It is said that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And here we are.
Contrary to what you were most likely taught, the U.S. did indeed win the Vietnam War. We simply did not keep the peace.
What happened in Vietnam is happening in Iraq, and will most likely happen in Afghanistan. The terrifying fall of Saigon is being replayed with the fall of Mosul and perhaps Baghdad.
This excellent short video from Dennis Prager’s eponymous university is well-worth your time, because it has so much relevance to what is happening today, as Congress loses its will to protect any gains made in Iraq and Afghanistan.
President Nixon had taken the fight into the heart of the North Vietnamese and used superior firepower to crush their will. He brought all parties to the table with the Paris Peace Accords. However, as part of the accords promises were made to the South Vietnamese — promises which the U.S. did not keep.
After Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal, in November 1974 the Democrats took a heavy majority control of the House and Senate. The Democrats defunded the support promised to the South Vietnamese and the rest they say is history – a very brutal history.
This is not about long-term occupations but about keeping your enemies defeated and not allowing their resuscitation. It requires leadership, not partisan ideology, to secure peace and it takes a willing determination to provide a deterrent to aggressive adversarial forces.
We need to structure our military to be capable of immediate strike operations and maintain our regional commitments to our allies — not the “pivot away from the Middle East” strategy from the current administration. However, these folks are either the same Vietnam protest gang or their descendants. When you leave a vacuum, someone will fill it and often, not your friend. So it was in Vietnam, so it is in Iraq, and so it is becoming in Eastern Europe.
I don’t advocate for war, as I wrote here. But I do recognize there are bad guys, and bad guys salivate at the sight of weakness and withdrawal. The number one responsibility of the federal government is to “provide for the common defense” — in other words to protect the American people.
I agree we must control the defense budget and ensure we are building weapon systems needed by our war fighters, not building the defense industry. But when we fall into the pattern of falsely believing we are living in a time of “tranquility in the global environment,” the military ends up being the bill payer for redistributive socialist domestic policies and programs.
Economic building at home requires nothing more than pro-growth tax, regulatory, government, and monetary reforms and policies that promote free market innovation, ingenuity, and investment — that which we currently do not have.
A lack of strategic vision and will resulted in millions of deaths in Vietnam on the “killing fields of Pol Pot.” We are beginning to see the same with the rise of the Islamic State. I’m tired of seeing our country steal defeat from the jaws of victory — eventually it will catch up to us.
Vietnam today is moving away economically from the communist ideology, but it is still threatened in the Pacific Rim by China. While still embracing a collective ideology, China’s growing free market capitalist economy is paying for a modern military force.
Folks, when you bring the enemy to the table, it’s a good thing. Nothing to be ashamed of. But we should be ashamed when all of that good is squandered for political gain.