Herschensohn: Congress Sets Up Afghan Failure

Friday, 06 Aug 2010 05:13 PM

By John Rossomando

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Congress is setting up American forces for failure in Afghanistan, just like it did during the Vietnam War, foreign policy expert Bruce Herschensohn tells Newsmax.TV.

The present Congress is mirroring the actions of the 94th Congress, which sabotaged victory, says Herschensohn, author of the new book, “An American Amnesia: How The U.S. Congress Forced the Surrenders of South Vietnam and Cambodia.”

U.S. forces had won militarily in Vietnam by the time President Richard Nixon announced a cease-fire with North Vietnam in January 1973 under the Paris Peace Accords, says Herschensohn, who served in the Nixon and Reagan administrations and now teaches at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy in Malibu, Calif.

Editor's Note: Get "An American Amnesia" at a Great Price from Amazon -- Go Here Now.

But “Congress was not pleased with our win, our victory,” Herschensohn says. “Neither were a lot of college professors. Neither were a lot of the demonstrators. A lot of people weren’t happy with it . . . because they had an investment in our failure, and the last thing they wanted us to do was to win.”

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Congressional opponents of the Vietnam War had staked their reputations on ensuring defeat, and they also did not want Nixon to get credit for a U.S. victory, he says.

Consequently, Congress spent the two years following the cease-fire refusing to appropriate the funds South Vietnam needed to defend itself, which led to the fall of Saigon in April 1975, Herschensohn says.

Herschensohn believes this Congress has the same “investment in failure.”

“It is almost as if the 111th Congress wants to duplicate what the 94th Congress did,” says Herschensohn, who lost a U.S. Senate campaign in 1992 in California to Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is now in a tight race for re-election with Republican Carly Fiorina. “They want a withdrawal date – many of them do.”
He worries that a hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan could lead to a repeat of Cambodia’s Killing Fields, where upwards of 1.7 million people perished following the U.S. withdrawal from Southeast Asia.

“What the 94th Congress did was make it possible, probable, and doable for a genocide of Southeast Asia, with millions killed,” Herschensohn says. “More were killed in the ‘peace’ . . . of Southeast Asia than in a decade of war.

“That is what the 111th Congress very likely could achieve regarding Afghanistan. To have this history behind us and to not learn from it is absolutely incredible.”

Herschensohn sees a parallel between the 1971 Pentagon Papers, which detailed the U.S. conduct of the Vietnam War, and the more than 90,000 classified documents detailing the war in Afghanistan that WikiLeaks recently released.

The WikiLeaks expose could endanger American troops, as well as those of U.S. allies in Afghanistan, and help the Taliban return to power, he says.

He believes secrets are necessary during wartime, and the public does not have a right to know everything that happens in Afghanistan.

“What happened last week would be considered treason if it had happened during World War II,” Herschensohn says.

Referring again to World War II, Herschensohn says the nation cannot afford to fight a politically correct war in Afghanistan, noting that the United States and its allies defeated Nazi Germany and Japan by killing tens of thousands of civilians in cities such as Dresden, Berlin, and Tokyo.

“No one talked about a timeline. No one talked about fighting it politically correct – about endangering civilians,” he says, referring to the firebombing of Dresden, which killed at least 25,000 civilians. “But we won. There was only one thing loosely classified in the timeline, and that was victory.”

Editor's Note: Get "An American Amnesia" at a Great Price from Amazon -- Go Here Now.

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