(Video) VDH on why we fought in Vietnam

May 29, 2017

Another video for Memorial Day. In this case, it’s not America’s Forgotten War, but the war America would like to forget: the Vietnam War. Historian Victor Davis Hanson explains why we fought there and how we lost:

Over the past several years, the reading of recent revisionist histories of the war have convinced me that, for all the domestic turmoil we experienced, we threw away a won war in 1974-75 and that, as I’ve long suspected, following a strategy similar to what we pursued in the second part of the Korean War might well have preserved South Vietnam as an independent state. As Dr. Hanson mentions, our failure to do so had terrible repercussions in Vietnam and in Cambodia.

A parallel with Iraq also inevitably comes to mind: as did Nixon in Vietnam, the Obama administration inherited a divisive war, but a war that was being won. All that was needed was to show endurance and political will to secure the peace. And, again -though not for the same reasons- we failed to do either.

Both conflicts show the need for the United States to come up with a coherent political strategy to secure the victory after we’ve won on the battlefield. We’re great at the latter, but, since Korea, we’ve been terrible at the former.

And Memorial Day is a good day to remind ourselves of the need to fix that, so that the sacrifices of the honored dead aren’t wasted.

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Suddenly, Vietnam and America are becoming buddies

August 8, 2010

Well, not so suddenly; the rapprochement between the two countries has been going on for several years, but this news takes it to a whole new level:

Cold War enemies the United States and Vietnam demonstrated their blossoming military relations Sunday as a U.S. nuclear super carrier cruised in waters off the Southeast Asian nation’s coast — sending a message that China is not the region’s only big player.

The visit comes 35 years after the Vietnam War as Washington and Hanoi are cozying up in a number of areas, from negotiating a controversial deal to share civilian nuclear fuel and technology to agreeing that China needs to work with its neighbors to resolve territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The USS George Washington’s stop is officially billed as a commemoration of last month’s 15th anniversary of normalized diplomatic relations between the former foes. But the timing also reflects Washington’s heightened interest in maintaining security and stability in the Asia-Pacific amid tensions following the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, which killed 46 sailors. North Korea has been blamed for the attack, but has vehemently denied any involvement.

Last month during an Asian security meeting in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also angered China by unexpectedly calling on the Communist powerhouse to resolve territorial claims with neighboring Southeast Asian countries over islands in the South China Sea.

“The strategic implications and importance of the waters of the South China Sea and the freedom of navigation is vital to both Vietnam and the United States,” Capt. Ross Myers, commander of the George Washington’s air wing, said aboard the ship Sunday as fighter jets thundered off the flight deck above.

Threatened mutual interests make for alliances, even when the parties have a difficult shared history, as we do with Vietnam. The US is concerned with growing Chinese naval strength, which looks geared toward challenging our 65-year old dominance of the western Pacific, and especially with a potentially strong amphibious capability. The latter would be especially worrisome in a confrontation over Taiwan. The US is also concerned about Chinese claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea, a major international shipping route, as this clashes with our traditional “freedom of the seas” policy. Sending a carrier battle group through the SCS is a way of visibly reinforcing the international character of the waters, sending a “just try and stop us” message. We can expect to see more of these transits in the next few years.

Vietnam, meanwhile, has to be concerned about its increasingly powerful and assertive giant neighbor to the north. Indeed, Vietnam was under Chinese domination for over a thousand years. More immediately, Vietnam (along with several other nations) also has territorial claims to the Spratly Islands, which are mostly under Chinese military control. Worth little in and of themselves, the islands enable their owners to establish territorial claims to the surrounding waters and any potential resources – particularly oil, which China needs to feed its booming economy, because it produces not nearly enough of its own. Thus the Vietnamese, who already have America as their biggest trading partner and investor, want an increased American military presence to give pause to Chinese ambitions. Our needs and theirs converge.

And while Vietnamese and US officials shake hands aboard the George Washington, you can bet they’ll be casting wary glance toward the dragon to the north.


So ignorant, it’s scary

July 15, 2010

Remember, Sheila Jackson-Lee is one of our elected representatives, our nation’s governing elite:

Um… Congresswoman? Ma’am? Ehh… a couple of small details for you to consider:

  1. We did not win in Vietnam. There was no victory – except for the bad guys.
  2. There are not “two Vietnams.” South Vietnam ceased to exist in April, 1975, when North Vietnamese tanks rolled into Saigon.

I invite Representative Jackson-Lee to come to California and visit Little Saigon in Orange County and ask all the now elderly Vietnamese-Americans just how wonderful that victory was. Why, they all got Pacific cruises out of it. I’m sure they’ll be glad to tell you all about it. Waiting

You’ll be comforted to know, I’m sure, that this geographical and historical genius sits on the House Foreign Affairs committeeDoh

Other moments of Jackson-Lee brilliance: She once earnestly told the House that, to save the Earth from global warming, we have to get the carbon out of the air. (10:14am entry) Then there’s this gem, from a commenter at Ace‘s:

Sheila Jackson Lee was present at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the Mars Pathfinder landed in the mid 1990s. She inquired whether the rover would be able to roll over to where astronauts had planted the American flag. Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents a district in Houston and sits on committees that deal with NASA, did not know that astronauts had in fact planted flags on the Moon — not Mars.

More on that moment.

And she is one of the people who write our laws.  Be afraid. Be very afraid.Nailbiting

LINKS: More from Moe Lane, Hot Air, and Thinklets. Jimmie at the Sundries Shack throws a pop quiz at Congresswoman Lee regarding another example of her supernormal stupidity. Ed Driscoll wonders when John Edwards became President of Vietnam.