Iraq and Vietnam … and Afghanistan … and Pakistan … and … and …

I am greatly disturbed and angered about what I see happening in Iraq.

What is happening in Iraq is, in most significant ways, a replay of Vietnam … let’s take a look.

We entered Vietnam in the early 1960s under Democrat President John F. Kennedy and saw a massive expansion of American military forces under Democrat President Lyndon Johnson and then Republican President Richard Nixon.

The Vietnam war was actually only one campaign, a very hot campaign, in something much bigger … the Cold War. The Cold War was a strategy of containment of the post WW-II expansion of the Communist empires of the Soviet Union and China. Vietnam was a war against Communist aggression against an independent nation, South Vietnam, in much the same way the Korean War was a war against Communist aggression against an independent South Korea. It should be remembered in hind-sight that atheistic Communism in the personification of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Cambodia is credited with the deaths of some 100,000,000 souls in the period roughly from 1930 – 1991.

I view both of these wars, Korea and Vietnam, as legitimate and morally justifiable, especially in light of the clear lessons of post war history and hindsight. That history and hindsight being the very sad and tragic country of North Korea as compared with virtually the rest of the world – especially South Korea. We see daily reminders of the success of the free and independent nation of South Korea in the form of the Kia and Hyundai automobiles on the roads of American and around the world. Many of us use Samsung products to talk with friends and family over the wireless networks round the world. Many wash and dry clothes in Samsung washers and dryers. In South Korea we see a vibrant and free Christian church, free from the deadly persecutions seen just across the border.

North Korea seems hard pressed to grow a single ear of corn … and Christians are killed wherever and whenever they are found.

The Korean War ended in stalemate, with the two nations separated at the 38’th parallel.

At the conclusion of the Korean War, the US made a long term military and economic commitment to the nation of South Korea and to its people. That commitment gave South Korea an umbrella of protection … an umbrella providing room for reconstruction and rehabilitation from decades of tyranny. That commitment also prevented a unified Korea, a unified Communist Korea, from seeking revenge against Japan, a nation also living under the American military umbrella of protection. Such revenge was probable considering the brutal invasion and treatment of Korea by the Japanese in the pre-war years of the 1930s.

Communist expansion was stopped at the 38’th parallel.

Wise American leadership in the late 1940’s and 1950s saw the future and saw the grim future lying just ahead, and so close to the world wide destruction that was World War II. American commitment to Korea continues today!

Wise American leadership in the late 1940’s and 1950s saw the future … and acted!

Vietnam and Korea … similar in so many ways … and yet tragically so different.

* * * * *

Vietnam and Iraq … similar in so many ways … and yet tragically so much the same.

US forces and their South Vietnamese allies finally achieved military victory in Vietnam in 1973; not a complete and total victory, but rather a stalemate as in Korea. The Paris Peace treaty of 1973 codified the stalemate leaving the two Vietnamese nations separated North and South.

American forces were withdrawn for the most part, but an agreement was left behind whereby South Vietnam would receive financial and military aid for its own self-defense.

Unfortunately, in 1975, the Democrat controlled US Congress voted to severely reduce aid to South Vietnam to the point where it became defenseless against a renewed attack from the North. Saigon fell to the Communist North 55 days later.

Unwise American Congressional leadership in 1975 failed to see the future … and acted to ensure the tragic future and its grim realities!

* * * * *

Unwise and even malevolent and sinister American leadership from President Barack Obama in 2011 orchestrates a near repeat of Vietnam … again with very predictable results.

One of the big ironies in these two episodes is seen in the person of a Mr. John Kerry.
Kerry was instrumental in fomenting anti-American/anti-war sentiment which precipitated the Congressional actions of Congress in 1975. Mr. Kerry, a former Senator and now Secretary of State, is, and has been, in a much more powerful position to further the demise of American influence in the world, and precipitate the atrocities we read about now in Iraq … decapitations and crucifixions.

This is how Mr. Kerry characterized the US military in 1971:

“They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”

Contrast that with the following characterization of the US military in 1975 following the conquering onslaught of the Communist North:

The Lucky Few, The Story of the USS Kirk

And here:

The USS Kirk: valor at the Vietnam war’s end

* * * * *

The future and fate of Afghanistan and nuclear Pakistan and others … ? can be reasonably predicted given the lessons described above.


Don Johnson – June 2014




6 responses to “Iraq and Vietnam … and Afghanistan … and Pakistan … and … and …

  1. Ronald Vander Griend

    You are right in many of your comments concerning our present situation. Many Vietnam vets such as myself have a hard time with what is going on as it brings back some memories we have buried long ago.
    However, the present situation in Iraq is even worse then the Vietnam situation. In Vietnam we played a war that we never meant the outcome to be any other than a stalemate. This left a bitter feeling with many of us vets. As a result, when we left millions of Vietnam people in the south who ended up being killed.
    In the Iraq case we actually did the right thing by going in and fighting a war to free the people from a ruthless dictator. However because we left in the way we did the ruthless dictator may have been more favorable then ISIS group that is killing people without mercy and will create a country in worse condition then if we had done nothing. America has lost the moral responsibility we have as a nation. Because of American actions today freedom is no longer a representation for which America will carry the flag.

  2. Don, sobering insights and connecting of dots. The great silence about this elephant in the middle of the room speaks volumes concerning the news, views and issues media culture of our day . . . and none of it good. KF of UD

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