Will Iraq Be My Generations Vietnam?

The Spain Letter
my two cents worth
written by: Tony Spain
August 14, 2005

Will Iraq Be My Generations Vietnam?

January 30, 1968 should have gone down as one of the greatest dates in our military history. We should be comparing it to such honorable moments as the 82nd Airborne Divisions fight at the Battle of the Bulge and the Marines at Guadalcanal during WWII. Instead, thanks to the media, we remember January 30, 1968 as the “Tet Offensive” It was portrayed as a US Military defeat and became the turning point in the Vietnam War.

The Tet Offensive should have been the turning point in our favor. It was an overwhelming disaster for the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army. There was a lack of expected civilian uprisings in the south that crippled the effectiveness of the attack. The force that breached the wall in Saigon, never actually posed any threat. They were only 19 strong and were killed immediately after breaching the wall. The US media grossly misrepresented what happened and was able to persuade the American people, congress, and President Johnson into believing that this was a major defeat in our efforts there.

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

The casualty count for the US, Korea, and Australia was about 1500 dead and 7800 wounded the enemy suffered a loss of 45,000 dead, 60,000 injured, and 6000 captured.

Also many of their secret cells had been ordered to rise up and had been eliminated as well.

Like today this was just one of many stories the news media didn’t give the whole story to the American people. Less than a month later in February of 1968 the 1st battalion of the Fifth Marine Regiment led US forces into the city of Hue, Vietnam. The battle of Hue City should have been one of the glorious chapters in the Marines history. 5113 enemy soldiers killed while only suffering 147 dead and 857 wounded. Of course, unless you are a Marine or a history nut you probably never[k]new of this.

The Marines never got the proper credit for their efforts at Hue, for it was overshadowed by the media’s relentless coverage of My Lai, where an army platoon killed 347 civilians. Even though the liberation of Hue led to the uncovering of thousands of mass graves filled with victims of indiscriminate Communist slaughter.

The media was able to depict the Tet Offensive as a severe defeat and overshadow the liberation of Hue with atrocities from My Lai. The media had turned Vietnam into an endless quagmire for American forces. As a result the North Vietnamese eventually defeated the US the only place they could, the American home front.

Today, the media believes they can do it again, and they are doing the same thing today they did back then.

In April of 2004 the 1st battalion of the fifth marine regiment once again was called upon to liberate a city. This time it was in Fallujah, Iraq. Once again they would not be given the credit they deserved.

As the marines launched their assault on Fallujah they took heavy small arms fire. Mortar and RPG fire in close quarter urban combat. At one point a sniper firing from a mosque killed 12 marines with 12 shots before the mosque was finally leveled.

Mosques are protected by the Geneva Convention as religious structures; however terrorists forfeit that protective status by using them for weapon storages and fighting positions.

By the standards of most wars the mosques in Fallujah deserve to be leveled. US forces only fired upon mosques after repeated aggressions. Sometimes with so little force it had hardly any effect.

Of course the media paints a different picture. Showing holes in the mosque domes and portraying it as the callousness of US forces.

The marines eventually took the city but their efforts were overshadowed by story after story of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.

Another old strategy of the media is selecting only negative aspects to bombard us with. If I only relied on conventional mainstream media I would be lead to believe that the following is all of the latest news from Iraq.

Insurgents Kill 17 in Iraq

Bomb and Gunfight kills 12 in Iraq

14 Ohio Marines Killed in Iraq

Every time an American or Iraqi is killed it is the focus of the day by the media. While other successes are under reported or ignored. Here are just a few stories from Iraq that have not made it into the headlines.

Army Corp of Engineers expects to oversee a projected 2900 projects, an increase from 200 projects in late June.

In Baghdad’s Al Ameen district a new sewage and wastewater project replaces open trenches.

More than 170,000 Iraqis are employed in reconstruction jobs building power plants, working on oil projects, street repairs, new health clinics, schools, and police, and fire stations.

Iraqis continue to volunteer for Iraqi National Police Force

There are many more positive stories this is just a short list.

Everything I have written in this column does not matter if it is not explained to the American people. The support of the home front is critical in this type of war. The marines used meticulous planning in taking Fallujah. The media has used meticulous planning to help their agenda in reporting the war. Unfortunately the Bush Administration has failed to meticulously plan for the media assault on the home front. The American people was never made aware how much of a threat snipers in mosques were. The public has never been made aware or convinced of the success we have had in Iraq.

The Bush Administration needs to continuously make the American people aware of the successes in Iraq. Complaining of the slanted media coverage from Al Jazeera as some members in the Administration have done is about as pathetic as Jimmy Carter complaining that the Soviet Union lied to him. What did you expect? It is time to stop reacting to the situation and start anticipating it.

The American public will accept 100’s of casualties a week if the path to success has been convincingly laid out. Franklin D Roosevelt showed us that during WWII, but without a convincing path to success the public will not accept 1 casualty a week. Lyndon B. Johnson proved that during the Vietnam War.

LBJ didn’t understand the damaging effects on the home front the media could inflict and was taken by surprise. President Bush should have known the effects of a media who already doesn’t like him and prepared a defense against them. The Bush Administration can not continue to give the media free reign without ever rebutting anything reported.

We are at a moment like the Tet Offensive. The actual situation in Iraq is unstable but improving. The media has a vested interest in depicting it as a yawning quagmire. If the support of the home front falls, we lose the battle in Iraq, and Iraq becomes my generations Vietnam, it won’t be the media’s fault alone.

It’s time to take off the gloves Mr. President. Do what the people elected you to do in 2004.

I’m Tony Spain

Good Night.

Tony Spain is a[n] enlisted paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He worked on President George W. Bush’s election campaign in 2000 in Danville Illinois. He is originally from the Danville Illinois area and currently resides in Fayetteville North Carolina when not deployed. Visit his website and listen to him on internet radio at http://tonystwocentsworth.81x.com You can send your comments to tonyjspain@yahoo.com or airborne82ndaa@yahoo.com

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