Correctly Remembering BOTH Vietnam Wars

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Correctly Remembering BOTH Vietnam Wars
by Jim Guirard

The idea that there would be no "domino effect" to a defeat of American and Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan is as deceitful as the constantly repeated lie that there was no such triggering effect to the April 1975 collapse of South Vietnam.   There were 20 post-Vietnam dominoes which fell in a period of only five short years as a result of our leaving Vietnam, and as FSM Contributing Editor Jim Guirard observes, if we let the very same thing happen with Iraq, we will live to regret it…deeply. Read this to learn the truth.
 
Now that the recent elections have put them in narrow control of Congress, many partisan Senate Democrats — led by Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Durkin, Schumer, Clinton, Biden and others — will again be trying to equate the current, highly difficult peacekeeping and democratization missions in Iraq with the “quagmire” in Vietnam almost four decades ago.

In the House, a similar gaggle of cut-and-run and “ACE” (Aid and Comfort to the Enemy) agitators are led by Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, Defense Appropriations Chairman-to-be John Murtha and future Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Wrangle – who are followed in lockstep by scores of their fellow Blame America First “progressives.”   (continued…)

     

It becomes vital, therefore, that the history of Vietnam and its Cold War consequences be clearly understood – so that none of today’s partisan politicos, media commentators and left-wing interest groups can scam the American public with a variety of false “lessons” of that long-ago conflict and its aftermath. 

Unfortunately, we live in an age when far too little attention is paid to history — real history. What actually happened back then is often re-written to satisfy political or ideological appetites of "Scamalot" revisionists — who may be journalists, or academics, or self-interested governments, or religious zealots, or even self-serving aspirants to higher office.

Naturally, the more controversial the events were and are, the more likely that the record of their outcome will be manipulated, revised or even expunged from the historical record, to satisfy the ulterior motives of the new “historians.”

A prime example of such deceit will almost surely be America’s failure late next month to memorialize the relatively calm late-January, 1973 end of the Vietnam War — or, more correctly, the end “Vietnam One.”  That was the 12-year war which was fought largely by US combat forces and officially ended with the Paris Peace Accords of January 27, 1973.

Sadly, in January of this year (typical of other recent years) not a single historically correct article about the end of Vietnam One appeared on that anniversary date in any major US newspaper. And nor was there any detailed mention by any network "talking head" or commentator of a defeated North Vietnam's exodus from the South. 

Four months later, however, the infamous anniversary date which did occur and will soon again be loudly and universally recognized instead is the tragic end of “Vietnam Two” –  which (a) began in January 1975, (b) involved no US combat forces at all, and (c) came to a tragic end on April 30, 1975.

That was when South Vietnam's capitol city of Saigon fell to rampaging Soviet-supplied North Vietnamese armies — and when televised pictures of helicopters rescuing American diplomatic personnel, Marine guards and friendly South Vietnamese from the US Embassy roof were first burned into our memories.

The deceitful tactic: propagandize the first-ever "Defeat of America" when, in fact, America had departed the scene more than two years earlier.

TWO SHARPLY DIFFERENT WARS

The many differences between these “Two Vietnam Wars” – and their “lessons learned,” if any, for the ongoing battle for peace, stability and democracy in Iraq – should be searched for in the following historical sub-texts.  While an entire book could be written about each of these under- and falsely-reported items, a brief paragraph about each might help to avoid their being completely ignored or wrongly described in context of today’s Vietnam/Iraq comparisons.

First, beginning in 1961, all significant increases in US combat forces in South Vietnam occurred during the administrations of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson (to a peak of 543,400 in late 1968) — while all significant reductions (down to only 20,000 in late 1972 and virtually zero by mid-1973) occurred in the administration of Richard Nixon. 

These reductions were made possible both by the steady weakening of North Vietnamese and by significant strengthening of South Vietnamese forces, especially during and following the much misinterpreted Tet Offensive of 1968.

Second, during their dozen years in South Vietnam, US combat forces did not lose a single major battle, despite the marginally insane (i.e., politically correct) rules of engagement to which they were subjected by Lyndon Johnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and their “best and brightest” entourage — and then by a similar, but less intrusive, micro-management by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. 

Clearly, US combat forces did not “lose” the military war, as contrasted to the political and psychological losses they suffered in the McGovernite Congress, in the left-leaning media, among the radicalized academia and foreign policy elite, and in American public opinion.

Third, the biggest and longest battle of the entire Vietnam War — the Tet Offensive of early 1968 — was the biggest victory for US and South Vietnamese forces and the most devastating defeat for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese.

But a combination of media misrepresentation and of negative “spin” by anti-war activists managed to persuade the American public that it was our biggest failure, instead.

Fourth, that part of the conflict in which US combat forces participated ended with the Paris Peace Accords of January 27, 1973, when American troop count was down to about 20,000 and headed for zero by mid-year — and with formal treaty assurances from North Vietnam that it would go home and cease its cross-border aggression against South Vietnam.

At that point, American and South Vietnamese forces had thwarted the Soviet-supported North. They had both militarily and diplomatically achieved the same status quo ante as the one which ended the Korean War twenty years earlier — not a clear-cut victory, but surely not the ignominious defeat which today’s revisionists contend.

ENTER VIETNAM II

Fifth, as stated above, it was not until January 1975 that the Soviet-backed North began “The Second Vietnam War,” or Vietnam Two, against a largely abandoned South. This was a war made possible and winnable for the communists by three principal factors:

(a)  the post-Watergate, August 1974 resignation of President Richard Nixon;

(b)  the dominance of the anti-war Congressional Democrats (pressured by Blame America First radicals of the Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, George McGovern, Jane Fonda, Angela Davis varieties) who in 1973-74 slashed aid to South Vietnam by more than half; and

c)  the Moscow-Hanoi certainty that an unelected and politically insecure President Gerald Ford would not dare to intervene if the North were to invade the South.

Sixth, the final Blitzkrieg-style victory of the Soviet-supported North Vietnamese came on April 30, 1975 — not over US combat forces which had departed more than two years earlier but over a South Vietnam whose military assistance and political support had been decimated by a Democrat-dominated, weak-on-liberty US Congress.

Seventh, the predicted “communist blood bath” in South Vietnam did, indeed, occur — with tens of thousands of summary executions, millions of innocents herded into brutal “re-education” camps and hundreds of thousands of “boat people” fleeing the single-party, police-state communist dictatorship — which is still in power 30 years later.

Eighth, the long-anticipated “domino effect” also occurred over the next five years (1975-80), during which a “no-more-Vietnams” retreat by the United States and its allies allowed some twenty nations to fall to Soviet imperialism, colonialism and subversion.  Divided into two slightly overlapping groups, these post-Vietnam colonies for communism were:

o Ten plainly Marxist-Leninist states: South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Mozambique, Angola, Ethiopia, South Yemen, Suriname, Grenada and Nicaragua.

o Ten more socialist, single-party “client states,” which were close enough to communist tyranny as no longer to require so-called “liberation”: Libya, Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Tanzania, Seychelles, Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao-Tome/Principe, and Congo.

Ninth, it was not until Ronald Reagan became President in January 1981 that this veritable avalanche of “dominoes” into the Evil Empire ceased — and was then reversed by the pre-emptive “roll-back” liberation of Grenada from Soviet/Cuban colonial status in 1983. 

Although only a tiny part of the Soviet Empire, Grenada’s great geo-political significance was its first clear-cut reversal of the Brechnev Doctrine — that much-propagandized rule that said "once communist, always communist."

Tenth, whether or not Vietnam I was either strategically wise or militarily winnable (which this writer strongly believes it was), it was most certainly a “moral” and “just” cause.  As with the case of World War II, such a determination can be based only on an objective analysis of the character and motivations of the enemy against whom the war was fought.

In total context, was this enemy the “good guy” who deserved to win, or the “bad guy” who should have lost? In this case, that Soviet-sponsored enemy — Ho Chi Minh’s North Vietnam — proved quite clearly in the post-war period to be far more imperialist than “nationalist,” far more repressive than “liberationist” and far more fascist-Left than “people’s democratic.” 

This is why so many Americans have always believed that by any objective standard, “the wrong side won.” And this is why we must remind everyone, in the name of truth-in-history, that this “wrong side” victory came against a cut-and-run US Congress — and not against American combat forces in Vietnam I, which ended imperfectly but honorably in early 1973.

Of course, that historic truth is regretted to this day by many of the anti-liberation Left, who would have much preferred that “arrogant America” and “imperialist America” be defeated outright — just as they would prefer in Iraq today. 

It was only later that such defeat was visited not on US forces but on the under-supplied and essentially abandoned South Vietnamese forces in Vietnam II — which began in January and ended tragically with the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, without the involvement of any US combat forces whatever.

Clearly, if we are not to repeat the mistakes of either of these Vietnam Wars, we must assertively proclaim what actually did happen back then, rather than what today’s AWOL (Always Weak On Liberty) Democrats so falsely say happened.

Most importantly, we should neither “cut and run” nor prematurely leave the infant Iraqi democracy to the not-so-tender mercies of the partial-birth abortionists of The Al Qaeda Apostasy and its hate-Bush, blame-America apologists all across the globe.

These are the same Blame America Firsters who hated Richard Nixon far more than they did Ho Chi Minh — and whose modern-day lambastings of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld have been far more harsh and hateful than any labels they have applied to such genocidal butchers as Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda’s and Hizballah's suicide mass murderers.

A final note: The idea that there would be no "domino effect" to a defeat of American and Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan is as deceitful as the constantly repeated lie that there was no such triggering effect to the April 1975 collapse of South Vietnam.

Review item # 8 above for a truth-in-history reminder of the 20 post-Vietnam dominoes which fell in a period of only five short years –.four of them the pathetic Carter-Mondale years — followed then by the 1980s decade of the "roll-back of communism," which was applauded by many (and demeaned by many others) as The Reagan Revolution. 

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Jim Guirard was longtime Chief of Staff to former US Senators Allen Ellender and Russell Long. His new TrueSpeak Institute is devoted to truth-in-language and truth-in-history in public discourse.

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