My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Now They Invoke Tet

You knew it was only a matter of time before the Left went all the way into Vietnam Syndrome by invoking that most-poorly-of-reported historical events: the infamous Tet Offensive. And, this morning, they have arrived. From the Chronicle, via a local Lefty site:

....(Bush') insistence that the best way to "honor the lives that have been given in this struggle is to complete the mission,'' reminded some of the words used to advance an unpopular war a generation ago.
In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson sought to rally Americans behind the Vietnam War two months after a major Viet Cong offensive on the Vietnamese Tet holiday, a violent outburst that moved public opinion against the war. There are some striking rhetorical similarities between that speech, which Johnson delivered from the Oval Office, and Bush's speech Tuesday night at Fort Bragg.

-- Johnson said: "Their attack -- during the Tet holidays -- failed to achieve its principal objectives.''

Bush, talking about the insurgents in Iraq, said their "savage acts of violence ... have not brought the terrorists any closer to achieving their strategic objectives.''

-- Johnson said the American presence "has always rested on this basic belief: The main burden of preserving their freedom must be carried out by them -- by the South Vietnamese themselves.''

Bush said: "The best way to complete the mission is to help Iraqis build a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself.''

-- Johnson told the American people: "The heart of our involvement in South Vietnam ... has always been America's own security.''

Bush said: "Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it. And it is vital to the future security of our country.''

For those of you educated in modern American history classrooms, here's a little historical FACT to go along with your morning screed:

The Tet Offensive was a series of battles in the Vietnam War. It was a major offensive by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC or NLF) beginning on the night of January 30-31, 1968, T?t Nguyên Ðán (the lunar new year day). It involved military action in almost every major city in southern Vietnam and attacks on the US firebase at Khe Sanh. The NVA suffered a heavy military defeat but scored a priceless propaganda victory. . . .

The NLF and the NVA [Vietcong] lost around 35,000 men killed, 60,000 wounded and 6,000 POWs for no military success. The US and ARVN dead totalled around 3,900 (1,100 US). But this was not the conflict as the US public saw it. Without there being an active conspiracy the US media reports were extremely damaging and shocked the American public and politicians. Apparently the depth of the US reaction even surprised the North Vietnamese leadership, as well as delighting them.
[emphases mine]

Anybody else recognize the erie similarities? Tet happened many years before the U.S. abandonment of the South, an abandonment which would have never happened had public support in the U.S. been strong, or even neutral, with respect to the war.

But here's the playbook, recycled now for all to see: combine a difficult, guerrila-style warfare with shallow media reporting, add a dash of protest and PR bungling by an administration, throw in a few high-profile attacks for the media to take pictures of, and eventually you have defeat. At least that's what the loony Left, led by its hippie-cum-CEO leadership hopes for.

The difference this time around is twofold: the new media, and a President who will stand by the troops. Oh, yeah, and don't forget free elections in Iraq and a Constitution. Those might make a difference, too.

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