The Last Helicopter; the true legacy of the Flower Children

Today marks the 37th anniversary of the fall of Saigon to a conventional invasion by North Vietnamese forces.

The United States made no effort to intervene despite a signed and ratified mutual defense treaty with the South Vietnamese government.

 

The Generation which fought and won the Second World War has been (appropriately) memorialized as “The Greatest Generation.”  What then of their children, the Baby Boomers?

If we know them by the fruits of their labor, history will not be kind to their memory.  Indeed, large segments of the world even now see their impact upon the United States symbolically as the Last Helicopter.

Hassan Abbasi has a dream–a helicopter doing an arabesque in cloudy skies to avoid being shot at from the ground. On board are the last of the “fleeing Americans,” forced out of the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) by “the Army of Muhammad.” Presented by his friends as “The Dr. Kissinger of Islam,” Mr. Abbasi is “professor of strategy” at the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard Corps University and, according to Tehran sources, the principal foreign policy voice in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s new radical administration. For the past several weeks Mr. Abbasi has been addressing crowds of Guard and Baseej Mustadafin (Mobilization of the Dispossessed) officers in Tehran with a simple theme: The U.S. does not have the stomach for a long conflict and will soon revert to its traditional policy of “running away,” leaving Afghanistan and Iraq, indeed the whole of the Middle East, to be reshaped by Iran and its regional allies.

Sadly, Abbasi and those of like mind have a historical case to support their position.  The litany is certainly long; Vietnam, Mayaguez, Desert One, Beirut, Mogadishu.  Yet even so Mr. Taheri is less sure of the strength of that precedent:

The reason was that almost all realized that the 9/11 attacks have changed the way most Americans see the world and their own place in it. Running away from Saigon, the Iranian desert, Beirut, Safwan and Mogadishu was not hard to sell to the average American, because he was sure that the story would end there; the enemies left behind would not pursue their campaign within the U.S. itself. The enemies that America is now facing in the jihadist archipelago, however, are dedicated to the destruction of the U.S. as the world knows it today. Those who have based their strategy on waiting Mr. Bush out may find to their cost that they have, once again, misread not only American politics but the realities of a world far more complex than it was even a decade ago. Mr. Bush may be a uniquely decisive, some might say reckless, leader. But a visitor to the U.S. soon finds out that he represents the American mood much more than the polls suggest.

For the sake of both my Republic and the world, I pray that Mr. Taheri’s observation proves more accurate than that of Abbasi.

Copyright 2006
Rodney G. Graves
first published on Bayosphere 30 April 2006

About that FORWARD thing...
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  • ackwired

    Perhaps it does not have to be one way or the other.  Perhaps armies of occupation are not the best way to counter Iranian intentions in the area.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      Well, we can’t buy ‘em because they don’t stay bought. 

      I’m thinking it’d be best to wall ‘em off, but they’ve got shovels…

      I don’t think they’ll wear collars, so the Invisible Fence is out…

      We could carpet-bomb them with Victoria’s Secret catalogs – but they’re probably short on toilet paper…

      Offer a million dollar bounty on each radical cleric’s head?  No questions asked, DNA testing (of the head) required before payout?

      Let’s see… bending over and spreading ‘em doesn’t work for long.  Showing weakness is bad strategy.  And we dare not appear too strong, or they’ll feel like they have to overreact to the ‘threat’.

      It’s a puzzle, isn’t it?

      • ackwired

        I like your creativity.

    • retired.military

      you are right.  Carpet bomb them and keep ground troops out.

      • Gmacr1

        “The only safe way is to nuke them from orbit…”

        • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

          Tar and feather them from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure!

        • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

          Isn’t that “Nuke them from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure…”  Bill Paxton in the second Alien movie as I recall…

          UPDATE: Right movie, close to the right quote, wrong actor/character (Sigourney Weaver / Riply)

      • Commander_Chico

        How about we leave them alone and stop invading their countries, installing dictators, robbing their resources and bombing them? 

        A novel thought, I know, it’s never been tried.

        • http://profiles.google.com/rmlwj1 Leon Jester

           Scipio’s solution worked, however, have you tried turning that around?

          How about they stay in their own little holes and don’t export revolution, riot and genocide?

          I’m still of the opinion that Teheran would look much better after about a hundred 30kt nukes got dropped on it, TOT at 5km spacing from centre, in a spiral.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Oh, I don’t know about the nuke option.  I’m quite certain there’s a significant amount of historical buildings and artifacts in Teheran, and I’d hate to see them destroyed.

            Maybe the better option would be…

            A pre-announced test shot with a Minuteman – aimed at downtown Teheran.  At 2000 feet, a chute deploys from the RV.   It lands in the center of the city.  On the outside is a small plaque, with the following inscription…

            Your interference with Iraq and support of worldwide terrorism?  That’s one.

            Your work to get nuclear weapons capability – never mind whether you actually build one or not…?  That’s two.

            Inside – there’s a piece of paper with the following on it.

            “A man and woman were on their honeymoon after a long and very happy courtship. On their honeymoon, they decide to take horses through the beautiful mountain passes of Europe. As the horses were crossing a small stream, the woman’s horse mis-steps and jostles the man’s wife. Once across the stream, the man dismounts, walks over to the horse, and stares into its eyes. Finally, he states, “That’s one.”

            The man remounts his horse and they continue their ride.A bit further down the path, the woman’s horse stumbles when stepping over a fallen tree. The man dismounts, stares the horse in the eyes, and boldly states, “That’s two!”

            He returns to his saddle and they move on.As the afternoon sun began to set, the woman’s horse once again lost its footing on a mossy slope. The man dismounts, moves to the woman’s horse, and helps his wife out of the saddle. Moving to the front of the horse he stares it in the eyes and firmly says, “That’s three,” removes a pistol from his vest, and shots the horse dead.

            The woman, quite upset at seeing the beautiful horse killed, says to her husband, “That’s terrible, why would you do such a thing!”

            The man stares at his wife and firmly says, “That’s one!”

            And underneath the old joke in bold print – “You ARE smarter than a horse, aren’t you?” 

            It gets their attention, is relatively unambiguious without being explicitly threatening, and isn’t likely to be mistaken for a conciliatory gesture.

        • jim_m

           Chico,

          What you are suggesting usually takes the form of appeasement.

  • herddog505

    We SHOULD have learned from Munich.  We SHOULD have learned from South Korea.  We SHOULD have learned from Vienna.

    Weakness, indecision, and general f*cking around with aggressors only encourages them, resulting in MORE trouble than if we’d been quite clear about our firm intention to defend ourselves and our interests from the beginning.

    How to deal with Tehran?  Simple: have our ambassador at the UN pass a note to their ambassador:

    “The day you explode a nuclear weapon – the day you announce that you HAVE a nuclear weapon – the day we THINK you MIGHT have a nuclear weapon – is the last day in the history of your country.  Let’s be perfectly clear: we will kill every single one of you.  DO NOT F*CK WITH US.”

    Brutal, draconian, and hardly the way I’d prefer to conduct foreign relations, but I think it would serve its purpose.

    • Commander_Chico

      Making an obviously idle threat is no way to conduct foreign policy, either.

      There are several reasons why what you say would not be possible, not the least of which would be the radioactive products falling into nearby friendly countries and the world-wide climate and agricultural effects from firestorm particulates in the atmosphere. Then you could consider the second and third order effects of the USA being isolated and the target of sanctions itself. End result: huge USA losses and the ascendancy of China to world leadership. At best.

      Why is it that Munich is always invoked by the warmongers, but nobody ever mentions Sarajevo (1914) as a warning against the dangers of warmongering? Of course, there would have been no Munich if there had been no overreaction to Sarajevo. The Kaiser, Czar and Sultan might still be on their thrones, likely in constitutional monarchies which were the product of reform movements already underway in 1914.

      Of course almost all of the blood which has flowed since 1914 is a result of the warmongers who rushed Europe into war then, but that is never mentioned, only “Munich.”

      • herddog505

        The warmongers who rushed Europe into war in 1914 were the aggressors.  What MIGHT have been had Grey not been so unclear that Britain WOULD honor her treaty obligations with Belgium?  What MIGHT have been had Willy been unmistakably clear that Nicky WOULD honor his treaty obligations with France?

        We know what DIDN’T happen in ’62: Khrushchev was VERY clear on what would happen if he didn’t get those damned missiles out of Cuba.  Thank God for SAC and Tommy Power.

        As for Iran: yeah, using nukes might not be such a great idea.  However, we have the means to wipe Iran out without them.  It would just take a bit longer.

  • duevalvduc

    Perhaps the idea of carpet bombing has some merit but I question the waste of good wood-pulp products as a force for transition. Islam has a history on the world stage of ebbs and flows. It seems to have been happiest during its eighth century life style. Though in the past the American Military’s abilities had been limited to only bombing cultures back to the stone age, I’m certain that with our recent advancements in ordnance technology we are now capable of strategic carpet bombing to a given historic period. Might I suggest that we simply return the Islamist countries back to that period when they were indeed happiest. 

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      Take out their power plants, refineries, and water systems?  That’d shove ‘em back to oil lamps, camels, and hand-dug wells.

      Hmmm.  

      Sadly, that might be the best possible option.  Dammit.

      It’d be a hell of a lot easier if they’d go “You know, what we have works for us, and what you have works for you.  You know that ‘CoExist’ bumper sticker?  We’ll let you go to hell in your own way, if you’ll allow us to do the same.  We won’t make a grab for the neighbor’s land, we’ll stop messing around militarily, we’ll stop with the ol’ nuke Biggus Dickus thing – you don’t destroy us. ‘k?”

      But I think there’s going to be a hell of a lot of deaths before that’s going to happen…

  • Commander_Chico

    Weren’t 58,000+ Americans and a million+ Vietnamese dead enough?  Not enough “Rolling Thunder” free-fire zones and Agent Orange?

    If we’d only fought harder, taken the gloves off and killed all of the Vietnamese, we would have won!!

    But what did our “loss” mean?  

    Well, the Vietnamese did fight our –  and the PRC’s – ally, the Khmer Rouge, a few years later and got rid of Pol Pot. Apart from that, Vietnam is now a most favored nation in trade with the USA, and there is a bilateral trade agreement.  They are considering allowing a Peace Corps mission in Vietnam.  You can also get Banh Mi and Pho in most major cities in the USA.

    The Afghan restaurants are already opening.

    • herddog505

      How long would the war have lasted – and how many people would not have died – had we gone to Hanoi in ’64 and issued an ultimatum:

      “Any more NVA troops, any more weapons, any more supplies, any more ‘advisors’, any more ANYTHING from North Vietnam that shows up in South Vietnam, and we will invade your country, kill or jail your leadership, and otherwise do unto North Vietnam what we did unto Japan”?*

      As for the happy-happy-joy-joy status of Vietnam today, I rather doubt you’d be so sanguine about it if we substituted (for example) the American South, Germany, or Japan.  Or should we have just waited around for a few years (decades?) for things to sort of work themselves out?

      Or is that the answer?  Since nothing is forever, should we just sit on our hands and trust that the march of history will rid us of our troubles before our troubles get rid of us?

      ===

      (*) This presupposes that South Vietnam really WAS as important to our security as people at the time – including Presidents Kennedy and Johnson – thought that it was.

      • Gmacr1

        That ‘Don’t go across that border’ shit started in Korea where the Chinese forces knew they were safe on the far bank of the Yellow River. The 37th Parallel with the DMZ between North andSouth Veitnamk was the same damn thing and ‘Going Downtown’ in Hanoi pilots had specified targets, anything else was strictly off limits. Politicians got involved in trying to be generals and the ‘art of war’ got replaced by the ‘Art of not offending the enemy’ with all of their ROE’s and God help you if you offended the opposition.

        Now they are playing footsie with the Iranians and AQ with their ‘peace negotiations’ where they are letting the enemy set the terms of surrender.

        Ultimatums are a thing of the past, at least right now, because Democrat politicians are now fighting wars that are going to determine the fate of civilizations by consessions they offer to get the nuclear detonations limited to Isreal.

        Personally, I’d tell the House of Saud that if there was a nuclear detonation the next one would be over the Black Rock of Mecca and several other historically important Islamic localities.

      • Commander_Chico

        Of course your presupposition is everything – Vietnam was not that important to US security. This is obvious in retrospect. The US misread the nature of Ho Chi Minh even though he had cooperated with the OSS in WWII, and missed an opportunity when it backed French colonialists against him. I will repeat that. The USA backed a colonial power against a group of indigenous people fighting for their freedom.

        Your fantasy would probably have played out pretty much like Korea – swarms of Chinese “volunteers” flowing down from the northern border to fight the million U.S. troops coming up.  The U.S. death toll would have been more than 100,000, maybe the corrupt South Vietnamese regime would have survived in a Korea-like truce.

        Maybe the North Koreans would have moved at the same time. Maybe the USSR would have taken the opportunity to move on Berlin while all of that was happening, too.  Maybe that would have led to general war in Europe or even nuclear war.

        The pragmatic thing is to recognize that all wars are not the same, and that only ones which defend core US interests are worth fighting.  One cue for that is if the indigenous population is fighting alongside you, or you’re doing all of the fighting while they watch.  Thus, propping up a corrupt and unpopular Viet or Afghan government is not worth it.

    • jim_m

       But what did our “loss” mean?

      No much.  Just a few million people slaughtered by the communists.  But what’s a few million people when you are creating a communist Utopia? 

      I know you don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone else but I’d bet that their lives meant something to them.

      • iwogisdead

        Not to mention the 10s of millions condemned to the permanent poverty/slavery of communism. Time to look at that “World at Night from Space” thing on the internet to get a visual of how well communism has worked in Vietnam.

        • jim_m

           Well, yeah.  But the left will see enslavement in communism as a feature and not a bug.  That picture of N Korea blacked out at night is an eco leftist’s wet dream for the US.  They’d gladly sacrifice a few million here to achieve the same results.

          • Gmacr1

            I believe the estimate was “25 million or so” to get rid of those pesky individualists

        • Gmacr1

          I have the most recent NASA poster of the world at night, quite telling and not only for the communist counties either. The ME is quite striking.

      • Commander_Chico

        Can you come up with a reference for the “few million” number?

        And, as I said, the Vietnamese put a stop to Pol Pot – whom the USA was diplomatically supporting at the time for balance of power reasons.

        • jim_m

           http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Killing_Fields

          It’s not just Vietnam.

    • retired.military

      Actually you left out the 2-3 million vietnamese that got slaughtered after Kerry and his ilk got their way and we pulled out.

      • jim_m

         Sure the consequences of the left’s agenda are millions slaughtered and scores of mass graves.  But don’t judge them by the consequences of their actions.  Their intentions were good.  Honest.

        • Guest

          You poor baby. Your illness is worsening.

          • jim_m

             Thanks for providing the evidence that the left thinks that it’s funny to have millions dead in the name of creating an ideologically pure communist state.  I’m sure you would be turning in your neighbors should you get the chance to send them to a gulag.

          • Evil Otto

            Leftists never worry about the consequences of their actions. Those millions of dead? “Oops, sorry.” When they acknowledge them at all.

          • Sheik Yerbouti

            “A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.”
            —Uncle Joe

          • Sheik Yerbouti

            “A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.”
            —Uncle Joe

          • Guest

            No, I just think it’s funny that your spew makes sense to you.

          • retired.military

            You are disgusting guy.  Really.

      • Gmacr1

        Re-educated they were…Veitnamese Boat people.

      • Commander_Chico

        Again, do you have a source for that number?  

        • Guest

          lol… They don’t have a source to made up nonsense…

          See how scared they are? They don’t talk issues, they talk nonsense that they make up out of whole cloth.

          • jim_m

             Asswipe.  The number of people slaughtered in Cambodia is so widely known that the only reason that you could have for saying that it’s a lie is that you actually support the kind of mass murder that the communists there and elsewhere have perpetrated in order to subjugate the masses.

          • jim_m

             Asswipe.  The number of people slaughtered in Cambodia is so widely known that the only reason that you could have for saying that it’s a lie is that you actually support the kind of mass murder that the communists there and elsewhere have perpetrated in order to subjugate the masses.

          • retired.military

            Hey DUMBFUCK

            I didnt see the post.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War_casualties

            ” Owing to the extreme uncertainty surrounding boat people estimates, but including Vietnam’s foreign democide, Rummel estimates that a minimum of 400,000 and a maximum of slightly less than 2.5 million people died of political violence from 1975-87 at the hands of Hanoi.[24]”

            Why dont you do the world a favor and um  fuck off and die. 

  • 914

    “The Last Helicopter; the true legacy of the Flower Children”

    Very similar indeed to the ‘Fleabagger’ movement of today’s leftist political class. Cut and run no matter what damage it does to those left behind..

  • herddog505

    RE: Deaths by communism in SE Asia

    Overall, the best estimate of those killed after the Vietnam War by the victorious communists in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia is 2,270,000. Now totaling almost twice as many as died in the Vietnam War, this communist killing still continues.

    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/WSJ.ART.HTM

    For background, I suppose that we can also throw into the mix the ca. 200,000 murdered by Ho Chi Minh from 1953 – 1956.

    http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/dictat.html

    Communists DO seem to be rather bloody, don’t they?

    • jim_m

       But collaborators like grumpy will still deny that this had anything to do with the leftist agenda.  Hell, up thread he denies that this ever took place.

      • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

        No fool like an old leftist fool.

    • jim_m

       But collaborators like grumpy will still deny that this had anything to do with the leftist agenda.  Hell, up thread he denies that this ever took place.

    • Commander_Chico

      How many of those people would have died if the USA had cut a deal with Ho Chi Minh and helped him get the French colonialists out?  After all, we had a good relationship with Tito in Yugoslavia.

      Plus, the USA covered for the Khmer Rouge after the end of the war, so it was complicit in the worst of the killings.

      It was a total fiasco and waste of life.

      • jim_m

         The slaughter in Cambodia was targeted toward the intellectuals and the upper classes. Since it was ideologically driven I would wager that nearly all of the people would have been killed regardless. 

      • herddog505

        Given that:

        — Ho killed off about 200,000 people in just a couple of years during the ’50s and;

        — The communists have demonstrated time and again that they are bloody, brutal, homocidal, and will stick at nothing including mass murder to get their way,

        Then I’d say that they likely would have died anyway.

        O’ course, maybe Ho was TOTALLY unlike Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, the (now three) Kims, etc., etc.

        Hey!  Here’s an idea!  Maybe if we’d left Hitler alone, all those people wouldn’t have died in World War II!

        Or not…

        • Commander_Chico

          Maybe a lot of those “200,000 people” were traitorous collaborators with the French occupiers.  

          You accept the narrative that fighting against European colonialists was a bad thing.

          • jim_m

             Boy you will really stretch credulity in order to apologize for your communist masters won’t you.

      • retired.military

        Guess we will never know the answer to that Chico.  Since your bud Kerry and his ilk screwed the pooch.

        I would rather die free than live a slave. Of course you and Grumpy probably feel differenlty.

        • Commander_Chico

          Yes, we are slaves now because we lost the Vietnam war.

          • jim_m

             No, but obama, Kerry and their leftist friends, aided by useful idiots like yourself  (BTW thank you for self identifying by defending communist mass murder so assiduously on this thread), would gladly see the US public enslaved in a communist dictatorship.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            They seem to working assiduously towards those ends.

  • herddog505

    RE: Deaths by communism in SE Asia

    Overall, the best estimate of those killed after the Vietnam War by the victorious communists in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia is 2,270,000. Now totaling almost twice as many as died in the Vietnam War, this communist killing still continues.

    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/WSJ.ART.HTM

    For background, I suppose that we can also throw into the mix the ca. 200,000 murdered by Ho Chi Minh from 1953 – 1956.

    http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/dictat.html

    Communists DO seem to be rather bloody, don’t they?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

    Sooooo…the failure of Viet Nam is the hippies’ fault.

    Are you aware that the Rand Corporation did a study back in the mid-1960′s which predicted the US would lose if we got involved?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Ellsberg#The_Pentagon_Papers

    Viet Nam is a true bipartisan mess, no question there. LBJ basically faked an attack on a US ship to get the US in, probably in exchange for Republican support for his Great Society bills; then Nixon knew we were losing but kept the war going until after his election just so he could get reelected.

    But sorry, there is not one aspect of Viet Nam and it’s failure that you can blame on the hippies.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

    Vietnam was not a failure of arms, it was a failure of political will.

    The insurrection was decisively defeated (per Giap, and the Viet Cong were obliterated) during the failed Tet uprising.

    The first conventional invasion from the North was defeated (with U. S. assistance, primarily air support) by the South in 1972.

    The second conventional invasion, in which we abrogated our treaty obligations to support and defend the South, marked the end.

    It is the hallmark accomplishment of the Baby Boomers.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

      Believe me, I have a lot of things to criticize the baby boomer generation about. But I don’t see how it’s a baby boomer mess either, when every US politician and general who planned and executed every phase of Viet Nam was older.

      I think it’s clear from the study that the failure was getting involved in the first place.

      There was not one thing in that swamp that was worth one US soldier’s life. Even if you accept the “intervention for humanitarian purposes” argument (and not the “falling dominoes” theory that was popular at the time), there were many other places where we could have saved more lives to better effect with fewer losses to our own. Indonesia’s East Timor is only one example.

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