Hey, you can call me a pedant and a pinko, and while I know that few today really care much about what happened in Vietnam in 1968, I am constitutionally unable to let huge fat stinking historical lies in major publications go unaddressed. In George Will’s Washington Post column this Sunday, he says “When, after the misreported Tet offensive of 1968 (a U.S. military victory described as a crushing defeat), Cronkite declared Vietnam a ‘stalemate’...” I’m sorry, I was at one time a keen student of the history of Vietnam going back centuries and up through the fall of Saigon, and George Will is full of it. In 1968, at a time when the Americans and South Vietnamese were busy assuring everybody that everything was just fine, the other side suddenly and without warning launched synchronized uprisings and attacks across the country including right in Saigon. Yes, the Americans won that battle, quickly and decisively; but the offensive made it clear that they’d been lying about the real state of affairs. I was watching those TV broadcasts myself, and they made clear it clear that the Americans were winning the skirmishes, but they also exposed the visceral horror of both troops and civilians that the enemy they thought they were beating could infiltrate at will and attack any time. It was at that precise point that a lot of smart people decided, and some of the media started accurately reporting, that the U.S. wasn’t winning.


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April 23, 2005
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