Ludwig von Gress
The similarities between US military withdrawal from South Vietnam and US military withdrawal from Iraq are not immediately obvious.
The Old Glory was taken down at the headquarters of the Military Assistance Command in Saigon on 29th March 1973. Geneva accords or not, nine days later a unit of the North Vietnamese army, advancing south, fired a heat-seeking missile at the clearly marked International Commission of Control and Supervision helicopter. Nine Polish, Hungarian and Canadian peace-keepers died. Nobody worried; the peace process had to go on. In 1974 US Congress had set a billion dollars ceiling on military aid to South Vietnam – one thirtieth of the amount of the previous year. Yet in 1974 the US public support for continuation of the assistance to South Vietnam still ran between 64% and 72%. The media represented the remaining ‘undecided’ and ‘against’ as an overwhelming majority, undoubtedly to the great satisfaction of Henry Kissinger, whose name ought to be in the same category as that of Chamberlain, though the latter failed to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. With Barack and Henry, “the-peace-in-our-time” Neville would have good company.
We know that majority of South Vietnamese felt betrayed and that their army fought against invading North Vietnamese until 30th April, 1975. However, the peace process went on. In 1979 during the ten days of armed conflict between now united communist Vietnam and communist China the military casualties were almost double of those suffered by the United States military during the entire ten thousand days Vietnam war.
As the media were telling us that Americans wanted to abandon Vietnam, and that all Vietnamese with the exceptions of a handfull of corrupt officers, wanted them out, so today we are told that all Iraqis want Americans out. It is indeed likely that most residents genuinely so wish, so that they can go on with the business of killing each other without hindrance and inconvenient media attention. Still, there must be hundreds thousands, if not millions of Iraqis who would prefer the ignominy of the presence of armed foreigners to the brief, brutish and bigoted life. It is unlikely that any of them would be willing to show their faces on televison, or even seen talking to about-to- depart journalists. The frightened and the dead tell no tales.
So by 31st December 2011 the USA military presence in Iraq will end. I do not wish to speculate whether it would be for the better, and if so, for whose better. I mention Communist China far too often. But the good news is that the infidel US taxpayers’ money apparently do not smell as badly as infidel US soldiers. Iraq consented to accept them.