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Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words. - John Wayne

Friday, August 24, 2007
Michael Hirsh’s Idea Of “Acceptable” Losses
by Cordeiro
In economic circles, there are those who believe government intervention in the natural economic cycle is wrong. In the long run, they argue, the natural ebb and flow of the economy will right the wrongs and everything will balance out for the best. These kind of people spend a lot of time gathered around campfires singing Kum-by-ya.

The problem is, the long run is a long time to wait for most people. John Maynard Keynes put it best when he said “In the long run, we're all dead.” Well, it looks like Newsweek’s Michael Hirsch takes the “long run” approach to international conflict. Yesterday he penned a piece entitled “Why America's Pullout From Vietnam Worked” where he went to great lengths to excoriate W for his history lecture given at the VFW convention in Kansas City.

Hirsch claims W “mangled” Cold War history because today Vietnam is a budding free market society. He thinks the American retreat from Saigon was the best thing that could have possibly happened to Vietnam – and probably should’ve happened sooner. While Hirsch’s claims of a revitalized Vietnam may be in fact true, he blows right by the aftermath of Saigon 1975 in getting to his conclusion. Says Mr. Hirsch:

Yes, a lot of Vietnamese boat people died on the high seas; but many others have returned to visit in the ensuing years. Above all, we have learned that Vietnam and Southeast Asia were never really central fronts in the cold war (although Korea at the time of the outbreak of war in 1950, when Beijing still kowtowed to Moscow and before the Soviet Union and China split, might have fit that bill). The decision to pull out had very little effect on the ultimate outcome. America triumphed in the cold war because it had the right kind of economy—an open one—compared to Moscow and Beijing, and its ideas about freedom were more attractive to the states within the Soviet bloc than their own failed ideas were.

He conveniently, or purposefully omits the some 2 million Cambodians who perished at the hands of Pol Pot in the years after the last Huey left the US Embassy in Saigon. He glosses over the untold number of Vietnamese who were ruthlessly “re-educated” by their northern communist brethren. Yes, dear reader, Vietnam was not a battle of the Cold War.

Neither, I guess, was Korea. If both these Hirsch assertions are in fact true, then I have a few questions for Mr. Hirsch: Who was arming the North Vietnamese throughout the entire conflict? Were they making their own weapons? Did a large contingent of NVA march to Moscow and make off with all those heavy weapons, SAMs, and anti-aircraft emplacements responsible for killing so many Americans? Did both the North Koreans and North Vietnamese make a quantum leap in aircraft technology which enabled them to mass produce MIG fighters? Did the North Koreans have vast reinforcements which suddenly appeared at the Chosin Reservoir?

I’m sorry, but Mr. Hirsch’s argument is invalid on its fact and Newsweek should retract his article or label it as wishful fiction. His obliviousness to the consequences of a precipitous withdrawal in Iraq coupled with his proposal to refocus efforts on Pakistan and Afghanistan make me wonder if he isn’t secretly an Obama foreign policy advisor. Its pretty obvious how well that’s working for Obama.

After reading Mr. Hirsch’s wandering narrative, it occurred to me he sounds a lot like George C. Scott’s character in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. In that movie General “Buck” Turgidson’s is laying out the consequences of a nuclear war when he utters his most famous line:

Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.
Forgive me for saying, but Mr. Hirsch glosses over nearly 40 years of bloodshed, torture, and genocide to paint a rosy picture of Vietnam in the post-cold war era. Those are pretty rough breaks, even in the long run.

Here endeth the lesson.
2 Comment(s):
I have read several of your blogs and notice few comments. That probably suggests that you are so far off the mark that people generally ignore you. I DID like the pic of George C. Scott however.

A Blog Tourist
And how many US lives and how much US taxpayer money do you think staying in Vietnam would have been worth? Was it important for us to stay there, with the advantage of looking back on history? I say not and you conveniently avoid that crucial aspect of the question in your critique. How many US sons and daughters do you think should die in Iraq? Are you or your children willing to go there fighting? Are you supporting realistic taxes to pay for this fiasco? Or should we keep borrowing from Communist countries? Do you support a draft so that all families have the equal prospect of supporting the cause of George W. Bush in Iraq? Also, where is your context of the fact that GWB BROKE IT and now WE are having to BUY it?

Given the justification for the war keeps changing, was false from the start and is on borrowed money, what is your justification for staying in Iraq--that we will prevent people from dying? Hardly--hundreds are being killed daily while we are there. And what country should we invade next to protect innocent lives? Darfur?

If a democrat were in office you would be railing against their liberal war.

You are dishonest with yourself and need to explain your position very clearly on this subject--US lives, US taxes, and who we invade to save lives next.

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