Recently, two men who were on the opposite sides of the debate over the Vietnam War came together to write an article. One was a member of President Nixon's foreign policy team, and the other was a fierce critic of the Nixon administration's policies. Together they wrote that the consequences of an American defeat in Iraq would be disastrous.I have said for a very long time (click the Vietnam War label below for extended commentary) that the connection is clear and well defined.
Here's what they said: "Defeat would produce an explosion of euphoria among all the forces of Islamist extremism, throwing the entire Middle East into even greater upheaval. The likely human and strategic costs are appalling to contemplate. Perhaps that is why so much of the current debate seeks to ignore these consequences." I believe these men are right.
In Iraq, our moral obligations and our strategic interests are one. So we pursue the extremists wherever we find them and we stand with the Iraqis at this difficult hour - because the shadow of terror will never be lifted from our world and the American people will never be safe until the people of the Middle East know the freedom that our Creator meant for all. (Applause.)
I recognize that history cannot predict the future with absolute certainty. I understand that. But history does remind us that there are lessons applicable to our time. And we can learn something from history. In Asia, we saw freedom triumph over violent ideologies after the sacrifice of tens of thousands of American lives - and that freedom has yielded peace for generations.
The American military graveyards across Europe attest to the terrible human cost in the fight against Nazism. They also attest to the triumph of a continent that today is whole, free, and at peace. The advance of freedom in these lands should give us confidence that the hard work we are doing in the Middle East can have the same results we've seen in Asia and elsewhere - if we show the same perseverance and the same sense of purpose.
In Vietnam, the war was won militarily thanks to Gen. Abrams, Nixon, and the Servicemembers on the ground who persevered through despite the horrible treatment they received at home. The success of Vietnamization was proved by the success in defeating the North Vietnamese by the mostly South Vietnamese forces during the conventional '72 invasion of the South by the North (with monetary, material, advisory, sea, and air support by the USA and its allies provided to the South).
The war was lost in the District of Columbia. Taking advantage of the post-Watergate weakness in the Republican Executive Branch, and the post-backlash strength of the Democrat Legislative Branch following the '74 election - the Democrat Party cut off all funding and military support to South Vietnam in the '72-75 timeframe.
Being that North Vietnam had all the support it wanted from the Communist World, they were able to take South Vietnam in a conventional invasion in '75. With the fall of South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos - and the encouragement of Communist proxies in Africa as a result - millions died from the killing field of Cambodia, Ethiopia, Angola, the South China Sea, to the suburbs of San Salvador over the better part of decade and a half.
Though you and your kids may not have been taught that history - there it is - fact. The President just reminded everyone of the facts. If you want to know the hardness of these facts and the impact they are having on those who still have not been held account for the blood they are soaked in, just read the Democrat response to what the President said, even Sen. Kerry (D-MA), who, in case you didn't know, served in Vietnam. The MSM coverage is mixed.
You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. Facts are hard things. Learn them; love them; live them.