excerpts from The Measure of a Nation, Mark Silverberg
For many that recall the Vietnam era, this approach is deja vu. In a recent article in the Washington Times, Arnaud de Borchgrave noted that during the Vietnam War, General Giap relied on the American peace movement to weaken American resolve. That had the effect of turning an American military victory into a political defeat. Former North Vietnamese General Staff officer Bui Tin once said that the peace movement was "essential to our strategy." In America, the open support of Hanoi by Jane Fonda, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark (now head of International ANSWER, which coordinates the largest protests) and others "gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses," Bui Tin said. "Through dissent and protest," the US "lost the ability to mobilize a will to win."
In the end, American support for the Vietnam War faded. Giap admitted in his memoirs that news media reporting of the war and the antiwar demonstrations that ensued in America surprised him. Instead of negotiating what he called a "conditional surrender," Giap said they would now go the limit because America's resolve was weakening and the possibility of complete victory was within Hanoi's grasp.
Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of the North Vietnamese army, received South Vietnam's unconditional surrender on April 30, 1975. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal after his retirement, he made clear that the antiwar movement in the United States (which led to the collapse of political will in Washington) was "essential to our strategy."
These lessons have not been lost to a new era of Islamic fascists for we can see the implications arising, once again, in Iraq. America can win the war in Iraq. The question is whether we will lose the war here at home as we did during Vietnam. The terrorist opponents of a new Iraq are cleverly playing to American fears of another Vietnam and our media and some of our elected representatives are unwittingly buying into the strategy.