Saturday, March 3, 2007

Seven Steps to Hell

The August 3, 1995 edition of the Wall Street Journal carried an interview with former North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin, a member of the North Vietnamese general staff and the man who received the surrender of South Vietnam’s President Duong Van Minh on April 30, 1975. The interview was conducted by Stephen Young, a Minnesota human rights activist.

Colonel Tin described the military and political events of the war from his vantage point in Hanoi. What he described was the step-by-step defeat of US forces, not on the battlefield, but in the White House, in the Halls of Congress, in the streets of America, and on our college and university campuses. Sound familiar?

As I read Col Tin’s recitation of how events played out in Vietnam – step-by-step-by-step – I couldn’t help but think of the motto embroidered across the shoulder patch that I wore during the last eighteen months of my military service. The shoulder patch was the insignia of the US 7th Army and the motto embroidered across the bottom read, “Seven Steps To Hell.”

Col. Tin was asked, “How did Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans?” He responded, “By fighting a long war which would break their will…Ho Chi Minh said, ‘We don’t need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out.’ ”

Liberals, cut-and-run Democrats and the anti-war left now signal to al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad that we’re preparing to do the same in Iraq.

Step One.

Col Tin was asked, “Was the American anti-war movement important to Hanoi’s victory?” He responded, “It was essential to our strategy…Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9:00 AM to follow the growth of the American anti-war movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark...gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses.”

Jane Fonda and Ramsey Clark are back, and they’ve been joined by Cindy Sheehan, a host of anti-war leftists, and nearly the entire Democrat Party…all bashing the Commander in Chief and clamoring for an early surrender in Iraq.

Step Two.

Col. Tin was asked, “How could the Americans have won the war?” He responded, “Cut the Ho Chi Minh trail inside Laos. If Johnson had granted (General) Westmoreland’s requests to enter Laos and block the Ho Chi Minh trail, Hanoi could not have won the war.”

While George W. Bush has given battlefield commanders all of the troops and equipment they’ve requested, Democrats complain that it’s either too little or too much.

Step Three.

Col. Tin was asked, “What of American bombing of North Vietnam?” He responded, “If all the bombing had been concentrated at one time, it would have hurt our efforts. But the bombing was expanded in slow stages under Johnson and it didn’t worry us.”

In the Iraq War, Rules of Engagement are written by lawyers in the Pentagon.

Step Four.

Col. Tin was asked, “What about Westmoreland’s strategy and tactics caused you concern?” He responded, “Our senior commander in the South, Gen. Nguyen Chi Thanh, knew that we were losing base areas, control of the rural population, and that his main forces were being pushed out to the borders of South Vietnam…Johnson had rejected Westmoreland’s request for 200,000 more troops (and) we realized that America had made its maximum military commitment to the war… ”

Democrats and anti-war radicals maintain constant pressure to turn public opinion against the administrations new “troop surge” strategy, even threatening to cut off funding for our troops.

Step Five.

Col. Tin continued, “Tet was designed to influence American public opinion. We would attack poorly defended parts of South Vietnam cities during a holiday…when few South Vietnamese troops would be on duty…Our losses were staggering…(General) Giap later told me that Tet had been a military defeat, though we had gained the planned political advantages when Johnson agreed to negotiate and did not run for reelection.”

In America, in 2006, Democrats and anti-war radicals hounded a highly competent Defense Secretary out of office and used bloated anti-war rhetoric to gain victories in the mid-term elections.

Step Six.

Col. Tin was asked, “What of Nixon?” He responded, “Well, when Nixon stepped down because of Watergate we knew we would win. (Prime Minister) Pham Van Dong said of Gerald Ford…‘He’s the weakest president in US history; the people didn’t elect him. Even if you gave him candy he doesn’t dare intervene in Vietnam again.’ ”

So who will Islamic Jihad see across the battle lines in the next administration…Hillary Clinton? Barack Hussein Obama? A trial lawyer from North Carolina?

Step Seven.

“Seven Steps To Hell”…and one day Democrats will be called to answer for each and every one of them.