Remember How We Got Out of Vietnam

By Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation.

Do you remember what U.S. national-security state officials were saying when millions of Americans were demanding that the U.S. government withdraw its troops from Vietnam and bring them home?

They were saying that “national security” was at stake — i.e., the very survival of the United States. If the U.S. government withdrew from Vietnam, they said, the dominoes would start falling to the communists, first in Southeast Asia and ultimately all over the world, with the United States being the final big domino. Vietnam was our line of defense against the entire world going red.

It was all false. As I point in my new ebook The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State (which just hit #5 in Amazon’s top 100 bestselling ebooks in Political Freedom), in actuality it didn’t make a whit of difference whether Vietnam and other countries in the world went red, at least not insofar as the United States was concerned. That is, the existence of the United States was never threatened by the fact that other countries had communist regimes.

How do we know that this is true?

Because Vietnam did fall to the communists, and nothing happened to the United States. In fact, so did North Korea, China, and the Soviet Union. And Cuba. And Guatemala. And Chile. And Nicaragua. And Venezuela.

What difference did it make, insofar as the United States was concerned?

Not one whit of difference. Those 58,000 plus U.S. soldiers who were sacrificed in Vietnam died for nothing.

It’s no different today with respect to ISIS, the terrorists, the Muslims, or, yes, even the communists. It doesn’t matter one whit whether ISIS takes control over Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, or wherever. Even if they do, they’re not coming to get you, cart you away, and force you to study the Koran, any more than the communists came to get you and forced you to study Das Kapital.

That’s not to say, of course, that it would be in the interests of people living in those countries to live under an ISIS regime, any more than it is in the interests of the North Korean, Vietnamese, Cuban, and Chinese people to be living under communist regimes.

But the fact is that people’s suffering under foreign tyranny is no business of the U.S. government. It’s certainly no legal business, given that the Constitution does not grant the power of regime change and foreign intervention to the federal government. But it’s also no moral business of the U.S. government, especially given that when the U.S. government intervenes against foreign regimes with the aim of effecting regime change, it just makes things worse for the people living in those societies. After all, just look at the death, destruction, misery, and suffering that the U.S. government’s interventions and regime-change operations have brought to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and the rest of the Middle East.

The problem is that U.S. officials just don’t want to get out because they’re afraid of “losing face,” which was the same fear that Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon had about withdrawing the troops from Vietnam.

Thus, if the American people want to restore a normally functioning society to our land, the responsibility lies with them to accomplish this. They need to do what Americans did with the Vietnam War. They need to start demanding, with mass protests if necessary, that the president — whoever he or she is — bring the troops home now, without any further delay. No more killing and no more destruction on the part of the U.S. government. Just leave the people of the Middle East alone to work out their own problems.

Thank goodness millions of American people began demanding that the troops be brought home from Vietnam. If they hadn’t, they might well still be over there today fighting to prevent the dominoes from falling and America from going red. If only the American people had demanded a withdrawal from Vietnam much sooner than they did. Think how many more Americans would not have died for nothing.

Today, the news media is announcing that another American soldier has just been killed in Iraq. Yes, believe it or not, U.S. troops are back in Iraq. Americans need to do what they did to get us out of the Vietnam War before more U.S. soldiers die for nothing. It’s the only way to restore a society of freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony to our land.

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  • cstahnke

    Well, you are right as far as it goes. Certainly if you know the history of the Vietnam War you know that it was fought for complicated reasons some of which was to not “lose face” but also involved in the decision to send massive troops was that the National Security State wanted more power and more budget as well as the fact that the officer corps wanted a war to get promotions from.

    Today’s wars are fought in order to insure there is always an “enemy” in order to keep the trillions pouring into the National Security State (which includes the MIC) and provide a reason for political repression at home–essentially we are now in the world Orwell indicated could be our future. I don’t believe, today, these wars have anything to do with losing face or to look good. Losing the Vietnam War was essentially losing face yet there was no consequence to the National Security State because it never lost power, funding or prestige in the Washington power game. “Defeat” only makes the martinets more powerful as we can see with the prospect of a much more belligerent President taking power next year.

  • ClubToTheHead

    There is no way Democrats will protest Democratic wars.

    The only way Democrats will show anything that looks like conscience is against Republicans wars.

    • wunsacon

      Very true.

      I bitch about this at Alternet, which I generally like (at least more than “controlled opposition” blogs like I think of Slate, Salon, HuffPo). About half the time, people agree wholeheartedly with the criticism. The other half the time, I receive various insults from a kind of “with us or against us” mentality I used to encounter more often when debating Dubya supporters that the evidence for WMD was so weak it more suggested deception than anything else.

      The bottom line is that there are no protests and polls say D’s generally approve of Obama. And a big percentage are willing to vote for Killary to avoid Trump winning. Totally fucking sad.

  • wunsacon

    I haven’t read this explicitly in any history books. But, after reading enough of them and closely observing how the Western empires lie about everything, I’ve come to the conclusion that:

    >> But the fact is that people’s suffering under foreign tyranny is no business of the U.S. government.

    It wasn’t even “tyranny”. Those movements were less about “communism” than about freedom from foreign occupation or kings. Mao, Castro, Minh, Lenin et al freed their people either from despotic kings or from dictators beholden to foreign interests. At the very least, they’re the George Washingtons of their nations.

    The reason the Western empires’ colonies — that’s what they are — went communist is because the people revolted against their local crony capitalists — there is no other kind — who were all under foreign control.

    You might ask: Why didn’t a freedom-minded native non-crony capitalist oppose the foreign occupation? Probably a few tried. But, if they’re capitalist and want to get rich, it’s easier if they “go along to get along” with their foreign owners. You need only observe in this country how corrupt the system is and yet how impervious it is to change.

    In other words, the only people who can gather the political plurality to oppose an existing occupation by foreign capitalists is “something else” — be it “communist” or “religious”.

  • Alton Warren

    Saw this last month at the DC Environmental Film Festival — confirmed my take on the Kabuki Theatre of the M-I-C and its predictable corruption–about which Eisenhower warned in his “farewell address” to the nation in 1961–of our government.