By George Rasley | CHQ | 7/27/20
Those who served in or who have studied the war in Vietnam will immediately recognize Khe Sanh as one of the most controversial battles of the war. For 77 days a single surrounded and cut-off U.S. Marine regiment of about 5,000 along with U.S. Army MACV advisers, and supporting troops, held the Khe Sanh Combat Base against 20,000 to 30,000 communist insurgents of the North Vietnamese Army.
The North Vietnamese hoped to establish a “liberation government” just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and they wanted to control the area to launch attacks into the south and sow unrest. If they wanted to push south from bases in Laos, Khe Sanh stood directly in their path, wrote Matthew M. Burke, for Stars and Stripes.
United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam commander Army Gen. William Westmoreland said that the base was strategically important. “Another factor favoring the decision to hold Khe Sanh was the enemy’s determination to take it,” Westmoreland wrote. “Our defense of the area would tie down large numbers of North Vietnamese troops which otherwise could move against the vulnerable populated areas whose security was the heart of the Vietnamese pacification program.”
In short, we had it, the communists wanted it, and would be prepared to commit significant resources to take Khe Sanh, providing the United States and our South Vietnamese allies an opportunity to draw them into battle and destroy them.
And Westmoreland’s plan worked – the Marines confirmed the deaths of 1,602 NVA but the number is believed to be as high as 15,000. General Westmoreland, after flying into Khe Sanh by helicopter, declared: “We took 220 killed at Khe Sanh and about 800 wounded and evacuated. The enemy by my count suffered at least 15,000 dead in the area.” Ray Stubbe, a U.S. Navy chaplain during the siege who has done detailed research on U.S. casualties on the larger Khe Sanh battlefield, disagrees and concluded that approximately 1,000 Americans died in operations at and around Khe Sanh.
Whichever casualty figures you choose to accept, the strategy of drawing large enemy forces against Khe Sanh and destroying them worked – until it was abandoned.
On July 11, 1968 the Marines left Khe Sanh for good, the U.S. announced that it was “strategically unnecessary to hold” and, to the rage and sorrow of the Americans who fought there, the North Vietnamese occupied the moonscape that had been the Khe Sanh Combat Base, in what was a propaganda, if not military victory.
Today, the Trump administration finds itself – probably inadvertently – with a similar opportunity at Portland, Oregon’s Hatfield Federal Courthouse.
The “rioting” in Portland has been going on for years, not days or weeks, and the violence directed at the federal courthouse is now approaching its sixtieth straight night. Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler claims the riots are pulling in more and more communist and anarchist extremists into the cauldron outside Portland’s courthouse.
If the Trump administration understood what is going on in Portland as the communist insurgency that it is, this would be a welcome development, providing the legitimate government’s forces with the opportunity to increase the rate of attrition of insurgent forces – through arrests, not combat operations, we hasten to say – by conducting block and sweep operations to arrest large groups of violent insurgents as they conduct their nightly attacks on the courthouse.
The legitimate government’s forces could also attack the communist insurgent forces’ command and control centers, such as Portland’s “In Other Words” bookstore, where ANTIFA is known to conduct training operations.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that the Administration sees the engagements at the Hatfield Courthouse as anything other than a defensive operation intended to prevent the destruction of the building.
If that is the case, as it appears to be, that is a grave error.
Arresting the slowest runners, charging them with minor offenses and turning them lose is a small ball strategy that is destined to fail, because it fails to recognize the obvious – what’s going on in Portland is not a “protest” or a riot.
What’s going on in Portland is a microbattle in the larger Leftwing insurgency against the legitimate government of the United States, and it should be understood as an opportunity to draw in and destroy – through legal means – those who are attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and establish a “liberation government” in Oregon.
And they have weaklings like Portland’s Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler, useful idiots like Oregon’s Democrat Governor Kate Brown and fellow travelers like Oregon’s Democrat Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to assist them in that effort by giving the insurgency an air of legitimacy as a legal “protest.”
We urge the Trump administration to recognize that what’s going on in Portland isn’t a “protest” it is part of a communist insurgency and to defeat it they need to apply counterinsurgency warfare strategy, techniques and technology against the insurgents. What’s happening in Portland is an opportunity to pull in and destroy our communist enemies within – as long as we don’t abandon the courthouse or those who have been fighting to defend it.
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