25 October 2009

Urban Legend: General Giap's Attribution of Vietnamese Victory to the American Press

I've gotten several fowarded copies of an email that claim that General Vo Nguyen Giap claimed that the Vietnamese were ready to surrender, but the American media turned the tide of American political opinion against the military, in effect encouraging the Vietnamese to fight on. Walter Cronkite's famous "the war is over" comment is cited as well.

Giap never said it.

Nonetheless, I believe the conjecture was true, and it was corroborated by some of Giap's contemporaries. There's a reason these urban legends resonate, and it's becuase it has the ring of truth. And it's just as true today. I'm afraid that our efforts in Afghanistan are being given the same attributes that identified the Vietnamese effort - not from a military perspective, mind you, but the same mindless droning of the press. In fact, you don't have to look too hard to find an article asking the useless question, "is Afghanistan the next Vietnam?"

I read today that "morale dips for American Marines in Afghanistan," from a UK website. I also read that an "American serviceman" died in Afghanistan. Not much more detail than that. Actually, the former article ended up with a description of all the good things that the Marines were doing. Again, this was from a UK news source, not an American one.

Be mindful of the headlines and stories that you're seeing from our own press. You will rarely hear of the good that's being done, likewise you will rarely hear about the heroes who are over there to defeat an enemy, doing the job they were trained to do, a job they volunteered for.

The liberal media wants to project its own image of reality onto the American psyche, the truth be damned.
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