Bush compares Iraq to Tet offensive

I haven’t read about the Tet offensive in Vietnam for a while.  So, I went to Wikipedia to take a look.

The Tet Offensive (January 30, 1968 – June 8, 1969) was a series of operational offensives during the Vietnam War, coordinated between battalion strength elements of the National Liberation Front’s People’s Liberation Armed Forces (PLAF or Viet Cong) and divisional strength elements of the North Vietnam’s People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN), against South Vietnam’s Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), and United States military and other ARVN-allied forces. The operations are called the Tet Offensive as they were timed to begin on the night of January 30–31, 1968, Tết Nguyên Đán (the lunar new year day). The offensive began spectacularly during celebrations of the Lunar New Year, and sporadic operations associated with the offensive continued into 1969.

The Tet Offensive can be considered a military defeat for the Communist forces, as neither the Viet Cong nor the North Vietnamese army achieved their tactical goals. Furthermore, the operational cost of the offensive was dangerously high, with the Viet Cong essentially crippled by the huge losses inflicted by South Vietnamese and other Allied forces. Nevertheless, the Offensive is widely considered a turning point of the war in Vietnam, with the NLF and PAVN winning an enormous psychological and propaganda victory. Although US public opinion polls continued to show a majority supporting involvement in the war, this support continued to deteriorate and the nation became increasingly polarized over the war. President Lyndon Johnson saw his popularity fall sharply after the Offensive, and he withdrew as a candidate for re-election in March of 1968. The Tet Offensive is frequently seen as an example of the value of propaganda, media influence and popular opinion in the pursuit of military objectives.  more


Wow, I would guess that Bush would not want to compare anything in Iraq to the Tet Offensive.  Did he know what he was talking about?  Why would he compare the increased fighting in Iraq to the turning point in the Vietnam war?  The turning point that turned Americans against the war.  Does he want to lose the American people? (Well, lose us even more.) Unfortunately, for the President, he doesn’t understand that the turning point has passed.  The turning point in public opinion with regard to the Iraq War was probably last summer.  Last summer in Crawford, Tx when Cindy Sheehan was baking in the Texas sun just waiting for an answer.  Why did her son have to die?  What did he die for?  In spite of Sheehan having no media saavy, she commanded attention.  Attention that could not get Swift-Boated away (although the Right did try and are still trying to smear Cindy).  That was also the time when several revelations (no uranium from Niger, there were no weapons of mass destruction, the Downing Street memo, no adequate body armor for the troops, the destruction of Fallujah) helped sink the President.   Of course, the ongoing fighting with increasing body counts does not help.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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