Yesterday, I got pissed off at CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. They’re already targeting Obama for martyrdom, and the last elections left-overs haven’t gotten the hint that no one wants them in the top office. Well, I went on my usual tyrade over at Blonde Sagacity, in The Grotto section. That resulted in a request for a guest rant, which is now published.

With something I’d also like to add to it. Near the end of Blitzer’s interview with John Edwards, Edwards recognized that the President has full power in increasing or decreasing troop levels, when it comes down to it. But he also stated that Congress is well within power to force his hand, through budgeting. He listed conflicts, that he determined as Congress successfully forcing the end of American involvement, one of them was Vietnam. Yeah, Congress successfully ended that one, and their withholding of funds did a good job of making sure that lots of people paid for it, and not just with American lives.

13 comments

  1. ummm

    Most candidates that start off with such a strong showing dont ussually win. Dean had a huge swell of public support but one fuck-up and he was out. Obama does not have the political legacy that is ussually in place for many presidential hopefuls. Bush Sr and Jr. had political experience and so did Clinton and Regan. I bet Obama ends up as a VP candidate. As for no-one wanting them… I think Kerry will definitely not run and Edwards is going to try and parlay himself into a VP slot…. which I hope he doesnt get. Gore could get lots of democrats to vote for him but not enough crossovers.

    As for Congress and the war effort. You are not seriously trying to blame congress for Viet Nam are you? Really?

    Drew

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      1. Re: ummm

        Funding was withdrawn AFTER we were basically losing. At what point should pride be put aside?
        Not every political problem in the world needs to be solved by military action.
        Drew

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      2. Re: ummm

        Funding your own fuck-up, and seeing it through to the end, and fulfilling the obligations that you set forth is hardly classified as pride. It’s called owning up to the responsibilities you took on. We did more than just withdrawn funding to our military. We withdrew funding to South Vietnam and various other groups for re-building and withdrew our support of them, kinda of a Bay of Pigs manner. We made a promise and failed in our obligation to uphold it because we didn’t feel like being responsible adults in that situation and just wanted to get out of it. Pride, would be thinking that we’re so great, that we can pull shit like that and no one will call us on it.

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      3. Re: ummm

        Funding was withdrawn after the Peace conference (Jan ’73) and ceasefire where funding was agreed to stand at a given point. The funding cut (in June ’73) was not to withdraw the troops, that was already established by the treaty, it was to cut off support for an ally and leave them out in the cold. Out in the cold when they were attacked again, in 1975, in breach of the treaty that we’d negotiated two years earlier.

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      4. Re: ummm

        Thanks for the correction. I still dont think one can blame congress for viet nam. LEt me rephrase that… you cant blame JUST congress. I will accept they had a part in the failure of this process but military victories are insufficient in situations like Iraq and Viet Nam.

        Interestingly, I am opposed to halting the troop increase. I like it because it is coupled to requiring the Iraqi government to take a more active (less sectarian) role. This should be tried before deciding we need to just pull out… At least that way when the government collapses after we leave (which I believe it will) we did try.

        Drew

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      5. Re: ummm

        still dont think one can blame congress for viet nam. LEt me rephrase that… you cant blame JUST congress. I will accept they had a part in the failure of this process but military victories are insufficient in situations like Iraq and Viet Nam.

        One can also blame Ford for not re-affirming support for our ally and leaving them to swing in the wind.

        There is a decided difference in the characterization of the wars in WWII vs vietnam by the press and thus in the views of the american public. Witness the entirely different common views of the Tet Offensive as compared to the Ardennes Winter offensive by Germany in Dec ’44-Jan’45. Both offensives failed at their strategic goals, both offensives finished large numbers of enemy troops and consumed far more resources of the enemy than they gained in strategic or tactical gains. Yet. Tet was characterized as a “victory” for the VC in the media and yet the VC were totally undone by their losses and the North was similarly crippled for a time with their troop and resource strength. The fighting in and around Hue City was seen as representative for the fighting around the rest of the country while Hue was the only place where the VC held their gains for more than 24 hours. Germany actually had a bigger/longer effect (19,000 US dead for the Ardennes vs 1,536 killed US and Aussies for Tet ) with the Ardennes offensive and yet no-one in the US was saying leave Europe because Germany isn’t finished yet. The comparison of casualties among the Germans to Allies vs the US/Aussies to VC/NVA was also comparable for the Bulge and disproportionate for tet (15,652 German dead 25-45,000 VC/NVA KIA Even so, everyone was expecting the war to be over by Christmas based on how the Germans were retreating up until they reached the Seigfried Line.

        Germany had a chance to defeat the allies militarily, the VC/NVA never had a chance to do so. The Color of the wars was entirely inverted in risks as compared to characterization by the Media and perspectives at home. Why is that?

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      6. Re: ummm

        I don’t think anyone will blame JUST Congress. However, from the way John Edwards phrased it, it sure sounded like he, as a representative of Congress, was giving them full-credit, for what he called, the succesful withdrawal from Vietnam.

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    1. Re: ummm

      There’s several points to consider.

      The military side of the war was going swimmingly all things considered. The Vietcong (south Vietnamese insurgents) were effectively useless as a fighting force after the Tet Offensive. (for more info see this article) Giap even states that they focused their propoganda war on the US Media and they play homage to that effect and success sin their shrine to the war in Ho Chi Minh City.

      The war in the North was limited in scope because of fear of either China or the USSR getting more directly involved just as it had during the Korean war. So the North was very carefully dealt with.

      The North abused neutrality of two neighboring countries and we prosecuted their forces infiltrating over the border as we could, usually secretly. This was a problem of PR and not tactics which limited the operations there.

      In January of 1973, when the North went to the Paris Peace talks again (due to Linebacker 2) and a treaty was hammered out, the agreement was that the US would pull out it’s combat troops and the Soviets/Chinese and the US would match supporting funding to the North and South respectively. This was a general ceasefire agreement that the North Broke after Nixon resigned and Congress passed the Chase-Churge Amendment. This stopped our funding to the south and the Chinese/Soviets quadrupled their support in funding/material aid to the North. The north recognized this and broke the agreement in March of 1975. Thus the south and Saigon fell in April of 1975, not to guerrilla attacks, but to massed formations of tanks and supporting infantry. The stoppage of the funding for RVN and their loss of the war would in fact fall on Congress’s shoulders would it not?

      Doesn’t seem like a thing Edwards should brag about however.

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