July 30, 2007, - 3:36 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Adrian Cronauer, the Vietnam Vet on whose life the movie, “Good Morning, Vietnam” was based (he’s the man Robin Williams played) writes me about my review of the fantastic movie, “Rescue Dawn” (the story of Vietnam Vet/Navy Pilot Dieter Dengler’s captivity and heroic escape from a Laotian POW camp). He likes my review but has a bone to pick with me. And he’s 100% right (see below in his e-mail).
(Cronauer was Senior Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Institute, a trustee of the Virginia War Memorial, a member of the Board of the National Vietnam Veterans Coalition. (Although my research shows he’s now a Special Assistant to the Director of the POW/MIA Office at the Dept. of Defense, Cronauer makes very clear that this e-mail is a strictly personal communication, not made in any capacity as a government employee.)
Adrian Cronauer, Then . . .
From: Adrian Cronauer
Date: Jul 30, 2007 8:28 AM
Subject: Dengler Review
Good (as usual) review of the Dengler film but one, tiny, nit-picking point if I may: we didn’t lose the war in Vietnam, we lost the peace, if we lost anything. Viewed from one perspective, we politically gave up what we had already won militarily. Actually, “we” didn’t do so as a country but, rather, the Dems in Congress–to their everlasting shame–deliberately gave South Viet Nam to the Communists.
When we withdrew our military in 1973, the Viet Cong were still recovering from the defeat they suffered during the Tet Offensive while the South Vietnamese military was more than able to defend their country–but only if they continued to receive equipment, ammunition, other supplies, and miscellaneous logistical support from the U.S. which we promised to give them indefinitely. No sooner had our troops returned home (“victoriously” one could argue) when the liberals (I refuse to use the false designation of “progressive”) in Congress started to pull the plug on South Vietnam. They blocked any funds to support the S. VN military and, hence, it was only a matter of time before the North Vietnamese Communist troops were able to overrun the South and either “re-educate” or massacre all those who were loyal to the South or had anything to do with the Americans.
Would it be too much of a stretch to see what the Dems are doing in Congress now regarding Iraq as a direct parallel?
Yes, I am THAT Adrian Cronauer and as the patch on my black leather vest says, “Vietnam–When I Left, We Were Winning.”
Always enjoy your column. And please keep up the good work.
P.S. And, if anyone should question that the Viet Cong were soundly
defeated during the Tet Offensive, any reputable military historian will confirm that the VC expected Vietnamese peasants to rise up and join the Communists which, of course, never happened. The VC and North Vietnamese forces, therefore, were decimated; it took, literally, years for them to rebuild their strength. This, despite the likes of Walter Cronkite erroneously, and some would say deliberately, reporting the exact opposite.
Thanks, Adrian. And AMEN to all that you wrote. Your “tiny nit-picking point” is not so tiny or nit-picking and is 100% on target.
Adrian Cronauer, Now . . .
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