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April 08, 2004


Patrick R. Sullivan

Let's not forget that we actually won the Vietnam War. Until Democrats (and Ted Kennedy specifically) took advantage of Richard Nixon's Watergate problems to undercut South Vietnam's ability to defend itself:


The success of these programs [Nixon's Vietnamization] was tested by the Easter Offensive of 1972. Some 200,000 North Vietnamese troops attacked on three fronts. U.S. ground troop withdrawals continued as scheduled, but President Nixon ordered heavy air and naval retaliation, including the mining of North Vietnamese ports. With this air support, the South Vietnamese army repelled the invasion. The North Vietnamese lost half of their attacking force and half of their tanks and artillery. The legendary Vo Nguyen Giap was quietly removed from command of the Northern armies.

Three years later the North had recovered sufficient strength to repeat the offensive. But by then the Paris peace accords had been signed, with U.S. prisoners returned at the cost of allowing Hanoi to infiltrate military units in the south. With Watergate, Congress had passed the Case-Church Amendment forbidding military involvement in Southeast Asia. Sen. Edward Kennedy passed a $266 million cut in supplemental spending for Vietnam, and funds were slashed for the coming year. Counter-insurgency expert Sir Robert Thompson remarked, "perhaps the major lesson of the Vietnam War is: do not rely on the United States as an ally."

This time the South Vietnamese got no assistance from the U.S. and fell before an assault by 20 tank-led divisions. Some million refugees took to the seas as "the boat people." After the loss of Iran and some trying times in Europe, the U.S. elected Ronald Reagan, who revived the American military and faced the Communists down at Reykjavik. The Communist empire fell after all, and Vietnam goes down as a lost battle in a successful campaign.

For Teddy, it's deja vu all over again.


WE WON THE VIETNAM WAR!!! YAHOO! God, it took 32 years but we did it! Thank goodness Patrick R. Sullivan was on our side. And that Teddy Kennedy, defeating that bastion of democracy, South Vietnam, all by himself...he should be ashamed.

capt joe

yeah, bggw, ted kennedy should be ashamed for having killed millions of vietnamese, cambodians and any other people who did not fit in his race for political orifice.

yep, shame, shame

TM Lutas

Moving right along to the question of WTF do we do now, the DoD has been working on this stuff for years. The two major scenarios out there are "The Arc of Instability" which is a sort of conventional battlefield that stretches across the globe and mostly translates to knock the rag heads on their behind whenever they get out of line and the Gap/Core analysis pioneered by Thomas Barnett (his book's coming out later this month, preorder now). The Gap/Core vision has a dividing line based on connectivity and the goal isn't to keep anybody in line, it's to increase connectivity so Gap nations (disconnected, unstable, full of problems of various types) become New Core nations (growing stability, economic growth, a state that can control terrorists and other Gap style problems).

Gap/Core is the only serious theory out there that gives a strategic framework for not only fighting a War on Terror but what winning would look like and how much better the world would be after the victory. There might not be a great public debate over it but that's mostly because it's the only serious game in town.

Ken Hahn

Kennedy's assault is political genius. He plants the idea of Iraq equals Vietnam. We all hated Vietnam, supporters of the war as well as opponents. It was a disaster for American morale and prestige, either because it was a mistake or because we abandoned the war when we were winning. No matter where you stand, Vietnam is painful.

Kerry both served in Vietnam and later opposed the war. He has been presented as representative of the solution to that conflict. Kerry's Vietnam service is endlessly promoted as patriotism and defense-favorable. His later protest is trotted out as coming to wisdom. Tough love patriotism. Kerry can be presented as the solution to Vietnam. If Iraq is Vietnam, Kerry is the solution there too.

Kennedy takes the heat and pushes his limousine liberal clone into the White House. If that's not political genius, I don't know what is.


Genius, only insofar as it is more creative than more conventional approaches that might involve, say, fact, reason or integrity. If measured by result -- which we shall see -- then I'd characterize it more as delusion.

Blinded by their failed ideology -- not unlike their more radical kin, communists -- post-relevance "Liberals" like Kennedy fail to note that the old anti-military and anti-U.S. tripwires illicit more scorn and derision than change in the public imagination.


As to "Genius" - Nixon was the solution to Johnson. And Kerry is roughly that charismatic, I guess.

But I am struggling with the notion of Kerry boldly uniting and leading a divided Democratic Party (let alone a nation). Still, first time for everything.

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