It was here.
The battlefield was here.
The Carthaginians defending the city were attacked by three
They were brave, but they couldn't hold. They were massacred.
Arab women stripped them of their tunics and their swords and lances.
The soldiers lay naked in the sun, 2000 years ago.
I was here.
Because if you think you were there hard enough, you were.
And if you think the Dirty Hippies lost Vietnam hard enough, they did.
Which is why, in the end, a entire division of wingnut-wishful-thinking-powered unicorns, supported by one hundred fighter groups of Tinkerbells, will save Iraq after all.
File under: Everything old and sickening is new and sickening again.
I was cooking something else when the Inmate of the Oval Office scampered over the White House wall, skittered across Pennsylvania Avenue, hitched a ride to KC and started ranting about Vietnam at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention.
Off his leash and off his meds, this AWOL wastrel -- who apparently learned everything he ever knows about America's longest war, face down in a beer trough, listening to Nixon Regime dead-enders scheme about the Dirty Hippies, and the whelpings of the wealthy brag about beating the draft -- swaggered to the microphone to tell 'Murrica that we "Coulda Wun Tha War!"
This is a speech History will note.
Will record as one of those moments when the world saw Bush in a clear and unfiltered light as the incompetent ruin of a man he has always been. A slouching, mush-mouthed suit, propped up by nothing but real hubris and a Fake Jebus, for whom there is literally no depth to which he will not sink to slither away from his responsibility for the disasters he and his henchmen have wrought.
In its own grotesque way, the flogging of what's left of his Iraqi Debacle by inverting, distorting or simply lying outright about settled historical fact -- in front of veterans -- was genuinely breathtaking.
Because the substance of what he said was so completely, lavishly wrong -- as if he had gotten up in front of the Chicago City Council to assert that Venusians started the Chicago Fire, and that it could have been extinguished earlier with Dandelion-flavored Fizzy Lifting Drink if only Jane Addams hadn't bombed the Fizzy Lifting Drink factory -- that the content of comments themselves stop being the issue, and instead the Nation is faced with two, deeply-troubling questions:
1. Holy Mother of God, is this fucknozzle really that stupid? Or, Holy Mother of God, is he actually insane? And,
2. What humane method of electoral containment can be found that will be sturdy enough to insure that the people who voted for this catastrophe of an Administration – twice – and continue to Stand By Their Manque never get to say another fucking word about public policy in this country?
I realize I am a couple of notches short of being the guy to take a hot poker to some idiot who is trying to draw dishonest comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq.
Fortunately the Left had such a guy.
And his powerful words live on after him.
Steve Gilliard, from April 11, 2004 on the real parallels with Vietnam...
George Bush has spent 40 percent of his time as President on vacation. He wants to be considered a wartime president, yet has spent more time raising money and fishing than doing his job.
The Coalition forces in Iraq, by a series of miscalculations, has forced a crisis which will lead to the defeat of our military and the creation of a theocratic state. A complete and total reversal of our stated policy, yet possibly, the only outcome which could have happened after Saddam killed all his secular political opponents.
No one is saying this in the Beltway, and few even online, but the fact is that no Iraqi government could survive with US troops as even a security force and be considered independent. Any legitimate Iraqi government will be judged not on electricity or oil sales, but how many American soldiers are left. If the number is not zero, they will be deposed by force.
Does Bush adjust his strategy? Does he admit error? No. It's a zero defect government. No mistakes possible.
So instead of treating this crisis like a crisis, he's hiding in Texas, as disengaged as ever. The talk coming from the White House was so at varience with reality you could only scream at the TV screen. They have killed 58 Americans in 11 days. The Americans lost 82 in all of November. At this pace that's nearly 6 men a day. Multiply it out and that's 180 men killed at this rate. Saddam's army wasn't that effective.
Bush shouldn't have run back to DC, but video conferencing? Shouldn't he drag his secretaries down for a meeting? Why the managment by remote control when Iraq is dragging his presidency down the tubes? Does he live so isolated from reality that he thinks Iraq will get better?
LBJ was so misled by his intelligence, he missed what anyone watching TV could learn, which is that we were losing in Vietnam. By the time we hammered the NVA at Tet, public support was evaporating. Even our tactical victory looked messy and incomplete.
Bush has a NKVD HQ running Iraq, a rebellion which could turn from Sadr and the Sunnis to the Shias and the Sunnis at any minute and his response is to sit around Crawford and make phone calls.
Never has a president so misused the power of his office. Instead of dealing honestly with these issues, he repeats the same misguided mantra that the people fighting us in Iraq hate freedom. As if freedom can only be gained by servicing the US. What I mean is that a president has the power to go to the American people and level with them, tell them the truth. Not just patronizing slogans about the "war on terra".
If Bush had said he screwed up over 9/11, people would have forgiven him. Instead, he lies until he is exposed. He jokes about WMD. He shows neither sympathy for the dead nor recognition of their sacrifice. It is all rote statements, while his supporters contort themselves to deny the truth.
Iraq isn't going to get better. The Americans have worn out their welcome in the most nationalistic of Arab countries. Iraqis have a sense of self which sees occupation as an insult. No matter what we offer, and it hasn't been much, eventually, they would have tired of us. With anarchy, death and violence as our gifts to Iraq, they want us gone that much sooner.
And from Gilly from May 2006, blunt-force correcting someone else’s misreading of the lessons of Vietnam:
OK, in the long essay on Iraq, there are just some stunning historical whoppers here which need to be addressed
Moktada Sadr's troops and commanders were appallingly inept, and were crushed in their abortive uprising. While other, more sanguine commanders, such as the Badr Brigade and the rump Fedayeen Saddam maintained an effective Mao-type insurgency, Moktada Sadr and his soldiery duplicated the disastrous techniques of the Vietcong in the Tet Offensive, and Sadr's troops were crushed by the same Marines who beat them to a pulp at Hue and Khe Sanh.
Uh, no. The VC were well-organized , but largely faced the US Army and Australians during the Tet Offensive, while regular NVA troops fought the US and South Koreans in the Northern two Corps of Vietnam. The Marines didn't face the VC at Khe Sahn or Hue.
John Dos Prados. history of Khe Sahn is a good place to start because it explains how US air power, especially large bombers, kept the NVA in the Laotian mountainside. When there were battles for Hill881N and 881 S, all hell broke lose and the Marines were lucky to fend off the human wave attacks. Survive is a lot better word than crush. Because the 1stCav had to eventually relieve the Marines at Khe Sahn
Giap's stupid gamble at Tet, (for which Giap was relieved of command) is now well-understood. General Odom and Jack Murtha seem quite willing to repeat America's parallel idiocy of unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam in Iraq. Walter Cronkite stood atop the Caravelle Hotel, with the smoke of Cho Lon rising over his shoulder, and told America the war was not winnable, leading LBJ to say, "If we've lost Cronkite, we've lost America".
Wrong again. Giap did not lose his job. And Cronkite said that after the VC sapper teams charged the US Embassy and were fended off only after hours of fighting. But the fact was that Westmoreland had been saying for two years that the VC were on the run, citing the hill fights, DakTo and Junction City, while the NVA was hiding in Laos and Cambodia waiting
So when Tet happened, people were astonished, no stunned, to see that after all of Westy's charts and numbers, the NVA and VC was alive and kicking ass. Giap and Ho expected a nationwide uprising, but the US had enough firepower to force most of the attackers back from places like Tan Son Nhut and Chi Lai. But fighting in Pleiku and other areas didn't end quickly
We left Vietnam because the army was pushing towards open revolt and the middle class no longer supported the war. There were fraggings and combat refusals and drug use. It was either leave Vietnam or destroy the ArmyReality Check: the smoke rising from Cho Lon was a city block on fire, set by the ethnic Chinese, burning out the Vietcong who had murdered hundreds of Chinese during the Tet Offensive. The Vietcong at Tet learned the ordinary Vietnamese had no interest in supporting the cause of Communism.
Please. The NVA had fully penetrated the ARVN. What Tet proved was that lightly armed guerrillas and light Infantry die when running into Arc Light, Armor and artillery, When the NVA came back in 1972, they did so with Armor , and took much of I Corps in the process and nearly took An Loc
The Tet Offensive, we now know from the historical record, nearly drove the North Vietnamese to surrender.
No we don't. They kept fighting into May, 1968. In fact, the pace of combat increased after Tet, the US reached peak combat strength in May,1969, at 543,000. The NVA was fighting a defensive war, but in a series of battles, like Hamburger Hill and battles in the Arizona Country, they were heavily engaged with US troops.
Ronald Spector's history After Tet, explains this clearly. To say this is to misread history.Only the antiwar movement in the USA saved them from defeat.
In what fantasy world? The peak of the antwar movement came in 1971-72 as US troops were being withdrawn. The fact was that the US Army was collapsing in the field. After Hamburger Hill, the lead battalion commander had a $10,000 bounty placed on his head and was nearly assassinated seven times. Racial strife led to riots, smuggling and corruption exploded, drug use was endemic. Then you had the GI resistance to the war at home and in Vietnam. The antiwar movement didn't save the NVA. Armor did. By 1971, the NVA was better equipped, better led and far more professional, as was demonstrated in Lam Son 719, when they blew helicopters out of the sky and the ARVN panicked.Nixon went to the Communists, and cynically sold the Vietnamese and Lao people into abjectest slavery. How could this be? We had achieved a stunning victory over an entrenched guerilla movement, heroic victories at Hue and Khe Sanh, the obliteration of the Vietcong. But by then, so many Bright Shining Lies had been told, the truth was not believed.
Because the South Vietnamese government was corrupt and lacked the support of the people. Officers were appointed because of favoritism, troops cheated out of pay, people refused to rally around the ARVN, while some bravery was seen.most of it was inept and poorly led.
Fantasy revisions of the Vietnam War doesn't explain Iraq.
But fantasy revisions of the Vietnam War sure as shit explains the Right.
Rest easy, Steve.