Friday, August 01, 2003

ANOTHER QUALITY PIECE FROM VDH

Read Victor Davis Hanson for a comparison of today to 1864.

I was reading a chapter in Hanson's book Carnage and Culture while on an airplane yesterday. It was about the Tet offensive in Viet Nam. For most of us who were alive and aware in 1968, Tet probably conjures up images of US Marines under siege, especially at the Citadel at Hue. But I'd bet that most of us also look at Tet as a turning point for the US -- the point where we began to lose. It's interesting how reading what really happened there refocuses things.

Looking back without the color of the western media reporting, Tet was a resounding success. The North Viet Nam/Viet Cong forces, which totaled almost 80,000, simultaneously struck in as many as 20 different locations throughout South Viet Nam. In every single instance, they were soundly defeated, losing perhaps as many as half their troops -- 40,000 dead, almost as many KIA as the US had in the entire war!

But here's the kicker, how many of you are aware that, in some major cities that they had control over, the North/VC rounded up thousands of intellectuals and others who were suspect and executed them before they began their offensive? It is now widely known that many in the western media were aware of these atrocities, but they were never reported. Why? It makes for a better soundbite to interview a beleaguered US Marine after he's been awake for 72 hours who "just wants to go home".

You think the media is slanting the story in Iraq? Revisit what happened in Viet Nam. And guess who some of the guys were who "earned their stripes" by using a "negative" reporting style in Viet Nam? -- Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Peter Arnett, et. al.

Of course, the media didn't lose the Viet Nam war for the US. Hanson is very clear in his book that US military leaders (with constant micro-management from The White House) did a fine job of ensuring defeat.


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