Saturday, August 04, 2007

John Kerry Explains Himself on Vietnam
Mr. Taranto mistakenly views the violence after 1973 as a direct result of our withdrawal. In fact, the violence arose from the conditions that led us to withdraw: a Vietnamese civil war we couldn't stop supported by a Cambodian insurgency we couldn't bomb into submission. It's horrifying that so many South Vietnamese suffered. But, even accepting Mr. Taranto's estimate of 165,000 Vietnamese deaths--double that of most academic sources--this is a significant decrease from the preceding eight years when 450,000 civilians and 1.1 million soldiers were killed.

He's responding to this editorial.

I want to focus on the "we couldn't stop" line of reasoning. The Soviets and Chinese supported the Communists of that region. Should we give up simply because the other side won't?

By 1973, things, as far as I've read, were working according to Nixon's plan. We established a peace agreement. But the withdraw of support by Congress gave North Vietnam the green light to keep going.

I've also read a quote from a North Vietnamese general relating how anti-war groups greatly helped them.

The truth of the matter is that standing behind our allies in South Vietnam against a long-term threat from Communist aggression was an option. We are helping South Korea to this day. The will to do so was not present. And it had consequences in lost lives.


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