Hon. John P. Murtha
U.S. House of Representatives
2423 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Rep. Murtha:
Some years ago I watched a television interview with Michigan Rep. John Dingell. As you know, he loves both his job and Congress. When asked what Congress’ greatest failure was, he answered unequivocally, “Vietnam.” He added that what they allowed to occur there brought Congress unparalleled shame.
Your call for withdrawal from Iraq, if successful, will be the greater shame and will dishonor the people you represent as well as endanger our entire country.
As you should know, from the enemy’s perspective, the Vietnam War was fought not in the field, but on the front pages of our newspapers, on the six o’clock news, and in the halls of Congress. North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap outlined that strategy early on. To our enduring disgrace, the enemy won that war, hands down.
As you should know, despite the enduring bravery and sacrifice of those on the front lines, battlefield tactics used in Vietnam were much more restrictive, short-sighted and otherwise ill-advised than the tactics currently being applied in Iraq.
Yet we still won on that battlefield. By the time we left, most of the South had been pacified. The VC had been obliterated during TET, which became a PR victory for the communists only because no opinion leader had the guts to challenge the verdict of Walter Cronkite and his media fellow travelers.
We were winning that war and could have at least maintained a Korea-like partition of the peninsula, even using the ill-conceived tactics we were, if the U.S. Congress, reacting spinelessly to public opinion shaped largely by a leftist, antiwar press, had not outdone itself to undermine the effort.
If President Johnson, aware of those sentiments, had not created such horribly restrictive rules of engagement and allowed our military to be more aggressive, victory would have been certain. But all of those restrictions and our ultimate defeat were the result of a timid President Johnson and a Congress of craven and spineless opportunists, forever with their fingers to the wind. So instead of an easy victory, we lost over 58,000 of our precious youth - for nothing!
It was the Democrats at that time too, who saw political advantage in undermining the efforts of a President hobbled by Watergate and his hapless successor. Those Democrats betrayed this country, sabotaged our agreement with the Republic of Vietnam and allowed a sworn enemy to win, simply to discredit Republicans and get back the Presidency in 1976. That 1976 “winner” went on to wreak havoc on our military and intelligence apparatus to the point where we have not yet fully recovered, at least on the intelligence side.
Congress’s failure ushered in a period of mass murder in Southeast Asia. The loss in Vietnam led to the killing fields in Cambodia, but it also led to mass executions and other grave privations in Vietnam itself, something those media and “antiwar” leftists always seem to overlook.
As you should know, that murder and oppression continues to this day, with the systematic ethnic cleansing of Montagnards in the highlands and the Meo tribesmen in Laos, to name but a few, and the widespread intractable misery and economic ruin always visited by a communist government on its people.
Psychologically, our entire society was damaged. As a nation we became defensive, self-conscious and insecure. It has taken thirty years for us to overcome the psychological damage wrought by your compatriots—and as the current fiasco clearly demonstrates, we are still not completely out of the woods!
And now you want to do it all over again?
The people of this country, to the extent you can believe polls, are as deluded today by the mass media as they were in the 1970s. You should know the enemy’s tactics in Iraq are directed toward influencing our media, just as Giap’s were in Vietnam. You should know that the uptick in similar violence in Afghanistan is the direct result of the traction the Iraqi insurgents’ tactics have gained with the U.S. media and some opinion leaders.
Just like the enemy in Vietnam, the terrorists expect our media and political establishment to do their real fighting for them. And as with Vietnam, the media and their allies in Congress are going out of their way to exceed the enemy’s greatest expectations. Anyone who falls for this trick is aiding and abetting our enemies, no matter the motive.
A defeat there will be a psychological blow to this country that will dwarf the Vietnam Syndrome. It will reaffirm the defeatist attitude that has plagued our nation and paralyzed U.S. foreign policy for thirty years. But unlike Vietnam, we will not have a breather to recover our senses. Those people out there want to kill us, now! Nothing about that has changed. And a premature withdrawal will only embolden an enemy currently disrupted by our military campaign.
In contrast, a victory there will mark a sea change in the region as unfolding events in Lebanon and elsewhere have already indicated. It will reaffirm America’s confidence in our military as well as our leadership. It will put terrorists everywhere on the defensive when they realize our will cannot be so easily broken.
Now, maybe you really believe CNN. Maybe you haven’t noticed their complete blackout of the many success stories coming from Iraq. Maybe you really believe the leftwing pundits who say we’ll never win. Maybe you don’t understand that our perceptions can contribute to victory or defeat. But frankly, it is beyond me how anyone with your experience could be so utterly ignorant!
You are a politician, a Democrat politician at that. You should know that much of the media effort to discredit this war is aimed at helping Democrats regain Congress and the Presidency. You should know that the enemy is counting on this to help them in their media campaign. And as public sentiment against the war increases, they will escalate their ruthless bombing attacks to further bolster and justify those sentiments.
They want this war to appear as deadly and unwinnable as the media makes it out to be. But you should know that the situation in Iraq is not as dire as they show it to be. You should know we are making great headway in Iraq. You should know the vast majority of Iraqis do not want us to leave. Someone in your position should be able to figure out that even the Sunnis can’t truly speak their minds. The terrorists control the discourse, but most Sunnis aren’t terrorists.
Finally, you should know of the widespread resentment felt by our troops at the dishonest, slanted view of the War presented by our media.
Of all the people in the world who have an influence in this conflict, you more than almost anyone, should appreciate the demoralizing influence of a lying, manipulative media, which doesn’t want to see us win and a bunch of craven, self-serving opportunists who would use media lies to their political advantage. You of all people should want to put an end to such treachery, once and for all, if only to honor your fallen comrades in Vietnam.
I ask you to rise to the occasion and put aside the mean, petty and self-serving goals of your party. Don’t make Congress the thief of victory again.
Recover your senses and support this War!
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Hon. John P. Murtha
Posted by Jim Simpson at 11:21 AM