Viet Nam
Part 9: Epilogue–Beyond Incompetence
by Robert L. Kocher

Dialogues on the internet produce confrontations and hatreds as strong as anywhere in the world. Occasional loss of temper and desire to gloat or antagonize reveal historically illuminating information. What follows is part of a site posting from a political adversary who, as a member of the U. S. Navy, worked in the Defense Intelligence Agency, Southeast Asia Contingency Unit in the late 60s and early 70s:

…I worked in a Top Secret job during the day and three of us – myself, one LTJG and an Air Force Captain – organized activities protesting against the war at night. When we had to, we would call in sick or take leave to protest the war during the day… My friends and I protested – took the tear gas – got beaten – and called every authority figure we could find every name under the sun. We spit in their faces and pissed on their boots…Some of us even waved Viet Cong flags…Our tactics finally worked.

Protest is a euphemism for what they were doing. He bragged that as part of their tactics they secretly turned over Top Secret aerial photographs to the New York Post and the New York Times. Thirty years later he’s aligned with the environmental movement and declares man to be an infection of the earth. He also believes communism was, and is, the best system for development of China.

A focused anger brings tunnel-visioned blindness that excludes all else. He and his accomplices knowingly did everything possible to promote a communist victory in the Viet Nam war. He is completely unconcerned, in fact takes satisfaction, that millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians were killed by the communists and the combined actions of people like him. They were responsible for the deaths and maiming of thousands of American service men.

He and those like him were far from rarities in the military or government. There developed a distinct widespread sociopolitical subculture, that was on the verge of becoming chic, and that seriously affected the security, performance, and reliability of the military. If you were a service man on the front line, your own people thousands of miles away were trying to get you killed. Many, if not most, of the people involved in those attempts have not changed to this day.

The 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago was marked by a series of well-planned large-scale riots that those of us who were alive at that time will never forget. This marked the beginning of large scale demonstrations, rioting, and bombings throughout the country for succeeding years.

The Descent Into Madness Under Nixon

America was teetering on the verge of violent revolution in a carnival of hatred that would undermine or prevent prosecution of the war and, if possible, insure a communist victory in an atmosphere of celebration. Into this inherited condition, and what would be the perhaps the most difficult presidency in the history of the country, came a somewhat fatigued President Richard Nixon who had an uncharismatic, unimaginative defensive withdrawn personality that left him a defenseless pleading target for the sadistic pathological hatred of the time.

The allotted time for military success had been used up by the bungling during the previous eight years. The American domestic radical left had come out of the closet and was a powerful open oppositional force. It would be an uphill, eventually a nearly impossible, domestic battle to employ the type of effort in Viet Nam that should have been employed five or seven years earlier. Furthermore, the communists had been allowed, if not encouraged, to take command over people and territory in Viet Nam to the point of procuring an advantageous military position requiring that any successful American military effort would need to be increased substantially over what would have been required earlier. That would necessitate understanding and cooperation that Nixon would not be given.

For practical purposes Nixon, to salvage Viet Nam, would be required to start from the beginning, to forge a new basis of confrontation and a new war, but with an entrapped, demoralized, worn-down 500,000 man American military against a confident enemy now well emplaced in an advanced position, with open rebellion, subversion, or support of the enemy at home, and or cooperation. There would be constant domestic attempts from all sides to prevent him from doing it. It was a hole 10-feet deep to climb out of.

Nixon was elected president, but the political left had become so powerful that he, and the people who elected him, had a progressively diminishing voice in the direction of the country. The voice was coming from, and through, TV sets. The election was effectively circumvented by the left. The political left, operating through a subversive media, formed and operated their own virtual-government through censorship, propaganda, and through TV-based coordination of protest demonstrations, the leftist movement, and mobs. A leftist virtual reality was synthesized that recognized and legitimized the leftist movement while displacing the elected voice and functioning of the presidency. For practical purposes the election of Richard Nixon and the tens of millions of people who voted for him were not recognized as legitimate on the national stage beyond being intolerable intrusions and symbols that had usurped the rightful government and served as rallying points for the organizing of hatred.

The Nixon presidency was a period of descent into total madness in this country.

Had Nixon the communication ability and strength of a Ronald Reagan, he might have circumvented the media and taken America back. But Nixon was too withdrawn and defeated of personality. Neither did he understand the political enemy. Nixon was a conflicted tormented personality in which a desperately held attempt at idealism failed to accept the cynical nature of the political left in America. (Nixon broke two major rules in life. The first rule is to never attempt to appeal to conscience, decency, or mercy from sadists and psychopaths. It becomes a sign of weakness that will signal them to eat you alive and laugh about it. The second rule is the psychoanalytic rule to never begin in the middle by accepting someone else’s messed-up premises. Go back and trace from the reality of the beginning.)

Nixon kept looking for an integrity in his opponents and hoping for a fair shake that he would never obtain. He alternated between periods of idealism to frustrated rage when the actions of the real world and the machinations of the political left refuted that idealism. Nixon was a little like the perennial sucker at a rigged poker game who complains at the deals as if the people dealing cards off the bottom of a marked deck really cared, or weren’t ridiculing him when he was out of the room for his refusal to believe it was happening. He wouldn’t believe life was that way. Nixon was the perfect sucker who kept waiting in vain for an even break from his tormentors on the basis of conscience and integrity. (Reagan, on the other hand, was the kind of character who believed in his own conscience and observations, and looked at others for what they were. Bring in a marked deck and deal off the bottom with Reagan and he would raise an eyebrow, press his lips together in anger, call you on it, and demand to use his deck. For Reagan, calling them like he saw them and integrity took precedence over being liked.)

The Watergate Tapes

There is conjecture as to why Nixon didn’t simply destroy the White House Watergate tapes and laugh it off. If he had done so, there would have been no incontrovertable evidence against him in the Watergate mess and he never would have had to leave the presidency. Kennedy could do it. Johnson could do it. The Clintons can lie and make legal records disappear or appear at convenience, while laughingly accusing people of viciousness and bizarre conspiracies for catching them at it. But Nixon couldn’t burn the tapes. Why? Most of the answer was in personal conflict. He wasn’t coldly cynical enough, or hard enough, to burn the tapes. It conflicted with his streak of morality. Nixon’s moral nature ultimately betrayed him in his inept attempts to play the part of the tough villain.

Jack Kennedy could send quarter million dollar bags of money to mob figures to fix a presidential election, then lie during the campaign and laugh it off; or Lyndon Johnson could falsify Texas elections, and that’s what American national politics had become, but Nixon would never be good at it. Neither would he be forgiven. Nixon was not tough or realistic enough to be in politics, or to aggressively confront the political left.

Nixon was also poorly served by some of those around him. In my opinion Henry Kissinger was too passive or passionless and, in a continuation of the atmosphere of the Johnson period, never adequately and forcefully stated the American case before the American people. Without the force of the American people behind the war, which Lyndon Johnson and McNamara purposely discouraged or failed to develop, and Kissinger never encouraged, all basis for serious long term determination—as well as support for serious, competent, aggressive military action that was the only potential force that could be used as leverage in negotiations with the communists—was absent. Before Kissinger could negotiate from strength rather than merely brokering defeatism with the communists—he needed to negotiate some spirit, support, and backbone into the American people. Kissinger seemed too willing to broker the foreseeable loss of Viet Nam and interpret it as peace.

The discouragement of public support and the absence of moral argument justifying the war had been part of the scene for so long that it had become an unconsciously accepted premise and condition. Neither Nixon nor Kissinger corrected that condition. Nixon was a little like the beaten down psychoanalytic patient whose reasoning and attempts to save himself starts in middle of having assumed pathological premises without challenging the fundamental conditions or arguments pressed upon him by those trying to perpetuate and worsen his condition to exploit him. In electing Nixon, America was desperately seeking an almost psychoanalytic public spokesman who would begin by making fundamental observations, then going to fundamental premises and presenting the truth that would refute the political left. The failure to do this was the dominant failure of the Nixon presidency that led to all else—including the personal collapse of Richard Nixon. This was to continue until Reagan later made the directly simple and joyously-received observation that Russia was an evil empire.

Instead of getting what they hoped would be a strong clarifying psychoanalyst in the election of Nixon, America found itself having had elected the beaten-down patient.

Kaiser Bill Went Up the Hill
To Take a Look at France

Podhoretz gives Lansdale’s analysis:

General Edward Lansdale puts the point more sharply: “This small clique, the Politburo [in Hanoi] brought ruin and tragedy to millions in Vietnam. Yet we never tried to arouse feelings among the Vietnamese or among Americans or among others in the world against this small clique of leaders–as we did against the Kaiser in World War I and again against Hitler in World War II. For some baffling reason, we accepted the self-portrait of Ho Chi Minh as a benevolent old ‘uncle’ who was fond of children–and of other Politburo members as speakers for the people they did not permit to have opinions. So we let their claims to leadership go unchallenged while their people suffered and died…” [1]

Disastrously for America, and for Viet Nam, it didn’t change with the election of Nixon, and it didn’t change with Kissinger. It betrayed the need by the American people to hear the truth. The American people were left stranded and isolated by the president they elected.

As I read this I am struck by the idea that Nixon and America would have done far better if Nixon had stood and supported those who elected him rather than tried to appease his critics. He nearly broke those who supported him and was ridiculed, and ultimately broken, by his critics.

There are times when achieving unity between opposing sides is impossible. There was a substantial group of people in America who had grown powerful, and whose only intention effectively amounted to destruction of the country. Those who voted for Richard Nixon didn’t do so to build cooperation with, or consideration of, or respect for, those people in any degree, but to rather to expose and strongly reject them and confront them. National unity acquired though appeasing them in any way was the last thing that was wanted or, or that the country needed. What was needed from Nixon was a clarification and expression of the indignation and position of the people who elected him. Period. The radical political left had lost the election and should not have been consulted or appeased regarding anything.

Nixon gave the left a respect or credibility that isolated his supporters and moved the country toward a spirit of depressed resignation which continued until Reagan and has been reimposed under the Clintons.

Under this array of conditions the Viet Nam War was lost at that point. Had there been a way to achieve military victory in three months, there was by then so much critically unopposed domestic support for the communists that there probably would have been uncontested rioting in the streets.

The Tet Offensive

Without the destructive influences of the Kennedy-Johnson administrations, and with the exit of McNamara, the war could progress. It began to do so.

On the morning of January 29, 1968, virtually every significant government and military institution in South Viet Nam, including the U.S. Embassy, was subjected to full scale military attack by the South Vietnamese communists aided by the Viet Cong, or perhaps pushed by North Vietnamese regular army insurgents. Since the period was the Asian Lunar New Year, called Tet in that area of the world, the attack is historically known as the Tet Offensive.

The Tet offensive was intended to accomplish three objectives.

1) It was argued by the communists that in response to the chance created by political and military destabilization in the South due to the Tet attack that the general population in the South would spontaneously rise up and joyously support the communists, overthrowing the South Vietnamese government and expelling the American presence.

2) It may have been a ploy on the part of the North to both employ the southern Viet Cong and destroy or weaken them while inflicting massive casualties upon South Vietnamese and the American military. The southern Viet Cong had been expendable, hopeless dupes in the revolution from the beginning. While this was supposed to be a people’s war, there had never been any intention to give the Viet Cong, or any of the other southern communists, any voice, position, or authority in the supposed eventual communist government of the people. They were used in the war, then excluded or expunged from everything. After the revolution, none of them held any positions of representation and many of them were probably killed. There will never be a full accounting.

The people’s revolution was a strictly a northern operation to subjugate the south from the beginning, whether the Viet Cong understood it or not. The southern Viet Cong were temporarily useful for doing the difficult brutal preparatory work necessary for southern political destabilization, for wearing down American domestic support, and for preparing a vacuum such that a large scale conventional invasion and subsequent occupation could take place unopposed with serious reduction in the number of Northern casualties. The communists in the South were to do the work and pay the price, while the leaders in the North planned to exclude them and take the spoils.

3) Most importantly, Ho Chi Minh and his associates were in the war for the long term, and any military operations were determined by strategic political considerations. They were highly aware of the deteriorating political condition in America and the rise in power of the political left with its support for his cause. Any action that would contribute to further American domestic instability while simultaneously supporting the political left in America, would win in the long term. This was the theater of operations where the war would be won. A stinging military attack would do just that, even if it were militarily disastrous for the communist side. But, again, the communist leadership was unconcerned about transient military losses, as they were ultimately protected by the McNamara doctrine of only showing them that they couldn’t win, and they could continue unthreatened by the loss of tens of thousands of other people’s lives.

The popular uprising to support the communists never came close to occurring. The ordinary people in South Viet Nam had no enthusiasm for communism. While demonstrating an outward appearance of military strength, the attack was suicidal. The Viet Cong and other communist forces were mauled, lost tens of thousands of their most experienced people, and were forced to quit in short order—but after serious cost in American and South Vietnamese lives. Thence forth, for this reason, and others to be discussed, the communists no longer had the capacity to attempt such an operation from within the South.

However, the third part of the plan was highly successful. The American public was shocked at the attack. Written and TV descriptions promoted negative interpretations and shocking images. The view was that the invincible ever-strengthening communists had won an easy and defining stunning military victory. Indeed, from the pictures and accounts over TV, it was made to look that way.

William Colby had been disgusted and exasperated with the conduct of the Viet Nam war. He had been stationed in Washington as chief of the CIA’s operations in the Far East. He arranged to take leave from the CIA without pay and headed for South Viet Nam as a member of the Agency for International Development. There he went to work with Robert Komer who was serious about establishing a pacification program in Viet Nam where he was to work until Colby’s leaving in 1971.

Komer was a dynamic former CIA analyst who was smart, aggressive, and would rock the boat. He had been on the White House National Security staff. Lyndon Johnson sent Komer to Viet Nam with the command rank of ambassador. Komer was probably the first competent civilian of broad, top-level command rank sent to deal with the Viet Nam situation by Kennedy or Johnson.

Arming the People

To make a long story short, Komer, Colby, and a former army Lt. Colonel, John Paul Vann, armed and trained the local villagers so they could protect themselves and even act aggressively, thus correcting the deficiency Colby had noted years earlier (as previously mentioned in this series). What they created was called “The People’s Self-Defense Force.” In the next three years, 500,000 small arms were distributed to the villagers and rural defense units. By mid 1969 it was breaking the back of the Viet Cong and guerrilla regular army units from the North, who formerly had unopposed access to the villages for purposes of terrorism and extorting forced cooperation, food, and other supplies. The Viet Cong thence had to avoid the villages and lost power over broad areas. It should have been done years earlier. If it had, the Viet Cong would have collapsed and there would not have been a Viet Nam war as we know it.

Secondly, an effective intelligence effort was developed to identify and track the Viet Cong or regular army insurgents from the North, putting them on the defensive. There was now nowhere for them to hide or go. A noose was tightening around their necks.

Nixon also hit Cambodia in 1970. According to Colby:

The communists’ use of Cambodian border areas as sanctuaries for their supplies, headquarters, logistics, and replacement processing centers was well known. What was less well known was the fact that these activities went on in parts of Cambodia that were almost empty of people, rather like the frontier regions of the

Canadian and Alaskan Yukon. When the Americans decided that these Vietnamese Communist concentrations had to be attacked and concealed the “violation of Cambodian sovereignty” over the areas in question to so, the uproar in the United States at this “illegality” was enormous. But Sihanouk’s (the Cambodian leader) reaction at the time, and later was not to protest this action by the Americans against their enemies in an area in which the North Vietnamese had already preempted Cambodian sovereignty and in which few, if any, Cambodians resided. On the contrary, Sihanouk in fact even welcomed it as a way to eject the North Vietnamese from Cambodian territory. [2]

The political left in America was furious and waged protests in the streets and in the media, putting an end to it.

By 1971 much of South Viet Nam was free from internal communist threat and one could drive along the back roads, even at night, with little fear of being bothered. Under the concept of Vietnamization, American troops were being sent home as internal areas of South Viet Nam were secured and people became capable of defending themselves at the village level.

At this point the war in Viet Nam was taking a new turn. The days when small bands of indigenous Viet Cong or North Vietnamese regular guerrillas had control over the countryside were over. They would be repelled from the villages and tracked down with nowhere to go. The communists turned to the remaining option of large scale attack from outside the borders by mass conventional warfare without any serious effort, reliance, or support on the level of the then nearly neutralized internal small unit guerrilla action.

The Easter Offensive

In 1972 there was an Easter offensive by the North. In Colby’s words:

In place of 1968’s nationwide assault by hundreds of small guerrilla units against the urban centers of South Vietnam, the 1972 attack consisted of a regular military assault by many North Vietnamese divisions, with their supporting artillery and armored units moving across the borders of South Vietnam from their bases in North Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia… Almost nothing in the way of guerrilla assaults occurred in the interior of the country, in the populated areas of the delta, or in the coastal regions. [3]

American ground forces had been almost completely evacuated at that time, leaving the fighting to the South Vietnamese. To everyone’s surprise, the South Vietnamese ground army had grown tough and soundly defeated the North Viet Nam regulars, repelling the invasion. However, they did it with support in the form of American supplies, and necessary air support such as B-52s and tactical fighter-bombers. The South won a stunning victory and the Northern armies limped back to their borders to regroup. At that point it was shown that the South Vietnamese military could more than hold their own on the ground as a dedicated effective fighting unit.

But the war was not over yet, and was to be fought in a different area of the world. On returning to the U.S., Colby found America in a state of massive internal turmoil and an open support of the communists that would ultimately lose the war. He was surprised to find “many antiwar leaders actually believed that a North Vietnamese victory would be the best possible outcome.” [4] In most cases this was a euphemism politely expressing the fact that they were actively and knowingly working for the communist side.

The war became a waiting game while Soviet and Chinese continued to ship massive amounts of military aid into the North and the North developed a highly mechanized army of invasion while waiting for leftist subversion to crush resistance in America. There were no serious attempts by the North, in the safety of Hanoi and watching its war being won on the streets and in the media of America, to enter into serious peace negotiations.

The Christmas Bombing

Nixon moved in a stroke that should have been undertaken years before:

The situation was opened up only by a forceful thrust against both Vietnamese parties. The North Vietnamese were subjected to a powerful bombing attack at Christmas 1972 at President Nixon’s express order to make it clear to them that the attack was different from the delicately applied, gradual bombing campaigns that had characterized the 1960s. It’s force, despite the hysterical opposition aroused among the antiwar factions in the United States, was both precise and effective…. [5]

THAT, was the one thing the North Vietnamese leaders didn’t want. It has been my observation over the last 35 years that leftist theoreticians, organizers, and leaders are inherent cowards who can survive only when insulated from hard reality and response. They will threaten to kill people and conduct bloody revolutions without remorse, as long as they are not the ones doing the fighting or being killed. But, when they are the ones put into the ring, they rapidly become whining children complaining at what’s happening. (The other characteristic is that if you show any mercy and let them up off the ground, they will turn around and kill you, then laugh about it.) The Northern Vietnamese leadership was no different. Suddenly, they wanted nothing to do with war and headed for the negotiation table.

Podhoretz examines the situation:

As against Szulc, Herz believes that the bombing probably did have the intended effect upon the Vietnamese: Certainly they seemed eager to come to terms after the bombing, an eagerness they had conspicuously failed to display before…. As an invitation to resume serious negotiations, the bombing was not a subtle move; it was not a militarily effective move; it was certainly not a popular move; but it appears to have been a diplomatically effective one.” (60) Sir Robert Thompson is much more emphatic: “In my view, on December 30, 1972, after eleven days of those B-52 attacks on the Hanoi area, you had won the war. It was over!… They would have taken any terms. And that is why, of course, you actually got a peace agreement in January, which you had not been able to get in October. (61)” [6]

Thompson was absolutely correct. The Hanoi bombing was in accordance with the military principles stated in Part 8 of this series. It brought the reality of war to Hanoi and the communists wanted no part of it. Two more weeks of bombing serious targets would have crushed Hanoi completely and ended the war on American and South Vietnamese terms. Had it been done years earlier, as it should have, it would have saved tens of thousands of American and South Vietnamese lives.

Manufactured Hysteria

However, the real war was now being conducted in America with the radical left being given an exclusive and ready forum. An action that would have been a cause for celebration in America in 1960, and should have been viewed similarly in 1973 was nearly unanimously viewed quite the opposite in the public media and in portions of the political arena. Continuing with the next paragraph of Podhoretz:

One thing about the bombing is certain, however: practically all the comment it elicited in the United States was wrong. We have already seen that the casualties and civilian damage were amazingly light (about 1,500 killed, according to Hanoi’s own figures as against 35,000 in Dresden and 84,000 in Tokyo during World War II with which it was compared, and fewer than the North Vietnamese themselves had just killed by their artillery bombardment of An Loc). Yet Senator George McGovern in an interview on NBC called it “the most murderous aerial bombardment in the history of the world,” “the most immoral action that this nation has ever committed in its national history,” and “a policy of mass-murder that’s being carried on in the name of the American people.”

Senator Harold Hughes concurred: “It is unbelievable savagery that we have unleashed on this holy season; the only thing I can compare it with is the savagery of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Anthony Lewis of the New York Times added his note to the temperate chorus, characterizing the bombing not only as “a crime against humanity” but “the most terrible destruction in the history of man.” [7]

And so on through the Washington Post, several more Senators, etc. Having lived through the period, the above description doesn’t come close to the presented unanimity of condemnation and manufactured hysteria in the media, with protest demonstrations and riots waiting in the wings.

Nixon, eternally and progressively depressed and immobilized by the failure of the radical left to conform to his idealistic view that somewhere they must surely employ at least some small degree of personal integrity, conscience, or rationality, failed to make the necessary spirited defense and counter-attack against the psychotically dishonest and distorted assertions. Neither did the droning Henry Kissinger. Once again, the American people were left isolated, unsupported, betrayed, and faced with an uncontested unified inundation of radical leftist propaganda.

Killing: the Left-Wing Franchise

There was a distinct double standard. Killing people is viewed as a self-conferred exclusice left wing franchise. While Hanoi would kill, and had killed, 1,500 South Vietnamese people in an hour in the name of abstract idealism, the deaths of 1,500 in the North in an effort to prevent Hanoi’s wanton killing of more groups of 1,500 South Vietnamese in more hours was interpreted as an unacceptable crime against humanity. Hanoi had, on repeated occasion, wiped out entire medium sized cities in the North and had been eagerly willing to kill 15,000 of its own civilians or military on a moment’s notice without conscience when it furthered their cause in any way. But, defending one’s self against communist terrorism was, and still is, declared a crime against humanity by American leftists. Hanoi could, of course, have stopped or precluded the bombing by coming to the conference table with seriousness and turning away from their attempts at invasion of the south.

While Hanoi wouldn’t last through another two weeks of bombing, America could find itself in a violent confrontation with the political left on its streets after a another week if the bombing continued, given the over-tolerance toward the left and its coordination, if not encouragement, in the liberal media.

If the bombing had continued and the domestic confrontation in America had occurred and were crushed, it would have been the best thing that could have happened at least with respect to the war. The war would have been decisively and permanently won in Viet Nam. Another war that has continued for nearly 30 years in America—and has moved into endgame of being lost with the triumphant ascendancy of the Clintons—would also have been won. But Nixon didn’t have the clarity of vision to understand it, or didn’t have the personal courage and determination to see it through. In place of defiantly rejecting leftist criticism, he pulled back from winning the war.

The Colby quote several paragraphs above [5] contains the words, “both Vienamese parties” that is important. America, which the South Vietnamese, having not forgotten the assassination of Diem, had absolutely sound reason to distrust, had been attempting to force an agreement on the South that the South knew would have lethal consequences, so that America could end its domestic pressure from the left.

When the communists seriously returned to negotiations, Kissinger all too quickly and willingly made a negotiated settlement with the North that was unfavorable to the Americans, an obvious death sentence upon the South Vietnamese, and which everyone knew North Viet Nam had absolutely no intention of honoring after a convenient interval.

It has been asserted that Nixon retreated from continuing another week of bombing that would have won the war in order to win the 72 election. Regardless of who believed it, including perhaps even Nixon, the premise of the argument was flawed. The rioters outside the convention in 1968 were to move inside the convention in 1972 to take over the Democratic Party as delegates. They were determined to support McGovern and were permanently committed. The people who voted for Nixon in the 1972 presidential election were permanently polarized from the McGovern radical left and were equally determined and locked in. The election was set in concrete and little would change it’s outcome. If Nixon had continued bombing and gone on to panic and force Hanoi to total capitulation, it would have been been a joyous occasion for those who had had first elected him to do exactly that, and who would have reelected him in celebration. But Nixon seemed to lose that fundamental reality under the pressures of the situation—and possibly under the influence of poor advice. Had he not lost that reality, the history of the last 35 years would have been entirely different.

Follow the Money

In June 1973 the Congress and Senate prohibited use of any funds being used for military activities in S. E. Asia, effective in August. The communists immediately began to move and prepare themselves to disregard the terms of any agreements. By 1974 the North would have a massive force emplaced on the South Vietnamese borders. In January of 1975 the North would initiate a serious attack on a northern South Vietnamese province to see what would happen. America said and did nothing. Realizing that the South had been completely betrayed and that the North now had implicit permission, Hanoi poured a massive

concentrated force of 289,000 troops into the area with hundreds of Soviet and Chinese supplied modern tanks, heavy artillery, anti-aircraft weaponry and other equipment. In terms of manpower and firepower, it exceeded Patton’s Army and the D-day invasion at Normandy, and without the restrictions and confinements of the beaches or heavy emplacements. Without American tactical air support and resupply, there was no hope the South Vietnamese could hold up for more than a few days. They faced a massive moving wall of tanks in tightly-packed formation nearly tread to tread, and personnel shoulder to shoulder, and in depth. Even an entire American army would buckle under this degree of attack without massive, and that means massive, air support and logistics.

Paradoxically, the type of concentrated totally-committed assault employed by the communists was exactly the kind of confrontation American commanders had been hoping for, and prepared for, during the previous 14 years of the war. It was the American forte. If it had been allowed to happen, a four-hour attack with B 52s and tactical air strikes would have obliterated at least one-third of the communist army and disorganized the reminder in panic, allowing the South Vietnamese to finish the job on the ground. The entire communist army was, in fact, extended, employing tactics that were suicidal in terms of modern air-supported warfare, entrapped, and completely vulnerable in concentrated areas on the ground with no possibility of effecting a retreat should the American military have struck with air support and resupplied the South Vietnamese. For the second time in two years, the war could be easily won, in this case within a day or so, and so decisively that the North would have absolutely no military capability remaining and would have become either a military non-entity, or would have collapsed internally from lack of military structure to suppress its population. But the communists weren’t worried about it because they had been assurred it wouldn’t happen.

Instead, due to the actions of the American political left having effectively worked through Congress and elsewhere, the South Vietnamese army was deliberately allowed to be trampled and slaughtered, to a satisfaction and smirking which is still evident in the distorted accounts of the war to this day. Subsequently, an estimated 25 percent of the population of Cambodia and of the remaining population of South Viet Nam was slaughtered—without a hint of concern expressed by the political left in America or elsewhere. This accomplished what every misanthrope—what all the second rate mentalities who wanted to demonstrate how brilliant or important they were and wanted to show their behinds—had been trying to do for 15 years after beginning to see how much they could get away with at the Bay of Pigs.

With the completion of that communist victory and the subsequent further slaughter, the leftists had their way and, as my previously quoted (in the first paragraph of this article) left-wing internet political adversary who, to this day, proudly proclaims, “Our tactics finally worked.”

It was the culmination of a 15 year long deliberate betrayal of the American military and of the people in Southeast Asia resulting in a holocaust equal to, or exceeding, what was done to the Jews by the Nazis. Unfortunately, the Vietnamese in America don’t have the political, economic, or media power of the Jews in America, so there is no one to develop consciousness of the event or keep it alive. Almost nobody gives a damn or even knows what happened.

My suspicion is that William Colby was coming to the same conclusions as those you will have read here, and was on the verge of becoming outspoken when he died.

Lessons

What is there to be learned from all this?

First, the Viet Nam war was easily winable, and with one tenth the loss of life that was incurred. The war was in the palm of America’s hand from the beginning. Diem never should have been assassinated. The observations about increasing the ability of the villagers to protect themselves that Colby noted as a junior CIA officer and were later implemented highly successfully by Komer, Colby, and Vann in the very late 60s, should have been instituted in 62 or 63. Had that been done, the Viet Cong would have been destroyed, as they later were. The bombing of serious targets in the North, which later occurred under Nixon, would have ended the war in the mid-60s when North Vietnamese regular regiments were known to be infiltrating into the South. Another week of bombing should have won in 1972. The entire Northern military establishment should have been destroyed in hours in 1975 with no American casualties. Colby knew it and could barely control his exasperation until his death. That’s why his book was titled Lost Victory. Any competent military analyst knows the same.

It required 15 years of incompetence and deliberate subversion to yield the triumphant proof the political left was looking for and trying to engineer. What was supposedly proven was that the ideas of socialism and communism were so great and overwhelming that not even the most powerful army in the world could suppress them or stop their spread. That is supposedly why America and the South Vietnamese lost the war. That’s the conclusion we are sold today.

The truth is not only different from that conclusion, but is, on the contrary, the complete opposite. The people in S.E. Asia rejected and fled from the communists at every opportunity. The Northern leadership was able to continue the war not because of indominable spirit, but because they were systematically protected. The supposed triumph of communism required an American-backed assassination of a popular and critical South Vietnamese president. It required systematic perversion or subversion of military science, tactics, and strategy. It required betrayal of the South at times when a minuscule amount of effort and support would have permanently crushed the North. There is no evidence of how brilliant socialist theory was the pertinent element, except perhaps on the part of Americans in critical positions who were determined, and allowed, to openly weaken the American and South Vietnamese effort.

The so-called indominable spirit of communism which had been forced upon the people of South East Asia would not have lasted a week without systematic protection and support from critical elements in the United States.

We must be more serious in determining who or what we elect to the presidency of the United States. In saying this, I realize that is a useless statement. I’m either preaching to the choir, or saying something beyond many people’s understanding. But, electing the wrong person as president can get you killed or destroy the county. Every Democrat elected in the last 40 years has been monstrously destructive to America. Clearly, Jack Kennedy, while a superficially attractive and entertaining, but essentially contentless, figure—ready-made and slickly packaged for the developing two-dimensional television age—should never have been in the presidency or any other position demanding depth and seriousness. Lyndon Johnson should have been in jail.

The Handsome Killer

It’s a fact that, in a theater of the unreal, the American people voted the visibly incompetent presidents into office who got them, or their sons, or their friends, killed; or systematically lost a war. Women liked Jack Kennedy and sent him to office because they thought he was cute. Cute and getting hot to trot isn’t what it’s about. There is no easy solution to improving the political process in America. Perhaps there should be a third party with elected people of quality on a central committee to cull the country over for high quality leadership, reviewing potential leadership, and presenting or certifying the top of the grading process for party primary voter consideration.

Perhaps America has degenerated to the point were its people are no longer capable of self-government, and the country will destroy itself accordingly.

American government is not to be used as a high visibility polo ground for useless descendants of decaying wealthy family dynasties, who have marginal ability and who are looking for other things to do that provide an illusion of their importance and usefulness, as well as easy and prestigious position in life. Averell Harriman should have stayed in the railroad business instead of organizing the effort to get Diem assassinated. His lordship Henry Cabot Lodge was disastrous as Ambassador to Viet Nam. None of the Kennedys has worked seriously for 70 years or done anything but continue to breed like flies and coast through life as a mindless infestation of government.

Neither is American government to be used as an amusement park and playground for pampered, pompous, alienated academics and pseudo-intellectuals. Kennedy’s best and brightest turned out to be immature self-impressed, spoiled children who were the most hopeless and incompetent. They had a genius for destroying everything they touched while claiming the disastrous consequences were the result of a complexity of situation that only people of their highly developed mentality could understand, and that somehow made not destroying everything impossible from the beginning. Destruction somehow became a demonstration of superior intellect. This half-assed self-certified brilliance gave us in rapid intellectually exhilarating succession, the betrayal at the Bay of Pigs, weakening of the NATO alliance, strengthening of Castro, demoralization of the American military, assassination of a foreign ally, international mistrust of American policy, buildup of the political left in America nearly to the point of internal revolution, and continuing slow loss of what should have been an easily won war—to the point of near-unsalvageability and eventual catastrophe. This is only a partial list. That group was followed by a forceless, dismally brilliant Doctor Henry Kissinger who rode the inertia of what had been done without properly challenging any of it or presenting alternatives, and who went on to permanently validate and solidify the mess in a destructive agreement with the North Vietnamese that immobilized and isolated the South—while assuring the North eventual absolute military license with unlimited Soviet and Chinese aid. Lesser uncultivated minds couldn’t have accomplished all this. This required advanced education and the title of “intellectual” There is something about graduating from the upper levels, or holding positions in, liberal universities that, with few exceptions, confers a twisted mentality that becomes the kiss of death to anyone who contacts it.

America is being run from by a contrived left-wing virtual reality vomited from national TV networks that deal in censorship and propaganda in attempts to overturn the culture, or overturn the elected government when it suits them. Somehow this must be ended.

It is apparent that the historical infiltration of the radical left into American institutions and the subversion of the American higher educational system into a corrupt tool of the leftist movement was ultimately successful. The Viet Nam war was well on the way to being lost in the 1930s.

The radical left in America has become so powerful that it can throw elections and create or prevent wars, or engineer ways of destructive attrition.

The Drunk Was Right

The irritating, obnoxious, theatrical, and sometimes drunken Joe McCarthy was essentially correct in his assertions about the radical left and communists many years ago.

Nothing was necessarily what it has seemed to be. The following Associate Press story came over the Internet sites on August 20:

Castro offered LBJ help in ’64 Campaign

by the Associated Press

. . .Castro also invited Johnson to continue a U.S.-Cuban dialogue that Kennedy had initiated in the months before his assassination.

Castro’s comments are contained in a series of once-secret 1960s documents on U.S.-Cuban relations that were obtained by Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive, a research group at George Washington University.

The Castro message, dated Feb. 12, 1964, was given verbally by Castro to Lisa Howard of ABC News in Havana for delivery to

Johnson.

Castro, who then held the title of prime minister, asked Howard to “Please tell President Johnson that I earnestly desire his election to the presidency in November … though that appears assured. …. Seriously, I have observed how Republicans use Cuba as a weapon against the Democrats. So tell President Johnson to let me know what I can do.”

He suggested that his offer remain secret lest it become useful to the Republicans. It was a time when the conservative wing of the party was poised to seize power after long years of dominance by moderates.

That summer, the GOP nominated one of those conservative rebels, Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona, to run against Johnson in the 1964 presidential election.

Castro continued: “If the president feels it necessary during the campaign to make bellicose statements about Cuba or even to take

hostile action, if he will inform me unofficially that a specific action is required because of domestic political considerations, I shall understand and not take any serious retaliatory action.”

The distinguished ABC correspondent didn’t believe this critical piece of information was important enough to report as news and was cooperative in keeping the American public wrongly or poorly informed.

Had there been any public knowledge of this communication and that any of this were going on, there would have been riots in the streets and Goldwater would have become president. This messages implies that a limited military action or blockade would be tolerated or welcomed if it created a false image of confrontation, underneath which furtherance of Castro’s communism could be secretly arranged. Castro wanted and needed Kennedy, and he wanted and needed the same agreeable relationship with Lyndon Johnson. Goldwater’s threat to expose and end this charade had to be stopped at any cost. What was happening was perceived and stated by various groups at the time, but the latter were promptly dismissed as raving, psychotic right-wing extremists.

As was examined earlier in this series, the action to remove Castro at the Bay of Pigs was purposely sabotaged and betrayed by the Kennedy administration. To what extent the somewhat lost Kennedy, who was dominated by his advisors, knew or played a part in it is subject to speculation and may never be known.

It is quite reasonable to suspect that the Cuban blockade and crisis was an act enabling the communist world to actually move in the opposite direction of appearances in an earlier manipulation parallel to that contained in the Castro message. Certainly, the communists benefited greatly from the actions of the Kennedy administration. From the message delivered to Johnson from Castro, we can see the obscuring umbrella of the so-called Cuban crisis and the blockade would have been tolerated or welcomed to produce the finally obtained benefits for Castro and the communist world. What formerly would have been viewed as right-wing paranoia was becoming a serious possibility.

The Puzzle of McNamara

The most, in one sense, puzzling and yet central character of the Viet Nam war was Robert McNamara. Certainly, he created a destructive condition that would be extremely difficult to remedy. McNamara was given far too much power by weak and intellectually deficient presidents who were easily overly-impressed by him as a consequence of that deficiency. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In a room with a perpetual-college-sophomore Kennedy detached from the seriousness of the presidency, or a corrupt, half-witted, loudmouthed Lyndon Johnson more appropriately suited to shoveling manure in a Texas corral, McNamara was king.

McNamara’s brilliance was over-sold. His writing and pattern of thought would not survive the critical atmosphere of men of intellectual and personal stature. I find his references to his education and his quotations of various books and readings superficially impressive (although they would be looked upon as gauche and isolated from sequential depth among higher orders of company), but often a diverting substitute for hard content and disciplined logical and analytical processes. McNamara was not stupid, but beyond the carefully cultivated and paraded window dressing, he was far from brilliant. He had the good fortune to be dealing with people of lesser ability or fluency than himself who became intrigued by him. This was true even at Ford Motor where he was the first among the few that were educated and there was a lack of strong family heirs to run the business.

I have to ascribe to McNamara a modicum of intelligence to the point where he should have been basically functional. Yet, he made decisions or assertions that should have been clearly viewed as destructive or subversive from within his level of functioning. He had the threshold level of intellect to be capable of knowing what he was doing, and the effects it obviously should have been expected to have. I would consider McNamara dangerous to a degree that could not be forgiven or explained within his level of intellectual limitation.

I would characterize McNamara as grossly immature. He had some kind of KC135 tanker or cargo airplane that he demanded to be used as travel as part of an austerity program for the military or some such nonsense. It had no windows. On fact-finding missions he’d herd senior staff into this noisy contraption where there weren’t even windows to see out of. People would be

claustrophobic and beat to death when they arrived, then need to make evaluations or decisions that would affect hundreds of thousands of lives. This was strictly bush league childishness. It was a state of mind unsuitable for someone in McNamara’s position of responsibility. While this mentality contributed to his decisions, it did not explain everything.

Immaturity seemed to be an over-riding characteristic throughout the Kennedy administration. Reading descriptions of their activities provides the impression of hearing little kids who were allowed to run a country, but were completely out of their depth. The administration suffered from a profound lack of serious responsible adult real men, and this carried into the Johnson administration.

No matter how I shake the dice, they continue to come up saying McNamara’s decisions were so consistently degrading that McNamara almost had to have been working for the other side, or against the best interests of this country as I conceive of them. Nothing else explains the consistent totality of his decisions as adequately as that explanation. Whether it was the result of committed political conviction, or by some sort of internal sadistic personality quirk that made him destructive, or was the result of some internal quirk that in turn committed him politically is unknown. But the more I study McNamara’s conduct, the more I am forced to the conclusion that he was seriously working against America’s best interests and working in favor of the socialist-communist axis. There was nothing clever or subtle or hidden or brilliant about it. It was defiantly obvious to the point of outrage.

Robert McNamara was the first Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton can go before a formal judicial proceeding and laugh in obvious defiant ridicule, while denying knowing what the definitions of “sex” and “is” are. McNamara went about the business of methodically destroying the American military and undermining efforts to win, even survive, a war in a statement of defiant ridicule and a proof of supposed superior intellect demonstrated by the inability of others to stop him.

The question is, Why wasn’t he stopped? Part of the answer was that he was faced with weak unintelligent presidents of doubtful and conflicted motivation that he could either intimidate or manipulate. A second part of the answer is that he had the support of people possessing a narcissistic culture of superiority and vindictive derisive ridicule, who were in critical or powerful positions (particularly in the media), who were of similar mentality, and who enjoyed or participated in the process vicariously. A third part of the answer was that he was proceeding in the destructive direction many people, including the radical left, wanted to see America go, and who were willing to support him in this process. A fourth part of the answer is that there was a gentleman’s code in national politics and high office that forbade directly accusing people of deliberately working toward destruction of the country. It’s considered bad form characteristic of the lower classes.

Lastly, McNamara was doing the unbelievable. Even though it was obvious, people were forbidden to believe it. Things like that don’t happen in America. Many people would think there must be something wrong with them rather than accept the obvious fact that such a thing was possible or could be happening. It’s a little like being married to a spouse abuser. People don’t accept it as true because it is only rumored to happen elsewhere or in movies, not in your own family. It would classify one as a right-wing nut case to believe such unbelievable craziness.

The Socialist Virus

America has long since been infected with a rotten core, one result of which was the American defeat.

The real danger is not the communists. The formal communist party in America has been dead and a subject of ridicule for 45 years. Their work was done, quite successfully, and they had evolved into an empty, easily-ridiculed willing decoy. The seeds were planted when the radical left took over the higher educational system in this country by the middle 30s. That established a self-perpetuating system such that the formal communist party became tangential and irrelevant 20 years later. The real danger became, and is, the unaffiliated descendants of the communists who, like the students of the 60s, were told they were very middle of the road, and believed it, and would laugh in your face if you asked them if they were communists, or like the McNamaras who believed they were superior, intelligent, and sophisticated.

What was established many years ago was the equivalent of a computer virus. The program could be anything, but one which reproduces itself under a different name. The people infected with it don’t understand they are infected, but are motivated by a purpose laid down before they were born. They have no idea what they are.

The communist party in the United States has been obsolete for 35 years as a result of the self-replicating system the radical left emplaced in the educational system more than 60 years ago. As nearly as I can determine by attitude polls, voting patterns, and espoused sociopolitical theoretical formulations, 35 percent of the American population believes in nearly everything the communists once believed without being members of, or ever had direct contact with, the communist party. Another 20 percent believe in half of it or aren’t sure what they believe. Still another 20 percent are desperately striving to maintain their equilibrium in an increasingly left wing world.

It is clear that an America that had been strategically and ideologically infiltrated fell into the hands of two incompetent and unworthy presidents. It is equally clear that those presidents were surrounded by top level advisors who were, at the very best, lacking in personal maturity and seriously lacking in competence. My first and continuing impression is that there was, at the highest levels of government, an ideological allegiance to a more distant vision such that the realities of the moment were looked upon as of passing and comparatively diminished importance. That vision was not intrinsically incompatible with, indeed was a gradually evolved hybrid of, the enemy’s ideology. Therefore, that enemy and ideology where not seriously confronted with any sense of priority, and tens of thousands of American service people were sent to their deaths accordingly.

Particularly in instances when there is need to confront leftist influences, the cry has been “no more Viet Nams” as if we allowed ourselves to become bogged down in an unwinnable war. The truth was, the war was easily winnable. The cry should be, “no more playboy and/or incompetent presidents”. No more incompetent showpiece secretaries of defense. No more making military and foreign policy a playground where inexperienced and oppositional-defiant neurotic self-proclaimed intellectuals can show their behinds. The cry should be to remove the rotten subversive core in America and get down to the serious adult business of the truth and our own survival.


Notes

[1] Norman Podhoretz, Why We Were in Viet Nam, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982, p 108.

[2] William Eagan Colby, with James McCargar, Lost Victory, Contemporary Books, Chicago, 1989, p. 202.

[3] Ibid., p. 319.

[4] Ibid., p. 337.

[5] Ibid., p. 341.

[6] Podhoretz, p. 156. References cited:

60. Martin F. Herz, The Prestige Press and The Christmas Bombing, 1972. Washington, D. C.: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1980, p. 2.

61. Sir Robert Thompson, in W. Scott Thompson and Donaldson D. Frizzell, ed., The Lessons of Vietnam, New York: Crane, Russak & Co. 1977, p. 105.

[7] See note 6.


Other References

Edward Lansdale in W. Scott Thompson & Donaldson D. Frizzell, eds., The Lessons of Vietnam, Crane, Russak & Co., 1977. Also Guenther Lewy, America in Vietnam, Oxford University Press, 1978.

Guenter Lewey, America in Vietnam, New York, Oxford University Press, 1978

Robert S. McNamara with Brian VanDeMark, In Retrospect: the Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, Times Books, New York, 1995

Sir Robert Thompson, Defeating Communist Insurgency, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1966

Major H. von Dach Bern, Swiss Army, Total Resistance, Panther Publications, Box 369, Boulder, Colorado, 1965