It’s the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, when the invading North Vietnamese rolled in and turned the entire country of Vietnam into a communist hellhole. The aftermath of the war and the US retreat was a horrible thing, and certainly nothing to celebrate:
In retrospect, the only thing I find genuinely contemptible in our
exit was that, after the U.S. troop withdrawl, we broke our promise to
the government of South Vietnam. We suddenly, and with little warning,
cut off all the funding we had promised to give them so that they could
defend themselves–and then sat on our hands while hundreds of
thousands were butchered in the camps and millions more fled for their
lives, with quite possibly as many drowning or dying of exposure as
died in Uncle Ho’s "re-education" camps.
Indeed, even while all that was going on, some of the dips**t
radicals here at home were still congratulating themselves and patting
themselves on the back.
But don’t expect much actual reporting on that aftermath, not on a day when protestors and activists are intent on reliving their glory days of 30 years ago. How can they reconcile the cold facts with their own gilded memories? Lots of denial and rationalization, of course, just like they used back then:
Another way some people (a much smaller number) dealt with it all was
to see the stories of what was going on in Vietnam after we withdrew as
an exaggeration or a lie. These people felt that the situation wasn’t
really all that bad; that the Vietnamese people, as John Kerry had famously stated, didn’t
even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only
wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and
bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country
apart. To those who believed this, they felt it was just a tiny
proportion of the South Vietnamese people who were suffering; and that
most people didn’t care what form of government they had, they were
just happy to see peace at least.
Substitute "Iraqi" for "South Vietnamese" and you can see how Vietnam still poisons the public debate today. Some, like the author, have realized that in the years since. Others haven’t
In one way, however, Vietnam was only part of a much larger war, the Cold War. Here’s a very interesting perspective on how the Vietnam War led to a better future for the rest of Asia:
Dulles wanted to save "essential parts" of Asia. America understood at the outset it was unlikely to save all of it. And America succeeded. It may have lost Vietnam and been unable to stop the communist takeover that led to the death of a quarter of Cambodians in the "killing fields." But the dominoes did not fall. Only four years later, in 1979, American trade with Asia had surpassed trade with Europe.
Asia in the 1950s and 1960s was an economic backwater ripe for takeover by communist forces backed by the USSR. We couldn’t stop all the dominos from falling, but we managed to break the chain. And just look at stark contrast between the free countries of Asia and those where the communists won.