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September 22, 2004

Vietnam Warnings Since 1975: Wrong Every Time?

Via IP, I see that Michael Totten says

In one of the cover stories Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael B. Oren (author of the indispensable Six Days of War) explain how Israel beat back the intifada. Here’s the short version.

Israel's triumph over the Palestinian attempt to unravel its society is the result of a systematic assault on terrorism that emerged only fitfully over the past four years. The fence, initially opposed by the army and the government, has thwarted terrorist infiltration in those areas where it has been completed. Border towns like Hadera and Afula, which had experienced some of the worst attacks, have been terror-free since the fence was completed in their areas. Targeted assassinations and constant military forays into Palestinian neighborhoods have decimated the terrorists' leadership, and roadblocks have intercepted hundreds of bombs, some concealed in ambulances, children's backpacks, and, most recently, a baby carriage.

At every phase of Israel's counteroffensive, skeptics have worried that attempts to suppress terrorism would only encourage more of it. [Emphasis added.]

The doom-mongers were wrong. Period. Just as they were wrong when they predicted disaster in Afghanistan. Just as they were wrong when they predicted disaster in Iraq the first time around. Just as they were wrong when they (although it was mostly Republicans this time) predicted disaster in Kosovo.

Those who keep insisting we or one of our democratic allies will actually lose a war have been wrong for a third of a century now. I am thirty four years old. The last time the doom-mongers were right I was three. They have been consistently wrong throughout my entire living memory. (Am I forgetting something? Have we lost a war since Vietnam?)

It’s always the same refrain. Only the details are different.

I might add that we didn't lose in Vietnam either, except by default. The US and South Vietnam destroyed the Viet Cong in 1968. American ground troops then left, and South Vietnam fought off North Vietnam in the 1972 offensive (with lots of US supplies and air support). Until 1975, North Vietnam didn't conquer a single provincial capital. But then South Vietnam collapsed, when North Vietnam attacked and the U.S. would not provide backup. That's not surprising, since countries such as West Germany wouldn't have remained independent after a U.S. pullout and announcement of neutrality either.

Posted by erasmuse at September 22, 2004 05:11 PM

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