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Doing the math on the aftermath of Vietnam

As I expected and talked about last night on The MacRanger Show, the MSM is up in arms that President Bush would dare to use their oft comparison of Iraq to Vietnam against them. Proving the adage, they can dish it out but won't take it, is the NY Times in this article today, using quotes from leftist historians who see Vietnam only through their Grateful Dead glasses.

"The American withdrawal from Vietnam is widely remembered as an ignominious end to a misguided war — but one with few negative repercussions for the United States and its allies.

Now, in urging Americans to stay the course in Iraq, President Bush is challenging that historical memory.

In reminding Americans that the pullout in 1975 was followed by years of bloody upheaval in Southeast Asia, Mr. Bush argued in a speech on Wednesday that Vietnam’s lessons provide a reason for persevering in Iraq, rather than for leaving any time soon. Mr. Bush in essence accused his war critics of amnesia over the exodus of Vietnamese “boat people” refugees and the mass killings in Cambodia that upended the lives of millions of people.

President Bush is right on the factual record, according to historians. But many of them also quarreled with his drawing analogies from the causes of that turmoil to predict what might happen in Iraq should the United States withdraw.

“It is undoubtedly true that America’s failure in Vietnam led to catastrophic consequences in the region, especially in Cambodia,” said David C. Hendrickson, a specialist on the history of American foreign policy at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

“But there are a couple of further points that need weighing,” he added. “One is that the Khmer Rouge would never have come to power in the absence of the war in Vietnam — this dark force arose out of the circumstances of the war, was in a deep sense created by the war. The same thing has happened in the Middle East today. Foreign occupation of Iraq has created far more terrorists than it has deterred.”


Before we look at the effect of Vietnam and how it doesn't square with the academic pinheads, let's do the math on that deterrence mentioned in the last sentence. Before Iraq we have WTC-1 in 1993, the Khobar Towers, the USS Cole, oh and yeah, that 9/11 incident - 3000 dead. All of which happened well before Iraq.

After Iraq not one attack on American soil has occurred. It's the greatest measure of success of the President's plan in Iraq, it did deter attacks on the homeland. As far as "producing more terrorist", that is absolutely not so. The fact that global terrorism and it's tens of thousands of terrorist existed before Iraq. In fact the opposite is actually true. Al Qaeda has been for the most part neutered in world wide efforts to carry off attacks being relegated relatively to a local threat in the region. This is a great success. Additionally we know where most of them are at - we had no real clue before that.

Now on to Vietnam. While this article refers to the repercussions of the fall of Saigon as a blip on history - as if millions killed and others forced into camps is a "blip". Jules Crittenden writes today of the other "blips".

"1975: U.S. ally South Vietnam, overrun by North Vietnamese regulars when the ammo and the air cover stopped. U.S. allies Laos and Cambodia, taken over by Chinese and Soviet-backed Communist insurgencies.

1975-early 1980s: Untold thousands upon thousands in Vietnam and Laos executed or sent to “re-education” camps. Hundreds of thousands flee, in overcrowded boats that sank or were attacked by pirates; swimming the Mekong to Thailand; walking through minefields to Thailand. Phnom Penn emptied out by gun-toting teenagers, who drove the people into the fields were 2 million were worked and starved to death, or executed outright. (NYT in its article astonishingly presents this as “tens of thousands,” while Bush in his speech cites “hundreds of thousands.”)

1979: Afghanistan, invaded by an emboldened Soviet Union, which knew a humiliated, war-weary United States led by a handwringing peacenik would do nothing.

1979: U.S. embassy in Tehran overrun by “students,” including the current president of Iran. American diplomatic staff held hostage, subjected to isolation and beatings, for 444 days. Handwringing peacenik president did nothing. A single rescue attempt failed disastrously.

1979-2001: Muslim extremists attack and kill U.S. military missions and personnel in Lebanon, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen. U.S. withdraws, occasionally fires missiles. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, citing Vietnam, Beirut and Mogadishu, base their strategies on the notion that the United States has no stomach for a fight and will blink."


The most telling aftermath of course is on the courage of America itself. Once proud and brave and victorious after WWII, after Vietnam we became tentative and well, scared to respond to the world as it is. We sat by and let terrorist dictate to us, kill our people, all while we - shaking in our shoes - sought "peaceful means" to quell their anger. The result of that goodwill is well known by now.

George Bush turned America around, from being a global wimp, to again a force which will defend itself and deal with terrorism where ever it may be. For all the hangwringing about Iraq the fact is that it's only been five years since we entered the country. Saddam has been deposed and hung, his sons dead, and a new - howbeit fledgling - nation has been formed.

All those that decry failure of the politics after only five years need to remember that after nearly 240 years we in America still don't have our politics together.

Take a look at Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and ask yourself, "Have we arrived?"

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