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  • Bush Speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

    GWB gave this speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars yesterday.

    This can go equally well into the Vietnam War thread, but I'll put this here. I agree with him 100%.

    The speech is pretty long, so I've only quoted the best part.

    The consequences of leaving Vietnam was BAD. Too many people tend to forget that.

    The tragedy of Vietnam is too large to be contained in one speech. So I'm going to limit myself to one argument that has particular significance today. Then as now, people argued the real problem was America's presence and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end.

    The argument that America's presence in Indochina was dangerous had a long pedigree. In 1955, long before the United States had entered the war, Graham Greene wrote a novel called, "The Quiet American." It was set in Saigon, and the main character was a young government agent named Alden Pyle. He was a symbol of American purpose and patriotism -- and dangerous naivete. Another character describes Alden this way: "I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused."

    After America entered the Vietnam War, the Graham Greene argument gathered some steam. As a matter of fact, many argued that if we pulled out there would be no consequences for the Vietnamese people.

    In 1972, one antiwar senator put it this way: "What earthly difference does it make to nomadic tribes or uneducated subsistence farmers in Vietnam or Cambodia or Laos, whether they have a military dictator, a royal prince or a socialist commissar in some distant capital that they've never seen and may never heard of?" A columnist for The New York Times wrote in a similar vein in 1975, just as Cambodia and Vietnam were falling to the communists: "It's difficult to imagine," he said, "how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone." A headline on that story, date Phnom Penh, summed up the argument: "Indochina without Americans: For Most a Better Life."

    The world would learn just how costly these misimpressions would be. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge began a murderous rule in which hundreds of thousands of Cambodians died by starvation and torture and execution. In Vietnam, former allies of the United States and government workers and intellectuals and businessmen were sent off to prison camps, where tens of thousands perished. Hundreds of thousands more fled the country on rickety boats, many of them going to their graves in the South China Sea.

    Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left. There's no debate in my mind that the veterans from Vietnam deserve the high praise of the United States of America. (Applause.) Whatever your position is on that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like "boat people," "re-education camps," and "killing fields."

    There was another price to our withdrawal from Vietnam, and we can hear it in the words of the enemy we face in today's struggle -- those who came to our soil and killed thousands of citizens on September the 11th, 2001. In an interview with a Pakistani newspaper after the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden declared that "the American people had risen against their government's war in Vietnam. And they must do the same today."

    His number two man, Zawahiri, has also invoked Vietnam. In a letter to al Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq, Zawahiri pointed to "the aftermath of the collapse of the American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents."

    Zawahiri later returned to this theme, declaring that the Americans "know better than others that there is no hope in victory. The Vietnam specter is closing every outlet." Here at home, some can argue our withdrawal from Vietnam carried no price to American credibility -- but the terrorists see it differently.

    We must remember the words of the enemy. We must listen to what they say. Bin Laden has declared that "the war [in Iraq] is for you or us to win. If we win it, it means your disgrace and defeat forever." Iraq is one of several fronts in the war on terror -- but it's the central front -- it's the central front for the enemy that attacked us and wants to attack us again. And it's the central front for the United States and to withdraw without getting the job done would be devastating. (Applause.)

    If we were to abandon the Iraqi people, the terrorists would be emboldened, and use their victory to gain new recruits. As we saw on September the 11th, a terrorist safe haven on the other side of the world can bring death and destruction to the streets of our own cities. Unlike in Vietnam, if we withdraw before the job is done, this enemy will follow us home. And that is why, for the security of the United States of America, we must defeat them overseas so we do not face them in the United States of America. (Applause.)

  • #2
    I bed to differ on leaving Viet nam beeing bad.

    leaving Vietnam gave the message to the world that there was no way that the US empire would dominate the world. the Ussr and china alse learned that to push beyond wars of liberation of the local people (as vietnam started) was expensive and not too good. so it was a milestone towards the end of the cold war. afghanistan was the second.

    just as iraq and afghanistan and the GWOT are milestones (nails in the coffin) in the american empire/new american century/US world hegemony. the world is again multipolar.

    yippee.
    "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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    • #3
      Alexander Solzynihtzyn in his commencement address to Harvard in 1978 "A World Split Apart" http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine...rvard1978.html
      was the first I am unaware of to speak of these despicable crimes by the ruling communists. He was all by eviscerated by the liberals for his remarks then. People want to know why the Germans did not speak out during WWII about the holocaust? For the exact same reason that America did not speak out about the 'reeducation camps' in Vietnam. We were too ashamed of ourselves.

      Once again, President Bush is right. People do no want to hear what he has to say, but he is just as correct now as the Soviet dissedent Alexander Solzynihtzyn was 3 decades back.
      "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
        I bed to differ on leaving Viet nam beeing bad.

        yippee.
        Fine, tell that to my neighbor who spent almost a decade in a 'reeducation' camp. I'm sure that your enlightened liberal commentary will make all those years of torture and hunger he endured so much more bearable.

        His crime? Being an ARVN non-com and being an ally of the USA.
        "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by trailboss49 View Post
          Fine, tell that to my neighbor who spent almost a decade in a 'reeducation' camp. I'm sure that your enlightened liberal commentary will make all those years of torture and hunger he endured so much more bearable.

          His crime? Being an ARVN non-com and being an ally of the USA.
          I'm sure the population of Laos arent regretting the US withdrawal from Vietnam given that the US bombed it back to the Stone Age.. The USA dropped more bombs on Laos between 1964 and 1973, on a per capita basis than it did worldwide during World War II"
          My point is that many people suffered because of the Conflict, not just the Countries taking part. The Vietnam war ending was a good thing. Even if it had ended differently it would still have been a good thing.
          "The Eastern front is like a house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse."- General Heinz Guderian


          "Oakland Raiders: Committed to Excellence"

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          • #6
            Whatever the shortcomings of how the war was actually conducted in Vietnam by the US goverment, it is deeply unfair to say the US involvement in Vietnam was part of some US conspiracy of global domination. The policy was based on the notion of the domino theory that South East Asian Countries would become dominated by communist regimes one by one. Korea had already proved a soviet policy of encouraging communist take over because the soviets had encouraged and then helped North Korea to attack South Korea. With some justification this seemed to be happening in South East Asia and frankly did happen in Laos /Cambodia and there was communist pressure in Thailand. If put into the context of the Cold War one can see why the US got involved. In the overall context of the war it showed the Russians what the Americans were prepared to do to stand up (a view propogated by certain Soviet generals of the time)to them and that maybe its real legacy for all of us. The prosecution of the war, well thats another topic of diiscussion. I can say one thing though, if the Americans hadnt have withdrawn, it is likely that the Khmer rouge in Cambodia wouldnt have created the killing fields and murdered a third their country's population
            ( dont rememebr jane fonda bitching about that one) and then started a race war against vietnam. American withdrawl not quite so yippee now is it?



            P.S pierre you also said that the Soviet Union and China from vietnam to push beyond wars of liberation or something.What would you call the invasion of Afghanistan and Tibet or Tianneman square. Talk about revisionist history.
            Last edited by copenhagen; 23 Aug 07, 06:37.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Gott Heinrici View Post
              I'm sure the population of Laos arent regretting the US withdrawal from Vietnam given that the US bombed it back to the Stone Age.. The USA dropped more bombs on Laos between 1964 and 1973, on a per capita basis than it did worldwide during World War II"
              My point is that many people suffered because of the Conflict, not just the Countries taking part. The Vietnam war ending was a good thing. Even if it had ended differently it would still have been a good thing.
              What a crock. I can hardly wait to hear your justification of the holocaust. The bombs dropped in the country of Laos was on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, NOT in the capitol cities. Laos WAS involved in the VIetnam conflict. It is now a puppet of the communist Vietnam government and has been for decades.

              If you think think that putting hundreds of thousands in 'reeducation camps' and have many die of starvation and torture, then and only then, was the ending of the Vietnam conflict a good thing.
              "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

              Comment


              • #8
                The point the the President got incorrect is that it was not the military withdraw of ground combat forces, or even air power(that hurt more, 1972 easter offensive is an example of how it could help sustain the SVG) that lead to the defeat of the SVG, it was the withdraw of money and equipment aid in late 74-75 that did it. He needs a better analogy....
                “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
                “To talk of many things:
                Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
                Of cabbages—and kings—
                And why the sea is boiling hot—
                And whether pigs have wings.”
                ― Lewis Carroll

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by trailboss49 View Post
                  What a crock. I can hardly wait to hear your justification of the holocaust. The bombs dropped in the country of Laos was on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, NOT in the capitol cities. Laos WAS involved in the VIetnam conflict. It is now a puppet of the communist Vietnam government and has been for decades.

                  If you think think that putting hundreds of thousands in 'reeducation camps' and have many die of starvation and torture, then and only then, was the ending of the Vietnam conflict a good thing.
                  My point was that the South Vietnamese were not the only ones to suffer in that Conflict and that the ending of the conflict was a GOOD thing. That is not a Crock!!! Please tell me how the Holocaust has anything to do with my post. Read the last line of my post "Even if it had ended differently it would still have been a good thing". Point is that the War HAD to end. Too much suffering on ALL sides. By the way, about your point with the re-education camps, that was indeed the case but I'm sure if the South had prevailed then there would have been no imprisonment or shootings or human rights violations either, would there?
                  "The Eastern front is like a house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse."- General Heinz Guderian


                  "Oakland Raiders: Committed to Excellence"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "the South had prevailed then there would have been no imprisonment or shootings or human rights violations either, would there?"
                    __________________
                    That a moral eqivelency standpoint which I often have difficulty subscribing to. Its an obvious statement to make but the cold war had two sides and we needed to pick one. Like I said Im not a fan of the way the war was prosecuted but i feel there was justification for helping the south vietnamese despite their well documented corruption in the context of the cold war.

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                    • #11
                      Please guys. Before we go arguing to and fro, spiraling off again, I think it behooves us to read up on the history of Indochina in the 1960's and 1970's.

                      I think some seem to have the mistaken idea that the Vietnam War was a result of US aggression. The fact is, the US intervened because of North Vietnamese aggression, not only supporting the Viet Cong, but with NVA units present as well.

                      We might argue whether the strategy and tactics employed were good ones, or whether the US should have launched an air campaign, but the fact of North Vietnamese aggression cannot be denied. That it is denied speaks more of how the leftist version of the story has come to be accepted as THE story of the Vietnam War.

                      I especially appreciate the point that for GWB, the story of the Vietnam War did not stop when the US troops left. The late 1970's was a nightmare for Southeast Asia. We here witness the boat people, the killing fields, and the Vietnamese threat up close and personal. But frustratingly, the rest of the world seem to ignore what we face.

                      I find echoes of this ignorance not only in Iraq, but at the peril that Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine face.

                      The world simply seem determined to ignore dangers that are inconvenient to their long held beliefs.

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                      • #12
                        You've pretty much made the point I just did. I agree.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Guys, Ok. You are both indeed correct and I apologise for going off in a tangent. I was trying to make the point that there was two sides which had suffered over a long period of time, indeed the roots of which can be traced back to the end of WWII with the Japanese Withdrawal from French Indo China.

                          As regards the whole conflict I do believe that it was a tragedy that the South was defeated although it was a corrupt and cruel regime especially the Diems in the early 60's. Yes the US army and the ARVN to a degree could have won a conventional conflict with the North
                          "The Eastern front is like a house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse."- General Heinz Guderian


                          "Oakland Raiders: Committed to Excellence"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gott Heinrici View Post
                            Guys, Ok. You are both indeed correct and I apologise for going off in a tangent. I was trying to make the point that there was two sides which had suffered over a long period of time, indeed the roots of which can be traced back to the end of WWII with the Japanese Withdrawal from French Indo China.

                            As regards the whole conflict I do believe that it was a tragedy that the South was defeated although it was a corrupt and cruel regime especially the Diems in the early 60's. Yes the US army and the ARVN to a degree could have won a conventional conflict with the North
                            I can understand where you're coming from. Indeed, who can not sympathize with what seemed like an unending war in Indochina. You are certainly not wrong in your sympathies.

                            I do think, however, that what people see from far away places can often be very different from what we see right here in Southeast Asia.

                            But I hope you can see it from our perspective here. The South Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian regimes were certainly not perfect, but what came after them were worse. For Cambodia, it was much much worse.

                            And we have personally seen the Boat People. We were on the receiving end of these refugees, fleeing political, ethnic and economic persecutions. My dad was in the armed forces then, and had to help manage the refugees. He swore he will never allow what happened to them happen to us.

                            (I still remember how emotional he got when he describe the suffering that he had seen. It leaves a deep impression on me because back then, Asian dads don't tend to express their feelings like that.)

                            To me, I will rather fight, then be forced to leave everything and flee, or to live under an oppressive regime. And I know that many of my countrymen would do the same.

                            The sympathies of westerners are appreciated. But sometimes they just don't understand.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                              The sympathies of westerners are appreciated. But sometimes they just don't understand.
                              And I would be the first to concede that point to you, Sir.
                              "The Eastern front is like a house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse."- General Heinz Guderian


                              "Oakland Raiders: Committed to Excellence"

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