May 01, 2008
The Armorer has a great parody up on the Cost of War:
"WWI... Led into war by Democrat Woodrow Wilson
"564 Billion spent"
"Over 116,000 dead"
Um, but that led to...
WWII... led into war by Democrat Franklin Roosevelt
"67 years... and counting."
"4.6 Trillion spent."
"Over 405,000 dead"
Korea... led into war by Democrat Harry S. Truman
"58 years... and counting."
"391 Billion spent"
"Over 36,000 dead."
Vietnam war... led into war by Democrat John F. Kennedy.
"9 years, and we walked away from an ally."
"840 Billion spent."
"Over 58,000 dead."
Gulf War I... led into war by Republican George H. W. Bush
"9 Billion spent (after Allied reimbursements)"
"Over 300 dead."
Gulf War II... Led into war by Republican George W. Bush
"500 Billion Spent"
"Over 4,000 dead"
"Democrats: 73 years. 6.4 Trillion Dollars spent. 615,000 dead."
"Republicans: 17 years. 509 Billion Dollars spent. 4,300 dead"
"Based on this performance, are Democrats the right choice for America?"
Go now. Read the whole thing - there's more. And do feed his ego while you're over there. This was really quite brilliant.
Posted by Cassandra at May 1, 2008 08:21 AM
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Methinks Milady is neglecting to mention the role that Eisenhower, a Republican, played in involving the USA in Vietnam. In an effort to provide fodder for the discussion we expect to ensue, we offer the following:
Selected excerpts from the Wikipedia article on the Vietnam War
"In 1950, the U.S. Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) arrived to screen French requests for aid, advise on strategy, and train Vietnamese soldiers. By 1954, the U.S. had supplied 300,000 small arms and spent one billion dollars in support of the French military effort. The Eisenhower administration was shouldering 80 percent of the cost of the war. […]"
+ + +
"The cornerstone of U.S. policy was the Domino Theory. This argued that if South Vietnam fell to communist forces, then all of South East Asia would follow. Popularized by the Eisenhower Administration, some argued that if communism spread unchecked, it would follow them home by first reaching Hawaii and follow to the West Coast of the United States. It was better, therefore, to fight communism in Asia, rather than on American soil."
+ + +
"The Republic of Vietnam was created largely because of the Eisenhower administration's desire for an anti-communist state in the region."
+ + +
"In May , Diem undertook a ten-day state visit to the United States. President Eisenhower pledged his continued support. A parade in New York City was held in his honor. Although Diem was openly praised, in private Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conceded that he had been selected because there were no better alternatives."
Had we had ready access to our reference materials (which, alas, we did not think to bring to the office with us today), we might have been able to provide additional points to contribute to the debate. We hope the half-vast editorial staff appreciates our efforts to assist in the search for the truth.
Posted by: Ministry of Talking Truth to Power at May 1, 2008 12:34 PM
Darn we are HTML-challenged, still (we intended block-quote formatting for the paragraphs in quotation marks)
Posted by: Ministry of Bumbling Bloggers at May 1, 2008 12:37 PM
We apologize: it was actually "The Armorer" who neglected to mention Eisenhower's role, not VC. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa (beating breast with right fist).
Posted by: Ministry of Enternal Edits at May 1, 2008 12:46 PM
This was really a continuation of the policy that established South Korea; and developed Japan into an additional barrier to the spread of Communism across the Pacific; engaged the Philippines, where the Communist guerrillas remain the most deadly local insurgency, but where there has also been continual effort against them for fifty years; and it is the policy that, after Vietnam, engaged Thai fears of communist insurgents and completely remade their military along Western lines as a hedge against Vietnam and Cambodia.
So, in other words, the overall policy worked. That the strategy didn't work in Vietnam masks, in many minds, the fact that the broader policy worked just fine.
Posted by: Grim at May 1, 2008 01:22 PM
1) You couldn't come up with something that started with an "H"? :-) It would have been a great little pun given the venue.
2) I doubt The Armoror is ignorant of the facts you presented. Most likely it was intentionally left out to demonstrate the fallaciousness (is that even a word?) and vulnerabilities the Dems have in selective quoting on war type issues.
McCain's "100 Years" comment is in a similar vein as that of our continued military presence in Germany 66+ years after the start of hostilities (in which staying another 40 is quite likely). Therefor, if being in Germany for 100 years is non-contrversial, so should being in Iraq 100 years be non-contreversial.
The Dems know this full well and accept it themselves. Yet they exploit an incomplete picture for political gain (a time honored tradition of both parties). This subject, however, is not one in which the Dems are well suited to defending a "Missing Context War".
John's example is a standard "Those who live in glass houses..." retort.
Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 1, 2008 01:41 PM
Vietnam's is a complex, convoluted history, mostly about the struggle to rid itself of foreign domination. The USA, fearful of "falling dominos", picked the wrong side to support: those who had profited from collaboration with the French colonialists and wished to perpetuate the system. How many Americans (and other allies) and Vietnamese died in support of this apparently well-meaning, but ultimately unsuccessful, policy?
Posted by: Ministry of Enternal Edits at May 1, 2008 01:44 PM
Again: the policy was a success. The strategy did not work in Vietnam. However, the chain of democracies established on the rim of Asia did serve as a hedge against communism's spread.
Given the ruinous cost of communist states even at peace -- cf. Mao's "Great Leap Forward" -- I'd say it was a good policy overall. That's a point that shouldn't get lost.
The lesson of Vietnam is to take more trouble to understand the local culture; it isn't to avoid these missions. Success in Vietnam would have protected the lives of millions in Cambodia and elsewhere. Failure to try would not have saved them.
Posted by: Grim at May 1, 2008 01:49 PM
"The lesson of Vietnam is to take more trouble to understand the local culture; it isn't to avoid these missions."
"Success in Vietnam would have protected the lives of millions in Cambodia and elsewhere.
Chances would have been good, so long as we knew more about what we were dealing with, which, at the time, we did not.
Failure to try would not have saved them.
How can we know? The fact that some who had profited from collaboration with the French colonialists wished to perpetuate the system suggests that there would have been a Vietnamese civil war even without USA involvement. Perhaps it would not have lasted so long, or have involved so many deaths, if USA had not become involved. Certainly, no or significantly fewer American deaths would have resulted if the USA had stayed out.
Posted by: Ministry of Talking Truth To Power at May 1, 2008 02:00 PM
"Again: the policy was a success."
I'm not prepared to debate this, because I haven't read up as much on the surrounding countries (yet). Pol Pot's reign of terror certainly can't be called an example of success, but I'm not sufficiently familiar with that history to comment on who might share responsibility for that.
Posted by: Ministry of Talking Truth To Power at May 1, 2008 02:05 PM
How many times do I have to tell you? When Democrats think stupidly, it is 'phallacious'.
Posted by: The Church Lady at May 1, 2008 02:11 PM
" ... , it is 'phallacious'."
You say that like it's a bad thing.
Posted by: "Hung" up on Talking Truth To Power at May 1, 2008 02:14 PM
"How can we know?"
You can't know anything about a counterfactual with absolute certainty. However, the Cambodian killing fields were not out of line with other Communist governments -- neither Stalin nor Mao, and to leave out the African Communists, who were often even worse per capita.
I would say, then, that it's a reasonable presumption that failure to try to prevent the establishment of a Communist system in Vietnam and Cambodia would not have prevented the massive death toll.
"I'm not prepared to debate this..."
Posted by: Grim at May 1, 2008 02:43 PM
The fact that some who had profited from collaboration with the French colonialists wished to perpetuate the system suggests that there would have been a Vietnamese civil war even without USA involvement. Perhaps it would not have lasted so long, or have involved so many deaths, if USA had not become involved. Certainly, no or significantly fewer American deaths would have resulted if the USA had stayed out.
... and your thoughts on this ...?
Posted by: Minstiry of Talking Truth To Power at May 1, 2008 02:52 PM
"Perhaps" is pretty much what one can say about it. Perhaps -- and perhaps they would have found other supporters, or made other alliances, or resulted to greater butchery on their own nickel. African regimes often have less resources than what we made available to South Vietnam, but engage in greater butchery. An unsupported South Vietnamese elite could have adopted similar tactics to those seen in the Congo or Darfur.
Asia is not Africa, of course -- but a review of traditional modes of warfighting and insurgency suppression in Chinese-influenced cultures does not suggest it would have been gentle. The US involvement might have served as a break on an even worse slaughter; or it might have prolonged what would have been a short, quick, suppression of French-leaning interests.
Posted by: Grim at May 1, 2008 03:17 PM
"Methinks Milady is neglecting to mention the role that Eisenhower, a Republican, played in involving the USA in Vietnam. "Not to split hairs... well okay, I'm splitting hairs, but it occurs to me that you, MofTTtoP, ought to review the Truman Doctrine and consider that the policy of the US towards the Red Tide (not 'Bama) and the vietmen might even predate Ike's administration.
But then as YAG mentioned, the point is really the "fallaciousness"[SIC] or "phallacious"ness[not with a 10' SIC and a biohazzard suit] of the Democrat critters flinging war-mire poo.
Posted by: bthun at May 1, 2008 03:25 PM
" ... the Truman Doctrine ... might even predate Ike's administration."
probably true ...
on another point ...
" ...the Democrat critters flinging war-mire poo."
everybody is flinging poo - the left, the right, the Dems, the Reps ... when will it end, dear gawd; when will it end? it isn't ALWAYS about one-up-myn-ship is it? it isn't always about who gets the last word in, is it?
if y'all supported the USA's entry into WW2 and "the policy of the US towards the Red Tide", then y'all think that (gasp) FDR, HST and JKF all had the right idea, right?
then, why the poo flinging?
Posted by: Minstiry of Talking Truth To Power at May 1, 2008 03:34 PM
FDR had some good ideas, and some bad ones. HST, mostly good. JFK, mostly good, esp. on foreign policy.
Give me a Democrat like them, and you'll have a party without much to fear on any given November.
Posted by: Grim at May 1, 2008 03:40 PM
"Give me a Democrat like them, ..."
If I had one, I'd give him/her/it to you.
Posted by: Minstiry of Talking Truth To Power at May 1, 2008 03:50 PM
With the level of public/media "dialog" on issues being what it is these days, we're so caught up in poo flinging that nobody can get beyond what her husband did, which church he went to, whether he benefited from his wife's fortune, etc, etc., ad nauseum. When will it end, dear gawd; when will it end?
Personally, I blame Richard Nixon for ALL this flinging: if he hadn't got things so stirred up by trying to break into the Watergate and the office of the shrink for St. Daniel of Ellsberg, the media would probably still be letting our elected officials enjoy their pecadillos (and behind the scenes intelligence manoeuverings) without the "over-the-top", "take-no-prisoners", "go-for-the-jugular" "People Magazine", "Swift Boat", "Cindy Sheehan", "Bill O'Reilly", "Ann Coulter" type bloviation with which the aether is so clogged these days.
Posted by: Minstiry of Talking Truth To Power at May 1, 2008 04:01 PM
WRT FDR, HST & JFK, (phew, TLAs akimbo!) I mostly concur with what Grim said.
"everybody is flinging poo -"Not everyone, not always... Many would like to have a civil debate on issues and policy, a discussion on what is in the best interest of the nation. Alas, we are a nation of people easily distracted with or preoccupied by celebrity and lifestyles of the rich and (in)famous and/or trendy causes célèbres du jour.
Posted by: bthun at May 1, 2008 04:06 PM
"it isn't always about who gets the last word in, is it?"Oh.. OH YEAH!?
Posted by: Tommy Smothers at May 1, 2008 04:11 PM
Given the fact that I was born just about 5 months after the Watergate Break-in, and all I know about it is what I read, I need to ask. Was Richard Nixon the only person in the world who thought he needed to cheat to win that election?
But if you think modern politics are dirtier than ever, I encourage you to research such 'polite' campaigns such as the Adams/Jefferson election. We don't have a CLUE as to what real mud-slinging is. Those boys surely did.
Posted by: MikeD at May 1, 2008 04:38 PM
"But if you think modern politics are dirtier than ever, I encourage you to research such 'polite' campaigns such as the Adams/Jefferson election. We don't have a CLUE as to what real mud-slinging is. Those boys surely did."
True, but the mud didn't reach the far corners of the globe instantaneously, as it does today. There is no keeping anything a secret these days (I'm sure Slick Willy was not the first to get a little on the side in the WH; I'd bet he was the first whose semen stains we ALL got to see on the front page, however.) And I suggest that the disconnect between the official stance and what was "really" going on in the Nixon era, coupled with the paranoia that apparently propelled much of what came out of the White House, was just too too tempting to those pesky journalists (and to those pesky whistle blowers, who had their own agendas) to leave alone.
Posted by: Ministry of Talking Truth To Power at May 1, 2008 04:59 PM
Faugh. My post, and *this* is where the dicussion takes place.
Posted by: John of Argghhh! at May 1, 2008 05:55 PM
Might have something to do with the fact that it takes 30 seconds for my comment to " go through" after I click on comment, on your site John.
Certainly, no or significantly fewer American deaths would have resulted if the USA had stayed out.
True, our enemies would never have figured out how to use the successful Vietnamese terrorism tactics against the US, if Vietnam didn't serve as a great big beacon for them.
It is also true that any future American wars with terrorist enemies after Vietnam, would have been much bloodier and protracted. Because there would have been zero lessons learned from Vietnam.
The price of always refusing battle with the enemy is that both he and you are still at a stalemate. There is no experience gained by either side until one takes part in battle. Given the history of America's enemies with waging battle on American civilians and civilians in general, it is far more likely America's enemies would have learned of the lessons from Vietnam than America would have had America not entered Vietnam at all. Except in this scenario, the enemies would know about how to conduct a Vietnam on America, but America wouldn't know how to stop it because they had never even tried it to begin with.
if he hadn't got things so stirred up by trying to break into the Watergate and the office of the shrink for St. Daniel of Ellsberg, the media would probably still be letting our elected officials enjoy their pecadillos
That's just not true. Success breeds contempt and habit. It wasn't Nixon's actions, it was his failure and the success of the media in controlling the history of the aftermath of Vietnam that cemented forever the arrogance of the media.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 1, 2008 06:11 PM
My understanding, which could be wrong, is that Nixon didn't go aggregiously further than anyone prior had. He was just the one who was sloppy enough to be caught.
As for poo flinging, I think John's point wasn't so much about the inappropriatness of flinging poo, but more along the lines of "This is not the poo you want to be flinging. We have more of it than you do."
Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 1, 2008 06:26 PM
Faugh. My post, and *this* is where the dicussion takes place.
It's the free beer :)
Posted by: TifFaNee at May 1, 2008 06:32 PM
The memory of a Republican who is really conservative and a Democrat who isn't a socialist/communist.... Or even a classical liberal of either stripe. You know, one who believes that a man can/should be independent of the state...
Sigh, Enough with dreams of days gone by....
Posted by: William at May 1, 2008 07:41 PM
ymar - mebbe, though your comment actually goes through almost immediately, but the back office script is bent and if I ever get the courage to implement the rebuild.
But, mostly, it's because Grim and the HMTTP [sic] got into it over here.
Grim always did favor a skirt.
Posted by: John of Argghhh~ at May 1, 2008 08:04 PM
If you wear a knife with it, it's called a "kilt."
Or else. :)
No, it's true -- I do favor Cassandra's place over yours. It's not your fault, and I mean no offense; it's only her particular virtue that draws me here more frequently.
Posted by: Grim at May 1, 2008 08:38 PM
...it's only her particular virtue that draws me here more frequently.
Silver tongued devil.
Posted by: Cassandra at May 1, 2008 08:48 PM
John, the 30 second "hurry and wait" sequence probably protects you from the sequential load of comments I might otherwise post on a blog I read.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 2, 2008 09:45 AM
Pol Pot's reign of terror certainly can't be called an example of success, but I'm not sufficiently familiar with that history to comment on who might share responsibility for that.
When Lon Nol staged his palace coup while Sihanouk was visiting the PRC, he began receiving modern weaponry from the US and succeeded in kicking the Khmer Rouge all the way to the Laotian border.
Nutshell version: When we declared peace in Vietnam and picked up our military support and left, the Khmer Rouge -- now the recipient of massive aid from both North Vietnam and the PRC -- swept through to Phnom Penh because the Cambodian Army's munition supply line disappeared with that of South Vietnam's Army.
And, as in the case of most wars fought since the introduction of gunpowder to the battlefield, the side that runs out of ammo first -- loses...
Posted by: BillT at May 2, 2008 10:43 AM
Excellent strategy trumps excellent tactics. Excellent logistics trumps excellent strategy.
No logistics, no strategy. No strategy, no amount of tactics will work.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 3, 2008 12:12 PM
And the rather ironic and malignant narcissist element to Leftist concerns about Vietnam is that they justify abandoning South Vietnam by declaring that the S Vietnamese were weak, cowardly, and ran away from their fights so didn't deserve a nation.
Don't you think it is quite consistent with Leftists to break a man's knee and then laugh about how he can't swim with a 50 pound weight they attached to him?
Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 3, 2008 12:14 PM
The Lefties declared (and continue to declare) lots of things -- and, like the Red Queen, have absolutely no problem believing the impossible, no matter how tortuous the spin necessary to keep it from wobbling back to Wonderland...
Posted by: BillT at May 3, 2008 02:50 PM
Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 4, 2008 10:55 AM
By choosing a liberal strategy in the War on Terror, the current President Bush became a successor of those Democrat Presidents.
Posted by: Eric Chen at May 4, 2008 11:42 PM
the current President Bush became a successor of those Democrat Presidents.
If it wasn't for the fact that Bush was recognized as an usurper to the throne rather than a true and rightful successor...
Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 5, 2008 10:21 AM