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May 27, 2013

The Media and the War [OregonMuse]

Happy Memorial Day to one and all.

Here are a couple of quotes from To Set The Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry by Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, which was one of the books I recommended in this Sunday's book thread.

In the spring of 1969, U. S. Army Chief of Staff General William C. Westmoreland gave a presentation to the U.S. Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. He concluded with this story: I recently had the privilege of decorating a young Captain for valor in Vietnam. He was in command of a battery of 105 howitzers. They started taking mortar fire. He had a then-experimental countermortar radar that showed the mortar fire was coming from a nearby village. All of his instincts and training said to traverse his guns and silence the mortar, but he didn't do that. Instead, he ordered his men to take cover and led a platoon to the village on foot. As they got there, they saw the villagers were gathered in the center of the village, so they silently moved forward behind the buildings. In the middle of that gathering there was a ten-foot diameter pit in the ground, and in the pit, three enemy soldiers holding guns on the villagers while the mortar crew fired at the American artillery position.

The Captain and two of his men went in low, screening themselves behind the villagers, lobbed grenades, and yelled. They and the villagers fell away from the pit. The grenades went off in the pit. They ran forward and cleaned up the situation, and that was that. No friendly casualties.

As I was pinning on his medal, I asked the Captain how he got so smart. He said, "Oh, you could always expect 'em to pull a stunt like that when there was an American TV crew in the province."[Empasis mine]

Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain knows his war.

— Col. Ben H. Swett, USAF (Ret.), Vietnam veteran, 1969-70

Here's an even better one:

Viet Cong Minister of Justice Truong Nhu Tang later said that none of the Viet Cong's five divisions retained even half of their forces after the Tet Offensive, while U.S forces suffered no militarily significant losses. However, he also recalled:

"From the political point of view, it was a very heavy blow for President Johnson's government. The [perceived] loss made the American antiwar movement exert pressure. So what we lost on the military front, we won on the diplomatic and psychological fronts. Above all, on the fourth front, the mass media, the press, television, and the liberals in the United States."

Heh. In other words, the North Vietnamese government played the liberal left and their media allies like a rented violin. Kind of like what the jihadis are doing now.

And I can't recommend this book highly enough. It's just fascinating reading. I'm at the part now where it's 1971, and Kerry has managed to elbow his way onto the executive committee of the anti-war group Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). However, the rank-and-file VVAW membership soon want him gone. Why? Because they discovered that John Kerry's only use for the VVAW is to further the political career of John Kerry.

An FBI report on the University of Oklahoma regional VVAW convention observed: "The entire conference lacked coordination and appeared to be a platform for JOHN KERRY, national leader of VVAW, rather than for VVAW and Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI)."

So, you're telling us that John Kerry is a dishonest, greedy, self-aggrandizing douchebag? The devil you say.

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:43 PM

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