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Blumenthal’s Lies on Vietnam

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Richard Blumenthal, who is Connecticut attorney general and candidate for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate, has been fibbing about his military background. He’s been telling people that he served in the Vietnam War when, in fact, he did no such thing. What he did do is serve in a Marine Reserve unit during the war.

What’s with people like Blumenthal? Why can’t they just tell the truth: that the Vietnam War was an immoral, illegal, and destructive war based on intentional lies that the U.S. government sold to the American people and that he’s glad he did everything he could to avoid it?

Why can’t he just admit that the Reserves and the National Guard were the means by which the rich boys and those with political influence avoided the draft during the Vietnam War? During the 1960s, everyone knew that the people who were being used as cannon fodder for the Vietnam grind fest were draftees, who were the poor guys, the blacks and Hispanics, and those without political influence. Those in the Reserves and National Guard, such as George W. Bush, were kept safely ensconced here at home, I suppose to protect the home front from all those communists who were supposedly coming to invade and occupy America.

In retrospect, it seems to me that those guys who avoided the draft, including people like Dick Cheney, or those who went to Canada, were the smart ones. They recognized that the war was nothing more than a crock, and certainly nothing to kill or die for. And so they refused to blindly comply with the wishes and orders of government officials to join the military and go fight and die for nothing.

Let’s keep in mind, first of all, that there was no congressional declaration of war, which the Constitution requires before the president can commit the nation to war. There are some who claim that that’s just a technicality and, therefore, no big deal. But it’s not a technicality. It’s the law, the higher law that we the people have imposed on government officials. They’re supposed to obey our laws, just as they expect us to obey the laws they impose on us.

Second, the Vietnam War was nothing more than a civil war, one in which the communist regime in the north was trying to unify the country. Communism was — and is — a very bad thing, but lots of bad things happen around the world. The Vietnamese civil war was no more the business of the U.S. government than the U.S. Civil War was the business of Vietnam. Fifty-eight thousand American men had their lives snuffed out in a ridiculous military enterprise that, at best, would have ended up with a standard authoritarian regime in South Vietnam. That’s nothing to kill or die for or to send hundreds of thousands of American men to kill or die for.

Third, the whole war was based on a pack of lies. Most everyone now knows about the infamous lie about the Gulf of Tonkin. To secure a congressional resolution (not a congressional declaration of war) to authorize the use of force in Vietnam, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson and the Pentagon claimed that the North Vietnamese had attacked a U.S. military vessel at the Gulf of Tonkin, knowing full well that no such attack had taken place. Congress fell for the lie, and enacted the resolution, which enabled Johnson to begin pouring men and resources into the conflict.

There were also the lies emanating from the Pentagon about how well the war was supposedly going. That’s what the Pentagon Papers, which Daniel Ellsberg so heroically exposed, were all about. It’s not surprising that Republican President Richard Nixon and the Pentagon went after Ellsberg with an illegal search and a criminal indictment, accusing him of being a traitor. In their minds, a patriot is one who lies about what is going on or conceals the truth, so that government officials can continue sending American soldiers to their deaths without opposition from them or their families.

There is also the famous domino lie. That’s the one by which U.S. officials were claiming that if American soldiers weren’t killing and dying in Vietnam, the dominoes would begin falling to the communists, and that the final domino to fall would be the United States. If the United States had won the Vietnam War, you can rest assured that that’s what they would have said to justify all those deaths — that if the war hadn’t been waged, Americans would today be speaking communist. But the United States did lose the war, which exposed the domino lie in all its nakedness. The United States did not fall to the communists (notwithstanding the irony that the U.S. government is now dominated by socialists).

And, of course, there is the idea of conscription itself, which is really nothing more than a form of slavery. Think about it: The government claims the authority to seize a private citizen from his family and his business activities and force him into a military organization, against his will. How is that different from slavery, which forces people to work for other people, against their will?

By the way, apparently communism isn’t considered so bad anymore because guess where the George W. Bush Republican administration and the Pentagon got the money to fund their imperial enterprises in Iraq and Afghanistan? You guessed right: from the communist regime in China, the same communist regime that was funneling arms and weaponry that killed many of those 58,000 American soldiers in Vietnam. Where is Jane Fonda when we need her?

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Iraq and Afghanistan, would someone mind telling me where those infamous WMDs are, and where Osama bin Laden is? Indeed, where are the congressional declarations of war against those two countries? And where in the Constitution is the president authorized to assassinate people, including Americans? And precisely when are those millions of Muslims supposed to be crossing the oceans in all those ships and planes to invade and occupy America and take over the IRS, the Interstate highways, and the public schools?

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.