Author Topic: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ  (Read 7873 times)

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BT

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TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« on: October 19, 2006, 02:42:57 AM »
George W. Bush's "admission" and the Tet analogy

The President has apparently made news by "accepting" the Iraq-Vietnam comparison. Drudge has linked, and lefty blog Think Progress is making a big deal of it. Here is what President Bush said:


Stephanopoulos asked whether the president agreed with the opinion of columnist Tom Friedman, who wrote in The New York Times today that the situation in Iraq may be equivalent to the Tet offensive in Vietnam almost 40 years ago.

"He could be right," the president said, before adding, "There's certainly a stepped-up level of violence, and we're heading into an election."

Here's what Think Progress said he said:

President Bush is right to finally admit that violence in Iraq has reached a tipping point, and that the U.S. is not winning the war as he has claimed.

That is, of course, not what the President said. He merely agreed that there was an appropriate comparison to be made between the Tet offensive and the violence we are seeing in Iraq today. I agree. The question is, what was the lesson of Tet (the all-out offensive of the Viet Cong in early 1968, at the time of the "Tet" new year holiday in Vietnam)?

At the time the media perceived and promoted the Tet offensive as a great victory for the enemy. In an age when the network anchors deployed truly awesome power, Walter Cronkite destroyed Lyndon Johnson's chances for re-election when he editorialized that we were "mired in stalement". President Johnson declared "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America," and withdrew from the 1968 presidential campaign.

Tet, however, was not a military disaster for the United States. Quite to the contrary, history has revealed that the Tet offensive was in fact a crushing defeat for the Viet Cong, and effectively required that the Communists conquer the South by invasion from the North, rather than by civil insurgency. The Viet Cong were only able to turn a military disaster into strategic victory by persuading the American media that the United States was mired in stalement. With the domestic political support for the war fading fast, the United States decided to withdraw from Indochina, even though it would take Nixon and Kissinger another four years to accomplish it.

The summary of the Wikipedia entry on the Tet offensive captures the current view of military historians, even if it is quite different from the conventional wisdom of the Boomer editors and producers who set the agenda in the mainstream media:

The Tet Offensive can be considered a crushing military defeat for the Communist forces, as neither the Viet Cong nor the North Vietnamese army achieved any of their tactical goals. Furthermore, the operational cost of the offensive was dangerously high, with the Viet Cong essentially crippled by the huge losses inflicted by South Vietnamese and other Allied forces. Nevertheless, the Offensive is widely considered a turning point of the war in Vietnam, with the NLF and PAVN winning an enormous psychological and propaganda victory. Although US public opinion polls continued to show a majority supporting involvement in the war, this support continued to deteriorate and the nation became increasingly polarized over the war.[1] President Lyndon Johnson saw his popularity fall sharply after the Offensive, and he withdrew as a candidate for re-election in March of 1968. The Tet Offensive is frequently seen as an example of the value of propaganda, media influence and popular opinion in the pursuit of military objectives.

Not surprisingly to me but shocking to many, the President obviously knows more history than his interviewer. When President Bush "accepts" the analogy of the surge in violence in Iraq to the Tet offensive in Vietnam, he is not "accepting" that Iraq is an unwinnable struggle against a noble enemy. He is saying that victory or defeat in Iraq will not be a function of the amount of violence that the enemy is able to do during any given period, but our will to keep fighting notwithstanding that violence. In that one regard, Iraq is dangerously similar to Vietnam, which fact the mainstream media would know if the typical editor read military history instead of the journalism pretending to be history that fills the bestseller lists.

http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2006/10/george-w-bushs-admission-and-tet.html

Plane

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2006, 03:25:48 AM »
  How can we gague the enemys endurance?


   

BT

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2006, 04:37:05 AM »
It would be better if we had a better handle on our own endurance.

The desire to cut and run is a symptom of our endurance level as it is a political solution to a military problem.

_JS

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2006, 09:18:14 AM »
The difference being that General Westmoreland declared the enemies' capabilities to launch such an offensive were destroyed.

Also, I think this is a dangerous perversion of history. Let's not start blaming the American people for what is going on in Iraq or what took place in Vietnam. The public did not lose the Vietnam War and the public is not at fault for the failures in Iraq.
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

BT

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2006, 11:30:31 AM »
The public is the one urging cuttting and running, is it not? That seems to be what polls indicate. Withdrawal at some date certain.


Michael Tee

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2006, 11:50:51 AM »
<<The difference being that General Westmoreland declared the enemies' capabilities to launch such an offensive were destroyed.>>

Bingo!  That is EXACTLY what I wanted to say when I read the article, and you beat me to it.

The Tet offensive destroyed whatever confidence the public had still retained in the integrity and honesty of its leaders.  After the constant drumbeat of "light at the end of the tunnel" and the "enemy" was breathing its last gasp, the Tet offensive showed the American public exactly what its political and military leaders were, at the very highest level:  Liars, Bullshit Artists and Con Men.  Their willingness to continue to follow these leaders was fatally eroded.

Leave it to the conservatives to try to obscure this point by re-framing the debate 180 degrees in another direction:  "Tet Offensive:  Military Defeat or Victory?  Psychological Defeat or Victory?" and then proceed to argue those completely irrelevant points with thousands of words of completely pointless bullshit.

Not only is Bush hoping to capitalize on the upsurge in violence by making a comparison to a "reinterpreted" Tet Offensive, there isn't even the remotest comparison between an up-tick in the number of attacks and explosions in Iraq on the one hand and Tet's huge, sweeping territorial gains, temporary as they might have been, on the other hand.  The former can be seen only on bar graphs or tables of numbers and the latter could be visualized as changing colours on a map or the televised images of firefights on the Embassy's lawns.

Brassmask

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2006, 12:12:46 PM »
The public is the one urging cuttting and running, is it not? That seems to be what polls indicate. Withdrawal at some date certain.



Remembering back, the American people never wanted to go into Iraq in the first god damned place.  If you want people to be resolved and stay the course, it is best not to tell them that you are conducting a "war on terror" and then have it turn out that you were a god damned liar and then start telling people who want to correct your lies and mistakes that they are "helping the enemy".

It will wind up that W and the gang will be remembered as something akin to Nixon and/or Hitler.

BT

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2006, 01:05:19 PM »
Quote
Remembering back, the American people never wanted to go into Iraq in the first god damned place.

You remember wrong. Upwards to 80% of the American People were in favor of toppling Saddam.
It has only been in the past year that the numbers shifted from for the war to against it.


BT

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2006, 01:07:56 PM »
Quote
Tet's huge, sweeping territorial gains, temporary as they might have been, on the other hand.

That's pretty funny.

That  war was lost when the will was lost. Same as this one will be.


_JS

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2006, 01:40:55 PM »
Quote
That  war was lost when the will was lost. Same as this one will be.

You speak as though Vietnam was going really well until the American people turned against it. It was not. Tet was a battle against the Vietcong, fighting against the NVA had hardly even taken place. Moreover, the people of "South Vietnam" weren't overwhelmingly pleased with the United States presence there. Let's not forget that the soldiers in Vietnam weren't all that damned thrilled to be there either. Yeah, there were some hardliners who really believed in "defeating communism," but was that the real majority of troops on the ground in Vietnam?

This lovely perversion of history that Vietnam was going great until the treasonous protesters at home lost the war is a modern spin. Remember it was a Republican President that was elected largely on his promise to end the war in Vietnam (peace with honor and Vietnamization were Nixon's babies).

Is Iraq going down a similar road?

I don't know. Americans are demanding. Bush did himself no favors with "Mission Accomplished" and rumours of bringing troops home by Christmas (spin those all you want, but people saw what they saw). The truth of the situation hurts. Afghanistan is a mess. Musharraf warned us many times that it would be and it is. We will only ever control a small section of Afghanistan, but the rural mountain regions belong to the Taleban. Look at Pakistan. As strong of a military as they have, they know that they will never control the autonomous mountainous Northern region. If they leave one another alone, it works better for all.

Iraq is even worse. Notice the language of officials has changed from "terrorists" to "sectarian violence." Sectarian violence is a dangerous game. Ask the British about Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland was small so Iraq is a similar situation only magnified many times and with more porous borders for arms flow. "Winning" takes a hell of a lot stronger techniques than I believe we're willing to render. It also takes a lot less political spin and using the war as a political tool to spin the "war on terror." We've got to get over the stupidity that you cannot talk to the different factions.

Bush put us in a situation where we cannot win. Frankly we should either cut and run (or whatever dumb political catchphrase works) or fight a real war with victory as the objective, not re-election and political vaguery.
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Michael Tee

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2006, 02:34:51 PM »
<<That  war was lost when the will was lost. Same as this one will be. >>

The "will" was obtained in the first place by lies like the "attacks" in the Tonkin Gulf and was lost when the Tet Offensive showed the entire country that their leaders had been lying and bullshitting them since Day One.

THIS war, different lies of course, but same basic story.  As the leaders' optimistic promises ("greeted as liberators," "just a few dead-enders," "Mission Accomplished") grow increasingly threadbare, and the proclaimed rationale shifts almost minute by minute (WMD, promoting "democracy," fighting terrorism, whatever the reason-of-the-month happens to be this monty) belief in the leadership reaches the vanishing point.

I would say that in Viet Nam, the lying bastards started off with pretty much 100% on their side, and no organized anti-war movement in place, in this war (despite BT's 80% figure, which I find hard to believe) I'd say the country was pretty well divided at the outset and as the lies of the leadership inevitably come to the surface, that vanishing point is more quickly reached.  One lesson the administration seems to have learned from Viet Nam is to minimize casualties and restrict them as much as possible to the permanent underclass - - hillbillies, Hispanics, green card wannabe's, etc., who nobody with any influence gives a shit about.  Another lesson was to avoid using a draftee army.  The middle class votes - - so keep their kids out of it.  This had the expected retardant effect on the anti-war movement which was so brilliantly active in the Sixties.

Plane

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2006, 04:00:01 PM »
"This lovely perversion of history that Vietnam was going great until the treasonous protesters at home lost the war is a modern spin. "

[][][][][][][][][][][][][]


This spin got a lot of RPM when General Giap said it was so in his book.

domer

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2006, 04:07:53 PM »
We fight wars, ideally, so we can have our freedoms and our voices in governing the country, not the other way around.

BT

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2006, 04:11:21 PM »
The Gulf of Tonkin lie didn't lose the will of the American People in Viet Nam. Nor did the direct involvment of the NVA during Tet do it.

Pictures like this did.



and this:

 







domer

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Re: TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2006, 04:14:05 PM »
So? Do they portray a distortion of the overall reality?