For one thing, were it not for the Blogosphere and talk radio, Dan Rather would still be hosting the CBS evening news. But let's look back on the war in Vietnam, which is another good example.
I was too young to have participated in Vietnam, but was something of a political "hack" even then in my youth. I followed politics, and remembered watching Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite report every day on how badly the war was going. Never was there any good news. The MSM reported the 1968 Tet Offensive as a victory for the North, when in fact it was a stunning victory for the South Vietnamese and the US. The MSM—and especially Walter Cronkite—got the story wrong, and this error ultimately led to the growing disillusionment of the American people toward the war. It cost LBJ his job, in that he chose not to seek re-election in 1968, and emboldened the North Vietnamese as they saw public support for the war erode. Richard Nixon won the presidential election that year, partly on the grounds that he would end the war. His former Defence Secretary, Melvin Laird, wrote an excellent article on the Vietnam war, his efforts to get the US out, and the Congress' vote in 1975 to cut funding of the South Vietnamese. An important excerpt:
The truth about Vietnam that revisionist historians conveniently forget is that the United States had not lost when we withdrew in 1973. In fact, we grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory two years later when Congress cut off the funding for South Vietnam that had allowed it to continue to fight on its own. Over the four years of Nixon's first term, I had cautiously engineered the withdrawal of the majority of our forces while building up South Vietnam's ability to defend itself. My colleague and friend Henry Kissinger, meanwhile, had negotiated a viable agreement between North and South Vietnam, which was signed in January 1973. It allowed for the United States to withdraw completely its few remaining troops and for the United States and the Soviet Union to continue funding their respective allies in the war at a specified level. Each superpower was permitted to pay for replacement arms and equipment. Documents released from North Vietnamese historical files in recent years have proved that the Soviets violated the treaty from the moment the ink was dry, continuing to send more than $1 billion a year to Hanoi. The United States barely stuck to the allowed amount of military aid for two years, and that was a mere fraction of the Soviet contribution.The fall of Saigon later in 1975 led directly to the deaths of millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians as the communists in the region were freed from interference by the forces of freedom and democracy.
How many lives could have been saved had the Blogosphere and talk radio been around in those days? How much differently would the world be today had the blogosphere and talk radio been around to challenge the lies of the Left? Would the MSM have been able to ignore the inconvenient facts asthey did in 1968? (And still do today!)
While I have always resisted comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam, in this case we can learn much from Tet. The debate last night in the US House of Representatives brought this point into crystal clarity: The Left's strategy on Iraq is following the Vietnam model. They seek to undermine public support for the war in an attempt to gain political advantage. So far have been very successful in doing so, as public opinion polls clearly show waning support among the American people.
I hope we on the Right will remember the lessons from Vietnam, or I fear a bloodbath will ensue in the Middle East following our premature withdrawl and likely failure to fund Iraqi forces, just as a bloodbath ensued in southeast Asia following our failure to keep our word to the people of Vietnam.
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