Jewish World Review August 28, 2003 / 30 Menachem-Av, 5763

Alicia Colon

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So the Iraq war is a fiasco, huh? | In a recent New York Times column, " A Price Too High," Bob Herbert likened the War in Iraq to the War in Vietnam. He writes: "One of the many reasons Vietnam spiraled out of control was the fact that America's top political leaders never clearly defined the mission there, and were never straight with the public about what they were doing. Domestic political considerations led Kennedy, then Johnson, then Nixon to conceal the truth about a policy that was bankrupt from the beginning. They even concealed how much the war was costing. Sound familiar? "

Mr. Herbert joins a growing group of editorialists who are convinced that the Iraq war is, as he puts it, " A fiasco."

As I read these commentaries and the letters to the editors and the recent polls, I am starting to believe that there is indeed more than a passing resemblance to our struggles in Vietnam. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it but in this case, it is not the administration that is repeating folly but those who forget what cost us the war in the first place.

In his book" Following Ho Chi Minh: Memoirs of a North Vietnamese Colonel," Bui Tin confirms that the North Vietnamese suffered a devastating defeat in the Tet offensive in 1968. Their forces in the South were nearly wiped out but they had achieved a political advantage because the support for the war in America was waning. "Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9am to follow the growth of the anti-war movement." He writes that visits to Hanoi by Jane Fonda, Ramsey Clark and ministers gave them confidence that they should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses.

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Mr. Tin, who now lives in Paris, became disillusioned with the realities of communism, unlike the current crowd of anti-war Marxists who are attempting to undo our achievements against terrorism.

A country divided cannot stand and if we are to believe the current polls, the map of our great nation is divided into red and blue acreage. The blue areas can't seem to rise above partisanship and refuse to accept George Bush as their president and his red supporters rely way too much on talk radio but can't seem to make their voices heard anywhere in the mainstream press or on network television.

I seem to recall after September 11th; that we were a nation committed to fighting a war that had never been waged before. We were told over and over by President Bush that it would not be easy; that it might take years; that our brave military would suffer casualties. During those months, we all understood that and we stood behind the president.

Then the propaganda against the war in Iraq started and the perspective of our objectives changed. Complacency set in and suddenly, the threat against us did not seem to warrant what many regarded as an attack on our freedom. Hollywood stars of somewhat dim allure sought the spotlight and mounted ill-conceived protests, lending their minor celebrity to the same crew that destroyed us in Vietnam.

What was the main difference between Vietnam and World War II? Many, like Bob Herbert would argue that it was the murky objective in Vietnam that doomed our efforts there but the deaths of millions of Cambodians after our retreat should be factored into any debate. No. I believe it was the leftwing infiltration and successful propaganda machine that decimated the unity of our nation. It is that same crew that is threatening to do the same thing now.

Whenever the patriotism of the anti-war celebrities has been questioned, they have expressed immediate outrage at any attack on their first amendment rights. But there is a difference between one's right to speak out on an issue in one's private life and one's ability to mount a public discourse that gives aid and comfort to the enemy. We can argue all we want about WMD's over the bridge table and in bars but mounting protest marches against our government and issuing self-important manifestos for international display only benefits terrorists like Al-Queda.

There is indeed an enemy who lurks in all four-corners of the world and is poised to destroy everything that we hold dear. We are hated and no one is more hated than the vacuous, effete, hedonists who live luxurious lives of comfort on both our coasts. In particular, this enemy hates all Jews and anyone supporting Israel. We must never ever minimize this hatred.

The recent bombings in Bombay and Iraq should be driving home the message that this enemy cares little about religion or the cost of innocent lives, rather they be Indian or Iraqi. We have an insuperable military might and a president who has the will to use it. What we need to succeed and to destroy this enemy is a united front.

When we have had that in the past, we have been invincible.

JWR contributor Alicia Colon is a columnist for the New York Sun. Comment by clicking here.


© 2003, Alicia Colon