“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Winning Battles; Losing Wars: lA Drang, Viet Nam, 1965

The Testimony of:

22 April 1945 - 7 April 2004

I have pancreatic cancer. If it is Agent Orange, it's not the first time this damned war has tried to kill me.

Let me tell you about the first time. In fact, the whole and true story of my journey home from Vietnam. But before I do, let me set the scene for you.

It is November 1965. The Ia Drang Valley. The nearest town, Pleiku, a remote Vietnamese province capital. And west of town, beyond the stilted long-huts of the Montagnards, flat scrub jungle cover the hills by the Cambodian border. A smugglers' haven, and now the infiltration route for the first North Vietnamese regulars to invade South Vietnam.

American regular infantry, the first sent to Vietnam as the war escalates, have come to this border country to hunt the People's Army of Vietnam. They are the men of the First Air Cav, the first Army infantry division to ride into war in helicopters. The leading unit is Lt. Col. Hal Moore's 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment. Driving their choppers into a landing zone designated X-ray, a few miles from the Cambodian border, on the 14th of November, 1965, they land on top of a North Vietnamese Army base. A ferocious battle ensues that lasts three whole days. Hal Moore's battalion several times comes within inches of being overrun. In the end, reinforced to brigade strength, the U.S. troops destroy the better part of a North Vietnamese division at X-ray. Seventy-nine Americans are killed, 121 wounded, a total of 200 U.S. casualties, the highest toll of the war till then...but there are roughly two thousand North Vietnamese casualties.

I came in on the last day of the battle. I remember the NVA bodies were piled so thick around the foxholes you could walk on them for 100 feet in some places. The American GIs were the same color as the dirt and all had that thousand-yard stare of those newly initiated to combat.

The next day, after a restless night, my battalion, the 2/7, walked away from X-ray toward another clearing called LZ Albany. Around lunchtime, we were jumped by a North Vietnamese formation. Like us, about 500-strong.

The fighting was hand-to-hand. I was lying so close to a North Vietnamese machine-gunner that I simply stuck out my rifle and blew off his head. It was, I think, the only time during the war that a U.S. battalion was ever overrun. The U.S. casualties for this fourth day of battle: 155 killed, 121 wounded. More dead than wounded. The North Vietnamese suffered a couple of hundred casualties.

The fight at LZ Albany was largely overlooked as an aberration- poor leadership, green troops. In this first encounter between their main force regulars, the two sides focused instead on X-ray. Interestingly, both drew the same conclusion: that each could win using the tactics of attrition.

The ferocity of the fighting during those four days was appalling. At one point in the awful afternoon at Albany, as my battalion was being cut to pieces, a small group of enemy came upon me, and thinking I had been killed (I was covered in other people's blood), proceeded to use me as a sandbag for their machine gun. I pretended to be dead. I remember the gunner had bony knees that pressed against my sides. He didn't discover I was alive because he was trembling more than I was. He was, like me, just a teenager.

The gunner began firing into the remnants of my company. My buddies began firing back with rifle grenades, M-79s, to those of you who know about them. I remember thinking, "Oh, my God. If I stand up, the North Vietnamese will kill me; and if I stay lying down, my buddies will get me." Before I went completely mad, a volley of grenades exploded on top of me, killing the enemy boy and injuring me.

It went on like this all day and much of the night. I was wounded twice and thought myself dead. My company suffered about 93 percent casualties--93 percent.

This sort of experience leaves scars. I had nightmares. For years afterwards I was sour on life, by turns angry, cynical, and alienated.

Then one day I woke up and saw the world as I believe it really is, a bright and warm place. I looked afresh at my scars and marveled, not at the frailty of human flesh, but at the indomitable strength of the human spirit. This is the miracle of life. Like other Vietnam veterans, I began to put the personal hurt behind me, and I started to examine the war itself and to make sense of it.

When I went back to Vietnam a few years ago, I met Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the man who engineered the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu and then commanded North Vietnamese forces in the war with South Vietnam and us. He conceded that because of the Ia Drang his plans to cut Vietnam in half and take the capital had been delayed ten years. But then, he chuckled, it didn't make a difference, did it?

We won every battle, but the North Vietnamese in the end took Saigon. What on earth had we been doing there? Was all that pain and suffering worth it, or was it just a terrible waste? This is why Vietnam veterans often have so much trouble letting go, what sets them apart from veterans of other wars.

Nothing is so precious to a nation as its youth. And so, to squander the lives of the young in a war that, depending on one's point of view, either should never have been fought or we were never prepared to win, seems crazy. Yet, that's exactly what happened in Vietnam. However justified the war seemed in 1964 and 1965, and, remember, almost all Americans then thought it was, it no longer seemed that way after Tet in 1968. And no matter what you may remember of the war, we never really fought it to win.

When I was wounded it caused a minor sensation at home. My father was Howard K. Smith, the anchorman and TV news commentator, who was then at the peak of his career. That the son of a famous person should get shot in Vietnam was, in 1965, news. When I returned to the United States after my tour in Vietnam, President Johnson, who was a friend of my dad's, invited me to a dinner party at the White House. I remember a tall, smiling man who thanked me for my service and sacrifice. I liked him then; I still do today. Yet no one bears as much responsibility for the conduct of the war as he does.

In the Gulf War we took six months to put half a million troops into the war zone. In Vietnam, it took more than six years. We were too timid to carry the fight to the enemy until the end, and we tried, impossibly, to keep the war contained to South Vietnam.

The result was that our enemy, a small country waging total war, that is, using all its resources, saw a super power fighting a limited war and concluded that if it could just sustain the 10-to-1 casualties we were inflicting for a while, then we would tire and leave, and it would win. Of course, Ho Chi Minh was right. The war also changed character. The Sino-Soviet split made it seem less like a war of national liberation and more like a civil war - an internal squabble. After the Tet Offensive in 1968, we quit and began the longest and bloodiest retreat in U.S. history. Dean Rusk, then-Secretary of State, many years later ruefully told me, “They outlasted us.”

The fact is, democracies don't fight inconclusive wars for remote goals in distant places for very long. Pham Van Dong, Ho's successor, said that.

Whether the war was right or whether it was wrong, it was fought in such a way it could never really have been brought to a conclusion. That now seems clear with time. What a waste. It's why so many veterans of Vietnam feel bitter.

Well, we finally did get our parades and we finally did build our memorial on the Mall in Washington. These helped. But so many veterans were still haunted by the war, and I was, too.

Fourteen years ago, I watched the Berlin Wall come down and, as an ABC News correspondent, I witnessed first hand the collapse of communism. I remember thinking, “My God, containment worked. We won the Cold War.” And however meaningless Vietnam seemed at the time, it contributed to the fall of communism. Hardly justification for what we went through in Vietnam, but at least it was something.

Then ten years ago, an event changed me. An opportunity to go back to Vietnam. With ten other Ia Drang veterans, I traveled back to the jungle in the Central Highlands and for several days walked the battlefield. Did I find the answer to my question? No, I don't know if what we did in the war ultimately was worth it. But what I did find surprised me.

North Vietnam may have conquered the South, but it is losing the peace. A country that three decades ago had the fourth strongest army in the world has squandered its wealth on fighting its neighbors and is poor and bankrupt. You look at Vietnam today and you wonder why they fought the war. Many North Vietnamese wonder, too.

What struck me was the overwhelming peacefulness of the place, even in the clearing where I fought, LZ Albany. I broke down several times. I wanted to bring back some shell casings - some physical manifestation of the battle - to lay at the foot of The Wall here in Washington. But, do you know, search as I did, I could not find any. The forces of nature had simply erased it. And where once the grass had been slippery with blood, there were flowers blooming in that place of death. So I pressed some and brought them back. Flowers...that's all that I could find in that jungle clearing that once held terror and now held beauty.

What I discovered with time may seem obvious, but it had really escaped me all those years on my journey home from Vietnam: The war is over. It certainly is for Vietnam and the Vietnamese. As I said on a Nightline broadcast when I came back, “This land is at peace, and so should we be.” For me, Vietnam has become a place again, not a war, and I have begun letting go.

I have discovered that wounds heal. That the friendship of old comrades breathes meaning into life. And that even the most disjointed events can begin to make sense with the passage of time.

This has allowed me, on evenings like this, to step forward and take pride in the service I gave my country. But never to forget what was, and will always be, the worst day of my life. The day I escaped death in the tall grass of the Ia Drang Valley. Thank you.

Thanks to Ron Sleeis (Saigon Ron) for providing this web site with the text of Jack’s speech.


  1. Great, let's do it again. Afghanistan, 2010.

    The dirty motherfuckers.

  2. In defense of LBJ, he never pretended to be a "military man."

    It was Westmoreland, and the other idiot Generals that killed all those guys without having a fucking clue.

  3. The same class of greedy, opportunistic assholes we've got running the military right now.

    Stumbling around in a dream world, wasting our troops lives, and breaking our treasury.

  4. And, Newt motherfucking Gangrene says the answer is "Build'em some Roads."

    Some asshole wants to give our troops medals for "Courageous Restraint."

    Posthumously, of course.


  5. I guarangoddamteeyou, if that crazy-assed Ron Paul runs in 2012 I'll vote for him. He's a crank, but, at least, he has "some" sense.

  6. It would be better in the long run and more compassionate to blow all of Kandahar off the map. Cause if we go they win, and we've got 7 sevens worse than the first.

    << Luke 11:26 >>

    New International Version (©1984)
    Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.

  7. seven devils worse that the first of course, soon the be allied with nuclear Pakistan

    The thing is, to me, the Vietnamese weren't really our enemy but these people are and always have been always will be cause they got the book and the theology of sharia

    will try to show sone nice alfalfa later today to cheer things up

  8. Fuck Luke. Fuck Seven Sins, and Fuck Seven Devils. Fuck Childrens Fairy Tales, and those that would use them to get My Kids Killed.

    Those Afghanis don't give a good goddamned what we do. They are Not our Friends, and they are NOT our Enemies. They are poor people that mostly never get more than 7 miles from their village.

    Why in the Fuck should we want to kill children in Kandahar? Why in the Fuck are we guarding poppy farms? Why in the Fuck do we let the Elitist Cocksuckers do this to us?

    Oh yeah, I forgot; They read us a "Bible Verse."


  9. Carpe Diem has a pretty good thread going on Manufacturing.

    I posted this:

    The Buick Regal that comes out this fall has a 2.0L Direct Injected, Turbocharged Engine that gets Superior HP on E85 (85% Ethanol - 15% gasoline,) and within 5% the same mileage on E85 as on gasoline. The next iteration is supposed to get the Same mileage on E85 as on gasoline.

    The cost of producing Cellulosic Ethanol (ethanol made from switchgrss, corn cobs, waste paper, etc) is, now, around $2.00/gal - Without Subsidies.

    So, let's review the bidding.

    We spend, approx, $360 Billion/Yr Importing Oil, and "Protecting" the foreign oil fields/sea lanes.

    An area of about 3 mi. radius per county would supply all the cellulosic feedstock necessary to virtually eliminate our Oil Imports.

    We have almost 10% unemployment - mostly among the less skilled, and in construction.

    The build-out of our cellulosic refining capacity could employ as many as a million construction/manufacturing workers.

    The money would be circulated Locally, boosting Local economies.

    Upon completion of the refineries our balance of trade would improve dramatically, and we could shed the cost of protecting Saudi/Iraqi/Kuwaiti oil fields.

    Rather than spend the money on importing, and "Consuming" a Declining resource, we would be Investing in infrastructure for utilizing a "Sustainable,"/Renewable resource.

    What am I missing?

  10. We are in Afghanistan to secure the Russian heroin supplies, that of Germany, too.

    That's the "Real Deal".

    It's another Russell Company, "Boner", extravaganza!

    Aerial bombardment, has never turned the tide of war.

    Except in Japan, after two nuclear strikes upon major cities. But there is no other cas of a country, or a people bombed into submission, without someone putting "boots on the ground".

    Certainly not London.
    Nor Berlin.

    Not even Coventry surrendered, to airplanes.

    Certainly the Border Bandits of Afpakistan will not.

    Why should any 'Son of the Reveloution' die in Afghanistan, to secure an abundance of Europeon heroin supplies?

    That is the only reason Kandahar holds any importance in the whirled, at all.

  11. If your kid gets caught dealing Opium he's subject to do 20 Years to Life in a Federal Pen.

    Then they lie your other son into joining up, and sacrifice his life to go to Afghanistan, and "Guard the motherfucking Poppies."

    Are we ALL out of our Motherfucking Minds?

  12. Fuck the Bible. Fuck Bible verses and the wisdom that can be read into them. Not that I ever read the Fucker Fuck Seven Devils (not the mountains) Fuck Fairly Tales (the wisdom of the tribe resides in such Fuck This Fuck That and FUCK THE OTHER lets high tail it home FUCKIN' A!

  13. I've been trying to watch my language, recently; but I'm afraid this post set me off. :(

    Oh well. Maybe I need to get out, and have a few Bud Lights. :)

  14. "Wisdom" in Bible Verses. Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Hightail it Home? No, asshole; you get your little peashooter and march your ass over there (along with YOUR kids) and show us how it's done.

    Oh wait, you've already passed on That opportunity, haven't you?

  15. I heard the same thing about "The Golden Triangle. Only reason we were in Southeast Asia was to protect of bunch of half asses heroin growers and their supply routes.

    Now the real golden triangle there seems to be one of oil off the coasts.

    Here's how it done, no kids wasted, bomb the hell out of Kandahar. Rufus, I'd suggest, that there have more kids harmed in farming accidents in the last ten years that in Afghanistan, but since we are both in a bad day, I'm calling it a day.

  16. Call it whatever you want, Bob. But I can't, for the life of me, understand why we should "Bomb Kandahar!" What the hell have those people ever done to us?

    9 - 11? That was a bunch of Saudis that snuck over there and trained. Why don't we just "Bomb Riyadh?"

    I got a better idea. Why don't we just bring the troops home, and grow our own damned energy? Fuck Exxon, and Fuck Saudi Arabia.

  17. Bob, you stupid fuck. We lost a Hundred Guys there, last month alone. We're now up to A $Hundred Billion/Yr in that shithole.

    And, The ONLY fucking winner is some fucking General will get another "Star."

  18. And, some asshole politician will "spin" it just right, and get another "Vote."

  19. Wio would agree with you.

    David W. Smith, Extension Safety Program
    The United States agriculture industry is essential to the livelihood of its citizens and the world. In 2002, the National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated more than 2.16 million US farms that included 941 million acres in farm land and employed more than 1.19 million workers. A majority of US farms employ less than 11 workers; thus, they are exempt from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) worker protection standards, worker training requirements, and accident reporting procedures. Given the high number of farm workers, lack of required safety education, and the inherent dangers involved in farm environments, a significant challenge exists in reducing the number of farm injuries and fatalities. The following discussion of agricultural industry fatalities (and farming occupation deaths, in particular) illustrates the need for effective worker safety programs.
    INDUSTRY AND OCCUPATION PERSPECTIVE 020040060080010001200Number of DeathsConst.Trans.Agri.Serv.Manuf.Govern.TradeMiningIndustryFigure 1. Distribution of US OccupationalDeaths for 1992 and 200219922002Agriculture Deaths:779 in 1992789 in 2002Deaths are from BLS, CFOI. Deaths include persons of all ages.
    Figure 1 gives the number of fatalities per major US industry for 1992 and 2002. Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) ranks agriculture third in total number of deaths among all US occupations behind only construction and transportation. The BLS documents 789 and 730 deaths in the agricultural industry for 1992 and 2002, respectively, representing a 1.2 percent increase in the 10-year period. An additional 150,000 workers suffered disabling injuries.
    The death rate for agricultural workers remains high when compared to other US industries. The agriculture industry is second only to mining in death rate per 100,000 workers (Figure 2). National Safety Council estimates based upon BLS employment data list the agriculture death rate at 23.1 deaths per 100,000 workers and 22.7 deaths per 100,000 win 1992 and 2002, respectively. This represen1.7 percent decrease in the 10-year period.
    ts only a
    nited States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data
    mber of
    OTE: Death rate data only includes persons 16 years or older. These data do not account for accidental
    for 2002 ranked the farming occupation second amongselected occupations with a fatality rate of 28 per100,000 workers, behind only pilots and navigators (69.8). Farming also rated second in total nufatalities in 2002 at 519, behind only truck drivers (808). The USDA defined farming to include non-horticultural farmers, non-horticultural farm managers, farm workers, and farm worker supervisors.

    Ending on a nice note. I really don't know what the fuck to do, but I think the Kandaharians are mostly anything but innocent

    Replace them with Swiss. Not that the Swiss would want the job. Might be the most compassionate in the long run, but I'm in a bad mood.

  20. Rufus, you stupid fuck.


    Now we're talking about the morality of using drones,ect. We never us our weapons.

    One reasons for bombing the hell out of Kandahar is it might save the northern part of the country from another long drawn out and ultimately loving civil war. They were our 'allies' in the beginning.

    But, I to bed.

  21. We are not in Afpak to win...

    We are there to be humiliated and lose...

    Obama is cuckholding America...

    Dont KNOW the term? LOOK IT UP...

    This is a created teachable moment. It is Obama's way of lowering American exceptionalism.

    Create a war and battle and then change the ROE's to ensure that we cannot win...

    This is the plan Obama seeks..

    The drug trade? Just a bonus...

    In the end Obama and Company wants a world where America is democratically just counts as ONE verses all other nations...

    Welcome to our destruction.

  22. Kandahar is a city of 450,000 men, women, and children in the Southern part of Afghanistan (a country the size of Texas.)

    Yeah, bombing those folks would do a lot of good. sarc/off.

  23. Obama is an asshole for giving in to the pressure; but it was the asshole republicans that kept harping on "more troops for McChrystal."

    Whether Obumfuck is "eevil" or not, I don't know. But I'm Dead-Sure Positive that Republicans are the Dumbest motherfuckers on the face of the Earth.

  24. Afghanistan

    251,000 Sq Miles - that's 500 Miles by 500 Miles.



    Surrounded by Mountains

    Gasoline - $400.00/GAL.

  25. "Prize if we win:"

    Absolutely, Fucking NOTHING!

    Answer to above question:

    Yes, we are, Definitely, *Out of Our Fucking Minds!*

  26. ...Driving their choppers into a landing zone designated X-ray, a few miles from the Cambodian border, on the 14th of November, 1965, they land on top of a North Vietnamese Army base.

    So much for military intelligence: In a macabre way I am always amazed at the naiveté of the trusting public when they say:

    "They have access to more information than we do"

    A few posts ago, we hosted a video of American squad leaders commenting on what is really going on at ground. Nothing ever really changes.

  27. JACK P. SMITH deserved to be heard again.

  28. Thing is, those helicopter pilots were some of the Bravest Men on Earth. And, no one can fight better than those "green" troops did.

    It's just, Westmoreland was a complete fucking moron. As was his staff. McNamara should have been hung.

    But, boy a lot of people got rich. Civilians, to this day, don't realize what an Enormous Business "Vietnam" was.

  29. And, at a Million Dollars a Pop to keep a man in the field in Iraq, and Afghanistan -

    like you said, Nothing's Changed.

  30. McNamara should have been hung.

    Roger that. We could dig him up and hang anyway just to let him know we still care.

  31. And how many of those green troops had "RA" on their dogtags versus "US"?

  32. Interesting question. The draft hadn't really been ramped up at that point. I'd guess the majority were RA, but that's just a pure shot in the dark.

    Do you know the answer?

  33. We couldn't have won the Vietnam unless we were willing to go into North Vietnam, which we weren't particularly since they were now nuclear armed, and we weren't willing to get into it with the Chinese. That flattening of Hanoi during the Christmas bombing made them sue temporarily for peace. I don't see Afghan has that kind of big sponsor. Whether it'is worth it I don't have a clue.

  34. Well, Bob, how about this? We only, spend Thousands of our kids' lives, and hundreds of Billions of our treasure when we are sure it IS worth it.

  35. I am constantly amazed at how all you former boosters of the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) are now so shrilly against it. The irony of you all creating such a shit sandwich and passing it along to the current admin and then bitching at them isn't transparent to everyone.

  36. Ash, there have been very few posts here, and none from me, about the need to "expand" the war in Afghanistan.

    I've preached for a long time that that sucker was Vietnam, redux.

  37. I can't help it if Liberals, being mostly draft-dodgers, wouldn't know a "winnable" war if it bit them in the ass.

    I'll remind you, it was two Liberal Dems that got us stuck to our necks in Vietnam. And, a Republican that got us out.

  38. Ash said...
    I am constantly amazed at how all you former boosters of the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) are now so shrilly against it. The irony of you all creating such a shit sandwich and passing it along to the current admin and then bitching at them isn't transparent to everyone.

    The point is ASH...

    The Obama admin doesnt want to WIN the war...

    It wants to humiliate us...

    I am and was for the wars...

    But I am not for nation building...

    I am for complete and utter destruction of our enemies...

    That is something we are not doing...

    Want to win in Afpak?

    KIll the bad guys and their families...

    Make the areas barren...

    It works...

  39. And, then, a Liberal Congress that cut the S. Vietnamese off at their knees once we were gone.

  40. Yes, WiO, you and boobie have been consistent with your expressions regarding the wars. Boobie shrugs his shoulders and simply says BOMB BOMB BOMB, and you, consistently urge, more, more, more but Obama et al are losing on purpose to teach US all a lesson.

    The rest were for it before they were against it. I can imagine the howls of protest if the current admin actually were to turn tail and leave. DR would lament the lack of VICTORY proclamation, and if there was one, the bold faced untruth of it and the rest would wring their hands on the diminished stature of superpower USA.

  41. Well, if they were dumb enough to leave "Without" declaring Victory, I'd howl, too.

    I can fade eeevil, but "stupid" is just, er . . stooopid.

  42. riiiight, just like that glorious republican administration you referred to managed to claim VICTORY as they fled Vietnam.

  43. I can't help it if Liberals, being mostly draft-dodgers, wouldn't know a "winnable" war if it bit them in the ass.

    Bill Clinton:

    From A Chicken In Every Pot To A Chicken Smoking Pot.

  44. Ash said...
    Yes, WiO, you and boobie have been consistent with your expressions regarding the wars. Boobie shrugs his shoulders and simply says BOMB BOMB BOMB, and you, consistently urge, more, more, more but Obama et al are losing on purpose to teach US all a lesson.

    Great now you are listening...

    Obama wants a post American world...

    I do not...

    I'd rather kill 20,000 afpakis with conventional cheap muntions (rather than expensive ones) create a killzones to keep the afpakis boxed into areas and pull our troops out...

    Of course this could not be done without a much larger program...

    get rid of OIL

    put a bounty on any islamic jihadist's head...

    say 5 cents...

    We can sit down a few decades later to see if it worked...

    Imagine a world without Islam...

    Imagine there's no Islam
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there's no Mullahs
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no Media too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no Suicide Bombers
    I wonder if you can
    No need for Sunni or Shia
    Just A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

  45. Sure you want to move the Elephant Bar to Word Press? Obama pulled the plug on 73,000 blogs. We're next.

  46. Has anyone gotten the Real word on that. All I heard was "repeated abuses," whatever to hell that is.

  47. Ash, I can speak for me. I bought into the British Dossier on Iraqi nuclear weapons. So did almost everyone else. When they were not found, I thought and said it was time to leave.

    You know my position on Afghanistan. Simply stated, I would have destroyed theAQ camps on the cheap. There would have been no prisoners taken to Cuba. I would have extracted $100 Billion from Saudi Arabia as compensation for damage done by Saudis after 911.

    I was against the war against Serbia. I did not support creating the new Muslim states of Bosnia and Kosovo.

    I did not support giving the Mujahideen stinger missiles.

    I supported the Cold War.

    I thought Jimmy Carter was a disaster by allowing the Iranians to take our embassy. Iran would have felt our teeth.

    I supported the Contras. Reagan was wrong to have allowed the Boland amendment to be attached to a continuing amendment.

    I supported the winning of the war in Viet Nam. The Democrats, by withdrawing support for the South Vietnamese after the American withdrawal got tens of thousands of Vietnamese killed and over a million .

    I do not know what blog you have been reading.

  48. Been reading you guys since the Belmont days.

  49. ash, I have always supported "Declaring Victory" and leaving Iraq.

    That we "Declared Victory" and stayed, a total disaster. One that must be shown to be the falsehood that it is.

    We achieved none of the political objectives set, at the beginning of the occupation. We managed to regain some measure of stability, but that could have been achieved, earlier, if the political objectives had not been attempted.

    We failed at the "Nation Building", we still are failing, at that.

  50. It hasn't been 'a total disaster'-Hiroshima, that a 'total disaster'--Nagasaki that was a 'total disaster'--Iraq ought to be better off in the long run for it, it is an experiment, all right. The mighty experiment of whether the Shia, the Sunni and the Kurds can get along and share life, liberty, and the oil wealth. Not to mention give the women some rights. Mrs. Laura Bush optioned the other day it would be twenty years before we know really if it was worth it. About right, I'd think.

  51. Mrs. Laura Bush optioned the other day it would be twenty years before we know really if it was worth it. About right, I'd think.

    That probably goes over real well with the survivors of the fallen soldiers. "They died for an experiment, and we won't know if they died in vain for about twenty years."

  52. Go tell that to the family of your daughter's fallen friend from High School.

    He died in a social experiment, near the Persian Gulf, and the results of that experiment, unknowable for at least twenty years.

    The $750 Billion we borrowed from Charlie Chi-com, to conduct this experiment in sociology, nothing but a thing.

    Why, that's just peanut dough, for the United States to spend, on a social experiment, in Arabia.

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. We never should have gone into Iraq in the first place rat. Even the WMD rationale could have been settled without invading. The inspectors had free reign in Iraq and they weren't finding them. Alas, the invasion happened anyway with the broad popular support in the US, particularly among those on the 'right'.

  55. But to spend a similar amount, providing basic medical services to those not currently in the "System", why, that's considered a social abomination, by you. boob.

    You rail against central control from Washington, but protest that any sale or divestiture of BLM lands is selling out our cultural heritage, to the rich.

    You are a nut.

  56. That war had nothing fucksoever to do with wimmins rights, or any of the rest of it. It was all about "peak earl," and protecting the oil fields. And, yes, I supported it. I didn't know about ethanol at the time.