Yes, Iraq IS Like Vietnam

But not for the reasons reporters think, or are willing to admit.

From the Washington Post:

GREENSBORO, N.C., Oct. 18 -- President Bush said Wednesday that the current surge of violence in Iraq "could be" comparable to the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War, a succession of battles that became a milestone because it helped turn the American public against the conflict and its political leadership.
What the WaPo won't come right out and say is that it wasn't the Tet Offensive itself that had such a devastating effect upon civilian morale, it was the abjectly incompetent reporting of the event by American journalists.

To their credit, Washington Post reporters Michael A. Fletcher and Peter Baker do concede this much:

Historians consider Tet a military defeat for the Viet Cong because it lost so many men and captured no significant objectives. But it was also a powerful propaganda victory for the Viet Cong, because it brought the bloody war home to many Americans watching television.
"It" (the offensive) did not, by itself, constitute a "propaganda victory." It took inaccurate, hysterical, and sensationalistic reporting to "[bring] the bloody war home."

Tet ended the military effectiveness of the Viet Cong; they were never again able to field a force above company strength after their losses during the offensive. American media either never realized this, or simply ignored it, as they largely ignored the bloodbath that followed Congress' final betrayal of our allies, when funding to the Republic of Vietnam was cut off, and the South Vietnamese were left to face a massive, Soviet-backed invasion from the North. Their soldiers had three rounds apiece and medics were rewashing bandages for reuse.

In "The Myth of a Liberation", Truong Nhu Tang, former Justice Minister of the VC provisional government writes:

I asked the four-star general standing next to me where were the famous Viet Cong divisions 1, 5, 7, and 9. The general, Van Tien Dung, commander-in-chief of the North Vietnamese army, answered coldly that the armed forces were now “unified”. At that moment I began to understand my fate and that of the NLF [National Liberation Front - the political wing of the Viet Cong]. In Vietnam we often said: “Take the juice of the lemon and throw away the peel.” On that dais the years of communist promises and assurances revealed themselves for the propaganda they were. Victory Day celebrated no victory for the NLF, or for the South.
The refusal of the Vietnam era journalists to look back and admit that they were used as pawns by Ho Chi Minh has spawned a whole new generation of ignorance, eager to repeat their elders' mistakes in Iraq.

And that is how Vietnam and Iraq are alike, in the failures of the American mainstream media.

Posted by: Bluto at 10:47 AM

Comments

1 Same traitorous media and 5th column as during Vietnam war who spun Tet as a victory for the communists instead of the unmitigated disaster it was for them. Yes, very much like Vietnam, but not for the reasons the moonbats are saying it is.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at October 19, 2006 02:12 PM

2 I ATTEST THAT THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH, AND MOHAMMED IS HIS PROPHET!

Now, give me my martyr belt and tell me where they are keeping the Joooo babies.

Posted by: Greg at October 19, 2006 02:39 PM

3 Greg,

stop spamming. Nobody cares and it's annoying.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at October 19, 2006 03:01 PM

4 Are you kidding me, no comments on this topic? this is a great article -- good job Bluto.

Posted by: davec at October 19, 2006 03:20 PM

5 It's been taken care of, JC.

Posted by: The Dread Pundit Bluto at October 19, 2006 03:27 PM

6 Well, I think the major point to be taken from Tet is that, in every war, there is a tipping point where the citizenry starts questioning their political leaders and the claims they make, no matter how the media covers it -- or propagandizes it if you prefer.

Much like Iraq until recently, the majority of Americans still supported US involvement in Vietnam at the time of Tet. So, one could assume that either the media of the day generally spun positive news from the war front and people seemed satisfied with the progress enough to support war efforts, or they spun the news in a negative light and Americans chose to ignore it, continuing instead to support the war in spite of the news. This situation continued for about four years, correct, 1964-68?

Then comes Tet and what you have is that after four years of claims of progress from the White House, Ho's People's Army and the VC could still mount a credible -- if ultimately fruitless-- military campaign against US and ARVN forces. Doesn't matter if they lost; the fact they could still do it after continuing claims of progress from Johnson's White House. And that tried America's patience more than any news media could have done and turned the majority of Americans against continuing involvement.

Americans aren't idiots; they are a pretty discerning crowd and will eventually judge the facts as they see them for themselves, despite the fabrications of politicians or media. In the case of Tet, it didn't matter to the American people how it was reported as much as the fact it could even happen after four years of rosy progress reports. Trust was broken; confidence lost.

If you look back on our history, it seems the typical American will give you about 4-5 years of blood and treasure to win a shooting war--and only then if objectively measurable progress is shown. That time frame is cut in about half if the objectives keep changing, are unclear or in doubt, or progress cannot be reasonably proven. Screw them or lie to them, and they'll turn against you.

I think we are now at the point, as we were in '68.

Posted by: Gleep! at October 19, 2006 07:55 PM

7 If you look back on our history, it seems the typical American will
give you about 4-5 years of blood and treasure to win a shooting war-

Gleep,

I don't know how the soldiers felt about Vietnam (besides the Leftwing drivel we get from Hollywood), but my understanding about Iraq is that our GIs want to complete the mission and not cut and run.

Of course that differs from what the American public may feel about it, but that's because they are spoonfed defeatism 24/7 by the Liberal-controlled media, while our GIs aren't.

This Iraq=Vietnam is a pretty good example. Bush agreed with Tom Friedman that this latest wave of violence could be compared to the Tet offensive. And what do the surrender monkey-controlled media do? Bush says Iraq=Vietnam!!! This is the kind of dishonesty we've come to expect from the Liberal-controlled media, and it's no wonder we no longer have the will to win a war anymore.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at October 19, 2006 09:45 PM

8 and ps., wars are evil, say the Libs, and American foreign policy is evil too say the Libs, so I think our inability to win a war anymore is precisely what the Liberals want. It's no wonder so many people think Liberals are traitors.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at October 19, 2006 09:48 PM

9 I don't know how the soldiers felt about Vietnam ...
I know exactly two Vietnam vets, both Army infantry, both combat. One thought we should have finished the job, one thought we should have never been there. Incidently, one was a draftee, one a volunteer ... the volunteer thought we should never have been there.

... but my understanding about Iraq is that our GIs want to complete the mission and not cut and run.
Likely some do, others would like to leave now. In polls I've seen, the military splits along similar lines as civilian opinion.
Of course that differs from what the American public may feel about it,
but that's because they are spoonfed defeatism 24/7 by the
Liberal-controlled media, while our GIs aren't.
Kinda simplistic, JC, and not even true when you consider the GIs have access to pretty much the same media via Inernet, satellite-link TV, etc. It's not like they've only got Stars Stripes and Fox News ... they can access what they want. I have more faith in the intelligence of the American public than you do, evidently ... spoonfeeding is for idiots, which the public is not, especially when they have access to NewsBusters, NewsMax and conservative talk radio just like they have access to The New York Times, CNN and Air America.

Bush says Iraq=Vietnam!!! This is the kind of dishonesty we've come to
expect from the Liberal-controlled media, and it's no wonder we no
longer have the will to win a war anymore.
But Bush did say Iraq could be compared to Vietnam, at least the Tet part of it. The report I read from Reuters was titled "Bush sees possible Iraq-Vietnam parallel". The headline on Bluto's entry reads, "Yes, Iraq IS Like Vietnam."Both then go on to explain Bush was speaking specifically of Tet. Why is one more dishonest than the other?

I feel it's not a matter of will, JC, I think enough people feel they have been given something less than the facts by the administration and no longer trust the government. And when that happens, it doesn't take a media agenda to lose the support of the American people.




Posted by: Gleep! at October 19, 2006 10:48 PM

10 Dont be silly by comparing the American public with the soldiers. The public relies exclusively on what the Dem-controlled media tells them on the boob tube, while our GIs see first hand what is happenning. Two different versions of the story. And I've heard from enough GIs to know they also feel this is the case-- that the American public isn't seeing the whole story, just the part being reported by the MSM. The Dems are for cutting and running, and their MSM pals are too. So it's no wonder morale is so low amongst the American public. This is not how we used to win wars.


Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at October 19, 2006 11:05 PM

11 "Ho's People's Army and the VC could still mount a credible -- if ultimately fruitless-- military campaign against US and ARVN forces."

Gleep, you've completely missed it. The VC were virtually annihilated. It was a complete and utter military defeat for them. It wasn't "credible"; itwasn't even close.Please understand that historical fact.

That means that everybody in the mainstream media who reported it as a defeat for the Americans, Uncle Walter springs to mind, was either blindly incompetent, or lying.

You need to think about the implications of a press corps that either cannot or will not get a story as major as the Tet Offensive right, because they haven't changed a bit since 1968.

Posted by: The Dread Pundit Bluto at October 19, 2006 11:22 PM

12 Ok, but here's what I don't get: you're part of the American public and you have access to all sides of the story, right? You've seen the truth. I can only assume others must have too, correct? I mean, you're not alone.

So with all this access to other viewpoints, those that support the war (and there are still some), why has public opinion shifted negatively? Millions of Americans have access to NewsBusters and the Jawa Report and Rush and Sean and Ann and Hugh and Fox News and National Review. We're not locked in our houses with Al Franken and Cindy Sheehan and CNN. So why are fewer and fewer people buying-in anymore?

You say its because Americans are spoonfed sheep who sit mesmerized in front of the tube and wait for their opinions to be handed to them. And you say that because you are a cynic and have little confidence in the average Joe.

I say people have looked around -- and of course including a fair number of GIs; not every GI can be pro-war--and realized what they're being told and what they're reading and seeing and hearing don't match up.

Hell, even Dick Cheney came out as finally admitting he underestimated the level of violence and the tenacity of those the GIs are fighting.

Nice try, JC, but guys like you think that bad news can be reported around, that by talking more about the good things happening in Iraq, public opinion could shift. Well, "good things" are by definition not news, especially when the bad news is as bad as it is.

News is what people DON'T want you to know; the good news stuff is PR and news releases. When's the last time you picked up your local newspaper and it said "Millions of People NOT Killed in Car Accidents Today." Why not ... it's true. The fact is that some guy getting killed in the car accident is the news; that millions didn't die is a news release from GM or the US Airbag Industry or something.

So yes, the fact that some GIs built a school and it managed to stay standing for a week before getting blown up takes a back seat to GIs charged with rape and murder bacuase one is news and the other isn't.

As for the Dems being for cutting and running, fellows like yourself seem to think that anything other than following the same pointless course is cutting and running. Keep going or you're a cutter and runner. And that is simply bullshit.

If doing soemthing different is cutting and running and beign a Dem, than John Warner (R) and James Baker (Bush family friend and R) have recently joined the Democratic party ... now that'd be news to a lot of people.

Your rants are absolutely cartoonish in their over-simplicity.

Posted by: Gleep! at October 19, 2006 11:50 PM

13 Gleep, you've completely missed it. The VC were virtually annihilated.
It was a complete and utter military defeat for them. It wasn't
"credible"; itwasn't even close.Please understand that historical
fact.

Bluto--Yes it was an annihilation and utter defeat; but you feel that massing 35 battalions to coordinate attacks on all almost provincial capitals, five of the six autonomous cities, and 58 major towns wasn't credible? Sorry, I'll have to differ with you there.

My contention is that it was seen as a defeat by the American public no matter how it was reported. Why? Because that the Communists were able to mount a country-wide assault at
all flew in the face of everything Johnson and Clark Clifford had been saying about victory being near, and
called into question General Westmoreland's rosy public reports
of the progress in the War.

All of these optimistic
assessments from the administration and the Pentagon were being reported on by the media as the administration wanted and helped these fools do themselves in.

Americans are patient, but not endlessly so, especially when they feel they have been bullshitted. I think Mssrs. Bush and Cheney are discovering this.

Posted by: Gleep! at October 20, 2006 12:20 AM

14 Gleep, Americans have been bullshitted for forty years by people pretending to be journalists. Your argument is an oxymoron.
During WWII, there were 10,000 casualties on D-Day alone - 3,000 of them fatalities, yet the Allies continued on and won the war. The difference? The MSM hadn't yet turned traitor, and there was still such a thing as a loyal opposition in this country.

Posted by: The Dread Pundit Bluto at October 20, 2006 01:28 AM

15 For the record, that is not my comment above.

Posted by: Greg at October 20, 2006 07:51 AM

16 During WWII, there were 10,000 casualties on D-Day alone - 3,000 of
them fatalities, yet the Allies continued on and won the war. The
difference? The MSM hadn't yet turned traitor, and there was still such
a thing as a loyal opposition in this country.

How can you reasonably compare ANY event of WWII to Iraq and claim that the former was won due to friendly media support? What a whopper!

Posted by: Gleep! at October 20, 2006 10:48 AM

17 Never seen so many experts about a place they've never been to.

Posted by: Greyrooster at October 20, 2006 07:31 PM

18 How can you reasonably compare ANY event of WWII to Iraq and claim that
the former was won due to friendly media support? What a whopper!

A "whopper" is a lie. Here he merely stated an opinion-- which you failed to refute or even address.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at October 22, 2006 08:17 AM






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