SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Re: President Bush Fails to Learn the Lessons of Vietnam
By Ken Bylund


November 27, 2006
Monday PM

Interesting opinion you have there Doctor but maybe President Bush did learn some lessons from Vietnam. Let's look for parallels - Vietnam and Iraq; start with Vietnam and that well crucified domino theory would the result be invisible if we made the difference? That was why I went to Vietnam in 1969. What would the cost in lives and treasure have been if the allies had resisted Hitler in the beginning; say if it had taken Hitler's Nazis 10 ­ 15 years to get into Czechoslovakia/Poland? We can never know any more than we can know if the domino theory in SEA was a valid threat.

So by digging our heels in and shooting back we may have attenuated and stalled a far worsening fate for southeast and central Asia and the world don't know, can't know. Vietnam is quite unlike Iraq at least we know now about the hundreds of thousands of graves of Iraqi citizens murdered by their psychopathic dictator. Weapons of mass-destruction; think poisonous gas used on the Kurds and Iranians wasn't WMD?

Real Lessons of Vietnam?

You point to Bush's words "that we could succeed unless we quit" could have in VN except for an ego-maniac [DEM] President; LBJ wanting to play at being Cesar, imagine our president choosing when and where to bomb, and choosing not to invade the north and take Hanoi. Think our generals from WWII would stand on a DMZ and not take Berlin. God help us if you can't go there then you can't win. But after you win then it becomes a game of self promoting politicians playing to the cameras and making tiny cuts on men and women who are better than them.

Our soldiers went into Iraq and took Baghdad in record time; why? Because General Swartzkoff and other experienced military leaders that learned those lessons in Vietnam were left in charge and to his credit, Bush left the battle planning and tactics to them. Saddam Hussein is going to get his neck stretched for mass murder in the end Iraq was about human morality and yes, a lot of Iraqis died just like a lot of Nazis/Japanese and Allies. And self-defense won't you look Salman Pak in the eye or concede al Qaeda was in Iraq while Saddam's sons were enjoying the manly sport of rape and murder?

Let's start with;

1). we misjudged them and exaggerated the dangers to the U.S. of North Vietnam, China and the Soviet Union.

Stalin killed more than sixty million of his own people that an exaggeration? Mao tse Tung and 'The Great Leap Forward' resulted in 15 - 20 million starving to death perhaps someone will defend him it wasn't his fault, he had a flat economy, he ran out of gas swear to God it wasn't his fault!? These were bad people dangerous people.

In all fairness if Eisenhower had gone to Ho Chi Minh, put his arm around his shoulder and said" let's make a deal." Yeah, might've worked but we just weren't that sophisticated then coming out of WWII and having the USSR with the Bomb and resisting the Chinese invasion of Korea. But that is a big maybe and won't fit as an SOP ever. will it work with Ahmadinejad?

2). did we view the people of South Vietnam in terms of our own experience? Don't know, but we had the memory of Hitler and the fruit of Chamberlain's failed 'never to go to war with one another again' mentality a lot of little countries fought with the allies against the Japanese in those same jungles and against the Nazis in other out of the way battlefields don't know and no one can know who might rise to the challenge of freedom. Philippines are doing okay

3). Under-estimating the power of nationalism

South Vietnam was and wanted to remain a peaceful and family loving community; I was there living in a village and witnessed VC coming in [Pleiku] at sundown to shoot their AK 47s and then get chased off or killed. Also lived with these happy people laughing at life with gusto as one often finds in rural areas; the south Vietnamese left to their own did not want Marxist propaganda shoved down their throats and would've been quite happy to remain separate from the north. Anyone you know want Islam philosophy shoved down their throat?

4). Misjudgments and our profound ignorance of history

Have to agree right up to where you blame [current] American Incompetence unless you are talking about cowardly politicians and pathetic generalship of Vietnam and the incompetence of LBJ. We've come a long way, and there were mistakes made in the past and present but Iraq was about the threat of religious fanatics getting WMDs and a moral choice; do we stand back as a mass murderer bequeaths this mad legacy to his sons and leave him in power because he has his heel on the throats of difficult to manage Sunnis and Shiite fanatics? That the better choice you are advocating? Let the UN sort it out, like Sudan?

5). "We failed then as we have since to recognize the limitations of modern high technology military equipment and forces doctrine in confronting unconventional highly motivated peoples movements". here you nailed it!!!

War in Iraq began March 20th, 2003; on April 3rd the US third Infantry took the Baghdad International Airport; April 9th US Marines help a crowd of Iraq citizens topple the statue of Saddam Hussein in the heart of Baghdad and oops what's this, US forces capture Palestinian guerrilla Abu Abbas what's he doing here?

From here the war would've been over and the similarities to Vietnam really begin.

The News Media [the movement] blinks at the prospect of all these great "news worthy" events petering out, a rather dull state of peace might begin to replace the great shots of burning oil wells and bodies in the road and soon they launch into the profitable and energetic mode of covering small gangs of disgruntled Sunnis, Yemeni and Saudi or Syrian miscreants as if these noble warriors are struggling against the evil Americans for independence. ABC, BBC, CBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, well you get the picture. The news media found profit in promoting blood and gore.

Flashy WAR IN IRAQ - THEATER on all the news channels; think al Qaeda, Hamas and other low brow parasites toying with controlling the minds of children don't appreciate stardom? Think the current level of murder by IED bombs, rockets and snipers in London, Baghdad, Madrid, anywhere in the world would be as numerous if the News DIDN'T encourage these freaks by showing the result of their acts with breathless morbidity in images 24/7? CONFLICT OF INTEREST the NEWS MEDIA IS KEEPING THIS WAR ALIVE just like Vietnam. Think those genuine heroes who wrote the constitution and Bill of Rights saw this kind of FREEDOM OF THE PRESS coming to power? Five is enough you can see who benefits and who bleeds.

Not blaming you for trying to figure this out; just not sure there are always good answers or silver bullet solutions to everything. Like a cure for cancer or separating hydrogen from seawater, sometimes solving big problems takes time. Never stop thinking about making things better but when you say it's time for new direction that's what a lot of dead people wanted before the Russian Revolution they got change. American colonies wanted change too sometimes change is good if you have the right people like our founding fathers making the rules.

The News Media needs to take some responsibility for the power they hold over the public; instead they are acting like God. Okay, that's my opinion.

Ken Bylund
Ketchikan, AK

Received November 27, 2006 - Published November 24, 2006


Related Viewpoint:

letter President Bush Fails to Learn the Lessons of Vietnam! By Robert Freedland



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


Send A Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor at

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska