Why Vietnam Truth Matters

“In my rush to finish my statement in five minutes, I may have left out the fact that Vietnam is one nation today.” So spoke Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee on July 16, regarding her 5 Minute Special Order on July 15, given on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Jackson serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and had recently visited North Afghanistan (or was it West Afghanistan) to help her conclude that we must set a date certain for withdrawal of our troops from wherever the hell they are by next June or July. If two stupid statements make a smart statement, Rep Lee probably seems brilliant to her liberal cohorts and followers.

“In my review of the play performed so brilliantly at Ford’s Theater last evening, I may have left out the fact that President Lincoln was shot.”

Rep Lee further demonstrated her grasp of military strategy by going on to suggest that the methodology for leaving Afghanistan is to “demand that the central government of Afghanistan provide” a laundry list of essential services that governments are obviously supposed to provide—without which they are not really governments. She then perhaps in an epiphany of Congressional fact finding wisdom blurted out what should rightly become the Jackson Lee Strategy—declare victory! Wow. Not since reading North Vietnamese Genius General Giap’s strategy—“hit the enemy where he is weak or relatively weak or even where he is strong”—have I felt the military equivalent of ‘Eureka’ quite so strongly.

Apparently, if I am following her military history lesson, America waited too long to declare Victory in Vietnam and therefore…..well, I kind of lost her train of thought at this point. But evidently she has discovered that we are at that magic ‘declare Victory and come home’ point in Afghanistan if only we demand that the Afghan government shape up and act like a stable and efficient government.

In her July 16, statement she also chastised the U.S. government (one of those governments between 1963 and 1975 one would assume) for not (and I’m not making this up) working “with Vietnam toward being a democratic state.” The Congresswoman then closes the statement with a sentence neatly tying things up—“I believe my special order yesterday [the one with two current Vietnams] was very clear.” Had she said, “I was clearly drunk,” I would have respected her more.

Okay, for the record one more time—There was South Vietnam (a struggling democracy) and North Vietnam (a brutal communist government). We were allies with the South as they fought off the North trying to take them over. We beat the North in 1973. They signed a Peace Treaty. America came home. The communists launched a new attack and the U.S. Democrat controlled Congress abrogated the treaty and our obligations. North Vietnam overran South Vietnam so it became ONE communist, brutally ruled country to the death and miserable detriment of hundreds of thousands of our former allies.

Those of you who cannot see the folly and danger of using ignorance of the truth in Vietnam as a platform for our current and future foreign policy (and military strategy) are quite hopeless. This Congresswoman graduated from Yale and UVA law school. To not learn the facts about the Vietnam War with that educational background is because (a) you are blinded by a liberal anti-American bias or (b) the education system in the U.S. is as bad as we suspect it is. I suspect that Rep Lee learned her Vietnam War history from rabidly liberal old hippies.

Of a more serious and related nature, I heard Dr. David Kilcullen, current leading guru on counterinsurgency and former advisor to Generals Patraeus and McChrystal, speak at the World Affairs Council last Thursday evening. One point he made should resonate with all those who are NOT ignorant of the facts of the Vietnam War. And it should give us pause. Kilcullen said that the role of the U.S. military in Afghanistan is to prepare the U.S. for a negotiated settlement by putting us in the best possible position vis a vis our enemies there.  We should remember that is exactly what the U.S. military gave us in Vietnam when we forced the North Vietnamese to the peace table. The military and Nixon had beaten the communists thoroughly on the battlefield and psychologically by bombing around Hanoi at will. The U.S. media and liberal congress then did their best to obviate completely that advantage gained with so much blood and tears by constantly undermining Nixon and Kissinger, passing resolutions cutting off military alternatives, and demanding settlement at any cost.

We cannot allow this to happen in Afghanistan.

P.S. I have extended my prayers for my Marine son in Afghanistan to include the hope that he didn’t hear Congresswoman Lee.

Phil Jennings is the author to the Politically Incorrect Guide to the Vietnam War.