Jamesaritchie – 2008-04-11 11:31 AM Nixon got us out of Vietnam. Kennedy got us into it, and Johnson was the one who escalated it into a fullscale war. You want to blame someone, blame him. He promised to end what was, at the time, not much more than a minor skirmish, but instead turned it into a all out war. And despite the nonsense, Vietnam was worth fighting, and probably saved more than two million lives. It also ended The Soviet Union’s hold on the ea, and played a major part in ending the Cold war.
This take fascinates me.
Actually, it was Eisenhower who got us into it in 1956, with our first casualties in 1959, and it was Johnson who escalated it after the false flag Gulf of Tonkin “attack” a year after Kennedy was assassinated. This is a great resource for VN studies – http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/vietnam/timeline.htm What Nixon did was needlessly prolonged it in 1971 and 1972, when it had already been decided that we’d withdraw from VN, and even widened the war to include Cambodia and Laos so that he’d ensure his re-election. That, my friend, is historical fact.
It’s been claimed that U.S. Grant once observed that no man has ever won an election by opposing a war. Even if apocryphal, that statement is a bedrock truth as it describes the American electorate. He knew that he’d have to be the one to end it all, but he delayed it until his 1972 re-election, which cost the lives of thousands of US troops.
Even as Nixon campaigned in 1968 to end the Viet Nam conflict, he added the caveat that it would be done so on our terms and “with honor” – a clear message that there would be no helicopters on the roof of the embassy in Saigon, or flotilla of boat people dying in the South China Sea. As usual, the promises and their delivery never worked out their association, and the news footage has haunted us ever since.
I like the energy in this essay, and agree that these troops, many who didn’t volunteer to fight this war, really did get the raw end of the entire deal. It’s widely accepted that if this Iraq War was being fought by conscripted soldiers, that America would be burning right now. What’s not being widely accepted is that there is a large percentage of our troops fighting this war, right now, that are on their 3rd, 4th and 5th tours in that theater, and are fundamentally being conscripted, at this stage of their extended enlistments, to remain in the battle that they lost their devotion to a long time ago.
It’s called the “Stop Loss Program”, http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2006/01/army_stop-loss_program_forces_50000_into_extended_duty_/ and many are not being allowed to separate from the Army when their enlistments have been completed. It’s being referred to as the “backdoor draft”, but unlike the college students of the 60’s, these men aren’t protesting. Articles 88, 89, and 91 of the UCMJ make it impossible for them to legally protest anything, or even speak out in opposition to policies of the US Military or the policies of the Commander in Chief. The rate of suicide in Iraq is up dramatically, however, as many are finding their own way of getting back home to their families.
Necessary war is terrible. Unnecessary war is criminal. I pray that there is a God, because if there is, then there is a hell for the politicians and businessmen that drag men to their deaths over meaningless war, and plenty of room left for the surrogates who defend those wars. Like the Marines say “…let God sort ’em out.”