Rich Lowry

North Vietnam, in turn, was receiving massive aid from the Soviets and Chinese. As historian Michael Lind has pointed out, in addition to military equipment and civilian goods, the Chinese sent 327,000 soldiers to North Vietnam, freeing North Vietnamese troops to be sent elsewhere. The Soviets eagerly chipped in too. "Between 1964 and 1974," Lind writes, "aid to North Vietnam amounted to 50 percent of the Soviet Union's aid to communist satellite regimes."

The United States chose not to try to choke off these supplies, and also allowed the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese sanctuaries outside the borders of South Vietnam. Saddam, in contrast, is getting only a trickle of smuggled help from Syria and Iran, and his troops will be given no quarter.

Part of the romance of Vietnam is that, in the liberal imagination, it was a war won by the media and the professors and the protesters. They exposed the lies and corruption of the military, destroyed two warmongering presidents (LBJ and Nixon) and took important steps in its wake to remake American in their image.

So they want to relive that war over and over, even when the U.S. military gains control of 40 percent of the enemy's territory and 100 percent of its airspace in about a week. "Another Vietnam" is largely wishful thinking. The phrase brings to mind one similarity to Vietnam in today's circumstances: A segment of American elite opinion is still, 30 years later, reflexively hostile to the application of American power.

Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
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