Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu has adopted the strangest narrative in a bid to attack pro-gun conservatives: that the US actually won in Vietnam, and that it’s unpatriotic to say the enemy fought off the US military with cheap rifles.
The Democrats are not traditionally the party associated with jingoism and chest-thumping military pride, but Ted Lieu (D-California) is apparently on a mission to change that.
The bizarre story began on Wednesday when North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R) appeared on Newsmax to speak out against President Joe Biden’s nomination of former agent David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Chipman is a proponent of gun prohibition and a veteran of the 1993 Waco massacre, in which federal agents slaughtered 82 members of a religious cult and their children.
Cawthorn defended gun ownership as vital in defending against government tyranny. “If anybody ever wants to say ‘oh, well you know what, citizens with a few small arms fire would never be able to stop the federal government’ – I absolutely disagree,” he said. “Ask the Viet Cong how they handled the Marines and the Army in Vietnam.”
Rep Madison Cawthorn: “If anybody ever wants to say ‘oh, well you know what, citizens with a few small arms fire would never be able to stop the federal government’ – I absolutely disagree. Ask the Viet Cong how they handled the Marines and the Army in Vietnam” pic.twitter.com/BPqn3d9Rsx
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) June 16, 2021
Lieu, a staunch proponent of gun control, was incensed. “Many Vietnamese and Americans tragically lost their lives in the Vietnam war,” he tweeted later that night. “Also, the US Marines and Army won every major battle in Vietnam. You should learn history, and stop diminishing the sacrifice of our Vietnam Veterans and those who never came back.”
In reality, Viet Cong guerillas armed with cheap Soviet and Chinese rifles, and even bolt-action weapons dating from the two world wars, were able to mire the US in Vietnam for more than a decade. While the US and its South Vietnamese allies did win every major battle of the war, these lightly-armed guerillas eventually conquered the US-backed South Vietnamese military, and inflicted enough casualties – more than 58,000 killed – that the US withdrew unceremoniously in 1973.
Books have been written on whether the US actually set out to ‘win’ in a conventional, military sense, and whether rules of engagement and political considerations prevented such a win. Nevertheless, Lieu’s insistence that the US “won” in any sense of the word was ridiculed on Twitter.
That the US lost “used to be standard liberal orthodoxy about the Vietnam War,” Journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted. “But during the Trump era, Democrats unified with CIA, FBI and the security state, becoming complete jingoists, calling everyone traitors & using McCarthyite scripts.”
Just amazing. It’s now prohibited in Democratic politics — dishonoring The Troops, even a form of treason — to point out the indisputable fact that the Viet Cong, despite being wildly underfunded and under-armed compared to the mighty US military, managed to resist them: https://t.co/PXVf1bAw30
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 17, 2021
New level of partisan hackery just dropped: describing how we got beat by guerillas in Vietnam is offensive https://t.co/OAc1TZCV5r
— Bryson Piscitelli (@realbpiscitelli) June 17, 2021
“A Republican could go on TV and say water is wet and these idiots would be saying it’s dry,” another commenter quipped.
Lieu isn’t the only Democrat who was treated to a history lesson after claiming that guns can’t defend Americans against tyranny. When fellow Californian Rep. Eric Swalwell (D) claimed in 2018 that a war between citizenry and the state “would be a short war” due to the American nuclear arsenal, he was reminded that the Viet Cong and the Taliban did fairly well for themselves against the US without nuclear weapons.
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