keep its mistakes from showing.

Don’t be fooled, and don’t be baited. America is too busy fighting in Iraq to be fighting again over Vietnam.

The Pilot Editors and the rest of the Axis seem to believe they have the exclusive right to the Viet Nam narrative and will be damned if they want us interlopers discuss the topic they have stolen as their own. Well, Mr. Editor, it doesn’t work that way anymore since the media monopoly was broken.

You may want to see what your “Born fighting” Senator Webb has to say about how Viet Nam went down:

This Congress was elected in November 1974, only months after Nixon's resignation, and it was dominated by a fresh group of antiwar Democrats. One of the first actions of the new Congress was to vote down a supplemental appropriation for the beleaguered South Vietnamese that would have provided $800 million in military aid, including much-needed ammunition, spare parts and medical supplies.

This vote was a horrendous blow, in both emotional and practical terms, to the country that had trusted American judgment for more than a decade of intense conflict. It was also a clear indication that Washington was abandoning the South Vietnamese even as the North Vietnamese continued to enjoy the support of the Soviet Union, China and other Eastern bloc nations. The vote's impact was hardly lost on North Vietnamese military planners, who began the final offensive only five weeks later, as the South Vietnamese were attempting to adjust their military defenses.

Finally, the aftermath of Saigon's fall is rarely dealt with at all. A gruesome holocaust took place in Cambodia, the likes of which had not been seen since World War II. Two million Vietnamese fled their country — usually by boat — with untold thousands losing their lives in the process. This was the first such diaspora in Vietnam's long and frequently tragic history. Inside Vietnam a million of the South's best young leaders were sent to re-education camps; more than 50,000 perished while imprisoned, and others remained captives for as long as 18 years. An apartheid system was put into place that punished those who had been loyal to the United States, as well as their families, in matters of education, employment and housing. The Soviet Union made Vietnam a client state until its own demise, pumping billions of dollars into the country and keeping extensive naval and air bases at Cam Ranh Bay.

You don’t own the Viet Nam narrative any more, and the bodies of the slain in the aftermath of the debacle your engineered are being exhumed and brought to your doorstep.

Even William Shawcross, who wrote the book “Sideshow” excoriating the US for the Cambodian genocide had second thoughts and admitted:

Those of us who opposed the American war in Indochina should be extremely humble in the face of the appalling aftermath: a form of genocide in Cambodia and horrific tyranny in both Vietnam and Laos. Looking back on my own coverage for The Sunday Times...,I think I concentrated too easily on the corruption and incompetence of the South Vietnamese and their American allies, was too ignorant of the inhuman Hanoi regime, and far too willing to believe that a victory by the Communists would provide a better future. But after the Communist victory came the refugees to Thailand and the floods of boat people desperately seeking to escape the Cambodian killing fields and the Vietnamese gulags. Their eloquent testimony should have put paid to all illusions.

And what was the dominant Axis theme before the horrors began? What were they predicting?

…the barbaric nature of the Communist Khmer Rouge was painted over in soothing tones by much of the American press. The New York Times was the most flagrant offender. In one dispatch, its correspondent Sydney Schanberg described a ranking Khmer Rouge leader as a "French-educated intellectual" who wanted nothing more than "to fight against feudal privileges and social inequities." A bloodbath was unlikely, Schanberg reported: "since all are Cambodians, an accommodation will be found." As the last Americans were withdrawn, another upbeat article by Schanberg appeared under the headline, "Indochina Without Americans: For Most, a Better Life." In short order, the Khmer Rouge proceeded to march nearly two million of their fellow Cambodians to their deaths in the killing fields. Also in short order, Schanberg went on to greater glory and a Pulitzer prize.

And from Senator Webb's own website:

"Vietnam should teach us an important lesson. Hanoi [is creating] a collectivist society . . . likely to produce greater welfare and security for its people than any local alternative ever offered, at a cost in freedom that affects a small elite." -- Stanley Hoffman
The New Republic
May 3, 1975

"The greatest gift our country can give the Cambodian people is not guns but peace. And the best way to accomplish that goal is by ending military aid now." -- Rep. Chris Dodd (D., Conn.)
Congressional Record
March 12, 1975

"It is ironic that we are here at a time just before Vietnam is about to be liberated." -- Producer Bert Schneider
Academy Awards
April 8, 1975

If I were an editor of the Virginian Pilot or any other member of the Axis, I would quickly shut up about Viet Nam. You no longer have the monopoly power to dominate the way people are allowed to think about that horrific war and it’s even more horrific aftermath. The news is no longer pre-digested and delivered by the ABC/CBS/NBC members of the Axis. And you are making yourself look stupid by pretending that your recollections of your part in this crime were anything but ignoble.

Bush speech to VFW

Dean Barnett comments:
How dare he! In his speech to the VFW the other day, George W. Bush had the audacity to compare the current struggle to the Vietnam War. What was he thinking? Doesn’t he know that the left has the exclusive franchise on Vietnam analogies? The President may well be hearing from the Democratic Party’s attorneys in the coming days.
The most serious consequence of the American left’s Vietnam-era behavior was the death and destruction it caused for our allies. However aging leftists and their spiritual descendants try to spin it, images of Vietnamese boat people, the fall of Saigon and the Cambodian killing fields indelibly mar the image of the American political factions that enabled those tragedies. So here we stand today, over thirty years later, with the American left still madly grinding away trying to airbrush the consequences of its Vietnam-era behavior from the national memory the way Stalin’s apparatchiks airbrushed Trotsky from the Soviet history books.

THE PRESIDENT DEFINITELY HIT A NERVE. Today, the Boston Globe and the New York Times both editorialized on what they consider the true record of Vietnam. The Globe took its unique version of amoral cowardice out for a spin, writing, “It would have been better to surrender South Vietnam to the North Vietnamese communists in the early 1960s than to engage them in a struggle that cost 58,000 American and millions of Vietnamese lives before it ended in 1975 with the same result: victory for Hanoi and the suppression of non-communist opposition in the south.”

That’s a classic strawman argument. There was another choice that the Globe doesn’t deem fit to mention – we could have stayed the course in Vietnam until the South had become sustainable, just as we had done in South Korea a couple of decades earlier.


The true error of Vietnam wasn’t the decision to stand up and fight evil. The real sin was abandoning our allies to certain death in 1973. If you go back to the Globe’s editorial, you’ll notice that the deaths of tens of thousands of people and the imprisonment of an entire society are blithely written off with the glib one-word summation “suppression.” Perhaps the Boat People or the prisoners of the re-education camps could come up with a more descriptive term.

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From global warming to the question of who owns Viet Nam, the answer from liberals is the same, "Don't confuse me with the facts"; working on the theory that if you repeat something often enough it becomes fact.
Remember the bumper sticker, "Question Authority"? That was a popular thought in the 60's, even much more appropriate as many of those products of the 60"s are the authority figures of the day.
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