Monday, January 30

Mailbag

1) Name one battle we lost in the Vietnam war?

You mean after the major influx of US combat troops? Tan Canh.

It's something of a trick question, of course, one that ignores the reality of the conflict and treats war as a very deadly form of football decided by a scorekeeper. Vietnam was not the Eastern front of WWII. There weren't many pitched battles; the Viet Minh had no interest in conquering territory or slugging it out with a superior foe with absolute air superiority. War rarely if ever begins with a level playing field and equal objectives. Too bad we refuse to learn that lesson.

US forces fought extremely well in Vietnam. They were poorly commanded, and their mission was a huge mistake. If you intend to blame The Media for the US defeat then you first need to defend how three Administrations, and a succession of military commanders, mishandled the war for the sake of positive press.

2) Why did it take until 1975 for North Vietnam to conquer South Vietnam when the U.S. had pulled its troops in 1973?

One million ARVN troops, with modern equipment. They fell rather quickly, actually. The North invaded in March '75; Vietnam was officially unified on July 2.

3) Why are pictures of John Kerry and Jane Fonda hanging in Vietnamese war museums?

If you intend to come to this blog and slag off men who served honorably in Vietnam, you send us your verifiable service record first. For starters.


4) Why do records of the former USSR talk about paying agitators within the US peace movement?

Why did the FBI? Why do the Israelis spy on us? Let me clue you to something: anybody who took part in a large anti-war demonstration knew who those people were. There wasn't a massive Communist attack after the war ended. Your fellow citizens protested the war because they were against it, not because they were the dupes of some J. Edgar Hoover fantasy that didn't involve women's garments.

5) Why did the US media refer to battles such as the Tet Offensive as defeats when they were overwhelming US military victories?

Citation? Funny, I was fifteen years old, and I knew the outcome of Tet at the time.

But the "overwhelming victory" thing is another body-count canard. Tet clearly demonstrated that the continual drumbeat of light at the end of the tunnel was just the latest in a series of official lies about imminent victory dating to 1962, when Paul Harkins said it would be over in six months to a year. The Tet Offensive ended the so-called Viet Cong as an effective fighting force, but the ARVN was still plenty capable. It's the difference between "tactics" and "strategy", an effective understanding of which is required for discussion.

4 comments:

Woodrowfan said...

Actually I think Kerry's photo is in the museum along with McCain's because they were part of the delegation of US Senators that visited Vietnam when the US finally extended diplomatic recognition. It has nothing to do with his opposition to the war....

D. Sidhe said...

Yeah, but you gotta love that the question was even asked.
Talk about completely missing the point.

Oh yes--and supporting the troops also means not lying about a decorated combat veteran for political gain.

harry near indy said...

hey doghouse -- who sent you these questions?

D. Sidhe said...

They were asked by Gahrie in the comments to the "That Old War Again" post.