What Does Romney Really Think About Vietnam?

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What that history now shows us is that resisting Communist aggression in Vietnam was a “necessary war,” as Michael Lind calls it, a critical Cold-War duel that enforced the doctrine of containment of Soviet aggression. Thus if Romney thinks that subsequent events “proved” that intervention wrong, he’s on the wrong side of history. Indeed, there were “errors” made under General Westmoreland in the conduct of the war. But after the Tet Offensive of 1968 ended in disaster for the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong, and after General Creighton Abrams replaced Westmoreland and instituted effective counter-insurgency and Vietnamization programs, the tide turned. By 1972, the war was as good as won, as ambassador to South Vietnam Ellsworth Bunker said. American troops were coming home, the communist guerrillas in the South had been neutralized, the countryside was pacified, political and economic reforms were taking hold, and an improved South Vietnamese army was in a position to defend the country as long as the South Vietnamese received aid and air support from the U.S. to counterbalance the resources provided the North by China and the Soviet Union, which had made the Army of North Vietnam the fifth largest in the world. But a Democratic controlled Congress in June1973 passed the Case-Church amendment to the Defense Appropriation bill, which prohibited any further American military involvement in Vietnam after August 1973. Further legislation cut funding and planned to end all assistance in 1976. Left helpless before the combined might of North Vietnam, China, and the Soviet Union, South Vietnam was quickly overrun in 1975. The Congressional abandonment of South Vietnam was the fatal error of the war that squandered that victory.

What subsequent events “proved” right, then, was not, as George Romney and apparently his son believe, that the intervention was a mistake, but that a failure of political nerve can waste a hard-won military victory and render meaningless the nearly 60 thousand dead and 150 thousand wounded who had earned that victory. Indeed, the following expansion of communism not just in Southeast Asia––including the genocidal murder of two million Cambodians by communist fanatics––but also in Latin America and Africa, proved not the error of intervention, but the error of failing to follow through on the part of politicians motivated by ideology or political self-interest.

Mitt Romney may have been displaying filial loyalty, or he may even not know what his father had actually said. Considering that in his Fox News interview Romney had spoken of the errors committed in the Iraq war, while still voicing support for it, he may have thought that his father was making a similar criticism. Either way, Romney needs to make clear whether or not he endorses the narrative of Vietnam that makes our intervention there a misguided instance of neo-colonial aggression. The answer to that question is critical for our understanding of Romney’s foreign policy philosophy.

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  • koran kid

    Unless Barry goes into Iran, looks like Iraq will go the same way as Vietnam. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. But since he is a spineless windbag, and more than part of the problem, couldn't happen to a better chap. Best if he wins another term, and reaps what he has sown. He should have fanned the revolutionary flames in Iran he pissed on, and pissed on the revolutionary flames in the Arab Spring he fanned. Unprepared, badly informed twit. Or a just another leftist loser!

  • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

    THE VICTORIOUS LEFT

    The aim of Ho Chi Minh and the communist North was to defeat US forces in Vietnam and triumphantly drive them out of South East Asia. In this the North Vietnamese failed which is why Ho's successors signed the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. We won the Vietnam War but lost the peace due to Frank Church and the anti-war leftists in Congress. And now history is repeating itself in Iraq with the victory of Barack Obama, Cindy Sheean, Code Pink, and the anti-war Left.

    • Stephen_Brady

      This is literally the first time I've found someone on the net who actually understands what happened in Vietnam. The United States won the Vietnam War, militarily, but South Vietnam was betrayed by the anit-war Left.

      This will be the history of the Iraq War. It was inevitable, with the election of Obama.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        During the Tet offensive we nailed the Communists and at that time
        American forces along with the South Vietnamese had destroyed
        the North's ability to wage war. It was the lying rat Walter Cronkite
        that sold the false tale of loss by American forces, the Communists
        had no fighting men left, just those under 13 or over 60,subsequetly
        the Democratic Congress sold out South Vietnam and the rest is
        history……………………………………………………William

        • Stephen_Brady

          I grew up thinking of Walter Cronkite in almost "god-like" terms. You know the old saying: If the world were ending, tomorrow, I would like Walter to cover it on the evening news.

          Once I found out the truth concerning him, I don't believe I've ever felt more betrayed by anyone.

          Adding to what you said, the North had no choice but to go to Paris, in earnest. Their army was destroyed, the VC were on the ropes, their war production was in a shambles, they didn't have a single SA missile to fire at our aircraft, their ports were mined … they had no choice. Two years later, after the resignation of President Nixon, the DEMs in Congress got their chance, and betrayed our allies.

          • WilliamJamesWard

            Think about it, the French holding peace meetings for Vietnam. They
            were there when the Vietnamese Communitsts wanted to push them
            out militarily but France had their Foreign Legionaires in Vietnam.
            Those Legionaires were former Waffen SS and they cut through
            the Communists like a hot knife in butter. The Communists complained
            to the French Government to have them removed and replaced with
            regular French Army troops. No one killed like the Waffen SS, no one
            and the only reason America defeated them was that the Americans
            had help from on high. The Communists defeated the French regulars
            and Dien Bien Phu fell in 1954, so it was………………..William

  • truckwork

    And what is most distressing is that the left will say, "See we told you so, Iraq was just another Vietnam" ignoring the true lessons to be taken from that conflict.

  • http://aresponse2dotcom.blogspot.com aResponse2

    The disaster in Viet Nam was a result of misplaced conscious on the part of the american public. We as a society, at least the lemming group, felt guilt and remorse after the bombing of Japan. They decided war was a bad thing not to be involved in ever again. To prove this our chicken politicians wouldn't even call the Korean "conflict" a war. This sentiment was exaserbated in the Viet Nam war by students who were eligible for the draft and fueled by the indoctrination of college students by leftist professors. We failed the Vietnamees people by our unwillingness to comit to victory and we are doing the same crap in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why we continue to let the left indoctrinate and to infiltrate our history defies reason. If you want to see the sad results look at the Huffington Post for a large gathering of leftist thought

  • mrbean

    To all you leftist wienies. Tragically, in Vietnam, the brave American effort was betrayed at home. South Vietnam could have been defended indefinitely, but the "anti-war" protesters or the "brainwashed useful idiots" of comminists won the day, and the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress abandoned South Vietnam and Cambodia to communist tyranny and a genocide ocide after 1973. This abandonment – celebrated by the brainwashed left to this day – is one of the great crimes of the west of the modern age. The anti-Vietnam War protesters should be ashamed of what they caused after the fall of Saigon in 1975, which was the slaughter of 1.7 million South Vietnamese icivilians in the purges and reeducation camps and the slaughter of 1.6 million Cambodians by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the killing fields. The left sided with Vietnam war criminals!

    • Roco

      The U.S. pulled out because the leadership decided they wanted to have an Army more than a presence in South Vietnam. They also couldn't afford the ongoing investment and didn't want the country to fall apart over what was a colonial war.
      Also the 1.7 million post-1975 deaths is only really pushed by the extreme right to try and hide civilian deaths caused by U.S. and allied forces. Many did die during the 75-84 period of consolidation but again only the right sites such a high number.
      You really need to do some actual research.

      • BLJ

        You should read "Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War". It may make you change your mind about what really happened there.

      • mrbean

        Another ignorant indoctrinate babbling his leftist talking points. The Democratic Congress cut off all military and humanitarian aid to South Vietnam while knowing full well the USSR and Chicoms were arming five full divisions of NVA including armor as artillery and tanks. This was done in spite of being warned that a genocide would take place in South Vietnam. The fall of South Vietnam was the way it was supposed to end for the Communists and their New Left brainwashed SDS followers. Remind any leftist member of the Ho Chi Minh Fan Club of the slaughter of 4000+ civilians in 1968 in Hue, the slaughter of 1.7 million South Vietnamese civilians in the purges and reeducation camps by the NVA Communists, and the slaughter of 1.6 Cambodians in the killing firlds by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge gang of Communist thugs. They will either get amnesis, or go bi polar ranting and raving nonsense about My Lai and Nixon.

        • Roco

          Did you read ANYTHING that I wrote? I doubt it considering how totally off the mark your comment is. I never denied the atrocities committed by anyone during that series of wars. I wrote that the 1.7 million post war killings was exaggerated to evade the issue that US forces killed A LOT of civilians during the war. I noted the 1.7 million number was a right-wing talking point for the above reason and all I get are lies and evasions. Seems to bolster my assertion that the right wants to hide something.
          Just can't bring yourself to admit that the war was a stupid idea, was poorly executed and failed abysmally but not before the killing machine our government constructed killed millions in South East Asia.

          • mrbean

            Exaggerated? Is that what Noam Chompsky wrote as President of the Pol Pot fan club?

  • Ann

    So he hated JFK who sent thousands of soldiers to Vietnam and LBJ who escalated the war and caused thousands of Deaths —and the left which LBJ was a large part of which was communist-so he's not for all of this right??? If any one is to blame for Vietnam it's LBJ one of the worst presidents we ever had!!! HE LIKE OBAMA TIED THE HANDS OF OUR MILITARY—

  • BLJ

    LBJ had quite a few friends who got rich off military contracts in Vietnam. The politicians are the one's who lose wars not our great military. Romney needs to pull his head out and understand that once again the politicans are bailing on another country.

    • mrbean

      Romney live in MA too long and has be indoctrinated by his Anti American leftist friends at artsy fartsy Harvard. Lie down with dogs you will get fleas!

  • Reason_For_Life

    The Vietnam War was "necessary" to contain Communist aggression? What a crock!!!

    If containing communist aggression was the intent then the place to fight a war certainly wasn't Vietnam, it was Cuba. Cuba is 90 miles away and at one time had troops working not only in South America but in Africa as well. It also had a large indigenous opposition to the Castro regime as well as thousands of expatriates living in the US that were more than willing to free the island from its communist tyrant.

    Cuba was easy to invade and impossible for the Soviets to supply over a distance of several thousand miles. Instead, we chose to defend South Vietnam which was almost impossible to defend since it had huge borders with hostile countries. The problem of supply was reversed forcing us to ship men and material thousands of miles while making it relatively easy for the communists to keep Hanoi well armed.

    Whatever the motivation for the Vietnam War was, it wasn't to "contain communism".

    • aspacia

      The invasion was tried, The Bay of Pigs.

      • Reason_For_Life

        Promised air cover was withdrawn stranding thousands of Cubans on the beach. Only expatriates were involved in the invasion, many died, many more were captured. The US never intended for the invasion to succeed. All it accomplished was to demoralize the Cuban expatriate community. It couldn't have gone worse if the invasion had been planned by Moscow.

        • BLJ

          I always thought it failed because JFK did not have the balls to back the people that he sent in there. JFK also had the invasion location changed to the Bay of Pigs (which was a horrible area to conduct this type of operation) because he was afraid of U.S,. involvement.

          The whole operation was about as secret as Rosie O'Donnell is attractive. All Castro had to do was read the New York Times.

        • aspacia

          How do you know this? JFK was a Cold Warrior.

          • Reason_For_Life

            I'm old enough to remember the events but more significantly, I have a friend who was on the beach waiting for the air support that never came. He told me they thought that they had attacked in the wrong place because they were sure that the air support would be there. They took heavy casualties waiting for the air cover that never came. No one could believe that they had been betrayed.

            The facts surrounding this are well known and can easily be found on the web.

          • http://visionsandprinciples.blogspot.com/ InRussetShadows

            And you're old enough to have learned basic logic, but somehow you still haven't. Take for instance, your assertion that Vietnam was not fought to contain communism. To prove this, you show that JFK bungled the Bay of Pigs invasion. Really? That's pretty sad. You have several tactical errors, JFK's lack of commitment, political pressures at home, JFK's distracted nature (uhm, could have been all the women he was banging), and so on. However, failure to support one's beliefs in a single instance doesn't mean that every time you state your beliefs that you are lying. That's logic. And plenty of people were championing the "Domino Theory" (you remember that, don't you), not just JFK. I could go on all day, but if you're old enough to remember the Bay of Pigs invasion and you still can't think logically, I suspect it is a lost cause.

          • Reason_For_Life

            Read the entire thread. I said that if you want to contain communism you would pick a place that's easy to defend not one five thousand miles away. Since no attempt was made to contain a nearby threat that had agents and arms in South America and Africa it was bloody obvious that containing communism wasn't the goal of the Kennedy-Johnson administrations.

            Learn to read before you criticize someone's logic.

          • aspacia

            JFK was an opportunist, and I tend to believe you on this. We have betrayed too many allies: Taiwan, Cubans, now possibly Israel.

    • mlcblog

      I think the motivation for that war WAS largely to contain communism. I remember the mood of the country well.

  • aspacia

    First, the U.S. government did lie to the people by stating we had a treaty with South Viet Nam, we did not. The treaty was with the French. Second, like Korea, we allowed the UN to stopped us from crossing the 38 Parallele, which we could have done numerous times and ended communist aggression.

  • mlcblog

    Somehow I really doubt we'll ever get this needed clarification from Romney. So much of our current political discussion is hidden and/or obscured by assumption, as if they are ashamed or afraid of the discussion of their own views.

    I loved this reminder of our history of what really defeated our efforts in Vietnam, that it was not singlehandedly the shocking announcement by Walter Cronkite that we were conceding defeat! but the undermining of our forces by Senator Frank Church and his ilk in the Congress and the refusal to continue to fund the war. They removed all military funding, as had been proposed by the commies in the peace movement. I had been hearing this as a strategy in organizing meetings I was attending, but had not remembered it and so am grateful for your article to bring me into a more factual recollection of history at that time.

    As far as stemming the tide of communism, we were there making that attempt. Too bad for the region that we did not succeed. I believe the people would have been better off today.

  • 080

    Since George H.W. Bush has endorsed Romney you can know that his presidency would continue along the lines set out by George W. Bush. You know. Thousand points of light and more retreat. In any case I don't think that the American people support the politics that have been coming out of Washington. The problem is that no one president can assure that more of your tax money will be spent on you. The tea party should not be devoting its energy to support one or another Republican candidate. It must maximize its voting power. Demand that whoever is elected should do away with the electoral college. Get rid of the political influence of state legislatures in drawing electoral districts. Whoever is elected president should have to face the unadulterated opinion of the American people.

  • Roco

    Oh, to be sure ALL sides committed atrocities during every phase of the war. I was strictly talking about the 75-84 period which I made very clear in my original post.
    I NEVER mentioned the genocide in Cambodia because it wasn't the topic at hand. Your reading of my post was at best inaccurate and at worst disingenuous. The killing fields were very real and the west – despite some hand wringing – did nothing about it. It took Vietnamese intervention to put a stop to it.

  • FriendofGaryCooper

    Good article, and a necessary one. Didn't Romney, not long ago, use the term
    "Jihadism?" Yes, he did; to continue the politically correct mantra of
    "The War on Terror," that Bush and the Republican party were so good at using. Thus, it wouldn't surprise me if George Romney was anti-Vietnam war, and that we'll get a continuation of the PC "War on Terror" nonsense should Mitt Romney win the election.
    About the Vietnam War, I was casually reading a book, at a local B & N a few months ago, which was a bio of a US Marine general, who told LBJ to his face, that his strategy
    in Vietnam was all wrong. Red-faced with rage, after listening to this General for a while, LBJ literally pushed this brave officer out of the Oval Office. Don't remember the book's title or the General's name, but it occurred in 1965 or 1966. Makes you think, no?

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Good article, and a necessary one. Didn't Romney, not long ago, use the term "Jihadism?" Yes, he did; to continue the politically correct mantra of "The War on Terror," that Bush and the Republican party were so good at using.

      Actually, given the term "Jihadism" vs. "War on Terror," I much prefer the term "Jihadism," as jihad is a manifestation of Islamic civilization only, while "terrorism," on the other hand, is a manifestation of the West only. Which also indicates that the GWB administration was about as incompetent as it gets. It also explains why the so-called "War on Terror" has inevitably turned into the two biggest strategic blunders ever in American history. As the GWB administration was so blinded by PC multiculturalism that it ignorantly conflated jihad with terrorism.

      Of course, a lot of people are under the false impression that jihad and terrorism are one and the same. However, jihad and terrorism are really two mutually exclusive manifestations and indeed two entirely different thing altogether. As Jihad is holy fighting in the cause of Allah against non-Muslim unbelievers to make Islam supreme, in stark contrast to terrorism can be both violent and non-violent, targets specifically non-Muslim unbelievers, both civilian non-combatants like in the Madrid Train Bombing and military combatants like US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is always fought by mainstream orthodox Muslims only called jihadists or mujahideen.

      Whereas terrorism, on the other hand and in stark contrast to jihad, which is always only in the cause of Allah, can be for any number of political causes unlike jihad, and as its name implies is always only violent as opposed to jihad which can be both violent and non-violent. In addition, terrorism indiscriminately targets civilian non-combatants as opposed to jihad which specifically targets primarily non-Muslim unbelievers, and is always perpetrated by extremists that are called terrorists.

      Nevertheless, unfortunately when Romney uses the term jihadism, he doesn't mean jihad in its proper context. Instead, he uses the word "Jihadism" as another way of saying "radical Islam," exactly like ALL REPUBLICAN POLITICIANS, with the exception of that Jew hating loon Ron Paul, who sympathizes with jihadists because like him they are obsessed with hating Jews.

      In any event, any candidate that publicly reflected the true and accurate un-politically correct real version of Islam that deviated one iota from the current politically correct paradigm would inevitably get branded as an Islamophobe and hounded out of the presidential race. Hence, either all Republican candidates are ignorant of the true and accurate un-politically correct real version of Islam or otherwise feigning stupidity out of necessity, and we will never know until after the election.

      Therefore, for the true and accurate un-politically correct unvarnished version of Islam to become the dominant paradigm in the Republican Party, it will have to be forced via outside pressure, i.e. the Tea Party or another similar movement. Of course, as soon as people start organizing to accomplish this transformation in the Republican Party, they will have to be able to withstand what will inevitably be a massive campaign to marginalize them as Islamophobes, as they will no doubt be crucified by the news media including Fox News.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Romney's entire focus is to be elected President and all he has to say will
    be qualified by and because of his ambition. He is a professional politician
    and therefore who knows what he really thinks……………………………William

  • Phil Byler

    Contrast the question about Romney's grasp of history with Newt's sure grasp of history.

    • aspacia

      True, but Gingrich is too mercurial, smart, but I do not like him. He is a polarized similar to Wbya.