Thomas Sowell Says We Could Have Won in Vietnam
The neocons are currently telling us that the surge is working militarily in Iraq, which of course misses the whole point about the political situation there. This kind of short sighted thinking also permeates those who thought we could have won in Vietnam as exemplified by the latest from Thomas Sowell:
The first of the shocks of 1968 was the sudden eruption of violent attacks by Communist guerillas in the cities of South Vietnam, known as the “Tet offensive,” after a local holiday. That this sort of widespread urban guerilla warfare was still possible after the rosy claims made by American officials in Washington and Vietnam sent shock waves through the United States. The conclusion that might have been drawn was that politicians and military commanders should not make rosy predictions. The conclusion that was in fact drawn was that the Vietnam War was unwinnable. In reality, the Tet offensive was one in which the Communist guerilla movement was not only defeated in battle but was virtually annihilated as a major military force. From there on, the job of attacking South Vietnam was a job for the North Vietnam army. Politically, however, the Tet offensive was an enormous victory for the Communists – not in Vietnam, but in the United States. The American media, led by Walter Cronkite, pictured the Tet offensive as a defeat for the United
States and a sign that the Vietnam War was unwinnable. That in turn led to the second shock of 1968, President Lyndon Johnson’s announcement that he would not run for re-election. He knew that public support for the war was completely undermined – and that is what in fact made the war politically unwinnable. Think about it: More than 50,000 Americans gave their lives to win victories on the battlefields of Vietnam that were thrown away back in the United States by the media, by politicians and by rioters in the streets and on campuses.
Sowell omits various important pieces of information such as the fact that the South Vietnamese government was in turmoil during and after the Tet offensive. Yes, they could defend the cities but they had to cede control of the countryside to the Viet Cong that Sowell mistakenly claims was annihilated. Secondly, when the Johnson Administration asked our generals after Tet whether the war was winnable or not – they could not provide an affirmative answer. But most importantly, Sowell omits the fact the Nixon Administration spent the next four wins trying to win this war and had no success either.
I’m not sure how to read Sowell’s rant. Is he really this stupid? Or is it that the editors of the National Review had to dig down this deep to find such an incredibly dishonest piece of fluff in their desire to bolster the failed Iraq policies of this Administration? And of course, Thomas Sowell once again has no problem complying with a request to basically lie to the readers of the National Review.
Your rebuttal to Sowell only calls him a liar and stupid, yet doesn’t debunk the facts. The Tet offensive was a military victory for the US and South Vietnam as stated, however, in the US it was portrayed as a loss and diminished the American peoples tolerance for victory. In other words our military didn’t lose the war in Vietnam, on the contrary, the American people did. Also we now know that the surge was successful, so you were also wrong on that point as well. It was that very pessimism and ignorance which caused the massive political failure in Vietnam. You basically proved his point.