Here's hoping he stays with principles over party. Washington has an evil way of changing people. Let's hope this guy has the stones to not let that happen. Sleeping with the Enemy By James Webb It is difficult to explain to my children that in my teens and early twenties the most frequently heard voices of my peers were trying to destroy the foundations of American society, so that it might be rebuilt according to their own narcissistic notions. In retrospect itâ€™s hard even for some of us who went through those times to understand how highly educated peopleâ€”most of them spawned from the comforts of the upper-middle classâ€”could have seriously advanced the destructive ideas that were in the air during the late â€™60s and early â€™70s. Even Congress was influenced by the virus. After President Nixon resigned in August of 1974, that fallâ€™s congressional elections brought 76 new Democrats to the House, and eight to the Senate. A preponderance of these freshmen had run on McGovernesque platforms. Many had been viewed as weak candidates before Nixonâ€™s resignation, and some were glaringly unqualified, such as then-26-year-old Tom Downey of New York, who had never really held a job in his life and was still living at home with his mother. This so-called Watergate Congress rode into town with an overriding mission that had become the rallying point of the American Left: to end all American assistance in any form to the besieged government of South Vietnam. Make no mistakeâ€”this was not the cry of a few years earlier to stop young Americans from dying. It had been two years since the last American soldiers left Vietnam, and fully four years since the last serious American casualty calls there. For reasons that escape historical justification, even after Americaâ€™s military withdrawal the Left continued to try to bring down the incipient South Vietnamese democracy. Future White House aide Harold Ickes and others at "Project Pursestrings"â€”assisted at one point by an ambitious young Bill Clintonâ€”worked to cut off all congressional funding intended to help the South Vietnamese defend themselves. The Indochina Peace Coalition, run by David Dellinger and headlined by Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, coordinated closely with Hanoi throughout 1973 and 1974, and barnstormed across Americaâ€™s campuses, rallying students to the supposed evils of the South Vietnamese government. Congressional allies repeatedly added amendments to spending bills to end U.S. support of Vietnamese anti-Communists, precluding even air strikes to help South Vietnamese soldiers under attack by North Vietnamese units that were assisted by Soviet-bloc forces. Then in early 1975 the Watergate Congress dealt non-Communist Indochina the final blow. The new Congress icily resisted President Gerald Fordâ€™s January request for additional military aid to South Vietnam and Cambodia. This appropriation would have provided the beleaguered Cambodian and South Vietnamese militaries with ammunition, spare parts, and tactical weapons needed to continue their own defense. Despite the fact that the 1973 Paris Peace Accords called specifically for "unlimited military replacement aid" for South Vietnam, by March the House Democratic Caucus voted overwhelmingly, 189-49, against any additional military assistance to Vietnam or Cambodia. The rhetoric of the antiwar Left during these debates was filled with condemnation of Americaâ€™s war-torn allies, and promises of a better life for them under the Communism that was sure to follow. Then-Congressman Christopher Dodd typified the hopeless naivetÃ© of his peers when he intoned that "calling the Lon Nol regime an ally is to debase the word.... The greatest gift our country can give to the Cambodian people is peace, not guns. And the best way to accomplish that goal is by ending military aid now." Tom Downey, having become a foreign policy expert in the two months since being freed from his motherâ€™s apron strings, pooh-poohed the coming Cambodian holocaust that would kill more than one-third of the countryâ€™s population, saying, "The administration has warned that if we leave there will be a bloodbath. But to warn of a new bloodbath is no justification for extending the current bloodbath." On the battlefields of Vietnam the elimination of all U.S. logistical support was stunning and unanticipated news. South Vietnamese commanders had been assured of material support as the American military withdrewâ€”the same sort of aid the U.S. routinely provided allies from South Korea to West Germanyâ€”and of renewed U.S. air strikes if the North attacked the South in violation of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords. Now they were staring at a terrifyingly uncertain future, even as the Soviets continued to assist the Communist North. As the shocked and demoralized South Vietnamese military sought to readjust its forces to cope with serious shortages, the newly refurbished North Vietnamese immediately launched a major offensive. Catching many units out of position, the North rolled down the countryside over a 55-day period. In the ensuing years I have interviewed South Vietnamese survivors of these battles, many of whom spent ten years and more in Communist concentration camps after the war. The litany is continuous: "I had no ammunition." "I was down to three artillery rounds per tube per day." "I had nothing to give my soldiers." "I had to turn off my radio because I could no longer bear to hear their calls for help." The reaction in the United States to this debacle defines two distinct camps that continue to be identifiable in many of the issues we face today. For most of those who fought in Vietnam, and for their families, friends, and political compatriots, this was a dark and deeply depressing month. The faces we saw running in terror from the North Vietnamese assault were real and familiar, not simply video images. The bodies that fell like spinning snowflakes toward cruel deaths after having clung hopelessly to the outer parts of departing helicopters and aircraft may have been people we knew or tried to help. Even for those who had lost their faith in Americaâ€™s ability to defeat the Communists, this was not the way it was supposed to end. For those who had evaded the war and come of age believing our country was somehow evil, even as they romanticized the intentions of the Communists, these few weeks brought denials of their own responsibility in the debacle, armchair criticisms of the South Vietnamese military, or open celebrations. At the Georgetown University Law Center where I was a student, the Northâ€™s blatant discarding of the promises of peace and elections contained in the 1973 Paris Accords, followed by the rumbling of North Vietnamese tanks through the streets of Saigon, was treated by many as a cause for actual rejoicing. Denial is rampant in 1997, but the truth is this end result was the very goal of the antiwar movementâ€™s continuing efforts in the years after American withdrawal. George McGovern, more forthcoming than most, bluntly stated as much to this writer during a break in taping a 1995 edition of cnnâ€™s "Crossfire." After I had argued that the war was clearly winnable even toward the end if we had changed our strategy, the 1972 presidential candidate who had offered to go to Hanoi on his knees commented, "What you donâ€™t understand is that I didnâ€™t want us to win that war." Mr. McGovern was not alone. He was part of a small but extremely influential minority who eventually had their way.