The Two Vietnam JimGuirard

Author: Jim Guirard –


On Friday of last week, much of the establishment mediareminded us of the awful 35th anniversary of the so-called “Endof the Vietnam War” — on April 30, 1975. This is only partly true, andnow we need to know what the late commentator Paul Harvey would correctlycall “the rest of the story.”

On Friday and throughout the weekend, familiarpictures were shown of American helicopters lifting people off the roof ofthe U.S. Embassy in Saigon as the South Vietnamesegovernment was collapsing to the invading Communists from the North — and thiswas dutifully labeled again as the “first war ever lost by America.”

Since this snapshot of so-called “history” ishighly misleading, it becomes vital that the entire story of Vietnamand its Cold War aftermath be clearly understood — so that today’s partisan politicians, media commentators andfar-Left “Progressives” cannot scam the American public with avariety of false “lessons” of that long-ago conflict and itsfar-reaching consequences.

Unfortunately, we live in an age when far too littleattention is paid to history — real history. What actually happened back thenis often rewritten to satisfy political or ideological appetites of “Scamalot” revisionists — who may be journalists, oracademics, or deceitful governments, or religious zealots, or evenoccupants of high political office.

Evidence of this deceit can be found in America‘sfailure three months ago to memorialize the actual late-January1973 end of the Vietnam War — or, more correctly, the end of “VietnamOne,” in which American armed forces fought. That was the twelve-yearwar which was fought largely by U.S.combat forces and which officially ended with the Paris Peace Accords of January 27, 1973.

But sadly, back in January, we saw not a singlehistorically correct commentary about the end of “VietnamOne” in any major U.S.newspaper. Nor was there any detailed mention by any TV network “talkinghead” of the historical truth of a badly defeated North Vietnam‘s exodus from the South. That wasthe imperfect but largely victorious and now-forgotten end of Vietnam One.

Remembered and loudly acclaimed, instead, isthe infamous anniversary date more than two years later ofthe tragic end of “Vietnam Two” — which

(a) began in January 1975,

(b) involved no U.S.combat forces at all, and

(c) to a tragic end on April 30, 1975.

That was when South Vietnam‘scapital city of Saigon fell torampaging Soviet-supplied North Vietnamese armies — and when televisedpictures of helicopters rescuing American diplomatic personnel, Marine guards,and friendly South Vietnamese from the U.S. Embassy roof were first burned intoour memories.

The deceitful tactic: Loudly and relentlesslypropagandize a first-ever “Defeat of America“when, in fact, all American combat units had departed the scene more thantwo years earlier.

Two Sharply Different Wars

The many differences between these “two VietnamWars” — and their “lessons learned,” if any, for the ongoingbattles for peace, stability, and democracy in Iraqand Afghanistan— should be searched for in the following historical sub-texts. While anentire book could be written about each of these under- and falsely reporteditems, a brief paragraph about each might help to avoid their being completelyignored or wrongly described in the context of today’s Vietnam/Iraqcomparisons.

1) Beginning in 1961, all significant increases in U.S.combat forces in South Vietnam occurred during the administrations of JohnKennedy and Lyndon Johnson (to a peak of 543,400 in late 1968) — while all significantreductions (down to only 20,000 in late 1972 and to virtually zero bymid-1973) occurred in the administration of Richard Nixon.

These large reductions were made possible both by the steadyweakening of North Vietnamese and by significant strengthening of SouthVietnamese forces, especially during and following the widely andcynically misinterpreted Offensive of 1968– which was an unmitigated disaster for the North.

2) During their dozen years in South Vietnam, U.S. combatforces did not lose a single major battle, despite the marginally insane (i.e.,politically correct) rules of engagement to which they were subjected by LyndonJohnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and their “best andbrightest” entourage — and then by a similar, but less intrusive,micro-management by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger.

Clearly, U.S.combat forces did not “lose” the military war, as contrasted to thepolitical and psychological losses they suffered in the McGoverniteCongress, in the left-leaning media, among the radicalized academia and foreignpolicy elite, and in American public opinion.

3) The biggest and longest battle of the entire Vietnam War– the Offensive of early 1968 — was the biggestvictory for U.S.and South Vietnamese forces and the most devastating defeat for the Viet Congand the North Vietnamese. But a combination of mainline media lies and ofnegative “spin” by antiwar activists managed to persuade the Americanpublic that it was our biggest failure, instead.

4) That part of the conflict in which US combat forcesparticipated ended with the Paris Peace Accords of January 27, 1973, when American troop count was down toabout 20,000 and headed for zero by mid-year — and with formal treatyassurances from North Vietnamthat it would cease its cross-border aggression against South Vietnam.

At that point, American and South Vietnamese forces hadthwarted the Soviet-supported North. They had both militarily anddiplomatically achieved the same status quo ante as the one which ended theKorean War twenty years earlier — not a clear-cut victory, but surely not theshameful defeat which today’s revisionists contend.

Enter VietnamTwo

5) As stated above, it was not until January 1975 that theSoviet-backed North began “The Second Vietnam War,” or Vietnam Two,against a largely abandoned South. This was a war made possible and winnablefor the communists by three principal factors:

a)  post-Watergate, August1974 resignation of President Richard Nixon;

b) the dominance of the antiwar congressional Democrats(pressured by Blame America First radicals of the Ted Kennedy, John Kerry,George McGovern, and Frank Church varieties), who in 1973-74 slashed aid toSouth Vietnam by more than half; and

c)  Moscow-Hanoi certaintythat an unelected and politically insecure President Gerald Ford would not dareto intervene if the North were to invade the South.

6) The final Blitzkrieg-style victory of theSoviet-supported North Vietnamese came on April 30, 1975. This was not a victory over U.S.combat forces; our forces had departed more than two years earlier. It was thedefeat of the South Vietnammilitary, whose assistance and political support had been decimated by aDemocrat-dominated, weak-on-liberty U.S. Congress.

7) The predicted “communist bloodbath” in South Vietnam did, indeed, occur. There were tensof thousands of summary executions, millions of innocents herded into brutal”re-education” camps, and hundreds of thousands of “boatpeople” fleeing the single-party, police-state communist dictatorship.This communist state is still in power, thirty years later.

8) The long-anticipated “domino effect” alsooccurred over the next five years (1975-80), during which a”no-more-Vietnams” retreat by the United States and its allies allowed some twentynations to fall to Soviet imperialism, colonialism, and subversion. Dividedinto two slightly overlapping groups, these post-Vietnam colonies for communismwere:

Ten plainly Marxist-Leninist states: South Vietnam, Cambodia,Laos, Mozambique,Angola, Ethiopia,South Yemen, Suriname,Grenada, and Nicaragua.

Ten more socialist, single-party “client states,”which were close enough to communist tyranny as no longer to require so-called”liberation”: Libya, Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Tanzania, Seychelles,Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao-Tome/Principe, and the Congo.

9) It was not until Ronald Reagan became president inJanuary 1981 that this veritable avalanche of “dominoes” into theEvil Empire ceased falling. The trend was reversed by the preemptive”roll-back” liberation of Grenadafrom Soviet/Cuban colonial status in 1983. Although only a tiny part ofthe Evil Empire, Grenada‘sgreat geopolitical significance was the first clear-cut reversal of theso-called Brezhnev Doctrine — that much-propagandized rule which said”once Communist, always Communist.”

10) Whether or not Vietnam One was either strategicallywise or militarily winnable (which this writer strongly believes it was), itwas most certainly a “moral” and “just” cause. As with thecase of World War II, such a determination can be based only on an objectiveanalysis of the character and motivations of the enemy against whom the war wasfought.

In total context, was this enemy the “goodguy” who deserved to win, or the “bad guy” who should have lost?In this case, that Soviet-sponsored enemy — Ho Chi Minh’sNorth Vietnam — proved quite clearly in the postwar period to be far moreimperialist than “nationalist,” far more repressive than”liberationist,” and far more fascist-Left than “people’sdemocratic.”

This is why so many Americans have always believed that byany objective standard, “the wrong side won.” And this is why we mustremind everyone, in the name of truth-in-history, that this “wrongside” victory came against a cut-and-run U.S. Congress — and not againstAmerican combat forces in Vietnam One, which ended imperfectly buthonorably in early 1973.

Of course, that historic truth is regretted to this day bymany of the anti-liberation left, who would have preferred that “arrogant America“and “imperialist America“be defeated outright — just as they would prefer in Iraqand Afghanistantoday.

A final note: The idea that there would be no “dominoeffect” to a defeat of American and Coalition forces in Iraqand Afghanistanis as deceitful as the constantly repeated lie that there was no suchtriggering effect to the April 1975 collapse of South Vietnam.

Review #8 above for a truth-in-history reminder of thetwenty post-Vietnam dominoes which fell in a period of only five short years –four of them during the pathetic Carter-Mondale years — followed then by the1980s decade of the “roll-back of communism,” which was applauded bymany (and demeaned by many others) as the Reagan Revolution.

A DC-areaattorney and national security strategist, Jim Guirardwas longtime Chief of Staff to former U.S. Senators Allen Ellenderand Russell Long. His website focuses on truth-in-language andtruth-in-history in public discourse.

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