Tobacco Road Fogey

'puters, politics, and occasional prattle.

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Saturday, April 19, 2003

Lest we forget...

April has been a month of historic events in U.S. military history. Starting with Paul Revere's famous ride in 1775, such events as the battle of Shiloh in 1862, the Confederate surrenders in 1865, the invasion of Okinawa in 1945, and the linkup of U.S. and Russian forces at the Elbe River in 1945 have passed into our history as great victories for our forces. In the future, I'm sure we'll add the past month's campaign against Saddam Hussein to this illustrious list.

There is one historic April event, however, that we cannot remember with pride. 28 years ago this month, the forces of North Vietnam launched their final offensive against the forces of South Vietnam, culminating in the surrender of Saigon, the capital city of South Vietnam, on April 30, 1975. For those readers who are not familiar with that campaign, you can find some more detailed information here and here and here and here.

I was 17 years old that spring and I vividly remember the films of overloaded helicopters struggling into the air from the helipad atop the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. I remember seeing helicopters being pushed over the sides of U.S. warships into the South China Sea to make room for the next frantic flight of refugees fleeing the inevitable collapse of the Saigon government. And I remember seeing the films of ships and boats of all sizes, their gunwales barely above water and crowded to near bursting with more people than you could hope to count, trying to keep up with our Navy ships as our fleet withdrew from the area.

Why, you may ask, do I bring up this touchy subject now, when we are beginning to realize one of our greatest victories in the sands and marshes of Iraq?

I do it for one simple reason.

As you view the photos and read the articles in the links I've provided above, please keep in mind that the horrors of those days and the subsequent 28 years of tyranny suffered by the Vietnamese people are the result, mainly, of something we did, here at home.

We did what the antiwar faction wanted us to do -- we quit the war before it was won.

And the war and the freedom of the Vietnamese people were lost.


Cry me a river

I've had to go into the back of my closet and dig out the old galoshes to deal with the river of crocodile tears being shed over the looting of the museum and library in Baghdad.

To those in this country and abroad who feel that this looting outweighs the liberation of the people of Iraq: maybe Rumsfeld, Franks, and company would have taken you more seriously in your warnings if they had thought that you were genuinely concerned with preserving history, rather than with rewriting it.

Monday, April 14, 2003

It's a feature, not a bug

I find myself amazed at all of the indignation being raised by the antiwar side about the looting that has been occurring in Baghdad, Basra, and other places within Iraq.

I thought the left was in favor of the redistribution of wealth.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

No wonder he's upset

From The Guardian:
Jacques Chirac faced a backlash from his peace campaigning yesterday after warnings from his own party that France had gone too far in opposing Britain and the US, and now faced international isolation.

The French president, described by the newspaper Libération as the "king of peace without a crown", was criticised by leaders of his UMP party for three weeks of silence since the invasion.

Maybe this explains Mr. Chirac's strange behavior over the past few months.

Jesus was only the Prince of Peace, but he did get a crown -- of thorns.

Maybe we need to have one made up for dear ol' Jacques.


A question of ethics?

By now, many folks in the blogosphere have written about these revelations by Eason Jordan of CNN concerning what CNN reporters and execs knew about the behavior of Saddam Hussein's regime toward its own citizens.

It strikes me that this is the journalistic equivalent of insider trading on the stock market. CNN knew this horrific information, knew that disclosing this information had the possibility of turning U.S. and international opinion against Saddam's regime (at the cost of their inside access to sources within Iraq), yet they set this information on the back burner so that they could keep their journalistic advantage over their competitors alive.

So much for the "public's right to know". Our right to know extends only as far as is convenient for our purveyors of the media. If it makes them less competitive with their rivals, we don't deserve to know it. If it costs them access to a source, we don't deserve to know it.

They would rather deceive us, the public, than to do the right thing if it suits their plan to get ever higher ratings.

Who watches the watchers?

(via many sources, but the first was Michele)

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