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Sunday, September 24, 2023

In an election year when war should be an issue, it is best to remember the lessons of Vietnam


War should be a major issue in Campaign 2012.

Sadly, it is not.

Both incumbent President Barack Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney support sending Americans to fight and die for questionable causes.  Afghanistan has become Obama’s Vietnam and Romney is a warmonger.

Only Texas Congressman Ron Paul had the guts to stand up against America’s current glut of wars  It would be nice is some of his positions against useless wars could find its way into the GOP platform in Tampa but the odds are slim given the Republican’s penchant for waging war and their subservience to a military industrial machine.

Still, 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the “official” beginning of direct American involvement in Vietnam.  Here at Capitol Hill Blue, we believe nations should learn lessons from history.  Sadly, as our present military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and God-knows-where-else proves, we haven’t learned a damn thing from Vietnam.

But let us never forget the sacrifices of those who served.

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5 thoughts on “In an election year when war should be an issue, it is best to remember the lessons of Vietnam”

  1. I hardly think Ron Paul is the only one in Congress who opposes endless war. Reps. Jim McDermott of Seattle and Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland are two who come to mind on that front. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is not a warmonger.

    We can’t learn from the Vietnam experience because we don’t know how it all came to be. Since I was involved in Vietnamese intelligence before readers of this site even knew there was a Vietnam I learned something of the process.

    I read an article by a respected professor who claimed John Kennedy “invaded” Vietnam. Not true.

    Our involvement came from the Eisenhower administration, thusly:

    After North Vietnam evicted the French in the spring of 1954 we hurriedly formed the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization in September of 1954. The treaty called for mutual defense of all territory belonging to treaty members; France, England, the Philippians, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the United States, the only treaty member without Asian possessions. But combat was forbidden unless all treaty members authorized it.

    When the Viet Cong started its insurrection in late 1960 it met little resistance. The South Vietnamese army didn’t want to fight for a puppet government put in place by the French. So a coup during the Kennedy administration created a military-led government. The South Vietnamese army wouldn’t fight and die for that government either. Since there was no universal agreement of treaty members for military action, all the US could do was train and advise a military that did nothing.

    I talked with an Army major who had been advising a South Vietnamese army unit. He said he would advise the Vietnamese commander they should go search for the VC unit active in that area. The South Vietnamese commander would reply, “It’s too hot to go out today.” The next day the South Commander would claim, “It’s not hot enough to go out today.” Then it was “the area you want to look is too close to the river” only to hear the next day that “that’s too far away from the river.” The lesson was clear; the southern army didn’t want to fight. It hated the puppet government as much as did the Viet Cong.

    Since the US was firmly gripped in its anticommunism hysteria, the Johnson administration felt it couldn’t abandon Vietnam to “communism”, it couldn’t get treat authority to fight and couldn’t get the South’s army to fight, so it concocted the Gulf of Tonkin incident to get permission to fight from Congress.

    We didn’t invade South Vietnam; we didn’t fight an illegal war since Congress approved it; we didn’t spit on soldiers coming home from that disaster. We were drawn into Vietnam little by little, one tiny step at a time because we entered into a treaty without having a clear vision of where it could lead (sounds a little like NAFTA, doesn’t it) and without understanding the treaty partners’ intentions or reluctance to take action. So when the North joined the fight during the Nixon administration the South was completely swamped because of an “invisible” American-trained South Vietnamese army.

    Of course, we thought we could train an Iraqi army and now an Afghanistan army to do what we couldn’t get the South Vietnamese army to do.

    • I didn’t say Ron Paul is he only member of Congress opposing the wars…just the only one running for President.

  2. Doc, are you suggesting that President Obama or any President, restart the draft program again? Many Americans talk about it until one of their family members hits the age of this program.

    America seems to have discovered that with the loss of business opportunities and the lack of investment dollars we are in a position of having to ask the government to set up programs to feed our younger citizens. Will we end up having to limit the number of babies born just as China has had to do?

    The growth of our population should mean more investment money, more crops grown and more college grads to start businesses. This was the plan for many Tea Party members but it became a war between Americans to destroy the plans of growth. I read the statement from the Koch Brothers which sounded great but something evil rose from their organization that became almost a militant destruction of anyone in need.

    America cannot turn away from the growing poverty. We cannot turn away from the next generations of American kids and expect them to live outside the safety net of the government. Our schools are run by the States and yet the parents do not hold the states responsible. Could it be that these parents are not educated themselves to even make the corrections needed? Are they often forced into using the armed services as their only option for feeding the family?

    The academics taught in our public schools do not teach the art of growing capitalistic businesses as this is often called criminal activities. I do know that many Community colleges do teach the world of agriculture where feeding the masses is a great option. Are the kids in our public schools introduced to the world of health care? Are they prepared for research or doctors being trained for patient care?

    In my day, it was the family who introduced all the various plans for the kids after they graduate from school. Today the family leaves all this up to the counselors in the high school to direct the kid’s futures. Without a future discussion, our kids often drop out of school.

    I see the multi-millions spent by the Koch Brothers to install leaders who will reduce the help in our schools that the kids need desperately. Handing money out is a ridiculous plan but having counselors to direct the kids into the best colleges would actually achieve something.

    It might be that replacing our President with a cold-hearted uncaring Capitalist who will remove all the safety nets and throw millions on welfare might shake up all Americans to get off their asses and do something about the future of their kids.

    • Sandy, I did not imply, insinuate, or intend to make you or anyone else that I wanted to institute a draft policy for America. My comment was not about a draft proposal. I simply think that a commander-in-chief should have at least some combat experience of sending young men and women into harm’s way.
      I do however agree with a lot of what you touched on in your reply to me, even though it really doesn’t have anything to do with the article or my earlier comment. I am with you in worrying about the future that our children will inherit from us. You made some really good points.

  3. I say the commander-in-chief should be a proven combat leader who understands the weight of sending men and women into a situation that might cost them their lives. The problem we have is neither one of these shmucks has those credentials. So we are stuck with an ever expanding secret war and possibly voting in a man that is among a party that thinks open conflict is a good business practice.

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