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Not Nixon's War
by Bruce Walker
26 January 2004

In his victory speech after his Iowa victory, Kerry spoke of Vietnam as "Richard Nixon's War." Richard Nixon's War?


The day after the Iowa caucus, I wrote an article entitled "Is John Kerry a Good Democrat? Is John Kerry a Good Man?"  It took me only one day to answer both questions.  In his victory speech after his Iowa triumph, Kerry spoke of "Richard Nixon's War." That, sadly, answered every question about this particular incarnation of Leftist evil.

Richard Nixon's War? Kerry served in Vietnam when Lyndon Baines Johnson was president, not when Richard Nixon was president. The Vietnam War had been a big political issue, but that issue was first presented to the American people in 1964, not 1968.

Lyndon Johnson and his crooked flacks within the Democrat Party smeared one of the most decent and noble men in American politics, Barry Goldwater, by pretending that Goldwater would do just what Johnson had planned to do: fight a war in Vietnam.

What was the difference?  The same difference that divides Kerry from President Bush today, and which has always divided Republicans from Democrats.  Republicans are reluctant to begin wars, but if we are in a war, the Republican strategy is that America decisively win.

Goldwater did not lie to the American people like Johnson did in 1964. Barry Goldwater correctly observed that America was headed toward a land war in Asia and the way to win that war was through the unrestricted use of air and naval power.

No one in 1964 needed to guess whether a communist-sponsored insurgency could be contained effectively in Southeast Asia. Britain had just done precisely that in Malaya. The Philippines, with American help, had done so in that complex archipelago. Soon the people of Indonesia would remove the communist-leaning leader of that enormous archipelago as well.

South Vietnam never fell to communist insurgents. It fell to panzer divisions coming out of a very well supplied North Vietnam, which was essentially all of the military power in this so-called "Civil War." The key was to stop the totalitarian thugs of Hanoi from waging a conventional war behind the safe haven of the borders of North Vietnam.

Goldwater explained how. Mine Haiphong Harbor, the point of entrance for nearly all the indispensable supplies that the communists received to prosecute their war. Attack with overwhelming air power the air defenses of North Vietnam and then the infrastructure of North Vietnam.

This was similar to how tactical and operational air power was able to win the war against a very good and well equipped German Army in the Second World War. Air power broke the Berlin Blockade in 1948.

The use of air power by military men who knew how to use it was also how American defeated the fourth largest and most battle-tested army in the world in Desert Storm. It is how Afghanistan was liberated without America even having forces in contiguous nations. The mere threat of air power being used with devastating effect was how America ousted the Baathist butchers with few casualties.

Although air power involved the risk of some casualties, the loss of life was one hundred times smaller than it would have been with land forces. The use of naval power involved almost no risk of American casualties at all. American battleships could shell most of the coastal strip that is North Vietnam with virtual impunity, and the mining of Haiphong Harbor could probably have been accomplished with no loss of American life at all.

Johnson was, of course, a coward. He was a dishonest coward as well. The micro-management of the Vietnam War from Washington was a mistake of unthinkable proportions. American soldiers fight best when given initiative. Our fighting men and their officers were hamstrung by Leftists afraid of offending our allies (sound familiar?) and alienating those who were already our enemies.

Nixon inherited the Democrats' War. A few days before the November 1968 Election, Johnson launched the only clear "October Surprise" when he suddenly decided that it would be a good thing to stop bombing North Vietnam at all, and unilaterally stopped. This gave Hubert Humphrey a bounce, which was what was intended, and thousands of America's sons died or were injured because of that.

Nixon also, of course, negotiated a peace treaty (some "Nixon War, huh?) This peace may well have worked, except for one problem: Leftist Democrats blocked Nixon at every turn in fighting this war inherited from two Democrat presidents. After Nixon resigned, Kerry and other Leftists did something even more awful. They prevented South Vietnam from getting military aid (not troops or pilots) which had been solemnly promised to them.

So the panzer divisions entered Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, and all the non-communist nations of Southeast Asia which had been involved in this long war fell to communism. Then communists did exactly what Barry Goldwater and countless other conservatives warned. The communists began a bloodbath.

The worst was what happened in Cambodia under Pol Pot and Khieu Samphan. The communists began one of the most brutal holocausts in human history, but with a spin. The Holocaust of Jews and Gentiles by the Nazis was unavoidable; we did all we could just to defeat this grave threat. The Gulag and the Tibetan holocausts were impossible to prevent without a potential world war.

The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, by contrast, were a tenth rate military power with a long coastline. America could have defeated them in a few weeks, and saved millions of Cambodian men, women and children for a sadistic and long genocide. We did not exactly because John Kerry and other Leftist used their enormous clout in Congress to hamstring our nation.

No, Senator Kerry, it was not "Richard Nixon's War," it was Lyndon Johnson's War. But the blood and agony of millions of Cambodians was the handiwork of you and your friends. Not "Richard Nixon's War" but rather "John Kerry's Killing Fields."  

If you had come back from Vietnam determined to stop communism, then millions of innocents would have been spared, but you went for the opposing Nixon -- How bold!  How brave! No one who was anyone was opposing Nixon...wait...I have that backwards: anyone who was anything was opposing Nixon. 

You were brave, once, and only in the sense of physical courage, never moral courage.  Senator Kerry, you have shared bravery under fire with some pretty important people: Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Mao Tse Tung and Attila the Hun.
                                       
War heroes are good for a nation, all other things being equal.  But all things are not equal when John Kerry, the richest man in the Senate, can look at Americans whose fathers, sons, brothers and husbands died in a noble cause and pretend that this was “Richard Nixon’s War.”  No, Senator Kerry.  You are a liar.  It was not “Richard Nixon’s War.”  It was “John Kerry’s Killing Fields.”

Bruce Walker's articles can be found at the Conservative Truth
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