Eddie Adams on the big picture
Vietnam veteran Randall Omlie makes a number of points on the Vietnam War, in the 7/30/09 Eden Prairie Sun Current. Omlie says the US government showed honorable appreciation to returning Vietnam veterans, but the vets had to endure blistering public scorn and ill-intentioned media misreporting which have challenged Omlie's powers of forgiveness. Omlie claims--without citation--that Dan Rather reported 'the TET offensive [sic] as evidence that we had lost the war'--though in fact 'the U.S. military was achieving one of its greatest victories ever' [with the Tet Offensive]. Because Dan Rather convinced Americans we'd lost, the public turned against the war--ergo: the loss. Had only the American media informed the US public of the marvelous military rout visited upon the Vietcong as 'we' responded to the Tet Offensive, Americans would have allowed President Lyndon Johnson to encourage an even greater commitment to winning the war. Victory would have been ours:
"For example, while CBS news and Dan Rather were reporting the TET offensive as evidence that we had lost the war, the U.S. military was achieving one of its greatest victories ever. Most people never knew that the entire Viet Cong and all of its infrastructure was completely destroyed after TET, the joint U.S. and South Vietnam military had complete control of the country, and the long-sought after stability was finally achieved.
Unfortunately, this precipitated a new war as the North Vietnamese army then poured many huge divisions into South Vietnam, (with many containing women and children), and the exhausted military also faced lagging support at home.
The media reporting and political manipulating should be studied in detail to avoid future recurrence. The term, "Welcome Home" has become a somber greeting among my fellow veterans who know that we actually won the war, but were politically forced into retreat."
As an argument in support of an open-ended, blank-check US commitment to buying victory in Vietnam, Omlie is quite unconvincing. As matters stand, 2,000,000 or so Vietnamese civilians died in the war--to say nothing of Vietnamese military deaths--with massive civilian death inflicted by US aerial bombardment upon Vietnamese non-combatants. Proportionally, the human rights abuses were almost entirely upon Vietnamese people. Mightn't we find a way to show appreciation for the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans without endorsing every cockamamie historical fantasy some dream up? The Vietnam War was a disaster for the US national interest--and for millions of Vietnamese people. LBJ's life and legacy were wrecked by his/our idiotic overcommitment to the Republic of Vietnam. Citation-free attacks on Dan Rather allow some to overlook our country's role in a reprehensible historical catastrophe. That lacks honor.
See also: http://tinyurl.com/gn0mic