Posts tagged with Vietnam

WWWCD? What Would Walter Cronkite Do?

Reporters covering the investigation of the major al Qaeda victory at Benghazi should ask themselves: "what would Walter Cronkite do" if he were covering the story.

Let's consider the facts. Most people familiar with the War on Terror knew in September, 2012, that there was a heightened risk of an al Qaeda attack in the U.S. or at American installations outside the U.S. on or about the anniversary of the original 9/11 attack.

The danger was particularly high at American facilities in Libya because of the very unstable situation there and the presence of al Qaeda personnel who were trying to take over the country. Military and CIA personnel in Libya should have been on a high state of alert and prepared to back up personnel at any facility that might be attacked. Their orders should have been to respond immediately to any attack without requesting authorization from Washington. Security should have been particularly tight in Benghazi with the Ambassador in the building.

With modern cell phone technology, personnel should have been calling the State Department as they took cover, grabbed weapons, etc. Both the Secretary of State and President should have been notified immediately. State Department protocol should have required the Secretary, or least the top undersecretary for the region, to monitor the situation using both audio and video from the site, possibly using devices such as smart phones . If a satellite was in position to monitor the situation someone in Washington should have monitored its video. Keep in mind the government has better quality cameras than Google on its satellites.

The Obama administration's initial claim that the facility fell to a rag tag mob of demonstrators implies the facility essentially had no security. Any decent security protocol should have been prepared for the type of attack that Iranian students had used to take over the American embassy in Tehran during the Carter administration. An attack by trained military personnel would have been more easily explained, although security personnel should have been prepared to handle such an attack.

Determining the significance of the successful al Qaeda attack is difficult because of the nature of the War on Terror. Significant battles haven't involved large groups. Although the American casualty toll in the 9/11 attack was high, barely a dozen men conducted the attack. A similar sized American force killed Osama bin Laden. Much of the killing by both sides is done by remote control. Americans use aerial drones. Al Qaeda uses road side bombs.

The attack is at least as significant as the temporary Viet Cong capture of the American embassy in Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive. The attack indicates that al Qaeda has successfully broadened the war and is now able to defeat the Americans in Libya and possibly elsewhere. The size of the victory isn't as important as the fact that the attack was an al Qaeda victory. Al Qaeda may not be "winning" the war yet, but as a football sportscaster might say, al Qaeda "has taken the momentum", as demonstrated by the recent successful bombing of the Boston Marathon. Al Qaeda can use its success as a recruitment argument.

The failure of the Americans to come to the rescue during the attack could be interpreted by al Qaeda as proving bin Laden was right when he said the Americans would eventually tire of the fighting.

Walter Cronkite began questioning the American handling of the Vietnam after the attack on the American Embassy in Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive. I'm sure he would have asked questions about the War on Terror after the fall of the American consulate in Benghazi, particularly considering the allegations that someone in Washington prevented sending a rescue force. Cronkite knew that Presidents are sometimes mislead by their subordinates and it is the duty of journalists to learn the truth.


Obama’s Inane Debate Comment

President Barack Obama made the most inane debate comment of the early 21st century in the October 22nd debate.

"But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. You — you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military's[sic] changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines."

We may not need as many horses and bayonets as we did in 1916, but we need more ships than the peace time navy of 1916 did. In 1916 the United States didn't think it needed a big navy because it wasn't involved in World War 1 and still expected the British Navy to control the seas. The United States Navy has inherited the commerce protecting and peace keeping role the British Navy played a century ago. However, the U.S. cannot perform that role with only 114 ships of 287 total ships deployed over 139 million square miles of ocean.

The United States should have an aircraft carrier based group with rescue helicopters and Marines off the coast of Libya and other hot spots where embassies are close enough to the sea for sea based rescues. The capital of Iran was too far from the sea for a sea based rescue during the Carter administration. Diplomatic facilities in Libya and some other trouble spots can be reached from ships.

It may come as a surprise to Obama, but the main reason we ended up in WWI was because the United States didn't have enough ships to protect its merchant ships from German submarines called U-boats. Nuclear power for submarines may have come long after WWI but "ships that go underwater" were a major German weapon in that war. The first submarine was built in the 17th Century and the first submarine attack was an unsuccessful attempt to attach a bomb to a British ship during the American Revolution.

It is unlikely that Japan would have attacked the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in 1941 if the United States had had more than one fleet in the Pacific. Japan thought that knocking out the only American fleet in the Pacific would allow it to take control of the Pacific before the United States could build a replacement fleet.

This year begins the 200th anniversary of the first major war fought by the United States, the War of 1812. The United States wouldn't have felt a need to enter that war if it had had a big enough navy to discourage the British navy from kidnapping sailors from American merchant ships and even naval ships.

Peace provides the best environment for the international trade the U.S. economy has always depended upon. The United States first foreign "war" was an attack on pirates on the North African coast. The U.S. needs a big enough navy to permanently station ships in shipping lanes plagued by pirates.

The Navy provides the best option for protecting the peace. Moving ships to a trouble spot doesn't require construction of large bases first. Personnel can be stationed near a trouble spot without the complications involved with stationing troops among the local population. We may not need as many horses and bayonets as were needed in 1916, but ships are even more necessary.

Four years ago Democrats criticized Gov. Sarah Palin for her statement "I can see Russia from my house". Compare that to Obama's statements: "We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines." Obama apparently thinks he's speaking to children, or maybe he just has a simple mind.

Obama's statements that al Qaeda is weak ignores the implications of the attack on the Libyan consulate. Al Qaeda may be weaker in Afghanistan, but it is growing elsewhere. It is not going away any time soon. Obama is underestimating the strength of al Qaeda much like the Johnson administration underestimated the strength of the Viet Cong before the 1968 Tet offensive.

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Tired of Homosexual’s Bullying

I'm tired of homosexuals trying to coerce people into accepting their ignorant view of sexual reality. Their attacks on the Chick-Fil-A chain simply because the CEO says homosexual marriage is wrong. is unjustified bullying.

Homosexuals need to accept the fact that many people believe what they do is immoral and that same sex marriage is wrong. Most of us do things that some people believe are morally wrong.

A billion people believe that what I do for breakfast every day is wrong. Muslims and Jews as well as members of some other religions believe eating pork is morally wrong. Some individuals believe eating any meat is wrong.

Muslims and many Christian denominations believe drinking alcohol is wrong. Jews as well as Roman Catholics and some other Christian groups believe drinking alcohol in moderation is acceptable.

Religious groups usually believe the moral values they support benefit society. For example, those groups that oppose alcohol consumption do so because those who consume excess alcohol can become violent. Thousands of years of human history demonstrate the value of basing a society on marriage between a man and a woman. Religious groups understandably are concerned that same sex unions could have a negative impact on society.

In the sixties some people, including members of some religious groups, believed that those of us who served in Vietnam were doing something wrong. I didn't advocate punishing anti-war protesters for their beliefs even though I disagreed with them.

One of my favorite television show quotes is from "The Winds of War". Robert Mitchum's character, an American naval officer, tells a German military attache that he believes one of Hitler's actions was morally wrong. The German replies, "it was worse than wrong. It was a mistake."

In other words the action in question would have been a bad idea even if there weren't any moral objections.

Same sex marriage is worse than wrong. It's absurd. Same sex marriage is an oxymoron. Marriage unites the two different types of humans into a unit that contains the characteristics of both sexes. Marriage is a salt shaker and a pepper shaker. A same sex union is two salt shakers or two pepper shakers.

I strongly suspect homosexuals so desperately want people to believe what they are doing is all right because these homosexuals have doubts about the morality of what they are doing. They want others to reassure them that they aren't acting immorally.

Those who really believe what they are doing is morally ok don't care if others think the activity is wrong.

It never bothered me that anti-war protesters believed my participation in Vietnam was wrong. Their statements didn't upset me because I didn't think I was doing anything wrong. I may have had doubts about whether the people in charge knew what they were doing, but I didn't believe what we were doing was wrong.

I feel sorry for homosexuals. They are born with an affliction most of them don't understand. They are born with the body of one sex and the brain of the other. However, that affliction doesn't justify trying to coerce others into accepting their beliefs. Instead of trying to pretend they are heterosexuals by calling a relationship with someone just like them a marriage, they should be attempting to raise money for sex change operations that would allow them to have a body that is the same sex as their brains.

Homosexuals have trouble relating to the real world. They like to make believe such as by putting on black leather jackets and pretending they are "macho macho men". They have their silly little parades where they dress up in outlandish costumes much like children putting on their parents clothes. Pretending that a relationship with someone who is the same as them is a "marriage" is another one of those games.

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Thoughts on 9/11

I learned about the 9/11 attack a little later than most people. I worked second shift and usually got up around 10:30.

When the clock radio came on the announcer wasn't making much sense to a brain that wasn't completely awake. He was saying something about the Pentagon and Vice President Cheney with the word "unprecedented" being mentioned. I thought at first that something had happened to Cheney.

I went into the living room and turned on the television to one of the news channels. With the frequent replays of the morning's events it took some time for me to determine what had already happened and what was happening at that time.

I was glad that ABC New Commentator Paul Harvey had returned to work by 9/11. He had been off for an extended period due to a throat problem, but had returned in August. Harvey had a positive attitude and frequently reminded his listeners that whatever the situation was it wasn't as bad as it seemed. He recognized that emphasizing the negative made the situation seem worse than it was.

I wasn't surprised that something like the 9/11 attack had happened. I wasn't expecting anything of that scale, but I was expecting more terrorist attacks such as those that had been happening against American interests elsewhere in the world

The media had been reporting lapses in airline security for some time, so I wasn't surprised that terrorists might hijack airplanes. There had been movies about terrorists using aircraft in this manner. I wouldn't have expected President George W. Bush to anticipate such a possibility but the people at the FBI and the CIA should have.

U.S. support for the tyrant known as the Shah of Iran had led to an attack on the American embassy in Tehran after the Iranian people overthrew him.

After I learned the identities of the suspected hijackers I realized I was right that the decision to base American forces in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War was a very bad idea. Western nations, including the U.S., have been pushing around Middle Eastern countries for too long.

The basing of American forces in what Muslims regard as their Holy Land may have been enough to push some Saudis over the edge and provoke them to commit suicide by flying planes into various American buildings. The U.S. had ignored the significance of a previous attack on American forces in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi government might have welcomed American bases to protect them from Iraq, but may of their citizens viewed the bases as the home of an foreign occupation force.

American leaders often seem ignorant of the fact that members of other cultures sometimes view the world and military conflicts differently from Americans. The failure to recognize this difference in viewpoint hampered the U.S. war effort in Vietnam.

I learned from one of the recent broadcast 9/11 related documentaries that Osama bin Laden had wanted the U.S. to invade Afghanistan because he believed the U.S. would lose. Bin Laden may not have contemplated a traditional military victory. Instead of a traditional victory he may have been thinking in terms of dragging out the fighting until Americans got tired of the battles and left like they did in Vietnam.

North Vietnam never won a major battle in Vietnam until two years after American forces left. The Tet offensive was not a communist victory because they couldn't keep any places they took and much of the Viet Cong was destroyed. When the U.S. left Vietnam its allies were in charge of the government that controlled South Vietnam which was the American goal in Vietnam. However, the American media had previously decided the war was lost because it lasted so long.

Bin Laden may have been hoping for a similar outcome. Dragging out the fighting until Americans decided they couldn't "win" would allow him, or his successors, to claim they had defeated the "Great Satan" and use the "victory" as a recruiting tool.

The 9/11 attack was the start of a war that is continuing. We cannot afford to abandon the war effort just because the war appears to be endless. Americans often mistakenly claim that the Vietnam War was the nation's longest war. Actually Vietnam was merely a conflict within the long running Cold War, as was the Korean War. America stood firm in the Cold War and eventually the enemy quit.

We must continue to stand up to the terrorists because if we don't take the war to them, they may bring the war back to us. One of the reasons the terrorists haven't launched another major attack on the U.S. is because they are busy fighting our army.


Mr. O’Bombers’ War

Barack Obama who ran on a platform of ending his predecessor's wars has apparently decided he wants his own war. As candidate Obama, he felt Congress should have a role in such decisions. As President O'Bomber, he thinks he can ignore Congress.

Like his predecessors O'Bomber is starting out with a bombing campaign. He hasn't said whether he will send Marines back to the shores of Tripoli if the bombing campaign fails to cause a surrender. Bombing didn't produce a surrender in Vietnam and Iraq. Muammar Gaddafi doesn't seem any more likely to relinquish power because of a bombing campaign than Saddam Hussein was.

Barack O'Bomber claims he is acting because the Libyan government has attacked those protesting the government, but Libya isn't the only government to use violence to put down protests.

Syria has been accused of using violence against protesters. Will O'Bomber also attack Syria? It would be easy considering we already have troops in neighboring Iraq. They could be moved out of Iraq and into Syria.

Will O'Bomber attack Iran which reportedly has been putting down mass protests? He could use it as an excuse to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. Prior to the election O'Bomber said he considered Iran a "tiny country" even though it's the 17th most populous nation in the world with a population is 78% that of Nazi Germany, a country which conquered Europe. from the Atlantic's to near Moscow.

China has killed protesters before. Does that mean the U.S. should consider attacking China?

I'm worried that if Gaddafi does give in to the bombing campaign, O'Bomber and the other Western Imperialists will think they can do the same thing in any country with a form of government they disapprove of. That is if they are really motivated by Gaddafi's treatment of his subjects rather than his oil.

If NATO is really concerned about injustice, why didn't it intervene in Darfur?

If O'Bomber succeeds in destroying the Libyan military will he or the Europeans spend years reestablishing order setting up a new government? Or will they let it become a lawless country like Somalia"

The most disturbing aspect of O'Bomber's action is his failure to consult Congress like Lyndon Johnson did before bombing North Vietnam and George W. Bush did before bombing Saddam Hussein. Both of those presidents took the lead in getting the U.S. involved in a war. O'Bomber seems to be following the orders of the European governments who get their oil from Libya.

Regardless of whether or not Barack Obama was born in Hawaii or not, he was born a British subject because his father was a British subject. Unless he formally renounced that citizenship he may still be a British subject and may be following the orders of his Queen in determining how to respond to Libya.

Those who like to protest America involvement in foreign wars need to start protesting now instead of waiting until the Marines land in Tripoli.


45th Anniversary Operation Hump

November 8 marks the 45th Anniversary of Operation Hump the first major battle fought by the 173rd Airborne Brigade which arrived in Vietnam in early May, 1965. A note to World War II vets, battles in Vietnam generally were just as intense as your battles but involved small military units, often only a few companies, on both sides in a relatively small geographic area.

Operation Hump began on November 5, 1965, when 400 American and Australian forces entered War Zone D on a search and destroy mission against War Zone D, also known as the Iron Triangle, had been established 20 years earlier by the Viet Minh as a base during its war against the French. It was 20 miles northwest of Saigon and contained a vast underground complex providing a supply and support base complete with medical facilities and munitions factories.

The Triangle covered about 125 square miles bordered in part by the Saigon and Song rivers along with the Than Dien Forest. The area contained rubber plantations, triple canopy jungles and a few hamlets.

The Australians were deployed south of the Dong Hai River to serve as a blocking force for retreating enemy troops while the 1st Battalion of the 503rd was helicoptered into the area north of the river.

The Sky Soldiers made little contact through November 7 when B and C companies set up a night defensive position near Hill 65 which was covered by triple canopy jungle. At about 6 A.M. company C began moving toward Hill 65 while Company B headed toward Hill 78.

Company C made contact with a sizable enemy force at about 8 A.M.. Company B was ordered to move toward Hill 65 to assist Company C 45 minutes later. Company B arrived at about 9:30 and also encountered an enemy force determined to number 1,200 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. .

B Company commander Capt. Lowell D Bittrich has provided a detailed account of his company's actions online. The account includes a poem describing the scene by SP4 Joseph M. Kenny, the B Company, lst Battalion 503D Infantry artillery team radio operator (RTO) from Battery C, 3D Battalion, 319th Artillery.

The enemy at one point moved in close to the American positions with some hand to hand fighting to reduce the ability of the Americans to use artillery and air support. The enemy broke off contact by the next morning.

Although surrounded by a much larger force the Sky Soldiers held their ground like the paratroopers of their fathers' generation did at Bastogne in World War II. Country stars Big and Rich have immortalized the battle in their song "8th of November".

Both sides suffered heavy losses with 48 paratroopers killed and numerous others wounded. Viet Cong and NVA losses included 403 dead and an unknown number of wounded.

The American wounded included a medic, Specialist 5 Lawrence Joel, the first black American to survive a battle in which he was awarded a Medal of Honor since the Spanish American War. Joel, though wounded himself, continued to assist the wounded in spite of heavy enemy fire.

The 173rd would return to the area two years later as part of a force of 32,000 in Operation Cedar Falls. As often happened with large scale operations the enemy fled ahead of the force's arrival.