Friday, December 31, 2004

Right War, Right Place, Right Time

Unjust, Unnecessary, and Unconstitutional. This is the mantra chanted by the anti-war crowd in their effort to de-legitimize Freedom’s current struggle in Iraq. These are accusations that must be dealt with head on if we the people are to give this conflict the support necessary to see it through. No people should support an unjust war; all people have a duty to fight for justice. When the U. S. sent off its billions and it aircraft carriers to save the suffering earthquake victims of South Asia, no one question the justice of that sacrifice. The world faced a far more devastating disaster in the person of the dictator of Iraq but America’s sacrifice to end that disaster is questioned by the many enemies of justice. Where is the consistency?

This morning three terrorist groups are threatening to kill poll workers in Iraq if they participate in the election. These groups have declared, "Democracy un-Islamic". When King George declared democracy to be against his will, our forefathers Declared their Independence. There were those then who said the fight for freedom wasn’t worth the sacrifice. In the bitter winter of Valley Forge the heros suffered and we will be in their debt forever.
Now in Iraq the fight for freedom goes on. There are those who say the people of that country do not want freedom - are not capable of Democracy. There was even such a speech given at the mid-year commencement at Weber State University this past week. A honoary doctoral recipient claiming that, "our form of government was not appropriate for everyone". That the only people to applaud this silliness were a few University Professors is telling.

That the Islamic Fanatics must use murder and terror to maintain their "system" puts them into the same category of liars as the Nazis and the Communists; and their cause is equally discredited and unjust. Liberty and Justice are unalienable human rights. They have nothing to do with being American or Western - all people want them by nature. As Cicero said, ""Nothing can be sweater than liberty." Cicero also pointed the way to the justice of removing tyrants form power. He explains in his On the Laws that, "As soon as a king begins to rule unjustly, that kind of government vanishes on the spot, for that same man has become a tyrant." It was also Cicero who explained that there is nothing more like than one man to another, and but for evil habits and deceits we (men and gods) would all be of the same mind.

I will put down some starting points for consideration. In future posts I will try to deal with most of these in detail. If there is anyone else in the Agora, please give comments to correct or clarify. I claim that the War in Iraq is Just, Necessary, and Constitutional. It is the Right War in the Right Place at the Right Time.


1. Oil for Food and the abuse of the United Nations. How many people died by Saddam’s diversion of needed monies from the feeding and medical care of the Iraqi people to build weapons, palaces, and torture chambers?

2. Weapons of Mass Destruction - Saddam was building, had used, and was preparing to build more weapons of mass destruction. As soon as he had bribed and bamboozled the U.N. into dropping inspections he would have build an A bomb and he was crazy enough to use it. He has killed millions in the past, why should he be trusted to behave differently once he was capable of greater atrocities? I still believe that there are hidden cashes of WMD in Iraq but weather they exist or not does not matter. If Saddam did not commit this crime he was in a conspiracy to do so. You lawyers tell me - doesn’t the law require us to act against conspiracy just as it does against murder?

3. Support of Terrorism - Saddam was proudly and openly giving money to Hamas and other terrorist groups to kill Israelis and Americans in murder bombings. There is mounting evidence that he was giving money to Al Qaeda. More on this to come.

4. Mass murder of the Iraqi people - at least four times the number were murdered by Saddam as have died in the Tidal Wave (Tsunami? - since when do the Japanese get to pick the words for the world?). If the U.S. could stop a Tidal Wave - or punish one for murder, wouldn’t it be our duty to do so.

5. Invasion of Kuwait. - Aggression, defeat, defiance of the treaties. You add it up!

6. Eight years of war with Iran (killing over one million people) in open aggression which demonstrated his intent to rule the world - a fantasy which he never gave up - and with U.N. support continued to pursue.
a) Saddam was spending millions to bribe the French (who would be so many oven roasted capons, - castrated chickens, - but for the U.S. willingness to spend its blood and treasure in a just cause).
b)Saddam was buying off the Russians (who have recently supported the totalitarian hopes of the Prim Minister of Ukraine and probably were involved in two attempts to murder the people’s choice to head that country). Need we look any further to judge Russian commitment to freedom?


1. War on Terror - Terror is the weapon of fanatic Islam to destroy and conquer the West. World domination and the destruction of the infidel are millennia old interpretations of the teaching of Mohamad. But for the courage and military might of past enemies of Islam the world would be under a system that finds Democracy an anathema.
Past efforts at world conquest were stopped by:
A. Charles Martel
B. Genghis Khan
C. El Sid
D. Spanish defeat of the Turkish Fleet
E. King of Sweden defeating invading Turks
F. Austrian Empire stops a second Turkish invasion who’s mission was the spread of Islam and the destruction of the West at the gates of Vienna.
G. The defeat of the Moslems by the armies of Polish Lithuania. This was a religious war.

2. Osama Bin Laden’s growing power - Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi. It is better is it to fight "them" there than here.

3. Establish a pro-Western democracy to support Afghanistan in surrounding and isolating Iran and to counter the terrorists in Syria and else were.


The President sought permission and the advice and consent of Congress and was granted the same, not only in support of the Constitution but in obedience to some very unconstitutional laws pushed through Congress during the crisis of the Vietnam War. The Constitution was written to provide for the common defense.

If any can add to these arguments please do. If you disagree please let us know - only out of the clash of ideas can we find the truth.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Media Gives America a McCaining

"Class, Class, Class, Shut up!!!!"

Am I the only one who remembers Sister Mary Elephant? As a teacher I have witnessed, even indulged in, ramping up the decibels to gain control of a rambunctious room full of "free thinkers." There was a time when the master could deal with unruly students by giving them a "good caning". Beaten bloody; the delinquents would fall in line and accept "direction". I get a guilty pleasure out of hearing the anger and shrillness in the voices of our masters in the media. They desperately squeal to get our attention; to get us back under their sway. The indigent opiners in the New York Times op ed pages, the condescending anchormen of the once "major networks", the NPR snoots, and the finger wagging chat groups on the C Span seminars; I watch them all and grin. The members of the third estate grown purple with indignation, embarrass themselves with shouting rages. They condemn Fox News for reporting stories "unapproved", they mock talk radio hosts for listening to ordinary people on the phones, and as for the AMATEUR journalists on the weblogs!!!! - it’s, "shut up, sit down, and listen to what we, your masters, have to say!!!"

When did the free press come to be defined as News Papers, T.V. Networks, and College degree waving journalism majors? Where did Thomas Pain get his degree in newsworthiness? However did they managed to legitimize themselves? There was no ballot box - not even free enterprise. NPR begs shamelessly for money while advertizing the support they receive from such liberal agenda driven bias benders and the ACLU and Amnesty International. Dan Rather and his ilk are propped up by violent fantasies and soft core porn. As for the New York Times - it’s Like public school teachers, and Bar certified lawyers, they make up their own rules of membership and scorn those who have not jumped their hoops. And so now that the "students" have gone restless, our instructors in the media are heading to the hickory thicket to cut themselves a switch.

Its worked before - They beat poor Richard Nixon to death with a switch called Watergate, leaving America misled for four years by Jimmy the C. Communism spread like foot fungus and radical Islam sank its roots into the fertile soil of Iran and the West Bank. After twelve years of Reagan/Bush the Media ginned up Ross Peroit and we got stuck with Bill Clinton, who never won a majority of American votes, but whose misgovernment sheltered the liberal agenda, brought relativism into practical power, and convinced Osama that America would cower before the might of a new Islamic Empire.

And when the majority of American grew tired of the farce that was Clinton/Gore the "press" went and cut a cane to keep us in line, John McCain. John McCain was and is every bit as much a media concoction as Clinton or Peroit. The Media needed someone to challenge George Bush - to sap off his resources and divide the Republican base. It had worked before. McCain was never a serious challenge to Bush - look at the final vote, but he was the Media’s darling, their bludgeon to keep us all in line.

The media still has great power. Convinced he was not their man, the media deserted Howard Dean and the Democratic Party dutifully recited the recitation that put Kerry on the ticket. But the flaw in their discipline is that it no longer extends past the liberal brown-nosers of the class. The rowdy free thinkers will not fall in line like the teacher's pets on the left. So once more the media go for their big switch, Mr. McCain.

There are some in the alternative media who think that McCain is using the media to keep his name before the voters, positioning himself for the 2008 campaign. Bunk! The media mainstream has cut him out of the thicket, trimmed his leaves and cracks him like a whip. The only way McCain gets used is to thrash those who have disrespected the talking heads that have long been our masters. McCain could give a speech a day in support of the liberation of Iraq, the Secretary of Defense, or the President and he would be left blowing in the wind. It’s only when he cracks out their tune that the media masters will use his biting words. When John McCain snaps look at the hand holding the whip if you want to see the truth.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Rape and Reason

Last week I gave "my" lecture on the founding of the Roman Republic. We read about the rape of Lucretia from Livy. In the story the prince of Rome rapes the chaste wife of one of his commrads while her husband is away at the battle front. It was this event that precipitated Brutis’ over-through of the king; setting up 500 years of republican government in Rome. I maintain that the Roman Republic was the inspiration for our own constitution. I always discuss Lucretia’s response to her rape with my students. Several days after the discussion I recieved an e-mail. I present it and the "back-and-forth" that followed. The names and phone numbers have been changed or omitted for the privacy of all involved. I hope you find the ideas interesting.

E-MAIL #1:

"A conversation came up with Suzzy after Parent-Teacher Conference or I would have addressed it then.

Suzzy mentioned that you posed a question to the class as part of a
discussion on class material. She stated that question was whether or not the student would rather be raped or killed. I don’t know the entire context of the discussion, but this question to me seems totally inappropriate for any classroom discussion with the exception of a college level women studies class. And please correct me if I’m wrong or if the question was stated differently. Given the information that I have, however, I have several concerns.

First of all, this is not a question that should be posed to any woman except in a safe environment such as a college level women’s study course where the woman knows what she is getting into or in a support group for rape victims. I can tell you that if this question was posed to me outside of these contexts, I would be enraged. Being raped is a woman’s worst fear and to be asked to contemplate it is unthinkable. And to ask my 15 year old to contemplate such a question is unfathomable. As a mother, this is the last thing I ever want her to have to contemplate at any age.

Second, this is not a question that should be asked in mixed company. To ask a male if he would rather be raped or killed, what does he have to compare it to. And how does it make a female feel to be asked to discuss such a private matter with them. Rape is historically a crime against women, not men. And how do you know that this isn’t sending a message to the males in the class that it’s okay to rape someone, because it is better than killing them.

Third, how do you know that someone in the class hasn’t been molested or raped or have a family member who has been. Because I can tell you that Suzzy does have family members who have been through just such a devastating experience. And she knows what they have had to endure and how it has affected their lives and others as well. This question only serves to remind her of how evil men can be.

Lastly, if you ask Suzzy a question expect to hear her opinion and have the courtesy to respect that opinion. My understanding, and again correct me if I’m wrong, is that you disagreed with her opinion and attempted with other class members to change her opinion. In the end, she was told that she needed to rethink her opinion. What type of classroom environment is this? School should be a safe place for children to learn and explore issues and be granted the right to their own opinions whether they differ from the staff or not.

I trust that if other parents are aware of the discussion, they have responded in a similar manner. If not, then take this as my concern with the discussion and lack of respect for my daughter’s opinion. I do not want this issue to become a class discussion or a discussion with my daughter. I also don’t expect there to be repercussions. If you would like to discuss it further, you can contact me by email or at ### ###-####.


E-MAIL #2 (my first response)


Thank you for your comments. Our class did discuss the very question you mention in our study of the Rape of Lucretia, a Roman girl, whose rape and subsequent suicide lead to the over through of the Roman monarchy and the establishment of the worlds first republican government. I believe thinking about the terrible consequences of rape is something that young people need to do long before they get into college classes. I also feel that you and I should discuss this in person rather than over e-mail. I would be glad to speak with you about
it, in detail, at your earliest convenience.

Teacher X


"..Mr. Teacher X,

The reason I contacted you by email is multifold. First, we both have hectic schedules. You teaching classes and me in counseling sessions. So this was the easiest means of communication. In addition, it allowed me the opportunity to calm down a little and think about how I wanted to respond to the issue. I would be more than happy to discuss this further with you, but I have no
intention of debating this issue. I suggest we schedule a time that works with both our schedules. Since I work in Salt Lake City, it will have to be by phone. I'm usually available from 7 - 9am."

E-MAIL #4 (my second response)


Thank you for your patience. Let me begin by assuring you I do not want to debate with your position. I appreciate being able to share my point of view and I am sure you will treat it with the same respect you justly insist I give to Suzzy’s and your own positions.

First, let me deal with the setting of our classroom discussion: Please let me refer to our class disclosure (Suzzy has the entire document in her notebook). From paragraph one: "The student will be introduced to the great ideas that constitute the world dialogue and shown the tools which will allow him to enter into it. This HONORS program recognizes the value of and the need to prepare students to complete a college degree and build a foundation for a lifelong education; therefore activities and standards will attempt to approximate those followed in a university setting." And from paragraph two: "Students will be required to use the basic tools of learning; thinking, questioning, speaking, memorization, reading, criticism, note taking and creative writing." And under point #9 it reads: ‘in-class activities and discussion."

Next, let me deal with the exact passage from Livy which we were discussing that day: The overall context is that injustice will not be born by a free people and when a king or prince acts unjustly it is the obligation of the people to overthrow him. After brutally abusing Lucretia, Sextus rides away, ". . . proud of his success. The unhappy girl wrote to her father in Rome and to her husband in Ardea, urging them both to come at once with a trusted friend -- and quickly, for a frightful thing had happened. . . . Tears rose to her eyes as they entered, and to her husband’s question, ‘Is it well with you?’ she answered, ‘No. What can be well with a woman who has lost her honor? . . . My heart is innocent, and death will be my witness. Give me your solemn promise that the adulterer shall be punished -- . . . The promise was given. One after another they tried to comfort her. They told her she was helpless, and therefore innocent; that he alone was guilty. It was the mind, they said, that sinned, not the body: without intention there could never be guilt. ‘What is due to him,’ Lucretia said ‘is for you to decide. As for me I am innocent of fault, but I will take my punishment. Never shall Lucretia provide a precedent for unchaste women to escape what they deserve.’ With these words she drew a knife from under her robe, drove it into her heart, and fell forward, dead" (Livy, The Early History of Rome, pg 99) The question which comes to me is: why didn’t Lucretia listen to those who loved her when they pleaded and argued that she was innocent? The answer is because they had never thought the situation through with her - she believed, wrongly, that she was "unchaste". The discussion that this question led to has the purpose of getting the students to think through this important concept.

I would now like to speak to the five concerns in your e-mail.

First - that the question was posed somewhere other than a college "women’s study course".
— I wish no child would ever have to contemplate the horror of rape, but the monsters who perpetuate these crimes do not take age or level of education into consideration. Far too many teenagers will face sexual abuse long before they get to college - many will never take a woman’s study course. I believe it is important that they have thought about it before they are confronted with it. All of us need to know that being a victim of rape does not mean we are unworthy to live. I feel this is a valuable thing to be discussed with young people before they , like Lucretia, are destroyed by a misconception of their ignorance.

Second - having this discussion in mixed company.
— I do not intend to compare sexual abuse on a gender specific basis but young men can be raped and sexually abused. They also can be forced to bear unnecessary guilt for someone else’s crime. Both girls and boys can be cowed into silence by misunderstandings of worthiness or responsibility. Rape is not a vulgar or "dirty’ subject about which we should blush or feel shame, it is a terrible reality with which all must be prepared to deal. In our lesson it was made very clear that Sextus was evil in his acts and as just reward for his perfidy he lost his kingdom and was killed by his angry subjects.

Third - could someone in my class have been molested or raped?
— I assume that my students - male and female - have or will face this terrible situation. It is for this extremity that a discussion of Lucretia can prepare them. They need to think about their attitudes toward rape victims. I have actually had a young lady come to me after this discussion and thank me. She said she had been raped and this was the first time anyone had told her she was still clean (chaste).

Fourth - that I disagreed with Suzzy’s opinion:
— I did. Disagreeing with someone does not show disrespect. The purpose of discussion is to present and even change opinions. I am pleased that Suzzy challenged my ideas, and I gave her every opportunity to express her disagreement. She was eager for me to reconsider my position, I remain eager for her to reconsider her’s. I am pleased that Suzzy has discussed her feeling with you, and if that discussion has clarified her stance, I believe it has been a good thing for her.

In your last paragraph you mention your feeling about other parents’ concerns and restate your believe that I showed a lack of respect for Suzzy’s opinion.
— I have had other parents speak to me about this discussion. Many have expressed their gratitude for opening a door to family discussions and clarification. This is surely my intention, and an important reason for studying history.
— Finally, I once again stress that disagreeing with someone’s opinion does not show disrespect. In fact the opposite is, in my belief, the case.
It is not my intention to debate with you or change your opinion, just to clarify mine to you.

Respectfully yours,

Teacher X"

Sunday, December 12, 2004

No More Vietnams - Six

CHAPTER SIX - Third World War


This is not just WWIII but also war in the Third World. Nixon begins by admitting that the US defeat in the Vietnam War was the Soviet Union’s greatest victory. Nixon then catalogs our losses during the Carter administration and credits Reagan with ending the losing streak. Nixon warns of the dangers of the "New Isolationism". He discusses the various types of wars and US success and failure in each. Nixon gives evidence that diplomacy and economics are not enough. He gives warning of the dangers of unconventional war and points out the disastrous and long term effects of Carter’s failure in Iran. Nixon then sets forth his own "Nixon" Doctrine and four supporting points. 1) Veitnamization (training for our allies) first.
2) Allowing allies to fight in the best way to meet threats. 3) Not requiring allies to be perfect, just better than our enemies. 4) not ignoring the sources of insurgency. Nixon explains why we failed in Hungry and Cuba and how Reagan succeeded in Granada. He warns that over and under confidence are both to be avoided. Nixon presents conditions for going to war, foreshadowing the "Powell" doctrine and defines what "national" interests are. Nixon speaks prophetically of the growing danger of terrorism; describing its threat and recommending a defense. Nixon explains how international action and not UN resolutions will counter terrorism. Next, Nixon explains the role Congress should play in the Third World war; referencing the disastrous effects of Congressional meddling in Vietnam and since. He calls for covert war and the need to restore legitimate Presidential power. Nixon explains why Communism will fail, (he was right!) and how the Third World war will need to be fought economically as well as militarily. The US and its allies must give economic support to third world nations because Capitalism and freedom do work. Nixon defends multinational economics and calls for bipartisan support of foreign economic policy. Nixon warns of the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Nixon also calls on future Presidents to articulate the "great causes" by which they call the people of America to fight. He ends his book by warning the we will need to fight wars again but we need to win them. In the authors note Nixon gives the over arching reason for his book, countering the lies of biased media and academics.


1. "Saigon’s fall . . . was the Soviet Union’s greatest victory in one of the key battles of the Third World war." (Pg 212)

2. "Since President Reagan took office in 1981, America’s first international losing streak has been halted. . . . We must purge ourselves of the paralyzing sickness of the Vietnam syndrome if we are to avoid other defeats in the battles of the Third World war." (Pg 212)

3. ". . . the new isolationists contend that the united States has no strategic interests in the Third World that would justify the use of our military power, . . . We must be concerned because it would be the height of immorality to stand by and allow millions of people to suffer the fate of the people of Vietnam and other Third World countries that have had repressive totalitarian regimes imposed upon them. . . . Except for Afghanistan, where they are attempting to suppress a counterrevolution against a Soviet puppet regime, Moscow has gained domination over nine Third World countries since 1974 without committing any troops to combat." (Pgs 213 and 214)

4. ". . . superior conventional forces will not prevail against an enemy who wages unconventional war. Helping a government stop a violent revolution militarily without helping it deal with the economic conditions. . . buy only short-lived victory." (Pg 215)

5. "At another extreme are those who say that poverty is the problem, and that instead of providing military aid to ensure security, we should provide economic aid to promote progress. . . . when President Truman asked for military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey to meet the threat of Soviet-supported Communist guerrillas in Greece. Along with other congressmen, my office was flooded with hundreds of postcards reading, "Send food, not arms." We resisted the pressure and voted for the Truman program. If we had sent food only and not arms, Greece would be Communist today. . . there can be no progress without security." (Pg 216)

6. "Diplomacy cannot succeed without military power to back it up. For example, when President Carter ruled out the use of force at the outset of the Iranian hostage crisis, he weakened the effectiveness of diplomacy to resolve it.. . . " (Pg 216)

7. "I formulated the Nixon Doctrine. It states that in the future, unless a major power intervened in the Third World conflict, the U.S. should not commit its combat forces. [four points clarify]" (pg 218)

8. "[1] The policy of "Vitenamization" should have been imitated at the beginning of the war..." (Pg 218)

9. "[2] Armies should be equipped and trained to meet the threat they are facing.

10. "[3] . . . our choice is usually not between our allies and someone better by between our allies and something far worse." (Pg 218)
10a. "[ 4] . . . we must not make the mistake of helping our allies fight the insurgency and ignoring the source of the insurgency." (Pgs 219)

11. "The record is clear. Cubans are worse off under Castro than under Batista. The Vietnamese are worse off under the Communist Le Duan than under Thieu. Cambodians were worse off under Pol Pot than under Lon Nol. . . . We must never take a course of action that results in the fall o f a government that permits some freedom and the victory of one that permits none." (Pgs 218-219)

12. "We must not make the tragic mistakes we made in Hungary in 1956 and at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, where we encouraged revolutions against Communist regimes and then failed to support our friends when they came under attack from superior forces.. . . The freedom fighters in Afghanistan also deserve support, especially because this is the only leverage we have on the Soviets to mitigate their repression in that country." (Pg 219)

13. "In Nicaragua we should help the contras as long as the Sandinistas continue to support the guerillas in El Salvador, . . . we will be justified in continuing aid to the contras only if we are prepared to see it through in the event that they come under attack from superior forces." (Pg 219)

14. "The successful operation in Grenada served three important purposes: It rescued Americans whose lives were in danger; it removed the possibility of another Soviet base being constructed in the Caribbean; and most important, it erased some of the felling of impotence we developed after the fall of Saigon." (Pgs 219-220)

15. "But while it would be dangerous to assume that Graenada proved we could do every thing, it is even more dangerous to assume that because we failed in Vietnam, we will fail everywhere." (Pg 220)

16. "[for military involvement] conditions are met; ... [1] vital to our national interests;. . . commit forces only as a last resort; . . . [2] winnable in that we have the means to achieve our goal of victory; [3] and we must have assurance of support by Congress and the public." (Pg 220)

17. "Our vital interests are affected by what happens in other parts of the world as well. . . . If we define our vital interests too narrowly solely out of fear of getting involved in another Vietnam we run the risk of abandoning millions of people to totalitarianism and eventually, of losing the Third World war." (Pgs 220-221)

18. "The same principle applies to international terrorism. Some urge restraint in retaliation against terrorism because of the admittedly significant risk of casualties among civilians, hostages, and our military personnel. But while we cannot act in every instance of terrorism, we should always act decisively when we know who is responsible and where they are. Otherwise we give carte blanche to these international outlaws to strike again. If one group of terrorists succeeds in intimidating the United States, others will be encouraged to try, and more lives will undoubtedly be lost as a result. Swift, timely retaliation, even if there is some risk to innocent people, will mean that other terrorists will be less likely to threaten and kill innocent people in the future. Repeated threats to retaliate that are not followed by action are counterproductive. A president of the United States should warn only once. Terrorism, whether undertaken by states, political groups, or individuals, is one of the most insidious and deadly aspects of the Third World war. . . . If the United States wants to continue to play a role in the Third World, it must attack terrorism at its source." (Pgs 221-222)

19. "Terrorism is a way to divide and conquer – but only if its victims allow themselves to be divided. When terrorists act against one nation, other nations should respond as if it is an attack on them all – because, in essence, it is." (Pg 223)

20. "Terrorists will not be deterred by UN resolutions or expressions of outrage by leaders and legislatures. But they may be deterred once they realize that by using terror they will spark the wrath of all nations that do not want to exist in a world riven by a tiny minority who have resorted to violence in pursuit of their objectives." (Pg 223)

21. "Wars cannot be waged without the support of the Congress and the people. But there are times when the Congress and the people may not recognize our vital interests in Third World conflicts. Leaders should lead and not just follow uninformed public opinion. It is their responsibility to educate the people and the Congress about where our vital interests are and then gain support for whatever military actions may be necessary to protect them. Leaders who do only what opinion polls indicate uninformed voters will support are not true leaders, and if America follows them, it will cease to be a great nation."

22. "A president must not be faced with the option of either waging total war or accepting total defeat. . . .Congress has tried to force Presidents to make exactly that choice by passing measures that drastically curtail their ability to use limited and unconventional military power. The War Powers Act makes it impossible for a President to act swiftly and secretly in a crisis and permits Congress to pull our troops out simply by doing nothing – by failing to pass either resolutions for or against the President’s action. The Foreign Assistance Act Limits aid to governments that do not have squeaky-clean human rights records. . . . The Clark Amendment of 1976, which forbade covert aid to the freedom fighters in Angola, gave Cuba and the Soviet Union the green light . . . The Boland Amendment of 1982 paved the way for the disastrous decision by Congress to cut off all covert aid to the contras fighting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua." (Pg 225)

23. ". . . we must face up to the reality that covert war is a fact of life in the Third World.." (Pg 226)

24. "Congressional leadership means leadership by consensus, and consensus leadership is not leadership. . . A president, however, must look, think, and then act decisively. The War Powers Act and the other measures that limit a President’s latitude are lingering symptoms of the Vietnam syndrome, manifestations of the fear of our own strength that swept American following our failure in Indochina." (Pg 226)

25. "Ironically, in the long run the Communists lose when they win in the Third World, because Soviet socialism does not work." (Pg 227)

26. "Communism no longer has appeal to the masses. It promises peace and produces war. It promises liberation and produces tyranny. It promises justice and produces gulags. It promises progress and produces poverty. . . . The major geopolitical development since the end of World War II has been that the Communists have lost the ideological battle in the world." (Pg 227)

27. "Tinhorn dictators skimmed off billions of dollars in graft to feather their nests. Demagogues . . . built monuments to themselves rather than leaving a legacy of progress for their people." (Pg 227)

28. "We have left the impression that we become actively involved in the Third World only when our interests are threatened by Communist aggression. We must now develop polices that address their interests." (Pg 229)

29. "We and our allies must be as bold and generous in helping Third World countries down the road to economic progress as the U.S. was in helping Europe and Japan recover after World War II." (Pg 229)

30. ". . . big business has already done a great deal to spur economic development in the "Third World. It should be encouraged to do more." (Pg 232)

31. "Bipartisanship in foreign policy was one of the major casualties of the Vietnam War. It is crucially important that our Third World initiative begin as a bipartisan effort and stay that way. . . . Unless we decide at the outset that our effort to win the Third World war will not be a political football, there will always be the danger that it the future a President or the Congress, eyeing the next election, will punt and give the ball back to the other side." (Pg 233)

32. "While the Soviets want the world, they do not want war. . . . And as a major nuclear power, the Soviets are concerned abut the proliferation of nuclear weapons, just as we are, and about the possibility that an international outlaw like Qaddafi might acquire such weapons." (Pg 235)

33. "But America is a great nation . Great nations must be mature enough to accept the fact that you do not win all the time. Defeat is never fatal unless you give up, and American must never give up. We must not turn away from our responsibilities in the world. If we refuse to play a major role, the rest of the free world will be at the mercy of totalitarian aggressors.. . . Where freedom is destroyed anywhere, it is threatened in ‘America." (Pg 236)

34. ". . . Woodrow Wilson’s greatest contributions . . . "a war to end wars", a war "to make the world safe for democracy". . . . Roosevelt and Churchill inspired . . . the Four Freedoms and eventually a new world organization that would initiate an era of peace. . . . Thomas Jefferson said, "We act not for ourselves alone but for the whole human race. " Lincoln proclaimed, "We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth." . . . Appeals to our highest ideals have never failed to move Americans to support great causes. To make the world safe not only for ourselves but for others is a great cause." (Pg 237)

35. "In Vietnam, we tried and failed in a just cause. "No more Vietnams" can mean that we will not try again. It should mean that we will not fail again." (Pg 237)

36. [FROM THE AUTHOR’S NOTE] "This book was not written to preempt historians. It was written because both during and after the war, as President and private citizen, I found that televison and newspaper coverage of the Vietnam War described a different war from the one I knew, and that the resulting misimpressions formed in the public’s mind were continuing to haunt our foreign policy."

Friday, December 10, 2004

No More Vietnams - Five

CHAPTER 5 -How We Lost the Peace


Nixon begins by asserting that our military victory of 1973 was abandoned by congress and outlines the short and long term effects of the US failure. He then goes on to prove these assertions. The flaws of the International Commission of Control and Supervision are exposed as is the pressure from the Congress that makes supporting the Peace Agreement difficult. Nixon shows how Hanoi takes advantage of U.S. and international weakness to block and even attack the Commission. Nixon next presents the growing Communist threat in Cambodia and how Congress blocked action against it. Nixon acts and saves Cambodia, for that time, but the antiwar forces are out to stop the President. Ted Kennedy and others block support and hamstring the South Vietnamese war effort. Senator Mansfield actually threatens to shut down our government rather than support Nixon’s efforts to support Cambodia. Nixon is further weakened by the War Powers Act and Watergate. Nixon laments that the backlash against American action in South East Asia will mean that all our sacrifices will be for nothing. He is right. Nixon next describes the struggles of the South Vietnamese to survive once US support is slashed. Congress seems to equate defeat to peace. Problems with the American economy and the world oil supply further frustrate Nixon’s efforts to support our "valiant" allies. All this is good news for Hanoi. Nixon demonstrates that the South Vietnamese did fight valiantly but to no avail. Nixon presents the atrocities of the fall of Cambodia and exposes the Media’s complicity in these atrocities. The fall of Vietnam is next described, followed by the steps taken by the Communists to reshape South Vietnam in their image. Here Nixon tells us what the antiwar people should have and probably did know but refused to see. He gives statistics of the numbers killed and exposes other crimes. Nixon includes a heartrending letter from a high ranking Cambodian official’s refusal to leave his country. Nixon concludes the chapter by explaining the effects of the US desertion of South East Asia and explains what we must learn from our failure.


1. "Vietnamization had succeeded. But United States power was the linchpin holding the peace agreement together. Without a credible threat of renewed American bombing of North Vietnam, Hanoi would be sorely tempted to prepare to invade South Vietnam again. And without adequate American military and economic assistance, South Vietnam would lack the power to turn back yet another such invasion." (Pg 165)

2. "Thousands of Vietnamese were killed in Hanoi’s prison camps, Hundreds of thousands more drowned in the South China Sea as they fled in the pathetic flotillas of the "boat people." And over 2 million Cambodians – a quarter of the country’s population – were killed in a brutal frenzy of communist vengeance and destruction. . . . Our defeat in Vietnam paralyzed America’s will to act in other Third World trouble spots and therefore encouraged aggression on the part of those who had made them trouble spots to begin with." (Pg 166)

3. "All commission rulings on cease-fire violations had to be approved by a unanimous vote of its members. This meant that the North Vietnamese or their Hungarian and Polish allies would be in a position to block all actions Hanoi opposed. . . . I had no intention of waiting for a representative of Hungary or Poland to give his assent before I ordered retaliatory actions against North Vietnam." (Pg 168)

4. "Congress was ready to vote us out of the war if we did not get an agreement. . . . This would have been an abject surrender to North Vietnam’s most extreme demands." (Pg 169)

5. "Hanoi’s definition of a cease-fire was that we cease and they fire." (Pg 171)

6. "Hanoi began blatantly violating the prohibition on sending additional troops and supplies into South Vietnam. . . . In early February our reconnaissance aircraft sighted a convoy of 175 military trucks moving across the demilitarized zone and a column of 223 tanks driving down the Ho Chi Minh Trail toward South Vietnam. . . . By May 1973, Hanoi had shipped in over 35,000 troops and more than 30,000 tons of material." (Pgs 172-173)

7. "It [Hanoi] obstructed the negotiations on creating the National Council of National Reconciliation and concord, . . . Since the commission required unanimous consent for all actions, the Communist-bloc members were able to veto all motions contrary to the interests of the North Vietnamese. . . . North Vietnam . . . now sought to destroy it. On April 7, while flying over Quang Tri Province along Route 9 toward the Laos border, two commission helicopters were shot down by North Vietnamese forces. . . . Canada soon announced its withdrawal from the commission. . . " (Pgs 173-174)

8. "During 1971 and 1972, North Vietnam had built up the Khmer Rouge forces. . . . Congress had legislated severe limitations on our options." (Pg 175)

9. "Our bombing relieved the pressure on Cambodia’s capital and alleviated the danger of an imminent collapse. . . . Our critics accused us of engaging in indiscriminate terror bombing, which they claimed slaughtered hundreds of civilians. But the record shows that our air strikes were directed against enemy military targets and were highly accurate." (Pg 179)

10. ". . . I had lost the last opportunity I would have to use American power to enforce the peace agreement. . . . It was not a failure of presidential will – I was willing to act – but an erosion of congressional support. . . . Antiwar senators and congressmen launched a frontal assault on our policy . . . a prohibition of all direct and indirect American military actions in or around Indochina. . . . They also sought to forbid the sending of reconstruction aid to North Vietnam. When they succeeded with both efforts, Congress had withdrawn both the carrots and the sticks built into the agreement. Hanoi as a result had no reason to comply with its terms." (Pg 178)

11. "Senator Ted Kennedy, who was a principal sponsor of the measure, said, "If we really want peace in Cambodia – and cease-fire arrangements for all of Indochina – then we should be sending our diplomats to help negotiate these arrangements, instead of sending our B-52s to bomb." It was sadly ironic that Kennedy, whose brother had committed the United States to the defense of the free countries of Indochina was leading the fight to abandon them. . . . Our choice was either to bomb or to accept defeat in Cambodia – which would quickly lead to defeat in South Vietnam. Worse still, antiwar critics were naively ignorant of the fact that diplomacy cannot succeed without power to back it up." (Pgs 178-179)

12. "Senator Mansfield then declared that it was his intention "to attach similar riders [to cut off bombing in Cambodia] to every other possible piece of legislation.". . . "If the President does not want to stop the bombing in Cambodia but does want to stop the government from functioning," Mansfield warned, "that is the President’s responsibility."

13. "On June 30, I signed into law the bill containing the bombing cutoff. The amendment read: "None of the funds herein appropriated under this Act may be expended to support direct or indirect combat activities in or over Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam or off the shores of Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam by the United States forces, and after August 15, after August 15, 1973, no other funds heretofore appropriated under any other Act may be expended for such purposes." This defeat stripped me of the authority to enforce the peace agreement in Vietnam – and gave Hanoi’s leaders a free hand against South Vietnam." (Pg 180)

14. "the War Powers Act. . . . stipulated that the President must consult with Congress before intervening with our forces in an armed conflict. . . . I vetoed the War Powers Act . . . Nevertheless, Congress voted to override my veto on November 7." (Pg 181)

15. "In April 1973, Watergate had became the successor to the Vietnam War as the rallying cry for anti-administration critics. . . . It not only began to consume much of my time and concentration, but also steadily chipped away at my executive authority to act in other areas as well." (Pg 181)

16. "I was caught off-guard by the intensity of this backlash [against war in Indochina]. It was inconceivable to me that, after sacrificing over 55,000 lives in a twelve-year struggle to win a just peace settlement in Vietnam, we would casually cast away what our men died to achieve." (Pg 182)

17. "While North Vietnam rushed troops and supplies to the front lines, Congress slashed the amount of military aid budgeted for South Vietnam." (Pg 185)

18. "Antiwar-senators and congressmen argued that our military assistance was "fueling" the war and that reducing aid to Saigon would bring it to an end – as if South Vietnamese troops were in the North and not the other way around. . . . When Congress cut American aid to South Vietnam, it neglected to slow the flow of Soviet aid to North Vietnam." (Pg 186)

19. "Even if the combat rates stayed at the levels of late 1974, the fact was that South Vietnam would simply run out of all ammunition in May 1975. The availability and quality of medical care for South Vietnamese casualties plunged. Wounded soldiers could not count on evacuation helicopters. Stocks of basic medical supplies were depleted to such critical levels that strict conservation measures were ordered. It was even necessary to wash bandages, surgical dressings, intravenous sets, rubber gloves, and hypodermic needles and syringes so they could be reused. . . . Hanoi’s leaders could not believe their good fortune as the antiwar majority in Congress did their work for them." (Pg 194)

20. "In the presidential campaign of 1972, Senator George McGovern claimed that South Vietnam would collapse within seventy-two hours of the final withdrawal of American troops. But it did not collapse then. It did not collapse when Congress took away the threat to Hanoi of an American retaliation in 1973. It did not collapse when Congress sharply reduced its military and economic aid in 1974. It did not collapse until 1975, when all hope of future American aid was lost. For over two years, South Vietnam held off the hordes of invaders from the North. Our news media portrayed the soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam as cowards. Americans remember the images of desperate troops clinging to the skids of evacuation helicopters or racing with refugees to see who could escape the fighting the fastest. In fact, some South Vietnamese units did fall apart under fire in 1975. . . . it is important to recognize that it is asking a lot of a soldier to fight bravely when his ammunition is rationed and the enemy’s is not. (Pg 201)

21. "Objective military analysts have stated that South Vietnamese soldiers were, man-for-man, better fighters than the North Vietnamese. . . . Congress turned its back on a noble cause and a brave people. . . . Our South Vietnamese friends were asking us to give them the tools so they could finish the job. Congress would not so our allies could not." (Pg 202)

22. "Indochina Without Americans: For Most a Better Life" read the headline of an article in the New York Times . . ." (Pg 202)

23. "Children were forced to watch as their parents were decapitated or stabbed, bludgeoned, or tortured to death. It was a barbaric ritual repeated thousands of times throughout Cambodia. These killing fields later turned into sunken pits as the hundreds of bodies buried underneath began to decay." (Pg 204)

24. "It has been estimated that Khmer Rouge policies killed over 1.2 million Cambodians in 1975 and 1976. Over 100,000 were executed in the first wave of terror. Over 20,000 died while fleeing the country. Over 400,000 were killed in the Mass exodus from Cambodia’s cities. Over 680,000 were executed or died of disease or starvation in the New Villages in the countryside. . . . By 1978 . . . it is estimated that between 2 million and 3 million Cambodians had died at the hands fo those who had called themselves "liberators." (Pg 205)

25. "Hanoi developed three ways of dealing with those it considered enemies. First the communists built a Vietnamese gulag . . . Second Hanoi sends those it considers potentially disloyal to what it calls New Economic Zones. . . . Third, the Communists caused the exodus of over 1.2 million people in the tragic flotillas of the boat people. . . . Observers estimated that half – 600,000 people – drowned at sea." (Pgs 206-207)

26. "Their [those in the antiwar movement] vicious brand of self-righteousness had grotesquely twisted their moral sense. . . . Today, after Communist governments have killed over half million Vietnamese and over 2 million Cambodians, the conclusive moral judgment has been rendered on our effort to save Cambodia and South Vietnam: We have never fought in a more moral cause. Assertions in the antiwar mews media that life in Indochina would be better after our withdrawal served to high-light in a tragic way the abysmally poor level of their reporting throughout the war. But of all their blatantly inaccurate statements over the years, none was more hideously wrong than that one." (Pg 209)

27. "Dear Excellency and Friend,

I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to transport me toward freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion. As for you, and in particular your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which have chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection, and we can do nothing about it. . . .

Sisowath Sirik Matak [former Premier of Cambodia]." (Pg 209)

28. "After we abandoned the use of power, it was seized by the North Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge Communists." (Pg 210)

29. "A lesson that our adversaries should learn from our intervention in Vietnam is that the United States, under resolute and strong leadership, will go to great lengths and endure great sacrifices to defend its allies and interests." (Pg 210)

30. "One lesson we must learn from Vietnam is that if we do not exercise power for the good, there are plenty of men like Ho Chi Minh, Khieu Samphan, and Pol Pot who will gladly exercise it for evil purposes. Our armed intervention in the Vietnam War was not a brutal and immoral action. That we came to the defense of innocent people under attack by totalitarian thugs is no moral indictment. . . . South Vietnam and Cambodia were worthy of our help -- and the 3 million people who were killed in the war’s aftermath deserved to be saved. Our abandonment of them in their moment of greatest need was not worthy of our country." (Pg 210)

31. "Another lesson we must learn is that in the real world peace is inseparable from power. . . . Our cause must be peace. But we must recognize that greater evils exist than war. Communist troops brought peace to South Vietnam and Cambodia – but it was the peace of the grave." (Pg 211)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Wall

Last Friday night I ran the Extemp prep-room at the Caesar/Cicero debate tournament at North Ridge High. After sending off the last speaker of the first round, I headed to the tab room to scare up some dinner. There, Mr. Hire told me he had heard I was stirring up trouble again. "What? Me?" He said he’d heard I had hung a giant "W STILL THE PRESIDENT" sign right across the hall from Mrs. Seiter’s room. I told him, while I would have if I could have, I hadn’t. He told me Ms Seiter was plotting to get even by handing up a poster that would keep a running tally of the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq next to the W sign. What an "interesting way" to honor the love of those who have laid down their lives for people they didn’t even know. I resolved that if she posted the sign I would post some of my own. Various numbers that would challenge the stupidity of this liberal taunt came to mind: The number of Americans killed on 9/11, the number of Americans killed by terrorist attacks during the Clinton Administration, the number of people murdered by terrorist world wide, the number of Russian killed by Islamic terrorists, the number of women murdered in Afghanistan by the Taliban, the number of men murdered by the Taliban, the number of Israelis killed by terrorists in Israel, the number of Palestinian children convinced to blow themselves up in acts of murder, the number of unborn Americans aborted every year since Roe vs Wade, the number of Americans killed in auto accident, the number of American murdered in America, the number of policemen killed fighting crime, the number of firefighters killed while rescuing people from disaster, the number of Coast Guards men who have died at sea trying to rescue the crews of sinking ships, the number of Iraqis murdered by Saddam Hussain, the number of Kuwaites murdered by Saddam, the number of Serbian civilians killed by US bombing that ended the regime of Melosavic, the number of Iraqis killed during the first Iraq war, the number of Iraqis and Iranians killed during the Iran/Iraq war, the number of Union Soldiers that dies freeing the slaves, the number of patriots that died in the Revolution, the number of our warriors killed in WWI and WWII, Vietnam, Korea, the number of Tibetans murdered by China, the number of Somalis murdered in Darfur, the number of Ivarians by the French, the number of. . .! What conclusions should we draw from these numbers, what would posting them mean.

On Monday afternoon Mr. Hopkins told me the death tally sign was up - the battle was joined. The handwritten poster next to the four by eight foot "W" banner read something like, "1200 + AMERICAN SOLDIERS KILLED TO DATE IN IRAQ AND FOR WHAT?" I printed out four sheets on my computer in large font.




Underneath these pages I placed in even larger print: MORE TO COME!!!

When I returned to check the wall there were poster board tags filled with broad marker letters. Before leaving school for the day I answered each. They went like this: (I don’t have the posters - I quote them only from memory.)




Poster:(Under my page MORE TO COME)

I awoke rather early next morning and composed some rhetorical questions to post. I printed them out and taped them together into a long scroll that stretched down three quarters of the wall.


How much of the U.S. economy’s challenge is related to the unprovoked attack of 9/11?

How many Americans would be out of work if the Bush Tax Cuts had not pulled our country out of the Clinton Recession?

How many people in the world would be hungry if Saddam Hussain controlled the world oil supply? Ask his own people how he shares "oil for food".

How many women would the Taliban have killed in the last two years for wanting to go to school or work or speak their minds?

How many Policemen have died fighting crime in the last two years? Should we give up that battle?

How many Firemen have lost their lives rescuing people from disasters since ‘9/10? Should we give up fighting fires?

50,000 Americans die each year in auto accidents. Shouldn’t we give up driving cars? We could use the gas money for welfare!

Would you like to trade the U.S. economy for that of Russia, Germany, Canada, or France?

How many would have died in Saddam’s torture chambers if he weren’t in jail?

How many suicide terror bombers would Saddam have bought at $25,000 of Oil for Food money each if he were still in power?

Before school started more posters, this time on bright yellow oaktag, had appeared. As I have first period prep, I answered.



Poster: (Under my remark about Americans being fat.)






When I returned to the wall at the end of school all the posters, including the tally of American Soldiers killed had been pulled down. Some of my replies were also gone and others damaged and wrinkled as if they had been pulled down them put back up. Posted amidst them one small yellow tag "OK - NOW I’M BORED"

I feel good about the out come of this little clash - I was not bored. I was ready to keep up the argument and I feel my efforts had served an important purpose. I believe that the debate had put the deaths of our precious soldiers in context. My study of the Vietnam War has shown me how powerful anti-war propaganda can be. War is terrible, we must never forget that. The deaths and lives of our heros should be memorialized. But their sacrifice should not be used as a weapon to support the cause of those who would champion the murders who killed them.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

No More Vietnams - Four

CHAPTER FOUR - How We Won the War


Nixon begins Chapter Four by claiming that although the United States won the Vietnam War, Congress would not support the peace. When Nixon comes to office he had to manage a situation that had evolved over the terms of four presidents. Nixon outlines Kennedy’s mistake - choosing a diplomatic and not a military solution to Communist aggression, and Johnson’s mistake - trying to maintain congressional support for the "Great Society" by pledging a bombing halt. Nixon presents the choices confronting him when he came to office and his decisions regarding them. He describes the political forces he faced and the determination of the North Vietnamese with which American had to contend. Nixon defends the "secret bombing" of Cambodia. He explains how he had to appeal over the heads of the Congress and the press directly to the American people in his "Silent Majority" speech. Nixon indites the media, explaining why the Cambodian campaign was necessary and how the media and academics blamed the U. S. for the atrocities of the Communists. Nixon next turns his attention to draft dodgers and the anti-war movement. He judges then on their motives. Nixon says outright that the "best and brightest" went to Vietnam not to Canada. He talks about the radical, often violent, nature of the war protestors and points out the devastating effect they had on the war effort. There is plenty of foreshadowing here of the criticism John Kerry will face. Nixon describes how the South Vietnamese were integrated into the conflict. He describes how Congress and the Media interfered in the war. He particularly condemns the media’s treatment of our South Vietnamese allis and the exploitation of the Pentagon Papers. Nixon demonstrates how the Congress and the press fully turn against the war even as the South Vietnamese are proving themselves in battle. North Vietnam’s response to the successes of the South Vietnamese is to use the Media to manipulate the U. S. Congress. Nixon expresses his own hatred of the war and the divisiveness it brings to America. Nixon laments the bitter death of L. B. J. He concludes the chapter explaining how the U. S. won the war the only way it could, by setting up the conditions to keep the peace.


1. "On January 27, 1973 . . . we had won the war in Vietnam. We had attained the one political goal for which we had fought the war: The South Vietnamese people would have the right to determine their own political future. . . . But in the United States, the people were tiring of the burdens of the war, and congressional opposition soon began to build. We had a limited period of time to prevail in Vietnam before the political support we needed to fight the war evaporated in Congress." (Pg - 97)

2. "John F. Kennedy declared: "let every nation know, whether it wishes us well of ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." . . . But he backed away from taking strong action to match his strong words." (Pg 99)

3. ". . . he [Johnson] refused to give his military commanders the authority to conduct the war in the way that would have won it. He desperately wanted to end the war by negotiations. To demonstrate his desire for peace, he repeatedly ordered pauses in the bombing of North Vietnam – all of which he ruefully told me in 1969, had been mistakes." (Pg 100)

4. "We could have bombed the elaborate system of irrigation dikes in North Vietnam, though this would have resulted in floods that would have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. Or we could have used tactical nuclear weapons against enemy forces. . . . Our goal, they [some of Nixon’s advisors] argued, should not be to defeat the enemy but to stay long enough so that after we withdrew there would be a "decent interval" before South Vietnam fell to the Communists. . . . As President, I could not ask any young American to risk his life for an unjust or unwinnable cause. . . . To seek peace at any price was no answer to an enemy who sought victory at any price. . . . I considered it unthinkable that we would fight a bitter war for four years, lose 30,000 men, and spent tens of billions of dollars for the goal of getting our POW’s back." (Pg 103)

5. "Our goal was not to conquer North Vietnam but to prevent North Vietnam from conquering South Vietnam." (Pg 104)

6. "I knew it would not be possible to sustain public and congressional support for our military efforts unless we could demonstrate that we were exploring every avenue for ending the war through negotiations." (Pg 106)

7. "In February 1969, while we were negotiating in Paris and preparing a new peace initiative to probe Hanoi’s intentions, the North Vietnamese launched a savage offensive in South Vietnam. Communist forces killed 453 American in the first week, 336 in the second, 351 in the third." (Pg 107)

8. "In March we decided to bomb one of theses bases in retaliation. We also decided to keep the bombing secret. We did this for two reasons: We wanted to avoid the domestic uproar that might result from a publicized air strike, and we wanted to avoid putting Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia’s head of state, in a perilous political position. . . . Om March 18, our first bombing run in Cambodia took place. It was a great success" (Pg 106)

9. "Some critics later contended that the secret bombing was an illegal abuse of presidential power. There was no substance to this charge. No reasonable interpretation of the Constitution could conclude that a President, as commander in chief, was forbidden from attacking areas occupied by enemy forces and used by them as bases from which to strike at American and allied troops, Congress was consulted within the limits imposed by the necessary secrecy of the operations." (Pg 110)

10. "I then explained that a unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam would be a disaster for the cause of peace in the world. . . . Peace could not be won through a withdrawal bordering on surrender. "It would not bring peace," I said, "It would bring more. war." . . . I sought to go over the heads of the antiwar opinion makers in the media and to appeal directly to the American people for unity: "And so tonight – to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans – I ask for your support." . . . Let us be united for peace. Let us also be united against defeat. Because let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that." (Pg 114-115)

11. "The American news media had come to dominate domestic debate about the purpose and conduct of the war in Vietnam and about the nature of the enemy. . . . But it conveyed little or no sense of the underlying purpose of the fighting." (Pg 115)

12. ". . . condemning the United States for invading neutral Cambodia – in the sense of committing an aggressive act – was as absurd as condemning Britain from invading neutral Holland in 1944." (Pg 121)

13. "We prevented the fall of Cambodia and relieved the pressure on Phnom Penh. We undercut North Vietnam’s offensive striking power and thereby bought time to press forward with Vietnamization. Our Cambodian incursion was the most successful military operation of the entire war. Of all the myths about the Vietnam War, the most vicious one is the idea that the United States was morally responsible for the atrocities committed after the fall of Cambodia in 1974. . . . To assign blame for the genocide in Cambodia to those in the United States who sought to prevent a Communist victory, rather than to the Communists who committed the atrocities, is an immoral act in and of itself." (Pgs 123-124)

14. ". . . most [draft dodgers] were not acting out of moral convictions. Many, drawn into the moral vacuum of the 1960's, saw no moral issue at stake in the war. Some of them felt that we had nothing worth fighting for because they had lost faith in what the United States stood for in the world. Others felt that we had nothing worth fighting against because they believed that life in North Vietnam was as good as or better than life in South Vietnam. . . . Like most draft dodgers in our previous wars, including the two world wars, they were understandably afraid of risking their lives." (Pg 125)

15. "Antiwar protesters were another matter. Some were pacifists who opposed all wars, or idealists who believed our values were being corrupted by the Vietnam War. Others were pragmatists who did not believe that this war could be won. Still other were isolationists who did not want to see the United States play a world role. But many key leaders of the antiwar movement were hard-core militants of the New Left who hated the United States and wanted to see our country humiliated in Vietnam. They did not hide their allegiance. They openly flew the Viet Cong flag at their rallies. Destroying the American system was their goal, and they did not shrink from using violence to try to achieve it." (Pgs 125 - 126)

16. "Whatever my view of their motives – and whatever their estimate of mine – the practical effect of their actions was to give encouragement to the enemy to fight on or refuse to negotiate a peace. That the brightest and the best in our great educational institutions could not recognize that their peace protests prolonged the war is one of the tragic ironies of the Vietnam era. More than once North Vietnamese negotiators taunted our delegates at the Paris peace talks and Henry Kissinger at our secret negotiations by quoting the statements of antiwar leaders on our campuses and in the Congress." (Pg 127)

17. "Our best young men did not go to Canada. They went to Vietnam." (Pg 128)

18. "News media reporting portrayed our troops as divided along racial lines, undisciplined and addicted to drugs, and guilt-ridden over their involvement in the war. None of these problems was unique to the Vietnam War. But all of them were exaggerated in the press. It was commonly asserted during the war that blacks constituted a disproportionate number of combat casualties and that this injustice, in turn, stirred racial animosities. But in fact casualties among blacks were not out of proportion to their share of the population. My March 1973, when blacks comprised 13.5 percent of all American men of military age, blacks accounted for 12.3 percent of combat deaths." (Pg 128)

19. "All our fighting men were heroes . . . but our prisoners of war, who had been courageous in action and even more courageous in captivity, were among the most remarkable heroes of the Vietnam War. . . . During the war, the news media virtually ignored reports that trickled out about the mistreatment of our prisoners and were bamboozled by antiwar activists engaged in a concerted propaganda campaign to portray North Vietnam’s treatment of our prisoners as humane. . . . These antiwar activists knew or should have know what was going on." (Pg 128)

20. "Congressional restrictions made it illegal for us to use American ground troops in Laos." (Pg 136)

21. "The documents had been illegally turned over to the Times. . . . Because it was written in 1968, it could contain nothing about my administration’s actions. . . . Most of the accusations were based on grotesque distortions of the historical record." (Pg 139)

22. "Since 1969, we had been faced with the danger of Congress legislating an end to our involvement. Anti-war senators and congressmen had been introducing resolutions to force us to trade a total withdrawal of our troops for the return of our POWs. By 1972, the Senate was regularly passing these measures, and the votes in the House were getting close. We were able to prevent the passage of the bills only because our withdrawal announcements provided those whose support for the war was wavering with tangible evidence that our involvement was winding down.

23. "At both Anloc and Quang Tri, North Vietnamese troops indiscriminately fired artillery shells into crowds of refugees who were fleeing the fighting. Thousands were killed. In Communist-occupied areas of Binh Dinh Province, there were public executions of hundreds of individuals suspected of having ties to the Saigon government. In one hamlet, forty-seven local officials were buried alive, In Quang Ngai Province, Communists troops strung land mines around forty victims and then, as their wives and children watched, detonated the mines, blowing the helpless captives to bits." (Pg 144)

24. "Antiwar critics and the news media competed with each other in denouncing our action [mining of North Vietnam’s ports, and the bombing of prime military targets] One senator remarked that the decision was "reckless and wrong." Another said that "the President must not have a free hand in Indochina any longer." One newspaper called the decision a "desperate gamble" and urged that Congress could cut off funds for the war to "save the President from himself and the nation from disaster." Another claimed that the President "has lost touch with the real world." One legislator topped them all when he breathlessly intoned that the President "has thrown down the gauntlet of nuclear war to a billion people in the Soviet Union and China . . . Armageddon may be only hours away." (Pg 146)

25. "In the spring of 1972, South Vietnam’s army had held off the North Vietnamese onslaught without the assistance of any American ground combat troops. . . . [they] had proved that, if properly equipped and led, it could hold its own against North Vietnam’s best troops." (Pg 150-151)

26. "If we did not settle the war quickly, Congress would probably legislate an end to the war in January. (Pg 155)

27. "Meanwhile, the North Vietnamese had decided to try to take advantage of our differences with Saigon. Hanoi had come to two conclusions: that a lack of progress in the talks would be blamed on Thieu [President of South Vietnam] and that, if an agreement was not forthcoming Congress would pull the rug from under us. Therefore, its delegates started to stall."

28. "Our bombing provoked hysterical outbursts form our critics. A news magazine wrote that "civilized man will be horrified at the renewed spectacle of the world’s mightiest air force mercilessly pounding a small Asian nation in an abuse of national power and disregard of humanitarian principles." One newspaper wrote that it caused millions of Americans "to cringe in shame and to wonder at their President’s very sanity." On columnist said the bombing was the action of "maddened tyrant." and another stated that we had "loosed the holocaust." One senator said it was a "stone-age tactic." Another called it "the most murderous aerial bombardment in the history of the world" and "a policy of mass-murder that’s being carried on in the name of the American people." Seldom has so much heated rhetoric been so wrong." (Pg 157)

29. "I hated the Vietnam War. But even more, I hated all wars. I knew that I must not end the Vietnam War in a way that would lead to more and larger wars in the future." (Pg 160)

30. "What distinguished the war in Vietnam was the trauma we suffered on the home front. It was the most divisive foreign war in American history. . . . It turned many in the news media who previously prided themselves on being objective into viciously biased critics of the American war effort. . . . Equal credibility was granted to enemy propaganda and United States government statements; and while our statements were greeted with skepticism, North Vietnam’s word was taken at face value. . . . The Vietnam War started the tradition of "adversary journalism’ that still poisons our national political climate today." (Pgs 161- 162)

31. "The war in Vietnam had destroyed this intensely proud, strong, and patriotic President [LBJ] just as if he had been killed in battle. Over and over he had heard the obscene chant "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" (Pgs 163-163)

32. "I know that the enemy would keep the peace only if he was convinced that the price of breaking it would exceed whatever gain he could make by doing so." (Pg 163)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

No More Vietnams - Three

CHAPTER THREE - Why and How We Went into Vietnam


In Chapter 3 Nixon begins by setting out what Ho (North Vietnam) was willing to do and why the U. S. needed to fight. He suggests the "rules" by which we should have fought and exposes the means and ends for which Ho and the North Vietnamese did fight. Nixon exposes J. F. Kennedy’s insistence on finding a "diplomatic" solution and contrasts this with Ho’s decisive actions. Nixon shows how Kennedy binds the U. S. and South Vietnam with the Geneva agreement of 1962. With the establishment of the Ho Chi Minh trail the "dominos" begin to fall. Nixon then lays out the role of President Kennedy and the media in the coup the to overthrew and murdered South Vietnamese President Diem. The death of J. F. K. places Johnson’s presidency on the line. Nixon explains the justice of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and foreshadows the Congressional [academic] hypocrisy that will follow. Nixon observes Johnson’s political dilemma and his errors in judgement (later admitted by Johnson). Nixon explains how Johnson could have won the war and how the limits on U. S. forces which L. B. J. sets derail victory. Nixon shows how the media turn the U. S. /South Vietnamese victory during the Tet Offensive into a defeat on T. V. Nixon exposes the massacre at Hue and how the media ignores Communist atrocities. He finishes off the chapter explaining how Johnson’s halt of the air war allowed Ho to exploit America’s political dilemma.


1. "North Vietnam held one decisive advantage over the United States: Its leaders had a limitless capacity for barbarity and tenacity. ... Our enemy could never defeat us; he could only make us quit." (Pg 45)

2. "The United States intervened in the Vietnam War to prevent North Vietnam from imposing its totalitarian government on South Vietnam through military conquest, both because a Communist victory would lead to massive human suffering for the people of Vietnam and because it would damage American strategic interests and pose a threat to our allies and friends in other non-Communist nations." (Pg 46)

3. ""Our critical error was ignore one of the iron laws of war: Never go in without know how you are going to get out. . . . Policymakers based their decisions on what was needed to prevent defeat rather than what it would take to reach victory." (Pg 46)

4. "The first rule of war is that one must know the enemy and understand his strategy and tactics. The second is that one must adopt strategy and tactics suited to the circumstances of the war." (Pg 47)

5. " Promotion of hatred," stated one National Liberation Front directive, "must be permanent, continuous, and directly related to the struggle movement as closely as a man is to his shadow." (Pg 51)

6. "Violence was the other key to the success . . . Their purpose was to promote instability and insecurity, to destabilize the government by killing its most able officials, and to intimidate the people by demonstrating that they could not be protected."

7. "The National Liberation Front also had a systematic policy of assassination or abduction of anyone likely to stand up to it and provide anti-Communist forces with leadership. ... The target list also included anyone who improved the lives of the peasants, such as medical personnel, social workers, and schoolteachers, ..." (Pg53)

8. "Kennedy’s advisers displayed not only appalling naivete but also fundamentally poor judgment. They failed to understand guerillas war. Guerrilla warfare is a military operation, revolutionary warfare is a political operation. ... The real war in Vietnam was an invasion from North Vietnam that came in the guise of a guerrilla insurgency." (Pg 55)

9. "One week later, however, Kennedy backed away from his commitment to keep Laos independent. . . . Kennedy also told an aide that one of the lessons he had learned from his defeat in Cuba was that the United States should pursue a political solution in Southeast Asia rather than a military one." (Pg 58)

10. "Ho viewed all of Indochina . . . as one strategic theater. His motive in signing the Geneva agreement was simple and cynical: He hoped it would enable him to restrict our zone of operation while his armies continued to operate freely throughout Indochina. . . . they virtually annexed southern Laos and constructed . . . the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" – into South Vietnam and Cambodia." (Pg 59)

11. "The Geneva agreement on Laos in 1962 paved the way for the Communist victory in South Vietnam in 1975." (Pg 60)

12. "But it was obvious that North Vietnam had already widened the war by taking over southern Laos and eastern Cambodia. By failing to defend Laos, the Kennedy and Johnson administrations made it easier for North Vietnam to wage their war against South Vietnam by sending tons of weapons and thousands of men down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. . . . Years later it would be fashionable in academia to deride the domino theory. But whatever academics would say about it, the dominoes certainly believed it. . . . By allowing the Ho Chi Minh Trail to become a freeway for Hanoi’s invasion, we put Ho Chi Minh in the driver’s seat in the Vietnam War." (Pg 62)

13. "We made our third critical mistake in South Vietnam in 1963. The Kennedy administration, increasingly frustrated with President Diem, encouraged and supported a military coup against his government. This shameful episode ended with Diem’s murder and began a period of political chaos in South Vietnam that forced us to send our own troops into the war." (Pg 62)

14. "The suicides [of Buddhist monks] were political ploys by a few fanatic extremists, but the media said they represented the mainstream opinion of South Vietnamese Buddhists. The press played up the Buddhists as oppressed holy people, and the world blamed their political target, Diem." (Pg 67)

15. " He [ Kennedy’s ambassador to South Vietnam] instructed the CIA in Saigon to make the rounds of their contacts in the military. Several South Vietnamese generals later testified that they had been sounded out by United States officials that summer on the possibility of leading a coup. . . . Diem, who had personified stubborn resistance to communism, had been eliminated without their [Communists] having to life a finger. Nguyen Huu Tho, the head of the National Liberation Front, said, "The Americans have managed to do what we couldn’t do for nine years."(Pg 69& 72)

16. "The Kennedy administration sowed the seeds of intrigue that led to the overthrow and murder of Diem. Now we would reap a bitter harvest." (Pg 73)

17. "While some respected military observers have questions whether the attack [the Tonkin Gulf Incident] took place, I have concluded that it did and there is no credible evidence that we provoked it. ... it [the resolution] was an honest effort to get congressional support for the deepening involvement that had been forced upon us. . . . We did not go to war because of two brief naval skirmishes but because North Vietnam was trying to take over Indochina." (Pg 74)

18. "Those who supported the resolution but later turned against the war tried to absolve themselves by accusing Johnson of duping the Congress about the extent of the powers it was delegating or of acting beyond his authority. Neither was the case." (Pg 75)

19. "It was a terrible dilemma for Johnson. He could not afford to lose the war, and he could not afford to do what was necessary to win it. Either way he could lose the Great Society. He made the worst possible choice: He would fight – not to win , but only not to lose." (Pg 78)

20. "Making the point that Vietnam was a just war would have been easy, but Johnson deliberately chose to avoid the question. . . . American leaders cannot wage war without the solid support of public opinion, and the American people will go to war only if they are convinced that it is a just cause." (Pg 79)

21. "Sound strategy in Vietnam would have begun with the recognition of five facts.

First, the theater of conflict included all on Indochina ....

Second, North Vietnam’s external aggression was the central cause of the war. . . .

Third, while we dealt with North Vietnam’s invasion through Laos and Cambodia, South Vietnam ideally should have taken responsibility for defeating the guerrillas within its borders. . . .

Fourth, the war against the Communists guerrillas in south Vietnam could not be won with conventional military tactics. . . .

Fifth, Laos was the key to a winning strategy." (Pg 80 - 81)

22. "Johnson said that "we seek no wider war" and pledged not to invade North Vietnam or to overthrow Ho Chi Minh. But by dispelling North Vietnam’s fears that we might make use of our enormous military superiority, he eliminated any incentive for its leaders to cease their war against South Vietnam." (Pg 82)

23. "No targets apart from roads, railroads, bridges, power plants, barracks, and supply dumps were attacked. No bombing was permitted within a twenty-five to thirty-mile-deep buffer zone along the Chinese border, and thirty-mile radius around Hanoi, and a ten-mile radius around the port of Haiphong." (Pg 87)

24. " . . . the administration carried out a limited bombing campaign in fits and starts and sent out a cascade of peace feelers almost begging Hanoi to come to the negotiating table. Ho Chi Minn, who had deliberately begun the Vietnam War and who had never indicated a willingness to settle on any terms other than his own, could only have interpreted our gradual escalation as a sign not of restraint by of weakness." (Pg 88)

25. "A concerted, nationwide Communist assault – the Tet Offensive – caught The United States and South Vietnam off-guard and shocked the American people. Our forces quickly crushed the enemy. It turned out to be a major military defeat for the Communists in South Vietnam, but grotesquely inaccurate news-media reporting turned it into a major political and psychological victory for them in the United States. (Pgs 88 - 89)

26. "Although it [Tet Offensive] was an overwhelming victory for South Vietnam and the United States, the almost universal theme of media coverage was that we had suffered a disastrous defeat." (Pg 91)

27. "Even more glaring was the news media’s failure to report on the massacre at Hue. . . . Communist death squads quickly killed the 200 targets on their lists. But didn’t stop there. . . . It should have made a big story. . . [but] nothing appeared on network televison . . . the discovery of the first mass grave. . . estimated the death toll to be between 200 and 400. No reports came out when another eighteen mass graves were found in the following days. Nor did reporters flock to the area as more burial sites were found in nearby mountains, jungle clearings, and coastal sand flats. The death toll would climb to 2, 810 by mid-1970, while another 1,946 remained missing. During their twenty-five days in power in Hue, the Communists had killed between 5 and 10 percent of the city’s population, but the news media did not find it newsworthy." (Pg 92)

28. "On March 31 [1969]. . . Johnson declared a unilateral halt to all bombing in North Vietnamese territory above the twentieth parallel, and later the nineteenth, in the hope that Hanoi would take reciprocal steps toward peace. But reciprocity was not in character for Ho Chi Minh. . . . Hanoi was demanding in effect that we lay down our arms before preliminary procedural negotiations could even begin." (Pg 94)

29. "We had traded away our most important negotiating asset – the bombing of North Vietnam – for a set of fuzzy "understandings" that Hanoi had never agreed to and had no intention of honoring. . . . Ho, who had made a career of exploiting the weaknesses of his adversaries, did not miss this opportunity. We had limited our intervention to South Vietnam’s territory. We allowed North Vietnam to send men and materiel freely down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. We let Ho Chi Minh fight the war at his leisure, on our turf, and on his terms. We ignored the fact that war particularly guerrilla war – is a question of willpower as much as military power." )Pgs 95 -96)

Friday, December 03, 2004

No More Vietnams Two

CHAPTER TWO - How the Vietnam War Began

In this second chapter, Nixon sets the stage for East/West conflict in Vietnam. He presents the reasons for French failure, and presents the role played by Red China and the USSR in planting Communism in Vietnam. He reveals the truth about Ho and his phony "nationalism"; exposing Ho's brutality and the lack of support he enjoyed among the Vietnamese, north and south. Nixon then charts the rise of Ngo Dinh Diem, a true Vietnamese natinalist. Nixon explains the partition of Vietnam by the Geneva Conference of 1954 and dispels the myth that South Vietnam and the U.S. were bound to reunite Vietnam according to Ho's dictates. Nixon explains the truth of the domino theory and gives support for it. Finally, Nixon explains that it was Ho and his invasion of South Vietnam that set off the war.


1. "The fasionable view that only Ho Chi Minh's Communist party sought independence [from France] is a myth. Scores of political groups organized to alter Vietnam's status as a colony." (pg 25)

2. The fall of China to Mao's Red Army in 1949 swept away previous assumptions. The French, had planned to grind down their weak opponent, now had to fight an enemy who, as a result of assistance from the Chinese, was better armed and supplied." (pg 27)

3. "The fall of Dien Bien Phu dealt a death blow to French moral ... Ho Chi Minh had once said, "you can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and I will win" ... In the end, the war was lost [by the French ] on the home front in France rather than on the battlefields of Vietnam." (pg 29)

4. "We wanted to prevent the loss of Vietnam because we believed it would lead to the fall of the rest of Southeast Asia. This came to be know as the "domino theory." ... John F. Kennedy, then a senator, expressed the domino theory even more vividly two years after the fall of Dien Bien Phu, when in a speech he described Vietnam as "the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast Asia, the keystone to the arch, the finger in the dike. Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, and obviously Laos and Cambodia would be threatened if the red tide of communism overflowed Vietnam." (pg 20)

5. "Our first critical mistake in Vietnam was not to have intervened in the battle of Dien Bien Phu ... We should have intervened alone if necessary to help the French because they were the strongest regional power fighting Communist agression." (pg 31)

6. "The Geneva Conference of 1954 temporarily settled the question of who would be the successors to the French. Its declaration divided Vietnam into two countries: Communist North Vietnam and independent South Vietnam." (pg 31)

7. "The typical line on Ho runs like this: Ho, though he was a Communist, was first and foremost a nationalist. He was variously described as a charismatic Vietnameses George Washington who led his people against French colonialists; an Asian Tito who turned for help to the Soviet Union and Communist China only after being spurned by American administrations obsessed with the Cold War; and a humanitarian Uncle Ho who preached about the need for liberation, literacy, and land reform. In fact, Ho Chi Minh was a brilliant fraud who spent his life pretending to be exactly the opposite of what he really was. He was a nationalist only in the sense that he could not establish a Communist state inVietnam if it was part of the French Empire. His only loyalty was to winning power for himself and his ideology." (pg 32)

8. "Nine years later, he [Ho] was a founding member of the French Communist party. ... in 1923 the Soviets brought him to Moscow, where he was trained and indoctrinated as an agent of the Communist International." (pg 33)

9. "He cooperated with true nationalists only if he could advance his ambitions by doing so. When their interests collided with his, he destroyed them." (pg 33)

10. "Though he used the rhetoric of nationalism, Ho was first and foremost a Communist totalitarian. He used nationalism to serve Communism rather than the other way around." (pg 35)

11. "These so-called trials [in North Vietnam] commonly ended in a sentence of death. Throughout the terror of the land-reform program, Ho Chi Minh's party dutifully acted according to one maxim. "It is better to kill ten innocent peole than to let one enemy escape." Estimates are that 50,000 [North] Vietnamese were executed and that another 100,000 were sent to forced-labor camps." (pg 36)

12. "He wanted excessive violence and deliberately planned for it. ... Behind Ho Chi Minh's cruel policies was a brutally simple motive: He wanted to demonstrate with searing clarity that there was no alternative in North Vietnam to life under Communism." (pg 37)

13. "Diem's government provided far more freedom than had the French." (pg 39)

14. "When the two leaders are compared side-by-side, the suggestion that Ho would have out polled Diem head-to-head seems ridiculous. Yet during the war, many critics of the American effort to save South Vietnam argued this very point. They said the Geneva Declaration of 1954 legally bound Diem's government and the Unitied States to unify the two halves of Vietnam through elections and that Ho would have inevitably come out the winner. They were wrong on both counts." (pgs 40-41)

15. "Reunification was supposedly to be decided by free elections. "Because elections would not be free in North Vietnam, South Vietnam could legitimately object to holding them. ... We were not afraid of holding electons in Vietnam, provide they were held under the conditions of the genuine freedom that the Geneva Declaration called for. But we knew that those conditions would exist only in South Vietnam." (pgs 41-42)