Tuesday, May 17

This Is Not Your Great-Grandfather's Doughboy

Andrew's Newsweek post linked below led me to a piece from last March by Jonah Goldberg which had as its single virtue this opening line:

I am not going to pretend to be a military expert.

In the course of proving the soundness of this decision over 1500 words by insisting we're winning the war because we're killing more of them than they're killing of us, we get this gem:

But the military cannot rely on the press to make the case that we're winning. The Tet Offensive was a colossal military blunder for the enemy, but the press turned it into a victory for them.

A lot of us are taught fables in our youth, but by adulthood we generally learn, say, not to bother putting a lost tooth under our pillows. The Tet Offensive did turn, eventually, into a tactical US victory; a "colossal military blunder" it, obviously, was not. What turned Tet into a victory for the Vietnamese was the contrast between their ability to launch an offensive in the South and the years of being told by the government that we were winning the war because we'd killed some many more of them than they had of us. Ask somebody if you don't know what you're doin'.

1 comment:

Hokie said...

There's a great entire myth of the role of the media in Vietnam I want to get into in a later post. It's a funny coincidence that most of the people who, during Vietnam, were the first to be convinced that the press was responsible for turning people against the war (in an active way, not just broadcasting casualty figures or the like) were also exceedingly against the civil rights movement, which the press did have a large role in informing the country outside the South about. Coincidence? I think not!