Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Iraq is Ted Kennedy's Vietnam

"By golly, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all,"-President George H. Bush, 1991

"Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam." -Senator Edward Kennedy 2004, 2005, 2006.

It's not the first time Ted Kennedy has said it. He said it back in 2004 before the Elections, at the Brooking Institution. He said it again in January of 2005. And now he is saying it again in January of 2006:
"In Vietnam, the White House grew increasingly obsessed with victory, and increasingly divorced from the will of the people and any rational policy. The Department of Defense kept assuring us that each new escalation in Vietnam would be the last. Instead, each one led only to the next. There was no military solution to that war," Kennedy said. "Echoes of that disaster are all around us today. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam."
I don't really recall the White House growing increasingly "obsessed with victory" during Vietnam. They seemed to be looking for the way out. And what an assinine statement! "Obsessed with victory"?! When you engage in warfare, is their a reason not to be "obsessed with victory"?!

What Ted Kennedy is, is obsessed with defeatism. He is a quagmirist of the first order. In December of 1974, the Democratic majority in Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act of 1974 to cut off all military funding of the South Vietnamese government. Ford vetoed the Act, only to have his veto overridden by Congress. This effectively neutered the pledge Nixon made to our South Vietnam allies.

[During the Paris Peace Accords, two written agreements were made and signed by Richard Nixon. One, was to offer reparations in the billions to North Vietnam, so long as they did not invade the South. North Vietnam never collected on that pledge, because, as we all know, they invaded the South. The other agreement was to offer assistance to South Vietnam, that should the North break their end of the agreement, America would give them whatever aid the South needed, even sending in air support and troops. Unfortunately, Watergate happened; and an unelected President Ford pleaded to Congress to honor our agreement. Congress did nothing to alleviate the vast suffering that occurred when the North streamed across the borders, into the South.]

How much suffering resulted from our withdrawal from Vietnam? From our losing the war in Washington D.C.? Was that honorable? Was it the right thing to do? The Ted Kennedys, the John Kerrys, the Jane Fondas, and the anti-war 60's generation seem to think so. They learned all the wrong history lessons of Vietnam, and are proud of where they stand in the history books.

The difference today, however, is that a loss in Vietnam for America didn't incur and incite North Vietnam to pursue the war further onto America's shores. Today, the perception of a loss in Iraq by the United States will not only invite large-scale suffering upon the Iraqi people, but it will directly endanger us. The Jihadists won't see our withdrawal from Iraq as the end of matters; they will only be emboldened and encouraged by an American defeat in Iraq. And we will find ourselves dealing with them back here on our own turf.

Ted Kennedy's Vietnam solution didn't work then; and it most certainly doesn't work today. Vietnam and Iraq are two different wars (as I am sure James Webb would like to make the distinction clear, lest he be accused of inconsistency); we must not allow the self-fulfilling perception of Iraq as "George Bush's Vietnam" to take place. We must not allow Iraq to become Ted Kennedy's Vietnam.

Hat tip: The Michael Medved Show for the James Webb piece.

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Blogger Gayle said...

You and Old Soldier are on the same page today. Ted Kennedy is an abominable human being, if you can call him that. "Human being" I mean; not "abominable" which he exemplifies! What Ted Kennedy really is is quite unprintable as far as I'm concerned. He should have been thrown in jail years ago, and as Old Soldier says, the wrong person drowned!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 1:18:00 PM  
Blogger SkyePuppy said...

One, was to offer reparations in the billions to North Vietnam, so long as they did not invade the South. North Vietnam never collected on that pledge, because, as we all know, they invaded the South.

The Left in general (and Marxists in particular) believe that it's all about money. North Vietnam would have proved to them that they were wrong about money--if only the Leftists had opened their eyes and taken their fingers out of their ears and stopped singing "la-la-la." Sigh!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 7:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Word...Vietnam is the only war the left ever won.

What is it with leftist schizophrenia? They wanted to hand over BILLIONS in reparations (pay-off) to North Vietnam, yet they are the first to condem any multinational corporation that makes a profit.

They all need to be put on meds - right frakking now!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 8:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way O/T:

Do you have any experience working with Paint Shop Pro?

I've been quiet around the blogosphere this week as I try to relearn PSP. My old version 7 was a bit different..

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 8:19:00 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Great Post! Oh how I cant stand that man!

In the word's of Teddy's Bloated Liver, "Ill Drink To That"!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 9:44:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

You may recall that Kennedy called Afghanistan a "quagmire, another Vietnam" in the first few weeks. He then cut and pasted that defeatist rhetoric onto Iraq and has been using it ever since.

And his timing is always bizarre. He made his "we are losing the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people" speech just days before a record 12 million of them voted for a free government.

Two years ago I concluded a post regarding Kennedy's behavior with this:

"The lesson of history is clear. Next time you hear Senator Kennedy and the sky is falling wing of the Democrat Party speak: consider the source. None of the great accomplishments in this nation's history were easy. And few of them would have occurred at all if the mindset demonstrated by these Democrats had prevailed."

Can't think how I would say it any better today.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger The Angry American said...

I've never once spoke to a Vietnam vet who has said that we we're obsessed with winning. Everyone I ever talked to said take a hill,then give it back. Then the next day take it back again. One of the major problems with Vietnam is that our government tried to run the war instead of letting the military do it,and Ted Kennedy would like nothing more then to have his party decide how we run this war.

Thursday, January 11, 2007 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger Old Soldier said...

Who the Hell cares what Ted-Chappaquiddick-Kennedy has to say? The bloated idiot is a Tyrannosaurus Rex living on borrowed time. He should have retired with dignity several years ago. It’s too late for that now – all dignity is gone; replaced with an alcohol induced stammering stupor. His only danger is the idiot savants who still thrive on his imbecilic orations.

Thursday, January 11, 2007 6:14:00 AM  
Blogger The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

It's a shame this moron knows how to swim. We could have been rid of him years ago. He has been trying to make this into Vietnam since it began by his rhetoric and manipulation behind the scenes. He obviously doesn't remember Vietnam and as such can't see the difference between the two. Must have been to drunk in the sixties to remember.

By the way my template crashed during pubishing on Sunday and my back - up was gone also. Have benn rebuilding and am about 80% done and up and running. Been a royal pain. Today is the first time I've had time to visit my friends.

Thursday, January 11, 2007 9:35:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Angry American,

Conventional wisdom has me agreeing with you; but in light of the fact that President Bush has been listening to his generals to a fault, perhaps that is the problem? I don't know for sure, but this Rich Lowry article offers food for thought:

Bush's Vietnam Syndrome
By Rich Lowry
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

President Bush is finally getting over his version of the Vietnam syndrome.

"If you're 60 years old, you tend to be a product of the Vietnam era," Bush told me and other journalists in the Oval Office a few months ago when asked if we needed more troops in Iraq. "I remember the tactical decisions being made out of the White House during that period of time. I thought it was a mistake then, and I think it's a mistake now."

Bush will eat these words if he orders the troop "surge" into Baghdad that is considered skeptically by some of his top generals. He thought he was avoiding a mistake of the Vietnam War by deferring to his generals on troop levels, but he has only internalized an erroneous conservative belief about that conflict. Conservatives falsely think that it was the civilian leadership that lost the Vietnam War by restraining the military.

The true lesson of Vietnam is that the civilian leadership should exercise close supervision of the military and ensure that, when fighting an insurgency, it acts in ways that don't come naturally to a U.S. Army that is most comfortable when smashing a conventional enemy.

As Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr. recounts in his classic book on the military's failures in the war, "The Army and Vietnam," it was a civilian, President John F. Kennedy, who was prescient about the coming era of guerrilla warfare. He pushed the Army to learn counterinsurgency warfare, but it ignored him.

The civilian who bears the brunt of conservatives' ire is President Lyndon B. Johnson. He once bragged that "they can't bomb an outhouse without my approval" and imposed political constraints on the use of force. But in a limited war, such constraints are inevitable. The question is whether they make sense or not. Some of LBJ's limits were for sound reasons. We understandably feared provoking the Chinese by a too-wide-ranging bombing campaign in the North.

If LBJ meddled on the air campaign, he didn't meddle enough on the ground. When Gen. William C. Westmoreland wanted 200,000 troops in 1965, LBJ quickly ponied them up.

The problem was that the military didn't know how to win the war. It was clueless about counterinsurgency, which typically requires careful discrimination in applying firepower, light infantry undertaking intensive patrolling, and political action to undermine the basis of the insurgents' support in the population. Instead, it dreamed of replicating the conventional clashes of World War II.

Westmoreland wanted to attrit the Communists, but the Communists wanted to attrit us, and they had a much better understanding of whose will would be broken. So the military did a perfectly fine job of losing Vietnam all on its own. "Westmoreland himself,"historian Eliot Cohen writes, "operated under remarkably little civilian oversight."

Too late, Gen. Creighton Abrams, Westmoreland's replacement, emphasized pacification of populated areas and other classic counterinsurgency tactics. Together with more bombing in the North, they met with some success. "By 1970," historian Max Boot writes, "more than 90 percent of the South's population was under Saigon's control." But, by then, the U.S. was ready to quit the war.

In Iraq, Bush has been deferring to generals of widely varying quality. Some deserved deference, others didn't. The question of troop levels might seem a mere tactical issue, but it has vast strategic implications -- without enough troops, it is impossible to provide the security to the population that is one of the foundations of a sound counterinsurgency strategy. As it became clear that the military strategy in Iraq wasn't working, Bush stuck with it, partly on grounds that he didn't want to gainsay his generals, when he should have been firing them.

Now that he might order a surge, Bush will have to backtrack on his conviction that generals are best left alone. As he does, he should go back and understand the source of his mistake -- a misinterpretation of Vietnam.

Thursday, January 11, 2007 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I certainly do share your sentiments, though, Angry American, in not wanting to hamstring our military with engaging in touchy-feely politically correct warfare.

Thursday, January 11, 2007 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Dionne said...

"What Ted Kennedy is, is obsessed with defeatism."

I can't begin to tell you how fed up I am with the liberals and Drive by media's pessimism and defeatism. It pisses me off and I think history will show them to be the sunshine patriots and summer soldiers that they are.

Saturday, January 13, 2007 12:07:00 AM  

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