View Full Version : Vietnam ‘Exit Strategy’ and Iraq: Déjà vu All Over Again?

06-29-05, 06:23 AM
Vietnam ‘Exit Strategy’ and Iraq: Déjà vu All Over Again?
Written by Mike Doty
Wednesday, June 29, 2005

During hostilities in Vietnam, U.S. casualties were fewer than 10,000 at the end of 1967 and the beginning of 1968. From those days of the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam, to the close of hostilities in 1975, nearly 48,000 more American service personnel died. During that same post-Tet period, anti-war sentiment reached a fever pitch back in the United States. These statistics stand firm as a stark reminder of how a populace of an uninformed or misinformed nation can kill their own citizen soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen.

During this same post-Tet period, the senior North Vietnamese Commander, General Giap, realized just how this war could be won: he would let the American people destroy the morale of their own fighting men and women and subsequently make Vietnam a political defeat for the United States.

“By 1968, NVA morale was at its lowest point ever. The plan for "Tet" '68 was their last desperate attempt to achieve a success, in an effort to boost the NVA morale. When it was over, General Giap and the NVA viewed the Tet '68 offensive as a failure, they were on their knees and had prepared to negotiate a surrender. (Go here)

At that time, there were fewer than 10,000 U.S. casualties, the Vietnam War was about to end, and the NVA was prepared to accept their defeat. Then, they heard Walter Cronkite (former CBS News anchor and correspondent) on TV proclaiming the success of the Tet '68 offensive by the communist NVA. They were completely and totally amazed at hearing that the US Embassy had been overrun. In reality, The NVA had not gained access to the Embassy--there were some VC killed on the grassy lawn, but they hadn't gained access. Further reports indicated the riots and protesting on the streets of America.

According to Giap, these distorted reports were inspirational to the NVA. They changed their plans from a negotiated surrender and decided instead that they only needed to persevere for one more hour, day, week, month, and eventually the protesters in American would help them to achieve a victory they knew they could not win on the battlefield.

Remember, this decision was made at a time when the U.S. casualties were fewer than 10,000.

So, we are experiencing déjà vu… all over again.

Giap was right and the terrorists in Iraq know about his strategy.

During WWII, there were no cries of appeasement or withdrawal before the Normandy invasion took place; of course not… it was a secret operation the world learned about only after it had successfully taken place. Nearly 1000 Americans lay wounded and dying on the beach in the first 30 minutes of battle there. The Normandy invasion lasted from 6 June to 19 August. 1944 and the allies lost 37,000 ground forces and 16,714 air forces during the battle. Still, after such a high cost of victory at Normandy, there were no calls for an “exit strategy” or immediate withdrawal from our combat with the Axis powers… no one in Congress defamed the President or called for the resignation of the Secretary of War… then again, that was the character of the Greatest Generation on the battlefield, and the supporters of that generation at home. (Go here)

Just imagine for a moment what it might have been like at home and in the halls of Congress if the anti-war, liberal, mainstream (or downstream) media had been present during the Normandy invasion.

As I write this piece, I have no doubt, that somewhere in Iraq a terrorist commander has already realized that all they have to do is continue these desperate IED attacks so that terrorist losses can be converted into political victories by al Jazeera, the American media, The House of Representatives, and the United States Senate. It may follow that the American people will once again fall victim to journalistic sensationalism to the extent they will eventually demand our withdrawal from Iraq and our “defeat” in the Middle East.

It is clear that only 10,000 Americans died in Vietnam up until the time of Tet ’68 and that in the days that followed Tet, 48,000 more Americans died in Vietnam. I served in Vietnam. I hold the American protestors and the American press responsible for the additional 48,000 deaths in Vietnam. Certainly the enemy pulled the trigger, fired the rockets and set the punji sticks and booby-trapped American bodies… but they were “inspired” to hang on “for one more hour, day, week, month” by the American people at home.

Our Armed Services cannot fight both the enemy and our citizenry. How many deaths will result from an announced “exit” strategy or withdrawal? What will be your share of the increased body count in Iraq?

About the Writer: Mike Doty of Florida retired from the Air Force and entered the private sector to form his own company. As a private citizen, he has lived in the Middle East for seven years. He contributes to several Internet sites and has been published by McGraw-Hill. Mike receives e-mail at oracle216@hisurfer.net.