George Santayana is credited with the following quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It is just as true today as it was when he first wrote it.
Liberals are comparing Iraq to Vietnam, and they are right, but not for the reasons they seem to think. What do we hear? We’re stuck in a “quagmire.” We can’t “win.” The war is already “lost.” And every night the news reports every death. The media is stuck in the same rut reporting on Iraq as though it were Vietnam. But it’s not a big deal, right? After all, Iraq is just like Vietnam; even President Bush talks like it is:
President Bush said in a one-on-one interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that a newspaper column comparing the current fighting in Iraq to the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam, which was widely seen as the turning point in that war, might be accurate.
Stephanopoulos asked whether the president agreed with the opinion of columnist Tom Friedman, who wrote in The New York Times today that the situation in Iraq may be equivalent to the Tet offensive in Vietnam almost 40 years ago.
“He could be right,” the president said, before adding, “There’s certainly a stepped-up level of violence, and we’re heading into an election.”
So what are the memes from this? Iraq = Vietnam, and fighting in Iraq = Tet offensive. For the people who are don’t remember the Tet offensive, it was a military victory for the U.S., but it was widely reported and subsequently viewed as a major failure. Let me repeat — the failure didn’t happen in Vietnam; it was created by our press. Walter Cronkite reported that the fighting in Vietnam was unwinnable right in the middle of the Tet offensive, and this depressed President Johnson enough that he chose not to run in the 1968 presidential election. He reportedly said, “If I’ve lost Walter Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” We didn’t lose the Tet offensive, but it was reported as a failure.
And the North Vietnamese were closely watching the news. A former officer in the North Vietnamese army, Bui Tin, discussed the American media’s effect on the war in an interview by Stephen Young reported in the Wall Street Journal on August 3, 1995:
Stephen Young: How did Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans?
Bui Tin: By fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh said, “We don’t need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out.”
Stephen Young: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi’s victory?
Bui Tin: It was essential to our strategy. Support of the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda, and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.
Stephen Young: Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits?
Bui Tin: Keenly.
Stephen Young: Why?
Bui Tin: Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win. [emphasis mine -- CM]
The murderous thugs in Iraq want the U.S. out of Iraq, giving them a free hand to rule and terrorize that country as they see fit. Democrats want the U.S. out of Iraq, and that will give the murderous thugs a free hand to rule Iraq with terror. Liberals scream when we question their patriotism, but why is it their desires so closely match the desires of the people who are actively fighting our military? The Democrats are the party of defeat. If Iraq becomes a peaceful country, only the Democrats lose. If we pull out of Iraq as we did Vietnam, the Iraqis will lose, our military will lose, and Democrats will win. Well, they will have won only until the emboldened killers in Iraq and around the world laugh at the American paper tiger, and they choose to bring fighting and terror to American shores.
Liberals are comparing Iraq to Vietnam, and they are right because their reporting and negativity are the same. And their constant negative reporting is bolstering the morale of the people who kill Iraqis and Americans. But there is another area of similarity: our decision to run from Vietnam led to millions of deaths, and the decision to run from Iraq will certainly lead to the same. But since liberals do not learn from history, it’s no wonder that they seek to repeat their past failures.