“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."
The Trump way starts with the passage of the historic tax cuts despite tiny Republican majorities in congress and scare tactics from the left. Before passage, polls showed the public was strongly opposed — but Trump pulled, pushed and bullied his party over the finish line.
The roaring results, with millions of workers already getting bonuses, pension boosts and pay hikes, vindicate his determination.
Another piece of evidence is that the government shutdown over the “dreamers” was a huge defeat for Democrats, and Trump piled on the pain with a blistering ad about crimes by illegal immigrants that helped force divided Dems back to work.
The decision by the House intelligence panel to write and release its memo on possible FBI misdeeds is yet more evidence of a new fighting spirit. Even Speaker Paul Ryan, averse to conflict by temperament and training, forcefully supported the memo’s release, saying it was time to “cleanse” the FBI.
This is not George Bush’s or John Boehner’s Republican Party. This is Trump’s GOP, as he demonstrated in spades in his first formal State of the Union address.
After all, that’s what Republicans usually do — soften their tone and, badgered by a liberal Washington press corps, give in to big government ideas.
While Trump did indeed deliver on those promises, it was just barely. Those offers were exceptions in an otherwise damn-the Democrats, full-speed ahead performance.
If this was Trump reaching out his hand, he was doing it from a position of strength and supreme confidence. If there is to be compromise, Dems will have pay dearly for it.
That the president intends to drive a hard bargain was made clear during his remarks on immigration when he said pointedly, “Americans are dreamers, too.”
The tough tone, leavened only by the moving stories of first responders, military heroes and other noteworthy guests seated near the First Lady, suggests that Trump is sticking with what got him to the dance in the first place.
He will continue to be who he is.
The idea that he should be someone else has been a constant refrain from the day he entered the race in 2015. Occasionally he has, but only temporarily, and if last night means anything, it’s that he sees no reason to make radical changes now.
The tax reform and the early signs that it will pay big dividends in economic growth and higher wages give the president a strong wind at his back. He rightly touted the exuberance as “our New American Moment” and declared that “there has never been a better time to start living the American dream.”
On one hand, that approach is a high-risk gamble. Trump is putting all his chips, and his party’s, on the belief that his accomplishments will win over enough voters so the GOP can keep both houses of congress.
Indeed, some polls are already reflecting movement in his direction. A Fox News poll this week shows his approval rating climbing to 45 percent, and his disapproval at 53, although other polls still show him with approval under 40 percent.
The risk is that if he’s wrong, and the midterms are a referendum on him instead of his policies, then the House could flip to Democrats, many of whom want to draw up impeachment articles on Day One. And with special counsel Robert Mueller still on the prowl, the risk is multiplied.
Yet, in truth, America also saw evidence last night that Trump’s bet may be his best chance. The Dems who came to hear the president looked like the unhappiest people on Earth.
They rarely stood and applauded, except when it would have been embarrassing not to. Even when the president touted the lowest African-American unemployment in history, the party that produced the first black president and has on the lock on the black vote gave a collective scowl.
Dems, then, are giving Trump no reason to believe they’re ready to bargain. All of them in both houses voted against tax cuts, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi even demeaned bonuses and pay hikes as “crumbs.”
The party is still stuck in resistance mode, with congressional members following the radical left like so many lemmings.
Against that backdrop, Trump has nobody on the other side to negotiate with. For now at least, full speed ahead is both his best and only option.
Pat Buchanan: 'We have become an empire, committed to fight for scores of nations'
THE IMPERIAL CITY
If Turkey is not bluffing, U.S. troops in Manbij, Syria, could be under fire by week’s end, and NATO engulfed in the worst crisis in its history.
Turkish President Erdogan said Friday his troops will cleanse Manbij of Kurdish fighters, alongside whom U.S. troops are embedded.
Erdogan’s foreign minister demanded concrete steps by the U.S. to end its support of the Kurds, who control the Syrian border with Turkey east of the Euphrates, all the way to Iraq.
If the Turks attack Manbij, the U.S. will face a choice: Stand by our Kurdish allies and resist the Turks, or abandon the Kurds.
Should the U.S. let the Turks drive the Kurds out of Manbij and the entire Syrian border area with Turkey, as Erdogan threatens, U.S. credibility would suffer a blow from which it would not soon recover.
But to stand with the Kurds and oppose Erdogan’s forces could mean a crackup of NATO and loss of U.S. bases inside Turkey, including the air base at Incirlik.
Turkey also sits astride the Dardanelles entrance to the Black Sea. NATO’s loss of Turkey would thus be a triumph for Vladimir Putin, who gave Ankara the green light to cleanse the Kurds from Afrin.
Yet Syria is but one of many challenges to U.S. foreign policy.
The Winter Olympics in South Korea may have taken the threat of a North Korean ICBM that could hit the U.S. out of the news. But no one believes that threat is behind us.
Last week, China charged that the USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, a reef in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing, though it is far closer to Luzon in the Philippines. The destroyer, says China, was chased off by one of her frigates. If we continue to contest China’s territorial claims with U.S. warships, a clash is inevitable.
In a similar incident Monday, a Russian military jet came within five feet of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Orion surveillance plane in international airspace over the Black Sea, forcing the Navy plane to end its mission.
U.S. relations with Cold War ally Pakistan are at rock bottom. In his first tweet of 2018, President Trump charged Pakistan with being a duplicitous and false friend.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
As for America’s longest war, in Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, the end is nowhere on the horizon.
A week ago, the International Hotel in Kabul was attacked and held for 13 hours by Taliban gunmen who killed 40. Midweek, a Save the Children facility in Jalalabad was attacked by ISIS, creating panic among aid workers across the country.
Saturday, an ambulance exploded in Kabul, killing 103 people and wounding 235. Monday, Islamic State militants attacked Afghan soldiers guarding a military academy in Kabul. With the fighting season two months off, U.S. troops will not soon be departing.
If Pakistan is indeed providing sanctuary for the terrorists of the Haqqani network, how does this war end successfully for the United States?
Last week, in a friendly fire incident, the U.S.-led coalition killed 10 Iraqi soldiers. The Iraq war began 15 years ago.
Yet another war, where the humanitarian crisis rivals Syria, continues on the Arabian Peninsula. There, a Saudi air, sea and land blockade that threatens the Yemeni people with starvation has failed to dislodge Houthi rebels who seized the capital Sanaa three years ago.
This weekend brought news that secessionist rebels, backed by the United Arab Emirates, have seized power in Yemen’s southern port of Aden, from the Saudi-backed Hadi regime fighting the Houthis.
These rebels seek to split the country, as it was before 1990.
Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE appear to be backing different horses in this tribal-civil-sectarian war into which America has been drawn.
There are other wars – Somalia, Libya, Ukraine – where the U.S. is taking sides, sending arms, training troops, flying missions.
Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fight for scores of nations, with troops on every continent, and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware.
“I didn’t know there were 1,000 troops in Niger,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham when four Green Berets were killed there. “We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world, militarily, and what we’re doing.”
No, we don’t, Senator.
As in all empires, power is passing to the generals.
And what causes the greatest angst today in the imperial city?
Fear that a four-page memo worked up in the House Judiciary Committee may discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia-gate.
Pat Buchanan was twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the Reform Party's candidate in 2000. He is also a founder and editor of The American Conservative. Buchanan served three presidents in the White House, was a founding panelist of three national TV shows, and is the author of 11 books. His latest book is "Nixon's White House Wars."
Each day brings announcements from companies ranging from Apple to Walmart that they are giving bonuses and pay hikes, adding new jobs and increasing their investments in America.
Millions of workers will get the bonuses, most of which are for $1,000, and untold others will get new or higher-paying jobs.
Most of those workers also will see their take-home pay increase because they will get personal income tax cuts and a doubling of the standard deduction. Those changes will become apparent in a week or so when the new lower rates are applied to payrolls.
The cash-in-the-pocket benefits are great news to many families, but the boom is doing something else too: It’s giving the millennials a firsthand lesson in economics.
Following eight slow-growth years under President Barack Obama and an election where their favorite candidate, Bernie Sanders, railed against the wealthy and promised free stuff for everybody else, many young Americans were taught that socialism is their friend and capitalism their enemy.
Now they are getting proof that the opposite is true. They are eyewitnesses as capitalism provides more opportunities and financial security to more people than any other system.
If they still have doubts, they need only ask their parents about their swelling 401(k) and IRA accounts as a result of the Dow Jones’ 45 percent climb since Trump’s election.
All Democrats voted against the tax cuts and some refuse to celebrate the good results. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the bonuses “crumbs” and likened them to cheese on a mouse trap. Former party boss Debbie Wasserman Schultz told a crowd that “I’m not sure that $1,000 goes very far for almost anyone.”
It’s hard not to conclude that Pelosi and her elitist ilk believe ever-higher taxes and redistribution are superior to growth fueled by the private sector. And that handouts are better than jobs. As Friedrich Hayek explained, central planners are always paving “The Road to Serfdom.”
In fact, government redistribution had its heyday under Obama, who raised taxes on upper incomes yet never stopped complaining that the rich didn’t pay their “fair share.”
He also piled up restrictions on business through environmental rules, ObamaCare and the Department of Labor, not to mention Dodd-Frank.
Those burdens strangled growth, both in terms of take-home pay and job creation. Obama was the first president never to have a whole year of 3 percent growth and had the lowest labor-participation rate in three decades.
The former president revealed his gut view of capitalism in a 2012 speech when he famously declared, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that . . . somebody else made that happen.”
His point was that government built the roads, etc., which is obviously true, but misses the point that government has no money of its own.
It has to take it from the private sector, and when it takes too much, people pay the price through lost jobs and opportunity.
The contrast with Trump is striking. His “America is Open for Business” spiel at Davos was consistent with his promise to get the economy roaring. Never a shrinking violet, he is most convincingly authentic when cheerleading for jobs, jobs, jobs.
He starts his second year in office with the dividends piling up. As The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, the tax cuts are “rippling through” the economy and leading all kinds of firms to explore expansion and some to consider new plants and acquisitions.
Many companies also are increasing their charitable contributions, with JPMorgan Chase saying it will boost its community-based philanthropy by 40 percent, to $1.75 billion over five years. That, too, is unique to capitalism — people and businesses freely giving away their money.
According to the Journal, profits for most firms in the S&P 500 could rise by 7 to 8 percent per share, which is why they will spend more. That spending will lead to higher earnings for other companies as part of what one analyst called a “virtuous cycle.”
No one knows how far the expansion will go or how long it will last. But one thing is certain: Trump is the catalyst.
No other Republican who sought the presidency in 2016 had comparable plans to reduce regulations and taxes. And Democrat Hillary Clinton promised more of both while trying to match Sanders’ free-stuff promises.
The economy will figure heavily in the midterm elections, but won’t be the only factor. National security will matter and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation could have a huge impact.
But for now, the rising tide of capitalism is lifting all boats. Just as it always does when given a chance.
Dirty DeB exposed
The more we know, the more it’s clear prosecutors screwed up in refusing to indict Mayor de Blasio.
We know this now only because Singh also pled guilty to bribing Long Island officials, and his pleas were unsealed for one of the Long Island trials.
A key difference in the cases is that de Blasio got campaign contributions of about $33,000 from Singh, while the Long Island officials allegedly got cash and other personal goodies.
When prosecutors ended their probe of de Blasio, they criticized him but said they found no “evidence of personal profit.”
As I wrote, that standard is outdated. The “personal profit”
de Blasio got was cash to help him keep his job. That’s not chopped liver.
Especially when New Yorkers reelected an unindicted scammer without knowing the facts of his dirty behavior. No justice there.
Reader Robert Pearson responds to my column on corruption at the top of the FBI. He writes: “My father was a career FBI agent in Tulsa. He kept a plaque in his office bearing the inscription: Fidelity Bravery Integrity. He believed in those words heart and soul.
“I’m glad he passed away many years ago so he wouldn’t have to witness what has happened to his beloved agency.” Leftist throws a ‘fit’
Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish lefty humor from the laughable. In The New Yorker magazine, a Harvard Law School professor argues that Trump could be so mentally unfit that he’s not capable of intending to commit a crime, and therefore can’t be impeached or indicted.
At least I think that’s what Jeannie Suk Gersen argues. I could be wrong. It could be satire.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton revealed on Fox News over the weekend the FBI has refused to turn over additional text messages related to two anti-Trump employees and senior bureau leadership.
Who do the messages belong to?
In recent weeks, the focus of text messages at the FBI have centered around senior agent Peter Strzok and his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The two high-ranking bureau employees worked on both the Clinton email investigation and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which would become the investigation taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Strzok was removed from Mueller’s investigation last summer after the anti-Trump, pro-Clinton messages were discovered.
But according to Fitton, the messages the FBI doesn’t want to turn over don’t belong to either Strzok or Page. He told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro the messages belong to the FBI’s number two man, deputy director Andrew McCabe.
“If [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions were serious about this…he’d recognize that this is just the tip of the iceberg. He should send the U.S. Marshals in over to the FBI and to secure the evidence here,” Fitton said. “Because there are other text messages here that have yet to be turned over to Congress.”
“We knew there were text messages to be had. We sued back in September for the text messages of the number two at the FBI, Andrew McCabe. And they just told us this week they gave us everything they were gonna give us and not one text message was turned over,” Fitton explained. “Have they lost Andrew McCabe’s text messages?”
Fitton went on to explain that what’s going on at the Department of Justice almost amounts to “obstruction of justice.”
“Jeff Sessions has got to take stronger action here,” Fitton said.
Fitton didn’t explain exactly why Judicial Watch has sought McCabe’s text messages.
At 2.47 on the morning of January 31, 1968, an American military policeman sent an emergency radio message from his post outside a U.S. embassy on the far side of the world: ‘Signal 300! They’re coming in! Help me! Help me!’ — before being shot dead, along with another guard.
The soldier’s terrified warning, out of the darkness half a century ago, signalled the onset of the most devastating attack on American pride and prestige since Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Viet Cong commandos spilled out of a taxi and a small truck in front of the embassy compound in Saigon, used a satchel charge to blast a hole in its perimeter wall, then dashed inside firing AK-47 assault rifles.
Here was the most spectacular event of the so-called Tet Offensive 50 years ago — co-ordinated attacks by 67,000 guerillas and regular North Vietnamese troops, taking advantage of the annual lunar New Year ‘Tet’ holiday and truce to catch the Americans and their South Vietnamese allies unprepared.
Photographer Eddie Adams’s now-famous image of Loan shooting Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem cost the Americans a heavy price in propaganda
During the occupation of the city of Hue, the Viet Cong had murdered in cold blood more than 3,000 men, women and children
Only a handful of Americans were sleeping in the embassy building when the Viet Cong struck. As the attackers ran into the compound, a quick-thinking Marine sergeant, Ron Harper, closed and barred the chancery’s heavy teak doors, which survived a rocket explosion that blew the United States seal off the wall.
A long gun battle then began between Communists in the courtyard and a small number of Americans on the perimeter, throughout which embassy night duty officer Allan Wendt said he thought he was living his ‘last moments’.
He rang U.S. Army headquarters and begged for help. Officers assured him that troops would get to him eventually, but were responding to multiple concurrent attacks around the Saigon area.
Wendt protested, emotionally but accurately: ‘This place is the very symbol of American power in Vietnam.’
An official in the situation room at the White House — then occupied by president Lyndon Johnson — phoned the diplomat after hearing garbled reports of the drama.
What in hell was going on out there, an official demanded of the lonely, petrified Wendt. He simply held up the telephone mouthpiece so that Washington could hear the rattle of automatic fire just yards away.
Even as the drama unfolded at the embassy, on scores of other battlefields American and South Vietnamese troops were fighting for their lives against their Communist attackers.
Max Hastings is pictured on the right during the Vietnam War. The Tet Offensive - co-ordinated attacks by 67,000 guerillas and North Vietnamese troops - caught the Americans unprepared
A doctor pictured treating the wounds of Private First Class D.A. Crum, "H" Company, 2nd Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, during Operation Hue City in Vietnam in 1968
What stunned the world, and U.S. Army commander General William Westmoreland, was that the enemy — supposedly a mob of barefoot, raggedy-ass Asian peasants — had revealed the capability to stage a synchronised offensive of such magnitude.
Only weeks earlier, Westmoreland had returned to the States to stage a media blitz in which he told the American people the war was almost won: ‘The enemy has not won a major battle in more than a year . . . he can fight his large forces only at the edges of his sanctuaries . . . his guerilla force is declining.’
There were now 492,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam, together with 61,000 allied soldiers and 650,000 uniformed South Vietnamese, supported by 2,600 aircraft, 3,000 helicopters and 3,500 armoured vehicles.
Yet now the communists had dared to engage this array of firepower on the streets of Saigon, where 4,000 Viet Cong deployed; in the old Vietnamese capital of Hue; and in more than a hundred district and provincial capitals.
What was going on?
This photo shows terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc as they run down Route 1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places in 1972
The Americans were caught largely unawares, because logic suggested that the Tet offensive was military madness. Pictured: U.S. Marines scatter after a helicopter is shot down in Vietnam
An amazing aspect of the Vietnam War was how little the Americans knew about their enemies. They believed the legendary revolutionary Ho Chi Minh ruled North Vietnam, and General Nguyen Vo Giap ran the war. In truth, the 76-year-old Ho had become marginalised, and Giap — victor over the French occupying forces in 1954 — had been elbowed aside by a new generation of radicals.
The real ruler of North Vietnam in 1968 was the almost unknown Le Duan. It was he who, against the wishes of Ho, Giap and most of the military, insisted that the time was ripe to throw everything the Communists could muster into an attack on the South, where he predicted that half a million sympathisers would rally to expel the ‘long-noses’ from the country.
The Americans were caught largely unawares, because logic suggested that the Tet offensive was military madness.
As a result, within a few hours of its start, 10,000 Communist troops had marched into the old citadel at Hue and occupied large parts of the city, almost without meeting resistance.
Thereafter, it took U.S. forces and the South Vietnamese three weeks of wholesale destruction, killing and dying, to recapture Hue.
Captain Charles Krohn, an officer of the 2/12th Cavalry, compared the fate of his own unit, insouciantly ordered south towards the city, with that of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War.
‘We only had to advance 200 yards, but both we and the Light Brigade offered human-wave targets that put the defenders at little risk . . . there was no satisfactory or compelling reason for a U.S. battalion to assault a fortified North Vietnamese Army (NVA) force over an open field,’ he said.
Of an encounter at a hamlet four miles north of Hue on February 4, he wrote: ‘Four hundred of us got up to charge. A few never made it past the first step. By the time we got to the other side of the clearing, nine were dead and 48 wounded . . . we killed only eight NVA (at best) and took four prisoners . . . we reported higher figures to [officers at] Brigade, based on wishful thinking that made us feel better. Privately we knew that the enemy had scarcely been scratched.’
Krohn watched the body of a medic named Johnny Lau being loaded aboard a helicopter: ‘We had spoken before the attack, and he said his family was in the grocery business. We broke off our conversation about the best way to prepare beef with ginger when the attack started, but promised each other to pick it up later.’ They never did.
In six weeks the battalion’s fighting strength would fall from 500 to less than 200. Krohn wrote bitterly: ‘The NVA had better senior leadership than we did.’
There were 492,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam, together with 61,000 allied soldiers and 650,000 uniformed South Vietnamese. Pictured: U.S. riflemen charge towards Viet Cong positions
Much of the accustomed daily business of the U.S. 3rd Field Hospital had been to fix Saigon civilians’ terrible teeth. Now the facility was plunged into a maelstrom.
American surgeons were working on a wounded Viet Cong when a nurse put his head around the door and said: ‘They’ve just hit the embassy.’
Disbelieving voices muttered: ‘Yeah, right.’
Medical aide William Drummond said: ‘The marathon started at that point . . . we worked continuously for 40 hours.’
There were harsh decisions made to abandon some bad cases because resources had to be prioritised. A few medics buckled: Drummond described the collapse of the head of surgery: ‘He just seemed like an inadequate person who couldn’t deal with it.’
The American people, already sceptical about the war, were traumatised by the revelation of the Communists’ capability to wreak wholesale death and destruction. Pictured: a wreath laying ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, in 2016
When Drummond stepped outside, he was confronted by a two-and-a-half-ton truck carrying a dozen American corpses. Junior ranks’ quarters were commandeered as a morgue, which at one time was occupied by 600 bodies, Vietnamese and American. The hospital had 150 beds, and, at the height of the offensive, held 500 patients.
Drummond found his job toughest among ‘expectants’ — the doomed men: ‘It was real hard to see somebody that could have been my brother, same age, who was talking to me and we knew was going to die.’
The hospital’s chief nurse and her assistant were motherly women in their 50s. One of them saw a Marine jump from a truck with an elbow bone protruding. The nurse said: ‘Poor boy, you lost your arm.’ He responded: ‘That ain’t nothing, honey; they shot me in the balls, too!’
The confrontation at the U.S. embassy in Saigon ended six hours after it began, when the last of 19 attackers was killed or captured. None had penetrated the main embassy building, but the story was broadcast to the world that they had stormed this citadel of U.S. power in South-East Asia.
The confrontation at the U.S. embassy in Saigon ended six hours after it began, when the last of 19 attackers was killed or captured
Turning point: US troops withdrawing from South Vietnam during the conflict
The blow to American prestige, to the credibility of U.S. Army commander General Westmoreland and of President Johnson himself, was devastating.
Yet the irony was that the Tet offensive was a military failure. It petered out during the spring, with the Communists expelled from every one of the places they had briefly occupied. They had suffered 20,000 killed, far more than the Americans and South Vietnamese. The Viet Cong, who had hitherto borne the brunt of the war, were shattered as a fighting force.
During their occupation of the city of Hue, the Viet Cong had murdered in cold blood more than 3,000 men, women and children, alleged supporters of the Saigon government. Yet it was to be that the death of just one man received far more world attention than the mass murders — because it was recorded on film.
In Saigon, Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem had personally cut the throats of captured South Vietnamese Lt. Col. Nguyen Tuan, his wife, six children and 80-year-old mother.
On February 1, Lem himself was taken prisoner and brought before Saigon’s police chief, Brigadier Nguyen Ngoc Loan, a friend of the dead colonel. Loan drew a Smith & Wesson and shot Lem in the head. The murders committed by the Communist justified his execution. Nonetheless, the Associated Press photographer Eddie Adams’s now-famous image of Loan shooting Lem — which won Adams a Pulitzer prize — cost the Americans a heavy price in propaganda.
In Saigon, Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem had personally cut the throats of captured South Vietnamese Lt. Col. Nguyen Tuan, his wife, six children and 80-year-old mother
South Vietnam’s vice president Nguyen Cao Ky wrote: ‘In the click of a shutter, our struggle for independence and self-determination was transformed into an image of a seemingly senseless and brutal execution.’
However, in the immediate wake of the battles, the Viet Cong felt like the losers. Their military chief Tran Do said: ‘Tet was a “go for broke” attack. We set inappropriate, unattainable goals . . . because the words “finish them off” sounded so wonderful. We lapsed into a period of tremendous difficulties.’
He frankly admitted that the guerillas forfeited control of most of the country.
In a free society, North Vietnam’s leader Le Duan would have been disgraced and discredited by the abysmal failure of his great gamble at Tet. Instead, its biggest political victim proved to be U.S. president Lyndon Johnson.
The American people, already sceptical about the war, were traumatised by the revelation of the Communists’ capability to wreak wholesale death and destruction, and by the symbolic humiliation of the embassy attack.
The day after the Hue citadel was secured, an American official wrote bitterly to a colleague: ‘South of the river every house is shot up. Burned cars, tanks and trees litter the streets. Rocket and 8in artillery holes are all over the place . . . All of the houses and shops around the big market, where the sampans were always parked, are destroyed. Napalm, CS, 8in and 500-pounder bombs are used every day.
‘Those bastards in Saigon have no idea of the magnitude of the problem . . . What makes me so mad is those f***ing generals of ours who say “we knew it was coming”, as though they let it happen. And now, with a stunning defeat on their hands, are claiming a body count victory.’
Just before Tet, I was among a group of foreign journalists who visited the White House to hear an impassioned 40-minute harangue from Lyndon Johnson about his determination to hang on in there in Vietnam.
An exhausted looking US Marine on patrol with his squad during the Vietnam War
But on the evening of March 31, the President delivered a national television address that began: ‘Good evening my fellow Americans. Tonight I want to speak to you of peace in Vietnam.’ He announced a unilateral cessation of bombing the North, and his commitment to negotiations.
Earlier, when speechwriter Harry Macpherson saw the president reworking the draft, he asked a White House colleague: ‘Is he going to say “sayonara” [‘goodbye’ in Japanese]?’.
Yes, he was. Johnson concluded his TV speech: ‘I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.’
The Tet offensive broke the will of the American people, as well as that of Lyndon Johnson — and the North Vietnamese leader Le Duan’s military disaster was transformed into a triumph in the long run as U.S. casualties mounted.
When Richard Nixon succeeded Johnson as president in January 1969, he fulfilled the overwhelming wishes of his countrymen by starting a progressive removal of troops from Indochina, a retreat branded as ‘Vietnamisation’. In Paris in January 1973, the U.S. and North Vietnam signed a peace treaty, whereby the last Americans quit the country while Communist forces held their ground.
Two years later, with Nixon banished from office by Watergate, the North Vietnamese judged the U.S. too weak and demoralised to resist the massive new offensive unleashed by the Communists, which overwhelmed the army of South Vietnam. The U.S. defeat that the Tet devastation made inevitable was completed with the April 1975 fall of Saigon.
Here is a lesson for all modern wars: generals can sometimes claim victory — as the West did after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 and in the 2003 invasion of Iraq — yet find that is far from the end of the story.
The suicidal Viet Cong attackers who died in their tens of thousands in 1968 showed their fanatical Islamic successors how insurgents can snatch victory from defeat, even up against the mightiest military machine on earth.
Max Hastings’s new book Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy 1945-75 will be published in the autumn by HarperCollins.
Sessions was likely wiretapped by Comey and his FBI, as well as the Obama-Clinton Deep State intelligence agencies, then run by the criminally minded and Trump-hating CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – two dishonest political hacks of the highest magnitude – and there you have it. This wiretapping we now know was triggered by the now-infamous Fusion GPS phony Russian dossier, paid for by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Party.
Using the fake pretext that Trump, while a businessman, was engaged in potentially treasonous and degenerate sexual acts during a prior visit to Moscow before his presidential campaign, the Fusion GPS dossier was used by Comey’s FBI to have the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rubber-stamp a warrant to wiretap Trump Tower, during the time Sessions was in contact with presidential candidate Trump as one of the future president’s top advisers and supporters.
I am therefore certain that the Obama-Clinton Deep State, and of course its lackey, Robert Mueller, have copies of recorded Sessions’ telephone conversations with the president, his family and other associates, such as former campaign adviser and later National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. During these conversations, contact with Vladmir Putin and other Russian officials was likely discussed. Thus, while benign in all likelihood, Sessions is obviously worried that something he said and now recorded through the wiretaps could incriminate him in alleged crimes, however “trumped up” by Mueller, pun intended.
All of this explains, without even a reasonable doubt, why the attorney general has buried his head in the sand, not appointed a special counsel to investigate and prosecute Hillary and Bill Clintons’ felonious crimes and has failed to do his job and truly oversee his own department, which includes the FBI. He is concerned that if he pushes on and orders meaningful law enforcement against the Obama-Clinton Deep State and its surrogates in the Mueller Office of the Special Counsel, he will be subject to their blowback.
In this context, fellow patriots and readers of this column each week, do not be fooled by those who are now applauding Attorney General Sessions for allegedly ordering investigations of the Clintons over the Fusion GPS and Uranium One scandals. Sessions was simply relieving the pressure some conservative congressmen and yours truly were putting on him to resign his post if he would not finally do his job.
Indeed, over my 30 plus years as the People’s Special Counsel, first at Judicial Watch and now at Freedom Watch, both of which I founded, I have seen it all. Left to my once-proud alma mater, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Congress, in Clinton scandals ranging from Monica Lewinsky, to China-gate, to File-gate, to Vince Foster-gate, to Travel-gate, to IRS-gate and a host of over 50 others, these professed “agencies of We the People” have never brought these hardened criminals to justice. In fact, for the same reason Sessions has taken an exit stage left – again, pun intended – these so-called servants of the citizenry and the nation do not want to stick their necks out for fear that they will be retaliated against in ways President Trump and his family and associates now know full well.
And, when all is said and done, this is why our compromised Attorney General Jeff Beauregard Sessions should now return to the genteel ways of the South and retire now. But on his way out, I would recommend that he appoint me as special counsel since I will – with this considerable law enforcement power at my disposal – put the Clintons in prison where they finally belong, come hell or high water! The Clintons will thus be the poster children for remedying our current dual system of justice!
Illegal immigration costs taxpayers in all 50 states a total of $89 billion, and California, where an illegal on Thursday was cleared of murdering Kate Steinle despite admitting to the shooting, pays the most at $23 billion, according to a new map of the costs.
The website HowMuch.net, working with figures from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, found that Californians pay more than twice as much for illegal immigrants than the next closest state, Texas, where the price tag is $11 billion.
The costs cover added expenditures for education, welfare, law enforcement, and medical care.
When federal costs are included, the price tag nationally soars to $135 billion a year.
FAIR’s data also includes the offset of taxes paid by illegal immigrants, though the numbers are much lower. In the state and local column, they are $3.5 billion. Nationally they are $15 billion.
Overall, costs associated with illegal immigrants is much higher for state and local governments than the federal government. States pay $89 billion, Uncle Sam $46 billion.
The states paying the most to care for illegals:
1. California - $23,038,125,353
2. Texas - $10,994,614,550
3. New York - $7,489,141,357
4. Florida - $6,290,429,108
5. New Jersey - $4,466,838,574
6. Illinois - $3,220,767,517
7. Georgia - $2,487,719,503
8. North Carolina - $2,437,965,113
9. Maryland - $2,378,996,947
10. Arizona - $2,314,131,964
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Evidence of Robert Mueller’s hopelessly compromised investigation continues to accumulate. Now we learn that five months of texts between two members of his team plotting Trump’s demise have disappeared, a time period that covers many of the crucial moments of the probe. Imagine the rich harvest of texts Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page must have exchanged over the Flynn entrapment. Those texts have vanished, according to the FBI and Justice Department. To a media that has spent months insisting on the reliability and impartiality of those agencies, this story is terribly inconvenient.
Once again, Trump’s criticisms are vindicated. Go back and look at even his most inflammatory tweets about Obamagate and they all hold up. His campaign was wire-tapped; FBI agents were plotting against him; Obama’s FBI director was leaking to the press; the FBI was collaborating with Hillary’s opposition researchers; the FBI/Justice Department exoneration of Hillary was rigged.
The great villain in the media’s tale of collusion turns out to be the victim. But the ruling class is too shameless to stop hounding him. They will continue to try and extract fruit from Mueller’s poisonous tree. Who cares, they say, if he is a friend of Comey’s? Who cares if most of his staff donated to Hillary and the Democrats? Who cares if members of his team called Trump an “utter idiot,” “douche,” and took out an “insurance policy” against him? Who cares if the government obtained FISA warrants based on a political smear Hillary financed?
In a courtroom, the fruit of a poisonous tree is tossed out. In politics, the tree is shaken until rotten fruit, usually a minor process crime or a crime wholly unrelated to the investigation, falls from it. Imagine all the crimes a second special counsel would find if he investigated the investigators. One of the texts between Strzok and Page that didn’t vanish makes reference to a “secret society,” according to those who have seen it. Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas told Fox News, “We learned today about information that in the immediate aftermath of [Trump’s] election, that there may have been a secret society of folks within the Department of Justice and the FBI — to include Page and Strzok — that would be working against him.”
Recall the media furor over Trump’s tweets about the FBI’s tarnished reputation. Those tweets now look, if anything, understated. The “secret society” explains what under any other circumstances would have been inconceivable: the FBI working with one presidential campaign against another. The FBI even subsidized that campaign’s opposition research, making payments of some kind to Hillary’s researcher, Christopher Steele. The incestuousness of it all is still coming into focus. The wife of one top Justice Department official worked for Hillary’s opposition research firm Fusion GPS, and more revelations about it are sure to follow.
The media still obsesses over Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians, from which nothing came. But it sees no significance in Hillary hiring an opposition research firm that counted Russian officials as clients and sources. How much of Steele’s work is the product of disinformation from those officials is still not known.
In the latest batch of released Strzok-Page texts, the cynicism of this Russian investigation becomes even clearer. Strzok indicates that he doesn’t think Mueller will find anything — he senses “there’s no big there there” — but joins his probe anyways because he has “unfinished business” with Trump.
What emerges from all this evidence of astonishing bias is a probe that didn’t seek to discover a crime but create one. The goal was to scare Trump officials into committing minor process crimes and Michael Flynn tripped up under that pressure. Now the hope of the investigators is that they can set a perjury trap for Trump. On Tuesday, as the media ignored the Strzok story, it made great noise about Comey sharing memos with Mueller about his meetings with Trump. The same journalists who pooh-poohed the FBI’s anti-Trump plotting perked up at news of Mueller interviewing his close friend.
This is not the slow unfolding of justice but scenes from a show trial, one in which the only serious crimes are committed by abusive prosecutors and investigators, so intoxicated by their own political self-righteousness that they can brag to their paramours about the “fix” on Trump.
Harvard Poll: 81 Percent of All Voters Support Reducing Immigration Levels
A new poll released by Harvard-Harris shows that a staggering percentage of voters on all ends of the political spectrum are overwhelmingly in favor of an immigration deal that would end Chain Migration, eliminate the Visa Lottery, and grant amnesty to DACA recipients.
According to the poll, 65% of voters would support a DACA deal that secures the Southern border, ends Chain Migration, and eliminates the Visa Lottery
A majority of voters from nearly every demographic group would support the deal, including 68% of Hispanic voters, 64% of African American voters, 64% of Democratic voters, 67% of all independent voters, 63% of liberal voters, and 68% of those who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election cycle.
The poll also reveals that 60 percent of voters oppose giving preference to parents who illegally brought their children to the U.S. The Durbin-Graham no-strings DACA amnesty offered in the Senate would give amnesty to the parents
The poll found that 81% of voters want to reduce legal immigration from its current level of more than 1 million per year, and 63% want it cut by at least half.