Rushville Republican

Columns

September 4, 2012

Barada: The Vietnam War and the liberal media

RUSHVILLE — For those of you who sometimes wonder about the outcome of the Vietnam War, I received a very interesting e-mail from a buddy of mine a few days ago that, at the very least, is thought-provoking. For those of you who don't remember the Vietnam War, you probably can look it up; it was in all the papers. For those of us who do remember it, this commentary should prove interesting reading, not only because of its content, but also because of its applicability today.

General VoNguyen Giap was a highly respected leader of the North Vietnamese army. This quotation is from his memoirs: "What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battle of TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we were elated to notice your media was helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!" The author goes on to write, "General Giap has published his memoirs and confirmed what most Americans knew. The Vietnam War was not lost in Vietnam Ð it was lost at home. The same slippery slope, sponsored by the U.S. media, is currently underway. It exposes the enormous power of a biased media to cut the heart and will of the American public. A truism worthy of note...Do not fear the enemy, for they can take only your life. Fear the media for they will distort your grasp of reality and destroy your honor."

If you were alive in the 1960s and early Ô70s, you may recall that the national evening news was only on three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC. They all filled their evening newscasts with horrific scenes of combat in Southeast Asia. Also featured prominently nearly every evening was the outrage of the anti-war movement. The networks were obviously opposed to the war in Vietnam. Never before had the American people seen such graphic images of what warfare is really like in terms of the human cost.

When the war ended in 1974, there were no parades to welcome our troops home. As a matter of fact, Vietnam veterans were routinely spat upon and called "baby killers." Thanks to the national media, GIs who were sent to Vietnam were vilified as no other American soldiers, before or since, have ever been. The truth of the matter is that nothing went on in Vietnam that hasn't gone on in every war that has been or ever will be fought. War is a brutal, horrifying, murderous enterprise. The war in Vietnam was no different with one exception. It was the first conflict that was brought into our living rooms every evening! Even if television had been available at the time, people would never have seen the stark images of the battles of World War II. Censors would have prevented it. During World War II, for example, the media, out of respect, never showed President Roosevelt in his wheelchair. Few realized at the time that he had been a victim of polio.

In the final analysis, it was the coverage of the war that caused the American people to lose their will to continue the fight. Most of us at the time knew we were winning the battles, but losing the war in the liberal national media. That fact alone does not explain away the flawed reasons why we were there in the first place.  History shows us that the reasons for the commitment of our troops to Southeast Asia were wrong. We sent troops there to stop the "spread of Communism" in that part of the world. The sad fact is that the North Vietnamese weren't trying to spread Communism, but merely trying to unify their country after the defeat of the French. History now tells us that Ho Chi Minh had asked the Truman administration for help in ridding his country of French colonial occupation. Vietnam, after all, used to be called French Indo-China. We refused to aid the Vietnamese in their efforts to cast off colonial rule by the French Ð because France had been our ally during World War II. So, the Vietnamese turned to other countries for aid Ð and where do you think they found it? China was only too happy to supply arms and supplies to the Vietnamese. In the infinite wisdom of the US State Department, the "alliance" by the Vietnamese with Communist Red China was definitive proof of the renewed spread of Communism.

But having reached that conclusion, we would have won the war in Vietnam, but for the media's coverage of the conflict, which eroded the support for victory on the part of the American people. You can see the same thing happening in the coverage of the fighting in Afghanistan. Every night we hear how many Americans were killed, but we never hear how many Taliban fighters we eliminated or how the fighting is going Ð unless it appears that it's going against us.

As we approach the national election in November, also keep in mind who the liberal national media wants in the White House. Ask yourself if this nation is better off now than four years ago as we head down the road toward more socialism Ð including that veiled appeal for "social justice" you also hear from the left on the evening news. As Margaret Thatcher once said, "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

That's Ñ30Ñ for this week.

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