Vietnam Aftermath

“The Paris Peace Accords of 1973, intended to establish peace in Vietnam and an end to the Vietnam War, ended direct U.S. military involvement, and temporarily stopped the fighting between North and South Vietnam. The governments of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), the Republic of Vietman (South Vietnam), and the United States, as well as the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) that represented indigenous South Vietnamese revolutionaries, signed the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam on January 27, 1973. The agreement was not ratified by the United States Senate. The negotiations that led to the accord began with President Lyndon Johnson in 1968.

On March 15, 1973, President Nixon implied that the United States would intervene militarily if the communist side violated the ceasefire. Public and congressional reaction to Nixon’s trial balloon was unfavorable and in April Nixon appointed Graham Martin as U.S. ambassador to Vietnam.

During his confirmation hearings in June 1973, Secretary of Defense designate James R. Schlesinger stated that he would recommend resumption of U.S. bombing in North Vietnam if North Vietnam launched a major offensive against South Vietnam. On June 4, 1973, the Democrat controlled U.S. Senate passed the unconscionable Case – Church Amendment to prohibit such intervention – effectively abandoning South Vietnam and abrogating the sacrifices of nearly 60,000 American service members over the previous 20 years.

Gerald R. Ford took over as U.S. President on August 9, 1974 after President Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal. At this time, Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam from $1 billion a year to $700 million. The U.S. midterm elections in 1974 brought in a new Congress dominated even more by Democrats who were even more determined to confront the Republican President on Vietnam. The Democrat controlled Congress immediately voted in restrictions on funding and military activities to be phased in through 1975 and to culminate in a total cutoff of funding in 1976. All South Vietnamese requests for aid were denied by the Democrat controlled U.S. Congress.”

George J. Veith’s book, Black April, fills the gaping historical void for this period, and in extraordinary fashion. Mr. Veith has tapped deeply into rich but previously neglected (by liberally biased historians) Vietnamese sources, including North Vietnamese histories, and he has interviewed commanders of numerous South Vietnamese units. In a blow-by-blow account, he presents mountains of new details that enable him to answer the principal historical questions.

“Although South Vietnam’s leaders committed some critical errors during the North’s 1975 offensive, Mr. Veith says, the defeat cannot be attributed to governmental ineptitude – and certainly not to war-fighting incompetence. By then the South Vietnamese military leadership included many officers who had performed exceedingly well in repulsing the 1972 Easter Offensive and in large but little-known clashes of 1973 and 1974. During the final North Vietnamese offensive, South Vietnamese commanders and their units fought much better than has been believed.

If Americans recall a South Vietnamese victory in 1975, it is likely the battle of Xuan Loc, where one division of the South Vietnamese army bludgeoned three North Vietnamese divisions. But Mr. Veith chronicles several other clashes, in March and April 1975, that show the South’s stout resistance – from Mo Tau and Bong Mountain in the country’s northern extremities, to Ben Cau and Chonh Thanh in the central region, to Can Tho and Long An in the south.

Isn’t it odd that the ground war in Vietnam, which was so exhaustively covered from 1965 to 1973, was all but forgotten by American journalists and historians after the Paris Peace Accords of 1973? After all, there was still a war going on in the “killing fields” of Southeast Asia and we have seen before and since that American journalists will go wherever there is a story, especially “shooting’ stories but, why not this time?

I believe it is because their mission was over – the mission to support and sustain their soulmates in the anti-war, anti-U.S. institution crowd. The U.S. had “lost”. They had won. Oh, the sweet taste of victory …

Mr. Veith demonstrates persuasively that the root cause of South Vietnam’s defeat was the slashing of assistance by the Democrat controlled U.S. Congress in 1974, when military aid was nearly halved. As the North Vietnamese onslaught began in March 1975, South Vietnam’s shortages of aircraft fuel and spare parts prevented the military from flying troops in to fortify a vulnerable 900-mile long western flank. The North Vietnamese were thus free to focus their attacks with overwhelming numbers on key towns and cities.

Because of the scarcity of air assets, imperiled South Vietnamese troops frequently had to retreat by truck or on foot. Civilians raced after the soldiers, terrified of being massacred by the communist forces, who had slaughtered non-combatants in Hue in 1968 and along Route 1 in 1972. Women and children and civilian vehicles clogged the major roads and bridges, slowing the withdrawal. Consequently, some of the combat units were cut off by the advancing North Vietnamese and destroyed.

When retreating South Vietnamese, forces attempted to form a defensive perimeter at the coastal city of Da Nang, more than a million frenzied civilians flocked to the city, where the 500,000 inhabitants were already in a state of panic. The city streets were so packed with civilian traffic, Mr. Veith explains, that the movement of military vehicles and large troop formations could not be coordinated.

Some soldiers left their units to protect relatives or help them flee. Gen. Ngo Quang Truong, a brilliant and charismatic South Vietnamese commander, decided that an organized defense was impossible; he ordered an evacuation of combat troops by sea. Some South Vietnamese soldiers escaped on ships, but many thousands of others were captured on the beaches by onrushing North Vietnamese units.

Black April” shows that the sharp reduction of U.S. aid meant the South Vietnamese were unable to bomb enemy ground forces even when they were massed and presented inviting targets. The South Vietnamese air force could not fly enough sorties to begin with, and its capabilities further eroded as the North Vietnamese overran airfields.

In January 1973, President Nixon had promised the South Vietnamese that American air power would smash the North Vietnamese if they broke the peace agreement about to be signed in Paris. But then Watergate intervened, and Congress – using the War Powers Resolution of 1973 – prevented Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, from fulfilling the pledge.

Although South Vietnam had 763,000 men under arms in 1975, the military’s very limited strategic mobility permitted it to assemble only 110,000 in Saigon for a last stand. The North Vietnamese, brought 350,000 troops to bear and they were richly supplied thanks to the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China and the recent transformations of the Ho Chi Minh Trail into a paved highway and the construction of an oil pipeline alongside it all courtesy of their Communist patrons.

Despite the hopelessness of the situation, Mr. Veith notes, many South Vietnamese units fought off large North Vietnamese assaults on Saigon and launched effective counterattacks which, ironically enough, allowed American diplomats to escape from the roof of the American embassy. According to Hanoi’s own estimates, North Vietnamese forces sustained 6,000 casualties in the war’s last days. South Vietnamese soldiers fought on until a newly installed caretaker government ordered a surrender in the vain hope of gaining concessions from the conquerors.

More than one-hundred thousand, that’s 100,000, South Vietnamese who had sided with the United States perished in the final battles, were executed immediately thereafter or died from maltreatment in massive “re-education” camps. Half a million more South Vietnamese died while attempting to flee communist oppression by boat. “Black April” provides a sobering reminder of the human costs of immorally abandoning a beleaguered ally.”

Beginning in 1975, the United States accepted displaced anti-communist Vietnamese nationals into America. By 2010, over 1.5 million had emigrated and assimilated into our culture. There are thriving Vietnamese communities in many states. In fact, Vietnamese immigrants have become American citizens at a much higher rate than any other group – 76% compared to 46% for all others!

In keeping with the Democrat tradition – dating from the Wilson administration – of a failure to understand the nature of international political reality, Frank Church, the Senator who authored the truly dishonorable bill to prevent the United States from coming to the aid of South Vietnam if North Vietnam did not live up to its promises under the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, thereby rendering useless the sacrifice of over 60,000 American servicemen and women, went on to be a leading character in one of the most ignorant, stupid and short-sighted legislative initiatives of all time.

“Frank Forrester Church III (1924 – 1984) was an American lawyer and politician. A leader of the Democrat Party, he served as a United States Senator from Idaho from 1957 to 1981. After the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, [this fairly junior Senator] made this warning to President Johnson: “In a democracy you cannot expect the people, whose sons are being killed and who will be killed, to exercise their judgment if the truth is concealed from them.”

This is a revealing comment, reflecting his mindset but, what Church failed (or chose not) to comprehend is that the People aren’t military experts, as their clamoring for disarmament after each war proves. They elect representatives to exercise a more informed judgement, in secret when the nation is at war or is maintaining readiness for the next war – which has always come – as 4000 years of human history proves – and to prepare them for the eventuality of hostilities by explaining the moral and ethical strategic importance of resisting an anticipated aggression.

This comment also reveals the simple, shallow and hypocritical character of Church’s mind as he would proceed to lead the campaign in the 1970s to eviscerate the ability of the United States to acquire any actionable intelligence about the activities and intentions of our enemies around the world at a time when the worldwide Islamic jihad was just beginning with the “oil embargo” of 1973.

Just how the American people would get the truth if their country was blind and deaf was, apparently, not an issue for the obviously oblivious Senator.

By the early years of the 1970s, a series of troubling revelations started to appear in the press concerning intelligence activities. First came the revelations of Christopher Pyle in January 1970, telling of the U.S.Army’s spying on the civilian population while Sam Ervin‘s Senate investigations produced more revelations. Then on December 22, 1974, The New York Times published a lengthy article by Seymour Hersh detailing operations engaged in by the CIA over the years that had been dubbed the “family jewels”. 

Both articles used illegally obtained classified material – making the authors complicit in a crime for which they were never charged for obvious political reasons – the Democrats were in power and these were teammates in their effort to delegitimize America’s historical institutions in order to bend them to their own ends. 

Covert-action programs involving assassination attempts against [illegitimate foreign tyrants] and covert attempts to subvert foreign governments were reported to the American people for the first time. In addition, the article discussed efforts by intelligence agencies to collect information on the political activities of US citizens.”

What these “media-darlings” had failed to appreciate was that America was really engaged in a life-and-death struggle with International Communism – the “shadow war” known as the Cold War – but a war nonetheless. To those who had learned the lessons of the early post-war period, secrets were vital to survival and not all Americans could be trusted with them. The fact that spies had been and could be embedded in the security services of the federal government apparently escaped their attention.

Soon after his reelection in 1974, Church created and chaired a new committee dedicated to “investigating” the American intelligence establishment and agencies (in particular, the CIA.) A month later, the Democrat House of Representatives set up a similar committee.

Between the two “investigations” and subsequent reports of the committees, the top-secret intelligence procedures, operations, and, unbelievably, even the names of some active intelligence operatives working for the United States (some, for decades) were made public and distributed to all our enemies – including the Soviet Union, Communist China, North Korea, and communist, or merely unfriendly, regimes in Asia, Africa, and South America.

[The Church Committee, for example, conducted more than eight hundred interviews — mostly with people involved in intelligence-gathering – and produced more than 110,000 pages of documents. Almost all the information gathered by both committees ended up in the hands of our enemies and adversaries???!!!]

The reports, taken together, literally destroyed America’s worldwide intelligence-gathering network. The Pike Committee report was so obviously and outrageously a threat to the intelligence community that even the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted against its publication. The report was nevertheless leaked to the media. Within days of the release of the reports and documents, thousands of people sympathetic to the cause of freedom in communist countries around the world were arrested. Hundreds of people simply disappeared –  most of them were executed.”

One worked with a U.S. intelligence agency. He had been a MIG fighter pilot for a communist country in Eastern Europe. One night, he managed to sneak his wife and two young children to the airfield where he was stationed. He stripped a MIG fighter of all unnecessary weight. He stuffed his wife and two little kids onto the floor of the MIG.

He took off and headed west. He flew less than a hundred feet above the ground to avoid radar detection. He fled to the West with his family until the jet ran out of fuel. He landed in a farmer’s field…just a few miles inside the border of a free European country. He had escaped communism with his entire family.

He was one of the men who told what was happening (and what had already happened) to the “informants” that had been identified by the KGB and other communist security organizations because of the Church and Pike reports. This information was also available when the radical Islamists came onto the scene at the end of the decade.

The intelligence community has never recovered from this horrific display of careless stupidity. After 40 years, we continue to be deaf and blind when it comes to human intelligence, on the ground, around the world. And why not? We purposefully sent an untold number of carefully recruited foreign human intelligence (HUMINT) sources to their deaths. Why would anyone ever work with us again? I wouldn’t!

The Democrat Party and its friends and allies in the media and academia – and their like-minded progeny – have forever lost any and all credibility in analyzing or criticizing national security issues because of their failure in judgement in authorizing and then publishing this ill-conceived, deadly and treasonous report.

Amid the anti-military hysteria of the mid-1970s, James Earl (Jimmy) Carter, a peanut farmer and former one-term Governor from Georgia was elected President, beating Richard Nixon’s replacement, Gerald Ford. During his administration, the Iran Hostage Crisis occurred, referred to within Iran in Persian (Farsi) as تسخیر لانه جاسوسی امریکا – literally “Conquest of the American Spy Den.” It became an epic and enduring diplomatic and military crisis between Iran, the United States and the entirety of Western Civilization.

“Sixty-six American diplomats and citizens were captured and held hostage for 444 days (November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981), after a group of Iranian students, belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, who were supporting the Iranian Revolution, took over the American embassy in Tehran. Democrat President Jimmy Carter called the hostages “victims of terrorism and anarchy,” adding that “the United States will not yield to blackmail.”

Operation Eagle Claw  was a Joint Forces operation ordered by President Carter in an attempt to end the Iran Hostage Crisis by rescuing 52 diplomats held captive at the embassy of the United States in Tehran on April 24, 1980 – using Army, Air Force and Delta Force (Special Ops) assets. Its failure, and the humiliating public debacle that ensued, damaged US prestige worldwide. Carter correctly concluded that the failure to free the hostages played a major role in Ronald Reagan’s victory in the 1980 U.S. presidential election [along with his spectacular ineptness in office during his single term].

The operation encountered many obstacles and was eventually aborted on the ground in Iran. Eight helicopters were sent to the first staging area, Desert One, but only five arrived in operational condition. One encountered hydraulic problems, another got caught in a cloud of dense sand, and the last one showed signs of a cracked rotor blade.

During planning, it was decided that the mission would be aborted if fewer than six helicopters remained, despite only four being absolutely necessary. In a move that is still discussed in military circles, the commanders asked President Carter for permission to abort and Carter granted the request.

As the U.S. force prepared to leave, one of the helicopters, disoriented in the sand cloud of its rotors, crashed into a transport aircraft which contained both servicemen and jet fuel. The resulting fire destroyed both aircraft and killed eight servicemen. Operation Eagle Claw was one of Delta Force‘s first missions.

Subsequent investigations revealed that this was incompetently planned and poorly executed by inexperienced operators under the direction of an inept President, too many commanders and too complex a plan to have any reasonable chance of success. It also did not do much for the Army’s self-confidence as they continued to struggle after the Vietnam debacle.”

During almost the entire 444-day crisis, Walter Cronkite, the news anchor of the CBS Evening News, would end his show: “And that’s the way it is” … “the 50th [100th, etc., up to Day 444] day of captivity for the American hostages in Tehran.” It became a countdown to the merciful end of the Carter presidency.

Republican Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in the election of 1980. On the morning of the election, in one of the most blatant examples of press/media biased reporting in American history (now known as “fake news”), the progressive/liberal self-described “main-stream media” were reporting that pollsters [obviously influenced by press/media bias against the Republicans] were predicting that the election was “too close to call”. By the time the polls had closed in Hawaii, Reagan had won 42 states to Carter’s 8 and 389 electoral votes to Carter’s 44 – an 11:1 margin, in an historical landslide victory that broke the old FDR political coalition and brought the Republican Party into parity with the Democrats.

It also gave the lie to the trustworthiness of political polling in national elections upon which are based all presidential election fundraising and campaigning. The polls finally came crashing down around Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

“During Reagan’s first term, on October 25, 1983, the U.S.Army’s Rapid Deployment Force (1st, 2nd Ranger Battalions and 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers), U.S. Marines, U.S. Army Delta Force, and U.S. Navy SEALs and other combined forces, constituting the 7,600 troops from the United States, Jamaica, and members of the Regional Security System(RSS), defeated Grenadian resistance after a low-altitude airborne assault by the 75th Rangers on Point Salines Airport, on the southern end of the island of Grenada, and a Marine helicopter and amphibious landing occurred on the northern end at Pearl’s Airfield shortly afterward.

The (communist) Cuban supported Grenadian military government of Hudson Austin, that had staged a coup against and murdered Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and had taken American college students as hostages, was deposed and replaced by a government appointed by Governor-General Paul Scoon until elections were held in 1984.

[This was just two days after the Beirut Barracks Bombings (October 23, 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon), which occurred during the Lebanese Civil War, when two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces – members of the Multinational Force (MNF), the United Nations’ authorized peacekeeping force in Lebanon– killing 299 American and French servicemen – after which an obscure group calling itself ‘Islamic Jihad’ claimed responsibility for the bombings in the first real battle of Radical Islam’s war against Western Civilization.]

While the invasion enjoyed broad public support in the United States, and received support from some sectors in Grenada from local groups who viewed the post-coup regime as illegitimate, it was criticized by the United Kingdom and Canada. An attempted United Nations Security Council resolution, which would have condemned it as “a flagrant violation of international law” was vetoed by the United States in the Security Council. 

Despite the politically motivated criticism from the Left, the date of the invasion is now a national holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day, and the Point Salinas International Airport was renamed in honor of the late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.

The invasion highlighted issues with communication and coordination between the branches of the United States military, contributing to investigations and sweeping changes, in the form of the Goldwater-Nichols Act and other reorganizations. Major-General Norman Schwarzkopf, deputy commander of the invasion force, said that 160 Grenadian soldiers and 71 Cubans had been killed.

The U.S. awarded more than 5,000 medals for merit and valor. More importantly, what this action did accomplish is that Ronald Reagan had restored the U.S. Army’s self-esteem after a decade of painful self-doubt and returned the U.S. military to the field as a viable fighting force under skilled leadership, capable of precise and lethal execution of highly complex operational plans approved by competent civilian authority and paved the way for the lightning quick successes that followed:

·         Panama in December 1989 to capture dictator and international outlaw Manuel Noriega who was threatening the viability of the Panama Canal;

·         Operation Desert Storm to free Kuwait from the clutches of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein unprovoked invasion – from August 2, 1990 – February 28, 1991;

·         Operation Enduring Freedom to free Afghanistan from the murderous Muslim sect called the Taliban, who had hosted the 9/11 terrorists, from October 7 – December 7, 2001;

·         Operation Iraqi Freedom to free Iraq and the Middle East (especially Israel) from the threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction by the international terrorist leader, Saddam Hussein, from March 19 – May 1, 2003.”

The latter two operations are not to be confused with the “nation building” operations assigned to the Army and Marines after the military objectives had been met. Armies are not “nation builders”, they are “nation destroyers”. Only a nation’s people can build a nation and only the State Department is equipped to assist them in doing so.

Prior to the Panama operation, Reagan’s Vice-President, George H.W. Bush, a highly-decorated World War II Navy pilot, former head of the CIA and former Ambassador to China, was elected President. He took office on January 20, 1989 with monumental global change in the wind.

“Spring 1989 saw the people of the Soviet Union exercising a democratic choice, albeit limited, for the first time since 1917, when they elected the new Congress of People’s Deputies. Just as important was the uncensored live TV coverage of the legislature’s deliberations, where people witnessed the previously feared Communist leadership being questioned and held accountable.

This example fueled a limited experiment with democracy in Poland, which quickly led to the toppling of the Communist government in Warsaw that summer – which in turn sparked uprisings that overthrew communism in the other five Warsaw Pact countries before the end of 1989, the year the Berlin Wall, constructed in 1961 to keep East German’s from fleeing to the West, finally fell.

These events showed that the people of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union did not support Russian President Gorbachev’s drive to modernize Communism; rather, they preferred to abandon it altogether.

On October 25, 1989, the Supreme Soviet voted to eliminate special seats for the Communist Party and other official organizations in national and local elections, responding to sharp popular criticism that such reserved slots were undemocratic. After vigorous debate, the 542-member Supreme Soviet passed the measure 254-85 (with 36 abstentions). The decision required a constitutional amendment, ratified by the full congress, which met December 12–25.

On February 7, 1990, the Central Committee of the CPSU accepted Gorbachev’s recommendation that the party give up its monopoly on political power. In 1990, all fifteen constituent republics of the USSR held their first competitive elections, with reformers and ethnic nationalists winning many seats. The CPSU lost the elections in six republics: In Lithuania, on February 24; in Moldova, on February 25; In Estonia, on March 18; in Latvia, on March 18; in Armenia, on May 20; in Georgia, on October 28.

The constituent republics began to declare their national sovereignty and began a “war of laws” with the Moscow central government; they rejected union-wide legislation that conflicted with local laws, asserted control over their local economy and refused to pay taxes. This conflict caused economic dislocation as supply lines were disrupted, and caused the always anemic Soviet economy to decline further. The Soviet Union, which had afflicted the world with a ruthless and relentless effort to enslave all of humanity under a corrupt, godless, violent system for over 70 years, was imploding from its own ineptness.”

When it became apparent to all that the Soviet threat to world peace was over, the progressive/liberal/Democrat cabal swung into action to demand the “peace dividend” that President George H.W. Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had mentioned in passing during the euphoria over the demise of the Soviet Union.

It was never meant as a policy initiative, never suggested as a component of any budget and never proposed to either Congress or to the British Parliament. To the Democrats however, the mere mention meant it was set in stone. Next time: The peace dividend and the war on terror.

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