is fun. But sometimes a nice-sounding theory runs smack into the
brick wall of reality.
In this time of war,
there are a number of theories that make perfect sense -- except for
inconvenient realities that debunk them in real time. Some
contenders: "The Iraqi war is diverting resources and focus from
the war on terror." Or, "Anti-war protestors are using
methods that are healthy for our country. And besides, they support
As you can imagine, a
big "splat" is on the way...
It's interesting how
the history we are making mirrors the history we have made. Vietnam
is continually being raised, so let's look to that war to find comparisons
to this war on terror...
anti-war movement of Jane Fonda was in full flower at a time when American and South
Vietnamese troops were annihilating the enemy. Put another way: We were winning, the Communists were losing.
Tet Offensive of 1968 was a crushing defeat for the Communists.
According to UPI
Editor at Large Arnaud
de Borchgrave, who covered Tet for Newsweek:
units...lost some 50,000 killed and at least that many wounded...Tet was
an unmitigated military disaster for Hanoi and its Vietcong troops in
the war, North Vietnamese Supreme Commander General Vo Nguyen Giap wrote
in his memoirs that from a purely military standpoint, he should have
question is: Why didn't he?
Bui Tin...served on the general
staff of the North Vietnamese army...In an interview with the Wall
Street Journal after his retirement, he made clear the anti-war movement
in the United States, which led to the collapse of political will in
Washington, was "essential to our strategy."
Visits to Hanoi by Jane Fonda
and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and various church ministers
"gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of
America lost the war, concluded
Bui Tin, "because...through dissent and protest it lost the ability
to mobilize a will to win."
occurred in 1968. The final departure of US forces occurred in
is reasonable to express dissent in times of war, but it is obligatory to
express that dissent in a way that does not give aid and comfort to our
enemies. Those anti-war protestors thought that they were saving
American and Vietnamese lives. In reality, their methods emboldened
the enemy to continue the war for years, contributing to the deaths of
hundreds of thousands on both sides.
didn't think that they were encouraging the North Vietnamese Communists'
will to fight. But do you know who did think
North Vietnamese Communists did. Expressed in their own words.
was a media war as much as a shooting war. Daniel
According to Giap,
the North Vietnamese government played to our media... Anti-war
statements by famous politicians, film stars, and media figures also
were thrown in the faces of American P.O.W.s in order to break their
will to resist.
After he was
released from the Hanoi Hilton in 1973, Sen. John McCain...wrote of this
in the May 14, 1973 issue of U.S. News & World Report..."All
through this period [they were] bombarding us with anti-war quotes from
people in high places back in Washington. This was the most effective
propaganda they had to use against us."
is the method of protest, not the existence of protest, that was at
issue. Those "famous politicians, film stars, and media
figures" didn't think that they were contributing to suffering of our
soldiers and POWs. But do you know who did think they
soldiers and POWs did. Expressed in their own words.
is the reality.
we again find ourselves divided over the course of war. It is
reasonable to express dissent and debate alternatives. But such
reasoned discourse is being overwhelmed by the same rhetoric that we saw
35 years ago.
Edward Kennedy has been particularly energetic, calling Iraq
"President Bush's Vietnam." I presume that by
"Vietnam," he means "unwinnable, immoral quagmire."
Terrorists watch the news, too.
In fact, Senator Kennedy's attacks on President Bush are so popular that
radical Imams are quoting him in sermons meant to encourage attacks on
our soldiers. Shiite terrorist leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who has been
stirring up trouble in Iraq and recently called for the killing of U.S.
soldiers, likes what Senator Kennedy has to say so much that he is using
it in his speeches:
"Iraq will be another
Vietnam for America and the occupiers..."
Kennedy doesn't think his rhetoric is encouraging radical Islamists.
But do you know who does think that?
radical Islamists do. Expressed in their own words; they're using
Kennedy's rhetoric to make their own points.
ago, I met Senator Kennedy at Fenway Park, and found him to be a man of
immense warmth and charisma. Given what Bui Tin said after the
Vietnam War about the effects of some Americans' methods of dissent, I
would dearly love to hear Senator Kennedy explain why it's different this
of the main arguments against the Iraqi war is that it "is a
distraction from the war on terror," that we should be using our
resources to chase Osama and al Qaeda.
with that point of view think that Iraq is not the critical front line in
the war on terror. But do you know who does think it is the
critical front line?
terrorists in Iraq do. Expressed in their willingness to die there.
not, then why attack America where we are strongest, where we have
soldiers armed and armored, who have no worries about Miranda rights or
habeas corpus or search warrants? Why fight where they will be
engaged by Apache helicopters armed with Hellfire missiles, rather than
police helicopters armed with searchlights? Why not attack softer
targets in other parts of the world, and live to terrorize another day?
question answers itself: Terrorists are willing to fight and die in
Iraq because they know that if they lose there, dominos begin to fall
against them all over the Middle East and the world.
with all the theories bouncing around the airwaves, it would be well to
focus on reality.
sound of theory meeting reality: Splat!