It is the month of February here in America and aside from the just passed Valentine's Day respite, there is little to do, except engage in epic battles.
For instance, this month in 1945 marked the legendary battle for Iwo Jima, a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean. It was important because it gave American bombers a safe haven on the return trip from missions to the Japanese mainland if they were damaged or low on fuel, and also enabled American fighters to escort the missions.
In that battle some 70,000 U.S. Marines took on 22,000 Japanese. The battle lasted for more than a month, as nearly the entire Japanese garrison fought to the death from within a volcanic rock that was honeycombed with caves, tunnels, spider holes and reinforced bunkers.
In the end, the United States lost nearly 7,000 dead and 19,000 wounded, including some 2,400 casualties the first day, while the Japanese lost their entire garrison, with about 20,000 killed and the rest captured. (These are approximate numbers, purposely rounded off.) It was the only battle in the Pacific where the Marines took more casualties than they inflicted on the enemy.
Planners initially believed Iwo Jima would be taken in a week. D-Day was February 19, but the island was not declared secure until March 26. It was an enormously costly, bloody battle
Nonetheless, the fight for Iwo Jima, seen in some military circles as a Pyrrhic victory, and decried by a small number of skeptics stateside, was viewed as an overwhelming success by the bulk of the American civilian population. It provided the now world famous photo of the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi, which in turn served as a highly successful platform for raising war bond money to help pay for the war.
Twenty three years later, American forces were again engaged in an epic battle in the month of February, this time in Vietnam, during the fighting labeled the Tet Offensive of 1968.
Although popular myth in the United States says that the American military was caught off guard, the truth is that many in the military were aware that more than 100,000 North Vietnamese regular forces and Viet Cong guerrillas were preparing a major offensive and that it would be launched somewhere around the Vietnamese New Year that began February 1.
The entire garrison of the U.S. Marine combat base at Khe Sanh was on high alert in the days leading up to the assault, and units throughout South Vietnam were prepared for the coming battle.
In Saigon, 35 NVA and Viet Cong battalions were met head-on by 50 battalions of American and allied troops that had been positioned to protect the city by Lt. Gen. Fred C. Weyand. Weyand's troops were prepared and on Feb. 1, the first day of the communist offensive, they launched a decisive counter-attack against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese.
Meanwhile, in what became the Battle for Hue, 12,000 NVA and Viet Cong troops took the undefended city, then begin systematic executions of an estimated 5000 South Vietnamese including government officials, teachers, university professors, captured South Vietnamese army officers, and Catholic priests.
U.S. Marines and South Vietnamese forces counter-attacked and in some of the most bitter fighting in the Tet Offensive, retook the old imperial city, house by house, street by street. On February 24, Marines occupied the Imperial Palace in the heart of the ancient citadel. The battle ended with a devastating North Vietnamese defeat, in which the communists lost more than 5,000 killed while the Marines lost fewer than 200 killed.
The North Vietnamese communists, some 20,000 of whom surrounded the base at Khe Sanh during this period, were hammered throughout the siege by Marine artillery, air strikes, and sharpshooters inside the base, as well as seemingly endless B-52 raids. The communists lost an estimated 15,000 killed while the Marines lost fewer than 300 killed.
Overall, the Tet Offensive cost fewer than 1,600 American lives, while the communists lost by their count more than 45,000. Estimates from other sources have placed the number of communists killed in the Tet Offensive much higher, but regardless, out of the more than 150 towns and cities attacked on Feb. 1, not one was in communist hands at the end of the month.
However, led by US newsman Walter Cronkite, the anchorman for CBS news, the monumental success by American forces was labeled a defeat by the American media and leftist politicians. Four decades later revisionist historians and other communists still make this claim. The Vietnamese communists do not share this view, and have never claimed that the Tet Offensive was anything other than a devastating loss for their side, including the decimation of the Viet Cong guerrilla forces, who never recovered.
But the Vietnamese communists do thank their supporters in the American media and Congress for helping spread the Big Lie, that in turn led to the downfall of South Vietnam and the wholesale slaughter of some 4 million Southeast Asians.
Now, 39 years after the Tet Offensive of 1968, and 62 years after Iwo Jima, American forces are again engaged in an all-or-nothing battle, this time in Iraq against Islamo-terrorists who are bent on world domination.
Once again, our forces are inflicting devastating losses on the enemy, but once again the communists in the American media and Congress are working to convince the American public that not only are we losing, but that nothing we can do will change this.
In four years of battle the losses in the War on Terror do not even come close to the losses sustained in a little more than a month of fighting on Iwo Jima. Yet the media trumpets the deaths of every single American as a repudiation of both tactics and strategy, and every homicide bomber who blows up Iraqi civilians as proof that the United States can not win.
The war in Iraq is labeled a civil war that we should not be fighting, even though our troops have primarily been engaged in operations against terrorists from countries other than Iraq. The current offensive in Baghdad and elsewhere is long overdue, and already is yielding results, but it would be hard to determine that if the only source of information on the fighting was the American media.
In truth, the war in Iraq is a proxy war, being fought against the U.S. by China and Russia which are backing the terrorists by supplying both arms and technology, just as they did in Vietnam. But even that backing isn't enough to overcome our forces, so the communists in Congress have gone on a spree of misinformation, worthless speechifying and meaningless resolutions, all in an effort to wear down the American public.
The communists in the American Congress have shown themselves since the Vietnam days to be mindless racists who don't care how many people die as long as they are from another region of the world. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, for instance, when debating Swift Boat commander John O'Neill on the Dick Cavet show back in the early 70s said that if the U.S. left Vietnam there would be "no bloodbath," and estimated that 'only' a few thousand South Vietnamese would die.
He was wrong there on so many counts, as history has shown, but that position was repeated today on Fox News Sunday by Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, who claimed that worries about the aftermath of a U.S. defeat in Iraq are mostly groundless. "No bloodbath." Kerry said it in the Vietnam era, Levin is saying it today.
How anyone with a brain and the ability to reason can reach that conclusion is beyond me. But America is fast approaching a point where it is going to have to decide what it wants to be. I have heard some pundits say in recent weeks that we shouldn't be a superpower or a world leader.
We should step aside and let someone else, maybe the Chinese for instance, be the leader they say. Why? What on earth is so great about being second best?
Settling for second place may be enough for some, but if we settle in this situation it isn't the communists who will win. It is the religious extremists, and sane people don't want to be part of what they will bring to government.
Maybe the communists in Congress and the American media are closet masochists. Maybe they like the idea of being slaves to sadists.
If that is the case, I recommend they use some of the tons and tons of illicit money they take from lobbyists each week and hire someone to beat them to their hearts' content. That way, they'll be happy and the rest of us can continue to live in a free society.
I would rather celebrate something other than a history of battles during the month of February. But at least thus far our military has a winning record. If we want to change the world for the better, it is a lot easier to do it from the top of the high ground than under the heel of an oppressor's boot.
Could someone pass that on to Congress? Seems like a lot of people there aren't getting the message.
Sunday, February 18, 2007