We knew it then. And we know it now. Those who served in the military in the final years of the Vietnam War knew that war was being won, could be won, and would be won if only the politicians would let the soldier do his job. Even those, such as myself, who had never served in combat often thought of that defeat so unjustified, so undeserved, so deadly to so many. The ghosts of the 1970s were exorcised, we thought, by the Reagan Era and finally banished from our minds when our military did its job so well in the 1991 Gulf War. America once again held its soldier in the highest regard. Or did it?
The exorcism has proved — like the 1991 war that left Saddam in power — inconclusive. The ghosts of 1970 are back. Hillary Clinton has proclaimed, “Now it’s time to say the redeployment [out of Iraq] should start in 90 days or the Congress will revoke authorization for this war." In doing so, she speaks for all the Dems. They have no thought of victory, only of how to engineer defeat.
Each of us must now reach down, into our own character, our own memories. At whatever cost we must force ourselves to remember, and explain it to those who weren’t there to see it first-hand.
It’s all coming back now, the recurrence of a national nightmare. All the televised hypocrisy of politicians eager to hamstring the President, to declare defeat and come home. The daily devastation, the emotionally-drenched reports from the areas of combat. The learned pundits proclaiming that victory is impossible, and the Hollywoodenheads proclaiming that America is the source of all the world’s ills.
I was graduating college in 1970, about to be commissioned as a lieutenant in the Air Force. My pals and I were — to a man — planning to learn to fly and get into the war. We heard all the pols, read all the newspapers, and saw the daily gore on the evening news. Maybe we were too young to understand our betters. But we — and millions like us — were uncomprehending. We knew, from speaking to some just returning from Vietnam, from our own analyses of events and by learning from our fathers who had survived the horrific combat of World War 2, that the war wasn’t being lost. We knew — in our heart of hearts — that it was winnable if we — and our brothers already in combat — were allowed to do what it took.
Now, as then, the only people who don’t understand that the war is “unwinnable” are the people who are fighting it. Now, as then, they are right and the rest are horribly wrong.
Democrats don’t think in terms of victory. Many of the same fools who brought about our defeat in Vietnam — Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Jane Fonda and too many others — are back to engineer another defeat in Iraq. And former Marine colonel Rep. Jack Murtha (D.-Pa.) is working hard at being the architect.
The Marines are a justly proud group. One of their favorite sayings is, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” Murtha disproves that truism. He is proposing legislation — to be attached to appropriations measures — that will prevent troops from being deployed until they’ve been home for a year. His language requires certain amounts of training, specific types of equipment, and readiness determinations all designed to interfere with our military leadership’s decisions on how to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. Murtha and his ilk say they don’t want to “cut and run” from Iraq. But listen to Hillary, and look at what she and Murtha are trying to do: make it impossible to send the troops necessary to win and repeal the authorization for war in Iraq. Do the math: Hillary plus Murtha equals “cut and run.”
Democrats — and their media pals — say that the troops don’t follow all this, and their morale isn’t affected. That’s as big a fib as, “I didn’t have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Not that they care about the troops. But we do. The troops know they can win, and don’t want to quit. Here’s a couple of excerpts from an officer in Iraq I received last weekend. Read this carefully, and send it around:
We need the American People. I say again, we need the American People. The silent majority has to speak up. This is a noble cause. We are trying to prevent the senseless torture and killing of innocent Iraqis and to permit the Iraqi people to live in peace with a stable legitimate government…
The support of the American people in form of care packages has completely amazed me. We are all touched by their generosity. In my mind those Americans that have taken the effort to rally behind the troops are the real heroes and represent the undying spirit of America.
Now, we need them to do something more important than letters and care packages to our troops…
We need the great American people to come through for "their" troops. This is their call to action!
Every American citizen needs to call and write their congressional leaders and tell them to support this latest effort. We need to succeed at our stated objectives in Iraq. We cannot do so if they continue to snipe and denounce the Commander in Chief and the policy and strategy in public. If they have constructive criticism, then do so behind closed doors and truly make a difference. The public should scold elected officials when they carry on against the war in public–it is counter productive and it absolutely emboldens the terrorists and insurgents.
Demand that your elected officials get involved with real solutions to win for the Iraqi people! If they do not have a solution, then SIT DOWN & SHUT UP. When they speak ill of the operations they speak ill of the troops and erode the chances of success. For those that do not think that Congress’s public remarks opposing the war do not aid and abet the enemy, do not understand warfare. And they should SIT DOWN & SHUT UP.
We are a country of free speech and differing views. I applaud those concepts and serve our country to protect them. However, we are at war and our congressional leaders need to act responsibly. So at the end of the day, if they are not supporting success in Iraq, then they need to SIT DOWN & SHUT UP.
I have met Gen. David Petraeus. Some of his former commanders — men I count among my friends — say that if anyone can do this, he can. So when Petraeus says he believes he can win this fight, I believe him. When the President orders troops into action to do it, we must believe in them. And give them the chance to win this war. We — those who were there in 1970 know now, as we knew it then. Our finest can win, if we let them.
I never miss the opportunity to bash the French. They deserve at least a daily dose though their forebears were of finer stock. In Henry V, in the midst of their crushing defeat in the battle of Agincourt, even the French princes turn to fight and die bravely rather than surrender. One Bourbon prince says, “The devil take order now! I’ll to the throng. Let life be short, else shame will be too long.”
The Democrats won’t feel shame if they engineer a defeat in Iraq. They felt none after they — not the troops — lost the war in Vietnam. It will be our shame if we let them do to Iraq what they did to Vietnam. It’s time to banish the ghosts of 1970 now and forevermore.
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