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Comments by YACCS
Sunday, May 28, 2006

Try again

OK, in the long essay on Iraq, there are just some stunning historical whoppers here which need to be addressed

Moktada Sadr's troops and commanders were appallingly inept, and were crushed in their abortive uprising. While other, more sanguine commanders, such as the Badr Brigade and the rump Fedayeen Saddam maintained an effective Mao-type insurgency, Moktada Sadr and his soldiery duplicated the disastrous techniques of the Vietcong in the Tet Offensive, and Sadr's troops were crushed by the same Marines who beat them to a pulp at Hue and Khe Sanh.
Uh, no. The VC were well-organized , but largely faced the US Army and Australians during the Tet Offensive, while regular NVA troops fought the US and South Koreans in the Northern two Corps of Vietnam. The Marines didn't face the VC at Khe Sahn or Hue.

John Dos Prados. history of Khe Sahn is a good place to start because it explains how US air power, especially large bombers, kept the NVA in the Laotian mountainside. When there were battles for Hill881N and 881 S, all hell broke lose and the Marines were lucky to fend off the human wave attacks. Survive is a lot better word than crush. Because the 1stCav had to eventually relieve the Marines at Khe Sahn

Giap's stupid gamble at Tet, (for which Giap was relieved of command) is now well-understood. General Odom and Jack Murtha seem quite willing to repeat America's parallel idiocy of unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam in Iraq. Walter Cronkite stood atop the Caravelle Hotel, with the smoke of Cho Lon rising over his shoulder, and told America the war was not winnable, leading LBJ to say, "If we've lost Cronkite, we've lost America".

Wrong again. Giap did not lose his job. And Cronkite said that after the VC sapper teams charged the US Embassy and were fended off only after hours of fighting. But the fact was that Westmoreland had been saying for two years that the VC were on the run, citing the hill fights, DakTo and Junction City, while the NVA was hiding in Laos and Cambodia waiting

So when Tet happened, people were astonished, no stunned, to see that after all of Westy's charts and numbers, the NVA and VC was alive and kicking ass. Giap and Ho expected a nationwide uprising, but the US had enough firepower to force most of the attackers back from places like Tan Son Nhut and Chi Lai. But fighting in Pleiku and other areas didn't end quickly

We left Vietnam because the army was pushing towards open revolt and the middle class no longer supported the war. There were fraggings and combat refusals and drug use. It was either leave Vietnam or destroy the Army
Reality Check: the smoke rising from Cho Lon was a city block on fire, set by the ethnic Chinese, burning out the Vietcong who had murdered hundreds of Chinese during the Tet Offensive. The Vietcong at Tet learned the ordinary Vietnamese had no interest in supporting the cause of Communism.

Please. The NVA had fully penetrated the ARVN. What Tet proved was that lightly armed guerrillas and light Infantry die when running into Arc Light, Armor and artillery, When the NVA came back in 1972, they did so with Armor , and took much of I Corps in the process and nearly took An Loc

The Tet Offensive, we now know from the historical record, nearly drove the North Vietnamese to surrender.
No we don't. They kept fighting into May, 1968. In fact, the pace of combat increased after Tet, the US reached peak combat strength in May,1969, at 543,000. The NVA was fighting a defensive war, but in a series of battles, like Hamburger Hill and battles in the Arizona Country, they were heavily engaged with US troops.

Ronald Spector's history After Tet, explains this clearly. To say this is to misread history.

Only the antiwar movement in the USA saved them from defeat.
In what fantasy world? The peak of the antwar movement came in 1971-72 as US troops were being withdrawn. The fact was that the US Army was collapsing in the field. After Hamburger Hill, the lead battalion commander had a $10,000 bounty placed on his head and was nearly assassinated seven times. Racial strife led to riots, smuggling and corruption exploded, drug use was endemic. Then you had the GI resistance to the war at home and in Vietnam. The antiwar movement didn't save the NVA. Armor did. By 1971, the NVA was better equipped, better led and far more professional, as was demonstrated in Lam Son 719, when they blew helicopters out of the sky and the ARVN panicked.

Nixon went to the Communists, and cynically sold the Vietnamese and Lao people into abjectest slavery. How could this be? We had achieved a stunning victory over an entrenched guerilla movement, heroic victories at Hue and Khe Sanh, the obliteration of the Vietcong. But by then, so many Bright Shining Lies had been told, the truth was not believed.
Because the South Vietnamese government was corrupt and lacked the support of the people. Officers were appointed because of favoritism, troops cheated out of pay, people refused to
rally around the ARVN, while some bravery was seen.most of it was inept and poorly led.

Fantasy revisions of the Vietnam War doesn't explain Iraq.

posted by Steve @ 10:39:00 AM

10:39:00 AM

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