by: the Common Constitutionalist
Okay, this is not very Christmassy, but I was speaking with my son the other day. He was telling me of the classes he would be taking next semester. When he told me his American history class would be on the war in Vietnam, I physically cringed.
I said that we would have to arm himself with the truth prior to the commencement of the class, for although I don’t know for certain, I suspect that conflict would not get a fair shake in a public high school classroom. Odds are I’m right.
So, when the lefties speak of Vietnam, other than that our soldiers were all drugged up baby killers, what do they always point to? That’s right – The Tet Offensive – the surprise attack on January 31, 1968 that turned the tide to favor North Vietnam, who eventually won the war.
This is likely what my son will be taught, so I thought it necessary to set him straight, and may be others who aren’t familiar.
The ‘68 Tet Offensive is named for the Vietnamese new year of Tet. It is the date of the first new moon of the year, and for this, after the battle of Khe Sanh, a cease-fire was agreed to on January 30, 1968. It was short-lived.
But the Tet Offensive, or the strategy of, actually started in 1954, at the battle of Dien Bien Phu and a Vietnamese officer, General Vo Nguyen Giap, who successfully rallied his countrymen to join the Army in driving the French out of Vietnam. Well, it worked then – why not try it again.
The North Vietnamese needed to do something, because up until then they had incurred such heavy losses, they might not be able to continue for much longer.
So General Giap came up with the Tet offensive, where the NLF (National Liberation Front), also called the VC (Viet Cong) attacked several cities simultaneously. It should be noted that the terms NLF and VC are interchangeable. They were, in effect, radicalized South Vietnamese who joined up with the North to defeat the Americans.
They were hoping the blitzkrieg type surprise attack would so stun the United States that it would turn the tide of the war. Well it didn’t work and it did work. Makes sense, right?
First – the it didn’t work part. In fact, unlike Dien Bien Phu, the citizenry did not join the VC en masse as General Giap had counted on. The NLF instead incurred such heavy losses in this one battle that the VC could no longer even be considered a fighting force.
So devastated were their ranks that the VC would have to be replaced with NVA (North Vietnamese Army) soldiers. It was a disaster. The North lost 37,000 men during Tet to our 2,500.
Okay, with those kinds of losses, how could Tet have possibly been a win for the North? Two words – American media.
See, most of that war was fought in rural, remote and jungle areas. Tet was really the first urban battle and because of that, reporters, most of whom were based in Saigon, were on the ground able to chronicle every bloody detail and beam it directly back to Americans’ living rooms. Every day and night, American households were treated to the bloody reality of war.
This also threw gasoline on the inferno of the antiwar movement in cities and especially college campuses, and purposely so.
Due to the way reporters told the story, Americans actually believe we lost the battle of Tet and were losing the war – which was opposite the truth. It’s almost as if Walter Cronkite and the rest in the media had an agenda. Hmm – sound familiar?
Anyway, at the end of the Vietnam War one of General Giap’s staff, a man named Bui Tin gave a very telling interview. Mr. Tin admitted that they knew the war was a battle on two fronts – the actual fighting in Vietnam and the media propaganda battle in the United States. He said they would watch and listen to the American broadcasts and were encouraged as they followed, “the growth of the American antiwar movement.” They knew they were winning the all important propaganda battle.
He also said that General Giap confided in him that in fact Tet had been a defeat for the North. Mr. Tin told the interviewer that “America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.”
In other words, the modern day media created the template to undermine U.S. military campaigns through subversive reporting and the North Vietnamese witnessed the whole spectacle. They knew all they had to do was to stall and hold on long enough for America to in effect defeat itself.
Because of the media, subversives like Jane Fonda and spineless politicians, we won every battle yet still managed to lose the Vietnam War.
And that’s the real story. Merry Christmas.