Roger Helle / Jan. 20, 2021

A Battle Worth Fighting

If not us, who? If not now, when? Conservatives must step up to the challenge.

It was dusk as I led our squad into the little village several kilometers north of the Marine base at Phu Bai, South Vietnam. This was a new area for us to patrol. As I entered the village, I came upon a villager squatting by the hedges surrounding some huts. He had been looking the other way when I came up to him and he was startled when he saw me. I tried to assure him I meant no harm.

Yet, in less than two minutes, he and two Viet Cong regulars were dead and my heart was both in my throat and beating wildly in my chest. It was not my first combat experience, but it was the first up this close. I saw the two armed Viet Cong, then noticed the “farmer.” I started backing away as he tried to pull a grenade out from under his shirt. My training kicked in. When it was over, three enemy were dead and I was alive. I spent days wondering, “What if?” I saw the danger this time. What about the next time?

The South Vietnamese Army had a reputation of trying to avoid the enemy if it could. It patrolled the countryside during the day, but at night, it retreated to its bases. The enemy “owned” the night. That’s why I startled the local farmer by day, guerrilla soldier at night. We weren’t expected. They learned quickly.

The South Vietnamese Army would be compelled by the government to do something. When it finally had to conduct operations, it “advertised” its movements to give the Viet Cong time to get out of the way. The philosophy was, “We’ll leave you alone if you leave us alone.” It worked until the Viet Cong forces grew to the point they didn’t run away when they were found. They stood and fought.

After years of our support and training, the South Vietnamese forces gained confidence. But eventually, our government decided to abandon them and go home. Their eventual failure to stand up for their own freedom cost them their country and the “bamboo curtain” of communism took over much of Southeast Asia. Several million would die in reeducation camps across Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Lessons learned? Apparently none!

Today, fully 40% of our country are deeply troubled by the recent elections and the tactics the far Left used to win. Why are we surprised? The Left has been playing offense for decades, while Republicans play defense. You don’t win wars, or elections, playing defense. We saw the deception, whined about their cheating, but we did nothing, and we lost.

Now, instead of getting some backbone, Republican leadership is playing the blame game and turning into a circular firing squad shooting at each other. Some lawmakers folded like a cheap suit, not wanting to be identified with Donald Trump, but are now turning on each other. The Left stands back and watches us with glee.

There will be a battle for the soul of our Republic. Our moral compass is broken. Republicans, when will you quit whining and blame-shifting and start fighting? Or will we, like President Ronald Reagan said many years ago, be telling our children and grandchildren what it was like when America was free?

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