Thursday, June 15, 2006


Reuters reporting today that the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq has reached 2,500.

This, of course, will drive many who oppose the war into a hysterical frenzy of joy as they mark this "milestone" with rantings about Iraq being a "quagmire" and the requisite comparisons to Vietnam.

Important to note, by this time in the Vietnam conflict there were more than 10 times as many American soldiers killed (roughly 30,000) and more than four times as many civilian deaths (180,000 and that's just for North Vietnam in the years 1965-68 -- I couldn't find figures for civilian deaths in the south).

One more thing: Liberals don't get to lecture other people what a quagmire is, because they invented it. Vietnam was a Liberal adventure.

I pause now to pray thanks for the selfless sacrifice of the 2,500 American servicemen and women who have given their lives to protect us from evil and to defend liberty and freedom.


Craig Bob said...

Joy? Really? Dude- you're hanging out with the wrong liberals.

Vietnam a liberal invention? That's too black and white. Eisenhower inserted the U.S. in Vietnam. Yes, Kennedy and Johnson ramped it up while Nixon reduced U.S. presence (eventually to zero). But until Congress started intervening in the 70's - it was a bipartisan affair.

JBlog said...

Actually, our policy in Southeast Asia dates back to the Roosevelt administration, when FDR agreed to give Indochina back to the French near the end of the war instead of granting independence.

Both Truman and Eisenhower subsequently provided assistance to the French after that, but actual American involvement country never topped a couple hundred servicemen during their administrations.

It was Kennedy who significantly increased our direct involvement in the conflict, sending in hundreds more "advisors" and messing with South Vietnam's internal politics (leading to the assassination of Prime Minister Diem just weeks before his own).

But ultimately, it was Johnson's war -- he sought and got de facto war powers from Congress in 1964 after the Tonkin Gulf incident and committed 60,000 ground troops in 1965.

By 1968, there were more than a half million American servicemen in Vietnam.

By the time Nixon took office, there were more than 40,000 Americans dead and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese killed. It was left to him to sort out how to extricate us from the mess.

For a full treatise on this topic, I'd suggest Stanley Karnow's "Vietnam: A History" -- probably one of the most definitive books on the topic.

For a French perspective on the conflict, I'd suggest "Street Without Joy" and "Hell In A Very Small Place" by Bernard Fall.

I don't think any knowledgeable scholar on the subject would disagree that this was a liberal adventure.

Craig Bob said...

That's like saying the Iraq war was a conservative invention -- it's an oversimplification. The fact is that there is enough credit (or blame) to share among liberals and conservatives: 77-23 in the Senate and 296-133 in the House. Or if you prefer the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution: 88-2 in the Senate and 416-0 in the House.

Bipartisanism in action.

JBlog said...

Well that's certainly a rational way of looking at it, which reflects how things actually work in our democracy.

And as myy previous post indicates, these situations don't materialize overnight -- often they can evolve over years and even decades, as the result decisions made by multiple administrations.

But that isn't the way it's generaly characterized.

The antiwar faction and the media declare Iraq is Bush's war. Even the Democrats who voted in favor of the invasion characterize it that way.

No one seems to remember that the current situation in Iraq traces back to decisions made by five administrations over the past 25-30 years (and probably longer, frankly -- again, it probably really traces back to how the world was divvied up after WWII).

But that's, like,...hard to understand, and stuff. So much easier to say "Bush is a liar and an idiot."

So what's sauce for the goose... If Iraq is Bush's fault, then the blame for Vietnam falls to Kennedy and Johnson.

Dialing my argument back to a more adult level (if I can manage it), history generally associates a conflict and its outcome with the man in the big chair. The Civil War was Lincoln's war, WWI was Wilson's, WWII FDR.

Nobody remembers who the House minority leader was in 1941 or how he voted.

It may be an oversimplication, but generally speaking it's the chief executive who drives the strategy and direction of the foreign policy decisions that lead to a war and it's conclusion.