Third Battalion, Fifth Marines
From the Opinion Page of the Napa Valley Register, 11/22/99
Commentary: Don't believe the 'pinkies'; Vietnam stopped communism
By FRED T. SHULTZ, Ph.D
I don't believe the majority were opposed, but there certainly were the many vocal few who fit that statement.
I believe that the biggest problem is that most people still today do not understand the realities. At best, some pay lip service such as, "While it was in our interest to oppose the communist threat to America, it did not benefit Americans to ..." (E. A. Locke, commentary, Nov. 11).
I hope the following historical discussion will help to ease a bit of the pain of the Vietnam veterans and the families of those who did not return -- and don't be afraid to stand up and explain the realities to the misinformed.
It is appalling the view that most people today have about the Vietnam War --
the reason it was fought and what it accomplished.
These people obviously have never heard of, much less read, the
"Communist Manifesto." This was a book published years ago written by the
leaders of the communist movement. It clearly outlined the absolute and unqualified goal
of communism which can be summed up in the phrase "the conquest of the world."
In the '50s and '60s, it was commonly discussed in the U.S. and other
"free" countries that communist expansion must be stopped. Today, the existence
of that view has been forgotten. It is common belief that communism "fell under its
own weight," that the Berlin Wall fell down from old age. Not true. Communism means
dictatorship, and to continue to exist, it must slaughter its own people as needed and
expand to conquer other countries. When communism is finally contained, it stagnates and
Cambodia was a terrible event, but it certainly convinced countries on the
edge to go in another direction. It did not spread to neighboring countries and marked a
geographical boundary for communism.
The Vietnam War was the biggest and costliest battle, in terms of U.S. lives,
to halt communism. The Vietnam soldiers can be proud of what they accomplished. Those who
died did not die in vain. We owe them much. They put the biggest clamp on the goals
outlined in the Communist Manifesto. Without a winnable war to turn to, Russian communism
stagnated -- and collapsed.
Perhaps we could have conducted the military effort in some other way to
accomplish the same goal with less loss of lives, but our military leaders were not
allowed to win. They could not do an end run into Hanoi or otherwise interdict the supply
lines from China and Russia. They could not bomb communist cities and ships. As in Korea,
the enemy had sanctuaries. All we could do was contain those sanctuaries.