Vietnam Redux?

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote: Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3– United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam’s presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.


A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson’s policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam.


Before the results of the presidential election started to come in, the American officials warned that the turnout might be less than 80 per cent because the polling place would be open for two or three hours less than in the election a year ago. The turnout of 83 per cent was a welcome surprise. The turnout in the 1964 United States Presidential election was 62 per cent.

Kudos to BesottedBlog, who prints the full NYT article.

The point being that it would be prudent for many on the right to understand that history has a funny way of not going the way one always hopes. This article was in 1967 — Vietnam’s end was years away.

By the same token, the quick access into Baghdad did not result in the success you once hoped. Neither did the capture of Saddam. And while we can all applaud the fact that our march into Baghdad was relatively bloodless, and that Saddam was captured, and that Iraqis did vote in large numbers, we still are nowhere near permanent peace and democracy in Iraq (much less in the Middle East) . . . or a more secure United States.

Or, as Harvey Keitel said in Pulp Fiction: “Well, let’s not start suckin’ each other’s dicks quite yet.” Let’s enjoy the good news, but — for their sake — let’s keep it in perspective: the election of a transitional governing body only means the beginning of the beginning of something; not a crossing of the goalline.