LESSONS LEARNED #47: “Liberals crave attention because that’s what narcissists do.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 6th, 2011

Walter Cronkite Turns the Tet Offensive Victory into Defeat

Walter Cronkite didn’t have a clue about combat in Vietnam.  The Tet Offensive was a disaster for the Viet Cong.  But you wouldn’t know that listening to Cronkite.  The war was now unwinnable.  And he said this after the biggest military defeat the North suffered.  (The north were the bad guys).

The plan was to cause a general uprising throughout South Vietnam to overthrow the South Vietnamese government everywhere.  It failed.  We killed senior and experienced soldiers in the Viet Cong wholesale.  And the Viet Cong ceased to exist as an effective army.  From Tet forward they would only use hit and run ambush attacks.  A Fabian strategy.  Like Washington did during the American Revolution.  When he, too, was up against a military superpower.

The key to using the strategy of Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus is simple.  But costly.  You got to be willing to endure a lot of hardship for a long time.  This means a lot of your soldiers will die.  And your people will suffer for the want of the basic necessities of life.  It’s a war of attrition.  You just have to be willing to sacrifice a whole lot.  By extending the war indefinitely, you make the war more costly than your enemy is willing to endure.  When they reach the breaking point, they quit.  And you win.  It’s an effective strategy.  But, like I said, costly.  They tend to be long wars.  The American Revolution lasted 8 years.  Vietnam lasted some 10 years (America’s combat operations).

Imagine a World where there are no Possessions

There was division in the North Vietnamese government.  There was Soviet influence.  Chinese influence.  And Vietnamese resentment of outside influence.  First it was the Japanese.  Then the French.  Then the Americans.  And now the Soviets and Chinese.  Luckily for us, big combat won out as a strategy.  Hence the Tet Offensive.  And utter failure.  When some were ready to sue for peace, Walter Cronkite threw them a lifeline.

The liberal left holds up this period of history as a time when they changed the world.  When young people participated in the national debate.  Well, they did.  And really [deleted expletive] things up.  These young heard a few things from some radical college professors and thought they knew everything.  But they were still a bunch of ignorant hippies.  Ignorant hippies, that is, with Walter Cronkite now on their side.  The counterculture was in full swing.  These kids attacked everything American.  Supported communist leaders (Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro, etc.) and tried to start a communist revolution in America.  Really.  Imagine a world where there are no possessions.  Power to the people.  That was John Lennon pining for a communist utopia.  Our enemies couldn’t ask for anything more.  Cronkite and these kids emasculated America.  And we would pay dearly for it in blood and treasure.

These liberals got the attention they craved.  And they were so sure they were right.  About everything.  Infallible.  And wanted to tell others what to do.  Well, these hippies did.  They went on to become university professors.  And they’re now teaching our kids.  Vietnam was the turning point.  It’s when the world lost respect for America.  Not for the reason the Left would have you believe, though.  They lost respect for us because it was the first time we tucked up our skirt and ran away from a fight.  Vietnam would forever be the war we gave up on.  Poor JFK.  The hero of PT-109.  His war in Vietnam would not go into the win column.  Because of a bunch of stupid, long-haired, stoned hippies.  He must be spinning in his grave.

Jimmy Carter’s Détente Almost Assured Nuclear Destruction

The Seventies were a bleak decade.  Because these hippies came of age.  Still full of themselves.  Believing they were making the world a better place.  But they were only making it more dangerous.

After our humiliation in Vietnam our enemies saw us as a paper tiger.  Who didn’t have the nerve to stay in the fight.  Or the will to get into a fight.  The world never came closer to ending when the liberals were in power during the Seventies.  The Soviet Union was getting away with murder.  Jimmy Carter was attacking our allies in Central America.  While kissing Soviet and Chinese ass.  He never attacked their human rights violations.  And no one committed more human rights violations.  But he attacked our allies.  Who committed a negligible amount of violations compared to the two big communist powers.

Jimmy Carter’s détente was a joke.  The Soviets had no respect for him.  To them Carter was a strategic opening.  They concluded that Carter wouldn’t launch his nuclear missiles until after the Soviet missiles hit their U.S. targets.  Reagan they feared.  They had no illusions that he would launch his missiles as soon as we detected Soviet missiles inbound to the U.S.  But not Carter.  This changed nuclear doctrine for the Soviets.  They went from Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) to a first-strike doctrine.  Because they were sure they could beat Carter in a nuclear war.  Never before has the world come closer to nuclear annihilation.  And we didn’t even know it at the time.

The Social Sciences were Made for and by Hippies

What the counterculture hippy left did during the Vietnam War extended the war, damaged the prestige of America and almost gave us nuclear annihilation.  And if that wasn’t bad enough (and don’t you think it should be?) they did even more damage domestically.  Successfully humiliating us on the national stage only empowered them.  The hippies of the Sixties became college professors, journalists, movie stars, television stars and politicians in the Seventies.  Now think about this.  What did the hippies do in the Sixties?  Think Woodstock.  Sex, drugs and rock and roll.  These hippies were stoned all of the time while they were in college.  (If you don’t believe me Google Timothy Leary, Haight-Ashbury, flower children, psychedelic rock, counter culture, or any other Sixties icons.)

And these hippies just weren’t smoking pot.  They were doing some hardcore drugs.  The big one was LSD.  A hallucinogen.  It’d really [deleted expletive] you up.  So you know these hippies weren’t studying to be brain surgeons or rocket scientists.  No, those degrees required advanced math.  And studying.  Which they couldn’t do when they were [deleted expletive] up all of the time.  So they took some of those easier degrees.  One of those social sciences.  Like black studies.  Or women’s studies.  Or Native American studies.  Or communications.  Where all you had to do was bitch about white men on your exams and they’d graduate your ass.  Of course, there wasn’t much you could do with these degrees.  Except teach at a college.  And that’s what a lot of these hippies did.  And destroyed generations of kids.

Well, after being on top of the world during the Sixties a little reality settled in during the Seventies.  Some realized they were about as useful as a paperweight.  And they couldn’t stand that.  They believed they were smarter than everyone in their youth.  Now they were realizing they were dumb as posts.  And it’s hard to feel superior to others when you’re dumb as a post.  So you do something about that.  You become active.  In something.  You show off that brain.  That college degree.  You support a cause.  Or go into politics.

Journalists and Celebrities Just want to be Loved

That’s the path a lot of liberals took.  But not all.  Some are too young to have lived through the Sixties.  But their college professors no doubt did.  So they keep the spirit of the Sixties alive.  Though a little lighter on the drugs these days.  Some don’t need mind altering drugs to get high.  Love of self is enough for some.  Which is the drug of choice for a narcissist.  Journalists and politicians in particular love this drug.

Dan Rather appeared to have a personal vendetta against George W. Bush.  He referenced documents on air critical of Bush’s Air Force service before the presidential election.  He said on air that experts at CBS authenticated the documents.  Well, they didn’t.  Worse, they were forgeries.  Rather, who appeared to be envious of Cronkite’s fame, wanted a little fame for himself.  He wanted that big story.  To influence a presidential election.  Instead, he ended his journalism career.

Celebrities are narcissists.  They have great big egos.  And a lot of fame.  But it’s an empty fame.  Most make a living by pretending to be other people.  Or they can sing.  Or look good while just standing still.  It’s nice but eventually they want more.  To be more than a pretty face.  A pretty voice.  A good pretender.  So they flex their minds to show off their all around superiority.  Ted Danson warned us that the oceans would be ‘dead’ in 10 years…20 years ago.  Cher warned that George W. Bush would force all the gays and lesbians into New Jersey should we elect him.  Cameron Diaz said Bush would legalize rape.  (Last I checked he didn’t do either.)  Sean Penn praises Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez while their people suffer some of the worst human rights violations.  Does he do this because he favors human rights violations?  Or is he so smart that he can’t believe he’s ever wrong?  (For the record, Penn doesn’t choose to live in Cuba or Venezuela.  So it would appear that although he speaks out in favor of Marxism over capitalism, he prefers the comforts of capitalism for himself.  So I think it’s fair to conclude that he is at least a hypocrite.)

Elite Intellectuals with an 8th Grade Education

The Vietnam War to liberals was like Christ’s crucifixion to Christians.  It defined them.  Made them.  It was the first inklings of their powers.  And they liked that power. 

They prolonged the war and killed hundreds of thousands more (Americans, Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, etc.).  They had something to protest for almost a decade.  This empowered them and made them feel invincible.  The world was theirs.  They could do anything.  And some did.  Some even became terrorists (e.g., the Weather Underground). 

They were elite intellectuals.  Elite intellectuals with maybe an 8th grade education.  They knew nothing.  But believed they knew everything.  They destroyed a decade.  While their heads were filled with dreams of sugar plum fairies and illusions of grandeur.  Virtually unemployable in the real world, they took these feelings of superiority to our colleges, Hollywood, newspapers and television networks.  Where they lived insulated from the real world.  And continued their destruction.  Craving attention.  Constantly shouting ‘look at me’.  Never caring about the consequences of their actions.

Liberals are not inherently evil.  The destruction they cause is not on purpose.  They’re just a bunch of idiots.  They typically lived isolated from the real world.  In positions that can influence the masses.  And they tend to be charismatic.  Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.  Such as Al Gore.  Who you would find in the dictionary if you looked up ‘not charismatic’.  But he craves that attention more than most.  And is one of the biggest idiots out there.  He still believes in global warming even though those emails leaked from the University of East Anglia showed they were manipulating the global warming data. 

But Al Gore is not an idiot.  Idiots don’t make enough money to buy mansions on the ocean.  But he did.  While warning people about the danger of global warming.  And rising sea levels.  That will flood our seashores.  Like the seashore he just moved to.  You see, even he doesn’t really believe in global warming.  So he’s not an idiot.  He’s just a charlatan.  Praying on the people’s gullibility to make himself a millionaire.  He may not know anything about science, but he’s highly skilled in the arts of fleecing.  While making himself feel important.  Giving himself value (in his own mind).  Stroking that ego while he spends his days just dicking around in his big, empty mansion.  And this is liberalism at its best.  Empty shells of people.  Trying to feel good about themselves.  By pretending to do good for others.

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LESSONS LEARNED #16: “The military part of the military has been a success story. The Big Government part of the military has not.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 3rd, 2010

BIG GOVERNMENT DID NOT create the greatest military power of all time.  It’s not a top down success story.  It’s a bottom up success story.  You win wars by winning battles.  And you win battles with a rifle in your hands.  Those who matter don’t hear the clash of arms from afar.  They hear it from within the battle itself.

The successes of the military are due to the people who fight the battles.  They are not due to governmental bureaucrats.  In fact, you can say the fighting people achieve success despite the governmental bureaucrats.  I can give you a list of esteemed military personnel that would agree with me.  Here’s an abbreviated list:  George Washington and Robert E. Lee.   Of course, you can’t ask either of them because they’re dead.  But the history speaks for itself.  Their most difficult enemies were the politicians.  And the ones on their side.  Not the enemies’.

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR was a lot like the Vietnam War, only without the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  Both had the mightiest military power in the world taking on a military lightweight.  Therefore, both used Fabian tactics.  Like Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus, the underdog avoided major engagements with the enemy.  (Excluding the Tet Offensive, of course, which was very un-Fabian-like.)  Theirs was not to win.  No, theirs was not to lose.  For he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. 

But the big difference between these wars was supply.  The Viet Cong and the NVA had the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  No matter how many of them you killed or how many of their supplies you destroyed, more just kept coming down that trail.  George Washington and his ragtag armies, on the other hand, were, well, ragtag.  Plead as he might for supplies the Continental Congress delivered little.  Including pay.  His armies were chronically under-supplied, under-fed and under-paid.  But still they carried on. 

When they took winter quarters in December 1777 on the barren hills on the west side of the Schuylkill River in eastern Pennsylvania, they had not received any supplies from the Quarter Master General since the previous July.  Now the winter at Valley Forge was not the coldest during the War, but it was cold.  Especially if you were barefoot and half naked.  And this was the condition of the average soldier.  While the British quartered themselves in the warm houses of Philadelphia and enjoyed the comforts of regular meals and warm beds, the Americans left trails of blood in the snow from their bloody, bare feet.  They slept by fire for warmth.  Shirts as well as blankets were lacking.  And there was a lack of food, for man and animal.  Hundreds of horses starved to death that winter.

But the British did well that winter.  Why?  Why did they have food, drink, clothing, blankets and forage for their horses?  Because not everyone felt the Spirit of ’76 as earnestly as others.  Thomas Paine, just before the Battle of Trenton a year earlier (at perhaps the low point of morale in the Army) wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”  There were no summer soldiers or sunshine patriots at Valley Forge.  They were in warm houses.  Well fed.  And making money.  From the War.  There were supplies, yes, but there were more profitable markets than Washington’s armies.

So while graft and speculation made some rich, the Army suffered at Valley Forge.  The Continental Congress did little for them.  The states did little for them.  They suffered that ordeal alone.  Together.  And they became better soldiers.  Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter of introduction for a Prussian captain, Baron Friedrich von Steuben.  He came with exaggerated credentials.  Franklin said he was a general under Frederick the Great even though he was only a staff officer.  And an unemployed staff officer at that.  But he knew how to make and drill an army.  And he did.  Washington held the Army together.  The men persevered.  And the army that emerged from Valley Forge could face any European army on the field of battle.  And they fought on.  And about 4 years later, General Cornwallis would surrender at Yorktown.

THE UNITED STATES offered the command of the Union Army in the American Civil War to General Robert E. Lee.  He declined.  He could not raise his sword against his own country.  Virginia.  So he would fight on the Confederate side in what they called the War of Northern Aggression.

There is an interesting exchange in the movie Gone with the Wind before war breaks out.  Rhett Butler is discussing the South’s prospects with his fellow southern gentlemen. 

RHETT BUTLER: I think it’s hard winning a war with words, gentlemen.
CHARLES: What do you mean, sir?
RHETT BUTLER: I mean, Mr. Hamilton, there’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.
MAN: What difference does that make, sir, to a gentleman?
RHETT BUTLER: I’m afraid it’s going to make a great deal of difference to a great many
gentlemen, sir.
CHARLES: Are you hinting, Mr. Butler, that the Yankees can lick us?
RHETT BUTLER: No, I’m not hinting. I’m saying very plainly that the Yankees
are better equipped than we. They’ve got factories, shipyards, coal mines…and a fleet to bottle up our harbors and starve us to death. All we’ve got is cotton, and slaves and…arrogance.

No.  The South’s prospects were not very encouraging.  And the North’s advantages would make up for her failings.  In time.

The American Civil War was not a war of Fabian tactics.  The First Battle of Bull Run (or the First Battle of Manassas as the Confederates called it) was a shock.  Casualties (killed, wounded and lost) were high.  About 4,800 in total.  No one had anticipated such carnage.  If that wasn’t enough to sober them up, then came Shiloh in the West.  This 2-day battle claimed about 23,750 casualties.  This exceeded the total of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War combined.  By the time the Civil War was over, casualties would top 1,000,000.  Over 600,000 Americans would eventually die.  Including a president.

Why such high casualties?  A couple of reasons.  This was one of the first wars benefitting from the Industrial Revolution.  Better and more powerful weapons created more powerful armies.  And a network of railroads brought them efficiently to the battlefield.  Unfortunately, these armies still employed Napoleonic tactics.  Mass in formation, fire and charge with bayonets.  Rifled barrels, though, replaced smoothbore muskets.  This tripled the effective range of an infantryman’s weapon.  Improved cannon, like the Parrot gun, made cannon fire more devastating.  So, while they stood en masse and fired, and marched forward with bayonet, they faced a withering, accurate fire.  Before the Battle of Cold Harbor, life expectancy in battle was such that soldiers sewed their name inside their jackets.  Why?  They wanted their fallen bodies identified and sent home for burial.

Another reason for the high casualties?  Two of the best armies in the world were fighting each other.  American was killing American.  In the beginning, the Confederates had the edge.  Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson were displaying by far the greater competence in battle.  But that was in the east.  In the west, Generals Grant and Sherman advanced along the Mississippi River with dogged determination.

At the Battle of Chancellorsville, though, Stonewall Jackson would fall from friendly fire as he reconnoitered the front.  He lost his left arm.  Lee would lament that Jackson may have lost his left arm, but he had lost his right.  Jackson would subsequently die from complications of pneumonia 8 days later.  A couple of months from that, Lee would be in Gettysburg, the ‘high water mark’ of the Confederacy.  And after 3 days of battle, he would lead his defeated army back across the Potomac.  Meanwhile, in the west, Grant had just taken Vicksburg and, as a result, control of the Mississippi river.

Lee’s foray into Pennsylvania may have not been a wise move.  It was only the second time a Confederate army invaded the North (the last resulted in the bloodiest single day of the war – Antietam).  Battle in the north favored the North.  Shorter lines of communications.  Better network of railroads.  Coal mines.  Factories.  It was a bold plan.  But a poorly executed plan.  The armies came into contact, after all, because barefoot Confederate soldiers looking for shoes came into contact with dismounted Union cavalry.  That’s what was in Gettysburg.  Shoes.  That, and one big-ass road intersection that brought all those armies together.

Lee’s forces started the Battle of Gettysburg prematurely because of singular defect in the South.  Supply.  Lee faced the same problems Washington did.  The Confederate Army was superior to the Union Army at many times.  They often outgeneraled the North.  And often outfought the North.  But they took heavy losses.  As did the North.  But, as Rhett Butler pointed out, the North was in a position to replace their losses.  The South simply was not.  It became a war of attrition.  And the north simply outlasted the South.  And had the time to become a superior army. 

The problem was the very thing they were fighting for.  States’ rights.  The north was able to wage total war.  The South, try as they might, could not.  States had some warehouses full of material, but a state allotted its material stores for its own regiments.  A state may have had a surplus of shoes, but they held them for their own soldiers while others went barefoot.

The southern soldier suffered beyond human endurance.  Days would go by without food or provision.  Some would pick up horse droppings and pick out undigested kernels to eat.  When they broke out of the siege around Richmond/Petersburg, they marched for days to promised provisions.  When they reached the rail cars, they opened them to find unneeded equipment.  Not food.  But they still fought on, emaciated as they were.  Until they found themselves surrounded near Appomattox Courthouse.  When faced with the choice of surrender or guerrilla warfare, Lee chose surrender.  He saw one country destroyed.  He did not wish to see another.

WASHINGTON DID PREVAIL in the end.  Despite his government.  Lee did not.  In part because of his government.  All the while the soldier in the fight persevered through great privations.  But never gave up.  They fought, and died, together.  For God.  For country.  And for each other.  All the while, no doubt, cursing their respective governments.

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LESSONS LEARNED #10: “Conservatives like the Rule of Law whereas Liberals prefer militant, radical change.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 22nd, 2010

WHEN IT COMES to change, conservatives prefer gradual change within the established institutions.  They like things done within the Rule of Law.  Peacefully and quietly.  Everything has a place and everything should be in its place.  Including change.  If they don’t understand an issue, they study it.  Rationally.  They control their passions.  Some say too much.  Always so prim and proper, it’s like they have a stick up their butt.  They wouldn’t know fun if it bit them in the ass.  Or some would say.

A radical likes to excite the masses.  They like anarchy.  They like to get into the faces of their opposition.  They’re loud and angry and do radical things.  Throw a punch.  Blow things up.  And anyone who disagrees with them had better watch out.  They live by their passions.  Act first, think later.

TIMOTHY McVEIGH WAS a radical.  He wasn’t a conservative.  By definition.  Conservatives don’t blow things up.  Radicals do.  And it was indeed a radical that blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.  And he didn’t do this because of a conservative agenda.  He did it because he was pissed off about what happened at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco Texas in 1993.   This upset a lot of people.  Only one bombed something, though.  One radical.

The Clinton administration tried to blame McVeigh’s actions on conservative talk radio.   As conservatism does not endorse radicalism, this makes no sense.  Conservatives, in general, are about as threatening as a box of kittens.  They’re law-abiding people.  And you don’t show your support for the Rule of Law by violating the Rule of Law.

THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND was a radical, leftist organization.  They hated America.  They were anti-capitalists.  Their movement grew from the anti-war movements on college campuses in the sixties.   Their goal was similar to the communists in 1969 Vietnam.  Coordinated attacks in South Vietnam, known as the Tet Offensive, had the goal of causing rebellion in the south.  If successful, the dictatorship of the proletariat of the north would spread throughout Vietnam.  The Weather Underground tried to do the same in America.  They wanted to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat in America.  Both failed.  The communists in Vietnam would prove successful, though, some 7 years later due in part to the anti-war movement in America.  But I digress.

The Tet Offensive was defeated in bloody combat.  The Underground’s offensive was far from the Tet Offensive military campaign, but its ultimate goal was the same.  Their bombing campaign, though, had little effect.  Instead of stirring rebellion, it forced their members further underground. 

Though they committed sedition against the United States government, the feds dropped most charges or reduced them.  A Supreme Court decision regarding wiretaps made the wiretaps used to collect evidence illegal.   And inadmissible.  And a trial would have required revelations that would have damaged ongoing and future operations.  So most of them skated and reintegrated into ‘normal’ life.  One would even go on to associate with a presidential candidate.  Bill Ayers.  He was one of the ‘radical associates’ noted by some media outlets of then candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election.

THE REAGAN REVOLUTION was a conservative revolution.  And, as revolutions go, it was pretty benign.  There were no mobs.  No gunfire.  No bombings.  In typical conservative fashion, it was a revolution of ideas.

Reagan campaigned as a conservative.  He governed as a conservative.  His message was consistent.  And this consistency led to stability.  You knew what you got with him.  Voters returned him to office with an overwhelming majority; he carried 49 of 50 states.

Reagan’s popularity indicates the power of conservatism.  When debated in the arena of ideas, conservatism wins.  Not by intimidating voters.  Not by redrawing congressional districts.  Not by voter fraud.  Not by hiding your true political beliefs.  Not by misleading voters.  No.  Conservatism wins by honest debate.  The Reagan Democrats are proof of this.  These Democrats voted for Reagan because they supported his conservative platform.  And when you vote against your own party, you don’t do that lightly.  There’s conviction behind that vote.  And that conviction comes from listening intently to that debate in the arena of ideas.

THERE IS ANOTHER conservative revolution underway.  And it’s a peaceful one, too.  As conservative movements are wont to be.  Because true conservatives respect the Rule of Law.  These conservatives gather in peaceful assemblies called Tea Parties.  And the Left hates them.

The Left knows its history.  They know that they lose in the arena of ideas.  And they don’t want another Reagan Revolution on their hands.  So they are attacking this peaceful movement and are calling them every name in the book.  One in particular refers to a crude sexual act.  And this name originated in the Mainstream Media.  This would have been unthinkable in the days of Cronkite and Brinkley.  But, then again, today’s media is not the media of Cronkite and Brinkley.

On the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Left is warning of parallels between the ‘group’ that produced a Timothy McVeigh and the Tea Party movement.  But there was no ‘group’ that produced McVeigh.  He was a radical who was angry at the federal government for what he saw in Waco Texas.  He didn’t think.  He acted.  Much like the Weather Underground. 

Rational thinking about the possible outcomes of both their actions likely would have prevented their actions.  But radicals don’t think about the consequences of their actions.  At least, not before they act.  Conservatives do.  And the Tea Party people are conservatives.  That’s why they choose peaceful assembly to change public opinion over militant, radical action.  Because true change follows when you win hearts and minds.  Not by bullying.

THERE MAY BE individual radicals in the Tea Party movement.  Most groups have their radicals.  But the group as a whole is not radical.  And not a threat.  They’re like a box full of kittens.  But with an agenda.  A peaceful agenda.  And that agenda?  To engage in debate in the arena of ideas.

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LESSONS LEARNED #7: “High on the endangered species list is the objective journalist.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 1st, 2010

WHEN YOU HEAR the words ‘Tet Offensive’, what do you think of?  The Battle of Hue?  The Siege of Khe Sanh?  Dead American soldiers in the U.S. Embassy compound?  The biggest American victory to date in Vietnam?  I’m guessing you’re probably thinking yes, yes, yes and no.  Or you’re asking yourself, “Vietnam?”

Tet was an all out gamble by the communists to end the war.  The war by 1967 had grown into a military stalemate with the communists unable to win any significant battlefield wins.  The bombing of North Vietnam was taking its toll.  They needed a new plan.  What plan, though, was a matter for debate.

Without going into specifics (unless you want to – I don’t mind), there was no unity of opinion in the North.  Three groups had three different plans raging from large-scale military action to negotiated peace.  The Soviet Union favored a negotiated peace.  The Chinese said screw that.  So after much discussion, debate and arrests, they adopted the Tet plan.

Briefly, Tet called for attacks on cities throughout South Vietnam to encourage the people to rise in rebellion and join the communists.  Once they did the war would be over.  Or so went the plan.  Which failed miserably.  There were no rebellions.  There were no military victories.  Just huge communist losses.  The leaders would later vow never to undertake such a plan again.  As they licked their wounds they pondered what to do in the wake of the catastrophe known as the Tet Offensive.  Then something happened.  In the United States.

Walter Cronkite gave his opinion on the air.  There is some debate whether this turned public opinion on the war.  When he said we couldn’t win the war, though, it stunned President Johnson.  He said if he lost Cronkite he lost the American people. 

The anti-war movement spread following Tet.  The communists saw this.  And they learned something.  They didn’t need to defeat the Americans in a decisive battle (which they couldn’t).  All they had to do was to wait.  And wait they did.  For 7 years.

The opinion of the most trusted man in America may have not influenced public opinion.  But when you are the most trusted man in America, your opinion probably does influence people.  A shame, really.  The world changed in 1968. 

Tet was a glorious opportunity.  The North was reeling.  If the response to Tet was an all out, no holds bar, counterattack, the U.S. could have been negotiating from a position of strength.  Great strength.  Vietnam may have ended like the Korean War.  Maybe we could have avoided another 7 years or so of war.  And, if the war did end earlier, the currency inflation (to pay for both the Great Society and the war) may not have been so bad.  Maybe Nixon wouldn’t have decoupled the dollar from gold, igniting double-digit inflation and interest rates.  Maybe Carter wouldn’t have given us malaise and stagflation.  Perhaps a group of radical students wouldn’t have stormed our embassy and taken hostages because they saw us as a ‘paper tiger’. 

Would’ve, should’ve, could’ve, yes, but you have to ask yourself.  What would have happened if the most trusted man in America didn’t say we couldn’t win the war in Vietnam?

EARLY VIETNAM STRATEGY revolved around the body count.  You counted the enemy dead.  You killed more of theirs than they killed of yours, you won the battle.  Kill enough of them and they can’t fight anymore.  And then you win the war.  Or so went the strategy. 

Counting dead bodies is kinda cold and callous.  People didn’t like it.  Among the changes in policy following Tet, the military stopped the big search and destroy operations and counting the dead for ledger columns.  But the body count lived on.

Flash-forward to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  During the Bush (Republican) administration, the mainstream media (MSM) included body counts in their broadcasts – of American dead.  They didn’t just give numbers, they identified them by name.  They wanted to film returning coffins at Andrews Air Force Base.  Remember that?  Maybe not.  It’s hard to remember something that isn’t happening anymore.  During the Obama (Democrat) administration, the MSM appears to have suspended the body count policy.  Once the Republican was gone, apparently it was no longer fashionable to politicize dead soldiers.

IF YOU WANT to hear evidence of talking points in the MSM, you can tune into the Rush Limbaugh program on almost any day.  Limbaugh edits sound bites together and plays them on his program.  It’s a lot easier to hear the pattern in a montage than if you’re only watching one or two of the MSM’s outlets.  Even if you don’t like Limbaugh, give a listen.  They’re pretty interesting.  And entertaining.

Here’s an old montage featuring an unusual word: gravitas.  A portion of the transcript copied from his website follows.

Begin transcript.

RUSH:  This goes back to the year 2000. It’s one of the all-time great montages, this happened within a day of President Bush selecting Dick Cheney to be his vice presidential running mate.  You’re going to hear Al Hunt, Juan Williams, Claire Shipman, Steve Roberts, Vic Fazio, Jeff Greenfield, Jonathan Alter, former Senator Bob Kerrey, Margaret Carlson, Mike McCurry, Sam Donaldson, Eleanor Clift, Walter Isaacson, Mark Shields, Judy Woodruff, and Sam Donaldson — and none of these are repeated.

HUNT:  He is a man who meets all George W.’s weaknesses: lack of foreign policy experience, lack of gravitas.  I think now when Gore is trying to make the case of lack of gravitas against George W….

WILLIAMS:  Now we look and we see the son, who is seeking some gravitas, to say to people that he is an intelligent man…

SHIPMAN:  There is a lot talk they are looking at older candidates, candidates with gravitas.

ROBERTS:  He’s had health problems, uh, he’s worked for a Big Oil company, but he has the gravitas.  You can sum it up in one word: stature.

FAZIO:  I really believe that George W. Bush needed that perhaps more than anyone in recent memory because, if there is a rap about him, it may go to the gravitas issue.

GREENFIELD:  If the question about Governor Bush was one of the weight, or to use the favorite phrase of the moment, “gravitas”…

ALTER:  What he gets here is grav-i-tas, a sense of weight, competence, and administrative ability.

KERREY:  I’ve gotta strengthen it in some fashion. I’ve gotta bring gravitas to the ticket.

KERREY:  He does not need anybody to give him gravitas!

CARLSON:  It means that Bush, you know, Gore has experience and gravitas.

McCURRY:  I think he also needs to demonstrate some gravitas, too.

DONALDSON:  …that he was put on the ticket, but by former President Bush, to give gravitas to the ticket.

CLIFT:  Well, Dick Cheney brings congeniality and he brings gravitas.

ISAACSON:  He does seem to bring some vigor as well as gravitas and stature to the ticket.

HUNT:  It’s called “gravitas.”

NOVAK: Right.

SHIELDS A little gravitas!

WOODRUFF:  You certainly have gravitas tonight.

DONALDSON:  Displayed tonight a certain gravitas.

RUSH:  Now, I don’t care. I don’t care how it happens. I don’t care whether they all got together and decided, or one person used it and they all decided to mimic. They are who they are, and that montage is a good illustration.  

End transcript.

George W. Bush has a B.A. in history from Yale.  An MBA from Harvard.  Military experience (though no combat experience).  He was a businessman.  He worked in the energy industry.  Owned part of the Texas Rangers.  Was governor of Texas.  And won reelection to a second 4-year term. 

Obama has a law degree.  Was a community organizer.  State senator for 7 years.  U.S. senator for 3 years.  No executive experience.  No business experience.  No military experience. 

Perhaps both candidates needed to add ‘gravitas’ to their ticket.  In comparing the experience, though, one appears to be lighter than the other.  But when they talked about Joe Biden adding gravitas to the ticket, they didn’t make it sound like Obama was an incompetent boob.  Why?  Probably because it wasn’t in the talking points.

A BLIND MAN can see it.  There’s bias.  Opinion and political activism is taking over objective journalism in the MSM.  It’s been a gradual process.  It started in the 60s.  And continues to grow.  When will it stop?  Hard to say.  Until it does, there is one objective voice left in the crowd.  FOX News.  Which is why the political Left (and the MSM) attacks it so vehemently.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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