Our mobilization effort to defeat COVID-19 has often been likened to a war. A Forbes headline from January reads, “How the Biden Administration Can Win the War Against COVID-19.” Biden recently compared the loss of American lives to COVID to those lost in American wars. I think it is fair to say that we have been at war, but not a war we can be proud of or even a war we can claim to have won.
Like Vietnam, this war was predicated on a lie, futile from conception, and corrupt in its implementation. I think you’ll find the parallels are staggering.
Both the escalation of the Vietnam War and the escalation of our war against Covid were predicated on lies. The bombing campaign of strategic Vietnam facilities that began in August 1964 was justified by the supposed unprovoked attack of an American Destroyer by Northern Vietnamese vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin. As we later learned, no such attack occurred. Malfunctioning equipment and eager sonar operators aboard the Maddox mistook the sounds of their own ship’s propellors for incoming torpedo fire.
So too was the escalation of our war against Covid justified by imagination. The now-discredited “Imperial College Study” from the UK used computer modeling to project 2.2 million American deaths from COVID. Trump’s March 2020 announcement of strict lockdown and social distancing guidelines — our metaphorical bombing campaign called “15 days to slow the spread” — was predicated on a malfunctioning projection model.
Both the Vietnam War and our COVID war were also futile. But futility in both wars only further emboldened the so-called War Hawks to double down. The greatest hawk in the mid to late 60’s was Robert Strange McNamara, Johnson’s Secretary of Defense. In fact, so influential was McNamara in advising and directing strategy in the failed Vietnam War that the war came to be called “McNamara’s War.”
Our modern McNamara and perhaps the greatest Hawk in the COVID war is Anthony Fauci. As lockdowns proved disastrous and ineffective — as evidenced by the case comparisons between the free state of Florida and the slave state of California — Fauci’s demands that we double down on lockdowns grew louder. So influential has Fauci been in advising and directing strategy in our COVID war that this war should be called “Fauci’s War.”
The supposed progress of both the Vietnam war and our COVID war were also measured by corrupt, grossly exaggerated, and faulty statistics. McNamara used the “body count” initiative to measure American success in Vietnam. Success was measured by the number of dead enemies. He sought to understand what was happening in Vietnam by staring at spreadsheets. Generals and other officers inflated their body counts to give McNamara the information he wanted, appease him, and also secure pats on the backs and promotions.
Fauci and his Democrat acolytes measured our success in our war with COVID by staring at spreadsheets — number of cases, number of dead, and numbers of available hospital beds. Lockdown decisions were made based on a fetish with misleading statistics. Bad decisions were made based on the abuse and misuse of useless data. Corrupt statistics rather than reason guided the decision-making in both wars. McNamara and Fauci both incentivized corruption and bad decision-making.
When the Vietnam War finally came to an end in 1973, we had nothing to show for the sacrifices that were made. 60,000 Americans had died, 150,000 were wounded, 1,000 others were missing in action. Countless others were sick, limbless, and psychologically damaged or opioid addicted. The economic toll too led to inflation and widespread poverty. The ill-effects of the Vietnam War were felt for a decade.
The same can be said of our COVID war. As it hopefully comes to an end what do we have to show for the sacrifices Americans were forced to make over the past year? We only learned that men die who are both free and slave alike. Unemployment soared. So too did suicide rates, drug and alcohol abuse, and adverse medical and behavioral health conditions. The full extent of the unforeseen economic toll has yet to be felt. Inflation and widespread poverty are inevitable. The same blank check awarded to fight the Vietnam War has been awarded to fight the COVID war.
But Vietnam also had other deleterious consequences. Government distrust reached previously unforeseen levels. The credibility gap was used to describe the disconnect between what Government bureaucrats told the American people and what the American people actually believed. For years Johnson, McNamara, and others lied about the progress of the Vietnam War. They made erroneous claims that we were winning when, in fact, we were not.
The same has occurred today in our COVID war. For a year Fauci has been the official COVID propagandist, repeatedly asserting that draconian lockdowns, face masks, and social distancing have been necessary and effective strategies to combat our enemy, the virus. This flew boldly in the face of the reality we witnessed every day with our own eyes.
A schism has also been revealed in America — between those who believe in the Constitution and liberty and those who are eager and willing to give up their freedom and Constitutional Rights in the name of “Patriotism.” Ironically it is today the left, which once wore their draft dodger status and resistance in the ’60s and ’70s as a badge of honor, who now attack and condemn those who resist the unconstitutional and totalitarian demands of our Government.
These are but a few of the myriad similarities — none of them positive and all of them disastrous. McNamara would eventually admit that he had made mistakes. Will Fauci ever admit the same? It is doubtful. What is clear, however, is that our war against COVID has been a mistake. It should be remembered as such — COVIDnam.
Drew Allen is a Texas-bred, California-based conservative author and speaker, who writes a weekly blog promoting conservative ideals at drewthomasallen.com.