Writing about the Vietnam War in 2000
Regarded as a watershed, too, was press icon Walter Cronkite’s Feb. 27, 1968, broadcast saying the war was “mired in stalemate” and the “only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as honourable people . . . “.
During TET 68 the NVA and Viet Cong lost 45,000 soldiers, ten times that of the Allies. If that isn’t a victory then what the hell is? The planned ‘uprising of the people’ brought a few thousand people to the notice of the Republic of Vietnam. The nineteen communists who occupied the grounds of the US embassy in Saigon did so for minutes only before being killed. They never got inside the building
All doom and gloom for North Vietnam but Cronkite managed to turn it around and successfully snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It was clearly an invasion by the North and the South wanted nothing to do with it. However let’s not ruin a good story with a few facts. The left still screamed ‘Civil War’ and the press agreed.
Cronkite’s shift into the enemy camp – followed in short order by the editors and opinion-makers at Time and Life magazines – made it acceptable and almost fashionable for journalists to oppose the war.
“For the first time in modern history,” wrote Robert Elegant of the Los Angeles Times, “the outcome of a war was determined not on the battlefield but on the printed page and, above all, on the television screen.”
Today in the US, journalists have used the FOI laws to catch up with my earlier assessment
Communist North Vietnam had launched an invasion of South Vietnam in 1960, creating the “National Liberation Front of South Vietnam,” or Viet Cong, as surrogates to wage war.
In the March-April 2010 issue of Military Review, in an article titled, “Lessons Learned from Vietnam,” Dr. William L. Stearman revisits the controversial period of 1968-1969, which was critical for the Vietnamese Communists because, despite Cronkite’s claims, they had actually been militarily defeated by U.S. and South Vietnamese troops during their Tet Offensive. Stearman notes that Cronkite’s hasty and faulty verdict on the war came after “a quick trip” to Vietnam in late February 1968.
The Tet Offensive “was a major North Vietnamese blunder,” notes Uwe Siemon-Netto, an international journalist who covered the war. At Tet, he writes, Hanoi lost 45,000 men and its entire infrastructure in the south. “Yet major United States media outlets portrayed Tet as a defeat for their own side,” he said, referring to Cronkite and others. “Following Tet, [President] Johnson announced that he would not stand for re-election. Though a military victory for the United States and its allies, Tet ultimately marked the beginning of their defeat.”
Stearman concluded, “…thanks to U.S. media, the enemy won the war where it most counted — in the United States.”
The Left wing of the US (and Australia for that matter) were always pushing for a unilateral freeze and disarmament of the US military – never their friends in the USSR.
A couple of teasers;
…Senator Ted Kennedy made an offer to the Soviets to help organise opposition to Reagan’s pro-defence policies
…a young Barack Obama wrote sympathetically about groups involved in the “nuclear freeze” campaign and the dangers of “militarism” but expressed the hope for total disarmament.
My own feeling is that it is a reflection of the views enunciated by Walter Cronkite that show a benign view of the Soviet Union.”
And just in case you believe that the Russians are now benign;
While the Soviet political system may not exist, the Russians have continued many of the old Soviet-style intelligence and influence operations. The book, Comrade J, based on the revelations of a Russian master spy, Sergei Tretyakov, identified former Clinton State Department official and now Brookings Institution head Strobe Talbott as a dupe of Russian intelligence.
Talbott had been a columnist for Time magazine, where he wrote about the need for world government, a cause also embraced by Walter Cronkite.
For those interested in the truth of history it is a good article to read. For those of the Left who have accidentally arrived on the site – go away before you learn something.