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Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Friday, November 25, 2005

"Good Morning Vietnam?" Yeah, They Wish.

How North Vietnam Won The War

Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army, answers these questions in the following excerpts from an interview conducted by Stephen Young, a Minnesota attorney and human-rights activist. Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of North Vietnam's army, received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. He later became editor of the People's Daily, the official newspaper of Vietnam. He now lives in Paris, where he immigrated after becoming disillusioned with the fruits of Vietnamese communism.

Taken from The Wall Street Journal, Thursday August 3, 1995
(bold type by Republicus):

Question: How did Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans?
Answer: By fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh said, "We don't need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out."

Q: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi's victory?
A: It was essential to our strategy. Support of the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda, and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.

Q: Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits?
A: Keenly.

Q: Why?
A: Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.

Q: What was the purpose of the 1968 Tet Offensive?
A: To relieve the pressure Gen. Westmoreland was putting on us in late 1966 and 1967 and to weaken American resolve during a presidential election year.

Q: What about Gen. Westmoreland's strategy and tactics caused you concern?
A: Our senior commander in the South, Gen. Nguyen Chi Thanh, knew that we were losing base areas, control of the rural population and that his main forces were being pushed out to the borders of South Vietnam. He also worried that Westmoreland might receive permission to enter Laos and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In January 1967, after discussions with Le Duan, Thanh proposed the Tet Offensive. Thanh was the senior member of the Politburo in South Vietnam. He supervised the entire war effort. Thanh's struggle philosophy was that "America is wealthy but not resolute," and "squeeze tight to the American chest and attack." He was invited up to Hanoi for further discussions. He went on commercial flights with a false passport from Cambodia to Hong Kong and then to Hanoi. Only in July was his plan adopted by the leadership. Then Johnson had rejected Westmoreland's request for 200,000 more troops. We realized that America had made its maximum military commitment to the war. Vietnam was not sufficiently important for the United States to call up its reserves. We had stretched American power to a breaking point. When more frustration set in, all the Americans could do would be to withdraw; they had no more troops to send over. Tet was designed to influence American public opinion. We would attack poorly defended parts of South Vietnam cities during a holiday and a truce when few South Vietnamese troops would be on duty. Before the main attack, we would entice American units to advance close to the borders, away from the cities. By attacking all South Vietnam's major cities, we would spread out our forces and neutralize the impact of American firepower. Attacking on a broad front, we would lose some battles but win others. We used local forces nearby each target to frustrate discovery of our plans. Small teams, like the one which attacked the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, would be sufficient. It was a guerrilla strategy of hit-and-run raids.

Q: What about the results?
A: Our losses were staggering and a complete surprise. Giap later told me that Tet had been a military defeat, though we had gained the planned political advantages when Johnson agreed to negotiate and did not run for re-election. The second and third waves in May and September were, in retrospect, mistakes. Our forces in the South were nearly wiped out by all the fighting in 1968. It took us until 1971 to re-establish our presence, but we had to use North Vietnamese troops as local guerrillas. If the American forces had not begun to withdraw under Nixon in 1969, they could have punished us severely. We suffered badly in 1969 and 1970 as it was.

Q: What of Nixon?
A: Well, when Nixon stepped down because of Watergate we knew we would win. Pham Van Dong [prime minister of North Vietnam] said of Gerald Ford, the new president, "he's the weakest president in U.S. history; the people didn't elect him; even if you gave him candy, he doesn't dare to intervene in Vietnam again." We tested Ford's resolve by attacking Phuoc Long in January 1975. When Ford kept American B-52's in their hangers, our leadership decided on a big offensive against South Vietnam.

Q: What else?
A: We had the impression that American commanders had their hands tied by political factors. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effect.


note by Republicus:

Do you recognize a pattern here?

It is not a coincidence.

The Antiwar Left knows what it's doing.

They spent the better part of three decades self-consciously rewriting that history (what else is new?), insisting that the "illegal" war was a lost cause to begin with, trotting out McNamara's defeatism and other "experts" that could justify their treason for, not only allowing, but enabling and indeed cheering America's military humiliation in the thick of the Cold War, and the precipitous decline in might and morale which followed...

...until Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 made us be all we could be, and won the Cold War, without firing a shot.

Meanwhile-- the whole way through the Reagan Era-- the Left screamed "War-monger!" and lambasted the "Tax-Cuts for the Rich!" and decried the "Deficits as far as the eye can see!" and gloomed "He's compromising the separation of Church and State!" and doomed "He's going to start World War III!" and, finally, "Well, it was the enlightened communist Mikhail Gorbachev who ended the Cold War!"

Do you recognize another pattern there?

They hated Reagan, too.

Don't let their bleeding-heart posturings of pacifism fool you.

Republicus will refer you to the October 17 post, titled "Today's Flower Children Are A Thorny Bunch," which reproduces a piece by Chris Hitchens called "Antiwar My Foot," wherein he properly sneers at the September 24 antiwar/Impeachment marchers and discerns (bold by Republicus):

To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard (i.e. at the "Antiwar" March--R.) saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.


Indeed, they don't hate war. They're waging war against the President of the United States, raising armies, marching to beating drums, drafting battle-plans, engaging in subterfuge, psychological tactics, and all.

They just hate George Bush, the Republican Party, the Conservatives, and America, as their hysteria and tirades tells you much more about them than they do the world at large.

Great changes are sweeping throughout the Middle East. The Left wants "World Peace?" This had to be the prerequisite. We are not conquerors. We are liberators. Only America wins wars not by defeating an enemy so much as by winning his heart, and we are winning hearts. From Palestine to Libya to Lebanon to Egypt to Iraq, the Middle East--that disfunctional snake-pit, that perennial hot-spot that has been destabilizing the entire world for the entire life of Republicus-- is changing. It's happening.

Keep your eye on the ball, people.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Headguerilla said...

Very well written text. Thank you.

You may not have seen the Thanksgiving Day special Report (the 6 p.m. news) on Fox News featuring a long interview of Christopher Hitchens about his new book on Thomas Jefferson.

Hitchens says the beginning of the Islamofascist War did not start on 9-11 but on the day when they put out a contract on Salman Rushie for his fictional work The Satanic Verses because it sent a global message - if you disagree with us, you're dead. Rushdie did not live in the middle east and he is not Islamic according to Hitchens, indicating that location and religion were not factors in the death contract. Hence it was a contract against the civilized world.

4:18 AM  
Blogger John said...

Hey Head. Thank you for visiting.

Unfortunately, though a fan of both Foxnews and The Hitch, I missed that interview.

But yes, agreed. Though 9/11 was the alarm clock that went off and woke the sleeping giant--i.e. us--and got him to his feet (which required some shaking of the shoulders and entreaties before he--"Huh? Whuh? Who? Oh, SHOOT! I'M LATE!"--sprang out of bed), 9/11 was not so much the catalytical alpha of this conflict as it was the omega straw.

Islamofascism blew its trumpet on November 4, 1979, when Iranian militants fearlessly stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran--which was on sovereign soil, mind you-- and took approximately seventy Americans captive and held them for 444 days.

On the night of April 24-25, 1980, transport aircraft prepared for a rescue attempt using the special forces, and landed at an airstrip in the Great Salt Desert of Eastern Iran. The aircraft were damaged in a sandstorm, and the mission aborted, but disaster and infamy (both for President Carter and the U.S. Military) followed when one departing helicopter clipped a C-130 airplane and crashed, killing eight U.S. servicemen.

Mission material was left behind for the Iranians to discover and later display, and the dead bodies were paraded through Tehran during massive street protests, broadcast worldwide.

On January 20, 1981, minutes after President Reagan's inauguration, the hostages were formally released into U.S. custody, having spent 444 days in captivity.

But that political victory--like JFK's with the Cuban Missile Crisis-- came at a price: The unfreezing of 8 billion dollars worth of Iranian assets and immunity from lawsuits Iran might have faced (JFK, for his part, agreed to remove missiles in Europe).

Certainly, they weren't too cowed by Reagan, either:

On October 23, 1983, in Beirut, Lebanon , the U.S. Marine barracks there was bombed. 241 American Servicemen were killed whil they slept, and 60 Americans were injured.

There was also an attack on the French barracks: 58 paratroopers were killed, and 15 injured.

In addition, one Lebanese died in the Marine barracks attack and two Lebanese died in the French bombing.

That attack was the deadliest single-day death toll for the American military since World War II. The attack remains the deadliest terrorist attack on Americans overseas, and today it is the fourth-deadliest terrorist attack ever.

We bailed.

However, that was in the thick of the Cold War, and the U.S. government understandably did not want to ignite a Jihad while concentrating on the Soviets, and indeed put Jihadists to good use fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.

And yet all of that--including the unintended consequences of the Afghanistani's victory over the Soviet invasion, and along with our dependence on Middle Eastern Oil-- most certainly fed into Islamofascist notions of Western vulnerabily and squeamishness, and their own invincibility, and they moved beyond the jealous guarding of their turf to launching fatwas abroad, clearly, as Hitchens suggested and you said, seeing fit to put contracts out on Western civilians, like Mr. Rushdie (a writer of fiction whose imagination and creativity. apparently, warranted death).

By 1996, Bin Laden saw fit to
issue a fatwa against the United States, explicitly declaring war.

Keep in mind that that was the last year of President Clinton's first term, a term which began with Al Qaeda's violent ouster of the U.S. military from Somalia (when we were there on a humanitarian mission) and the first World Trade Center Bombing.

It is evident that Islamofascism grew even bolder from President Clinton's first year in office to his last in the first term.

In 1998--midway through his second term-- Bin Laden saw fit to redistribute the fatwa against the United States, issuing a contract on an entire nation.

By 1999, the plot for 9/11 was underway, which--and Republicus shouldn't have to remind anyone of this-- targeted the symbolic structures of American economic might and Western globalism in the financial capital of the world (i.e. NYC), the brain-center of the Department of Defense (i.e. the Pentagon in Alexandria) and the United States Capital Building in the Nation's Capital.

That's quite an undeterred evolution of ambition and a leap of hubris from the sophistries that tried to justify terrorism on the grounds of defending their ancestral turf from modern-day Crusaders in the late 1970's (and enslaving their own people in the process without interference from the ousted West), to putting out hits on Western civilians living well outside their borders by the 1980's, and is most certainly a bare-knuckled assault on the civilized, Western world.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Gothamimage said...

I'll have to come back and comment when I am awake.

1:30 AM  
Blogger John said...

Yes, Gotham. Wake up.

10:01 AM  

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