28. Vietnam’s War of Liberation (1955-1975)


Cartel blocks Vietnamese General Election

We left Vietnam’s story just after the Vietnamese finally vanquished the French from Southeast Asia after a bitter 8-year war with thousands of lives lost accompanied by abundant property damage. This was nothing compared to the devastation they were to experience in the following decades from the American branch of the International Business Cartel.

After losing some decisive battles and realizing that they weren’t going to win the first Indochina War, France and Vietnam agreed to a truce. An international conference met in Geneva to discuss a peace settlement between the two countries. The negotiations resulted in the Geneva Accords of 1954. Let it be stressed that the accords represented an international agreement, participated in by many non-Communist nations, including the United States.

The series of agreements split Vietnam along the 17th parallel. Without further hostilities, the opposing armies were to retreat to their respective sides of the dividing line.  Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh army went north to rule what became known as North Vietnam, while the colonial armies along with their Vietnamese collaborators went south to rule South Vietnam. The international committee further stipulated that democratic elections were to be held in 1956 with the purpose of joining the two halves of the country as one.

This was a particularly reasonable assumption if the Cold War was really between Democracy and Communism. Rather than allowing the Vietnamese to set up an ‘evil communist dictatorship’, the international community instead required them to set up a legitimate democracy. The Geneva Accords even assigned independent foreign observers to assure that there would be no voter fraud. Hooray! Hoorah! The ‘first world’ had clearly won the battle with the ‘second world’ over this ‘third world country’. Instead of becoming a ‘communist dictatorship’ Vietnam would soon join the ranks of nations listed as a ‘free democracy’. With the accords in place, Vietnam was soon to join the ranks of democratic nations, at least according to theory.

Unfortunately the Cold War was not between Democracy and Communism. The intrinsic battle was instead between the International Business Cartel, i.e. corporate rights, and the People, i.e. human rights. If Vietnam was allowed to become a true democracy, it was evident to all that the communist Viet Minh would easily win the elections and establish control over Vietnam. As a peasant and worker based movement, social reform would certainly be at the top of their docket. The equalizing social reforms that they had introduced to the north would be spread to the south. Even the most casual observer knew that self-determination for Vietnam as a democracy meant that human rights would be more important than the Cartel’s corporate rights.

This potentially devastating state of affairs was unacceptable to the Cartel. Because of their virtually absolute control over the American government, they simply pulled the strings of their puppets to get them to do their bidding. Subsequently, their American representatives along with their South Vietnamese collaborators refused to sign the Final Declaration of the Geneva Accords, the accord that would have established legitimate democratic elections.

Cartel sets up Military Dictatorship to prevent Democracy

Both parts of Vietnam began the rebuilding process. With Soviet and Chinese assistance, the north centered in Hanoi began an ambitious program of social industrialization and also began to collectivize agriculture. This move towards labor equality was a bad sign for the Cartel.

In the meantime, the Cartel arranged for Ngo Dinh Diem, a Roman Catholic, to be appointed prime minister of the south. His regime’s main achievement was consolidating and stabilizing his anti-communist government centered in Saigon. With substantial American financial support, Diem’s puppet government focused most of their energy upon building up South Vietnam’s military capabilities and developing a secret police network to suppress dissent. The sole purpose of these efforts was to prevent the Viet Minh from furthering their substantial influence in the south. There was no talk of social reform, establishing a legitimate democracy, or human rights.

Even in these early years of American involvement, the Cartel-controlled South Vietnamese government became very unpopular among the citizenry. The secret police employed imprisonment, torture and execution against anyone who was suspected of disloyalty to their regime.  Due to these totalitarian methods, almost everybody was suspect. Diem’s military dictatorship also alienated the majority Buddhist population by appointing only Roman Catholics to the top government positions. Equally infuriating to the agrarian population, Saigon-appointed administrators replaced traditionally elected village councils.

Knowing that he would certainly lose, the U.S.-supported Diem refused to hold the all-Vietnamese elections that the international Geneva Accords had scheduled for 1956. Denied the democratic process, the Viet Minh, now known as the Viet Cong, launched a popular uprising to unify Vietnam as an independent nation – a goal they had been pursuing for decades. Of course, the American-led Cartel continued to provide financial assistance to Diem, the unpopular military dictator.

The Cartel was desperately afraid that if Vietnam went communist, then the rest of Southeast Asia would follow suit. Officials and the media referred to this imagined phenomenon as the ‘domino effect’. The implicit assumption behind the argument was that the communist system was terrible, as compared to democracy. The press never mentioned that the American-led Cartel had deliberately blocked the democratic process in Vietnam. A ruthless military dictatorship supported by foreign powers ruled half of their country. Besides suppressing democracy, the Cartel’s administration attempted to break down traditional Vietnamese society by replacing Buddhism with Catholicism. Given these circumstances, the Cartel left the Vietnamese with really only one alternative – a communist system.

Due to these fairly obvious factors, the communist-led resistance movement continued to grow. Despite being outnumbered 10 to 1 in terms of soldiers (400K vs. 35K in 1964) and possessing inferior fire-power, the Viet Cong made impressive gains. The Vietnamese independence movement even appeared close to success in 1963.

In desperation, the Cartel engineered a coup that overthrew and killed Diem and then installed another even more repressive regime. Even ‘neutralists’ were imprisoned and tortured under the new government. As to be expected, these authoritarian measures did nothing to inspire popular enthusiasm and damp the resistance movement, but instead only enflamed the people’s passion against this inhumane treatment.

Eco-destruction via Defoliants such as Agent Orange

To further support the ruthless military dictatorship that they had installed, the Cartel added eco-warfare to their tool kit. The U.S. under the Kennedy administration began supplying the Vietnamese government with defoliants, among which Agent Orange was the most notorious and most effective. As a group, the defoliants were called by the euphemistic name ‘Rainbow Herbicides’ because they came in huge colored drums. Agent Orange was so called because it came in an orange drum to differentiate it from the other herbicides. The official reason for employing these chemicals was to defoliate the landscape and expose enemy hiding places.

The British led the way to eco-destruction as a viable military technique in this regard. They employed eco-warfare against the Scottish uprising in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this case, their soldiers simply deforested the land, hence minimizing the local advantage. In the 20th century, the English began employing more sophisticated techniques. To suppress the Communist Emergency in Malaysia, they first employed the equivalent of Agent Orange to deforest select parts of the Malay Peninsula. Inspired by this success, the American government supplied their puppet government with the same lethal chemicals via Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto.

Between 1961-1971, 12 million gallons of herbicide were dropped on Vietnam in what the military euphemistically called ‘Operation Ranch Hand’. There were 3 primary purposes. The first reason was war-related: destroy the Viet Cong’s shelter from which they waged guerilla warfare. To this end, the nutrient rich and fertile Mekong Delta was an early target. The 2nd reason was to force the subject population to cooperate by destroying their food supply. Kennedy approved the destruction of rice fields in this fashion. Over 40% of the poison was used to destroy this traditional source of nutrition. Of course, destroying the rice fields had a devastating effect upon the civilian population, as rice is their primary food source. Later in the war, herbicides were used to move peasant populations into areas controlled by the Cartel’s military forces. By the end of the war, herbicides had infected 13% of the Vietnamese soil.

Dioxin is a dangerous byproduct of the production of Agent Orange. This chemical and others continue to cause diseases and birth defects to those who were exposed to the defoliants. Agent Orange is the suspect in the mysterious diseases and deaths of tens of thousands of American military personnel and their children, as well as millions of Vietnamese past and present. In addition to the adverse health effects, the defoliants changed the landscape and poisoned the food chain.

This lack of precautionary measures and/or even concern for those American soldiers who risked their lives in the service of their unholy ideals is yet another example of how the ruling military oligarchy, which has now merged with the Cartel, continues to exploit their own subjects in a similar manner to the native populations that they subjugate.  

Chemical Warfare with Napalm

Napalm was yet another disgusting military tool employed by the American/Vietnamese army against the people of Vietnam. It was first used in 1963, even before the American intervention had officially begun. Napalm was originally employed as an incendiary device used against structures. Fairly quickly, it began to be used against people as well.

Properly detonated, it can produce a devastating effect on an area up to 2500 square yards. After exploding, a sticky substance splatters in all directions. It adheres to and burns the skin, forming blisters. Plus it is almost impossible to remove. One survivor said that the noxious chemical generates a scalding heat that is 10 times hotter than boiling water. Of course, the excruciating pain is debilitating.

Between 1963 and 1973, 388K tons of Dow Chemical-produced napalm were dropped on Vietnam. It was a favorite of the generals because the painful and lethal gas emitted by the explosion entered the many caves and tunnels inhabited by the Viet Cong. These were definitely military targets, as enemy combatants hid in and launched attacks from these underground structures. Unfortunately, the military also dropped napalm on the villages suspected of cooperating with or harboring the Viet Cong. Due to the Cartel’s repressive political, economic, and cultural measures, almost all the Vietnamese villages were assisting the independence movement.

In 1983, an international law was passed that banned the use of napalm and similar incendiary devices against civilian populations. As an indication of the Cartel’s continuing domination of American politics, the U.S. did not agree to the international agreement until 2009. Signing the document was one of Barack Obama’s first official acts after becoming president.

Cartel arranges Gulf of Tonkin incident 1964 to justify American involvement

In the late 1950’s and early 60’s, the South Vietnamese dictatorship’s repressive measures were matched by their inability to deal with the Vietnamese independence movement.

The Viet Minh began calling themselves the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam (NLF) in 1960. Their ability to organize and present a united front even after 5 years of military suppression stunned the Cartel. The resistance was supposed to wilt under the constant barrage. The disobedient Vietnamese should bow before their masters. Instead despite eco-destruction, chemical warfare and military domination, the influence of the Vietnamese independence movement continued to grow at the expense of the Cartel-supported military dictatorship.

During the late 1950s, American soldiers entered Vietnam as advisors. According to the Geneva Accords of 1954, the U.S. was allowed to install up to 700 of these military personnel to offer training and guidance. As military advisors, they were not supposed to engage in combat.

However, the ailing South Vietnamese puppet government was barely surviving due to lack of popular support. To further prop up the corrupt regime, U.S. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson raised the number of supposedly ‘non-combat’ military advisors from 900 in 1960 to 17,000 in 1963. Even though these ‘advisors’ were only providing guidance, 53 of them died in combat in 1962. As the number of military ‘advisors’ increased, the combat-related deaths also rose, from 122 in 1963 to 216 in 1964. Apparently their ‘advice’ was not that effective. This observer status was about to change rapidly.

As South Vietnam’s military dictatorship seemed on the verge of collapse despite highly questionable practices, the Cartel pulled out their secret weapon – the American army.

Cartel: “At this point in history, if we had been able, we would have just sent in the U.S. Army to do our dirty work. Unfortunately, America was still a democracy. Proper procedures had to be followed. Vietnam had not attacked us. The U.S. did not have a legitimate reason to send in troops.

Americans resisted involvement, as always. They asked, ‘What is the justification for military aggression against a small, undeveloped, 3rd world country half way around the world? What threat do the Vietnamese present to our national security? Why should American lives be risked in an internal civil war?’

Those stupid humans with their damned morals were getting in our way.

What to do?

Simple. Arrange an ‘incident’. It worked in the Spanish-American War, i.e. the Maine, and in World War II, i.e. Pearl Harbor. But the Vietnamese have been careful not to fire on U.S. targets, even though it is obvious we are supporting their dictator. We must provoke them to ‘attack’ us. The American public will always ‘defend’ itself from aggression, not passively but by retaliating. American’s rarely if ever retreat. Instead they proudly stand up for themselves against attack.”

On Aug. 2, 1964, the U.S. destroyer Maddox moved dangerously close to the North Vietnamese shore in the Gulf of Tonkin. The American Navy was in North Vietnamese waters. In response, North Vietnamese patrol boats came out to investigate. As the destroyer came closer, the Vietnamese fired warning shots. Feigning outrage, the U.S. military claimed that they had been unjustly ‘attacked’.

President Lyndon B. Johnson and mass media fanned this fire, even claiming that there was another attack, also false, a few days later. Subsequently, the U.S. Congress endorsed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution almost unanimously. The Resolution authorized the president to take "all necessary measures to repel attacks . . . and prevent further aggression." Note that ‘repel’ and ‘prevent’ are defensive verbs, not aggressive. They suggest guarding and containment, rather than an outright attack. In other words, the U.S. military could actively ‘repel’ and ‘prevent’ any further attacks by Vietnamese patrol boats.

Instead of sticking to its intent, both U.S. President Johnson and Nixon employed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to justify a full-scale U.S. intervention in the Vietnam War. Even though, it is called a war, the U.S. never declared war on Vietnam. The rationale was that the U.S. was merely intervening in internal Vietnamese affairs to protect American interests. The intervention was to presumably ‘prevent’ and ‘repel’ further attacks by Vietnamese patrol boats. To this end, Johnson ordered U.S. naval planes to bomb North Vietnam. This was the beginning of 8 years of bombing, which included napalm and Agent Orange. By the end of the war, U.S. planes had dropped the equivalent of one 500-pound bomb for every Vietnamese citizen, all in retaliation for a warning shot fired by a patrol boat.

Cartel deploys American Army against Vietnamese

In 1965, American troops were officially deployed in Vietnam for the first time. Two Marine battalions were the first to arrive; 50,000 U.S. troops arrived shortly after. Without American military assistance, South Vietnamese’s repressive regime would have gone down. Could it be that their numerically superior army accompanied by superior U.S. weaponry were not that effective because their rank and file soldiers were not that loyal to the Cartel’s puppet government that attempted to subvert their human rights and undermine their culture?

U.S. involvement escalated rapidly due to the equally rapid deterioration of Vietnamese support. This was a war that the Cartel had to win. In addition to maintaining control of this lucrative income property, they wanted to set an example for the global community, both allies and enemies. The Cartel wanted to prove that resistance was futile by flexing the full power of their military might against this small agrarian, seemingly primitive, country.

Despite this initial investment of American manpower, the Vietnamese National Liberation Forces continued to gain control over ever-larger portions of the countryside. In response, the Cartel called in more American troops to defend its property. By year’s end, there were 180,000 American troops serving in South Vietnam. To indicate again how fully the Cartel controls American politics, Congress fulfilled every request for additional military troops and weaponry. Further the approving vote for these increases was nearly unanimous every time. Put another way there were only a handful of dissenters amongst over 500 elected representatives.

Despite superior firepower, manpower, and airpower, the military situation continued to deteriorate for the Cartel’s forces. In response, American troop strength was increased to 389,000 men in 1967 and then over 500,000 in 1968. Supplementing the Americans were 600,000 South Vietnamese troops along with allies. In other words there were over 1 million soldiers fighting for the Cartel to suppress the Vietnamese independence movement. Further the U.S. military continued to incessantly bomb North Vietnamese cities and the South Vietnamese countryside in support of their land forces. Yet the efforts continued to be unsuccessful.

In 1968 South Vietnam held a faux election, in which the majority opposition party, i.e. the Vietnamese Liberation Front, was prevented from fielding a candidate or even voting. Further any candidate who even favored negotiation was excluded from the supposedly democratic process. The election was a feeble attempt to appease the American public who was becoming increasingly disenchanted with the war. The ongoing propaganda was that the U.S. was assisting South Vietnam to become a legitimate democracy and thereby prevent them from turning into a dreaded communist dictatorship. In this way, the noble American forces were preventing the spread of communism throughout the ‘free world’.

Accompanying this ‘feel-good’ rationale was the message that the war was almost over. All the U.S. needed was a few more troops and more armaments. Then at last America would be able to claim total victory over the evil ‘communist insurgents’ that were on the verge of collapse.

The notion that the Vietnam War was almost over held great appeal to the American populace. The Public was accustomed to short, seemingly ‘righteous’ wars in which U.S. forces emerged victorious. America had ‘reluctantly’ and only when ‘provoked’ sent their army to protect the ‘free world’ in both World Wars. Further, the U.S. entry into these wars inevitably proved to be the turning point for the ‘forces of good’. A similar pattern presumably held true of the Spanish-American War, the Korean War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican American War. In each of these wars, U.S. involvement was relatively brief, increasingly successful and ended with victory. As long as the Public believed that the Vietnam War fit this same pattern, they were willing to acquiesce to the growing demand of the American government for increased manpower and funding.

U.S. Military Conscription – the Draft

How did the U.S. government meet the Cartel’s growing needs for human cannon balls in escalating war? How were they able to place a half a million American soldiers on the battlefield?

Through Military Conscription, commonly known as the draft. In other words, compulsory military service for the youth of America.

In 1940 in anticipation of World War II, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, which required all men between 21 and 45 to register for the draft. After the war began, the age of conscription was reduced to 18, where it has remained ever since. From 1940 to 1947 over 10 million men were drafted into military service.

In anticipation of the ensuing Cold War, military conscription was left in place after the end of World War II even though there was immediate threat. Any man between 18 and 26 years of age was required to register for military service and be ready to serve as a soldier in the Army for 2 years if the government deemed it necessary. The anticipated conflict came soon. The draft was employed to supply manpower for the Korean War (1950-1953). Over 1.5 million men were inducted to serve in this war.

Despite the ensuing peace and the growing belief that future wars would be technological rather army-based, military conscription remained in place. As there was no immediate threat, the word ‘draft’ is a bit inappropriate in this case, as the word implies compelling need. The Cartel was acutely aware of the growing communist threat that had risen due to its repressive and exploitative practices. They needed an army to maintain control of their global income properties.

To avoid the uncertainties of the draft, many men ‘volunteered’ to serve. In that way, they could choose which military branch they were to join. Rather than being a rank and file soldier who was sent to the front lines, they could become an enlisted officer with less potential for actual battle. In this way, they minimized the possibility of personal injury and death.

Understanding the increase in ‘volunteerism’ due to the possibility of conscription, Hershey, the head of the Selective Service Program from 1941 to 1969, actually used this process as an argument in favor of maintaining the draft.  He regularly testified before Congress that 3 to 4 men ‘volunteered’ for every man drafted. In other words, the government consciously used the draft as a club to encourage men to enlist in the armed services. In this way, the U.S. military would have sufficient manpower to support the Cartel’s many dictatorships throughout the world.

Between 1964 and 1975, 3.4 million Americans were deployed in Southeast Asia. During this same period, the draft raised 2.2 million men for military service, not all of whom went to Vietnam. Of course, many of those who ‘volunteered’ did so to avoid the draft.

This enforced and massive military conscription had a disturbing effect on the consciousness of every young man and his family in the entire U.S. In other words, virtually no one was exempt from worry. This worry was compounded when an increasing number of American youth became casualties or returned home from the war badly damaged or destroyed by the war. If the war was almost over, this sacrifice would be justified as the U.S. Military was presumably putting down the threat of communism. In this way, they were preventing the beginning of the feared ‘domino effect’, which stated that one country after another went communist until it spread over the entire world, including the Americas.

However, a supposedly short war kept going on and on, with an increasing number of young men threatened by military conscription. Because of this immediate and continuing threat to nearly every family, Americans began asking, “Why are we risking our lives? What is the justification for the war? Why are we there?”

Of course, the major Media only provided the official propaganda. ‘The U.S. is fighting for democracy and freedom against the spread of communism.’ A closer look revealed that the U.S. Military was suppressing democracy, not encouraging it. The disgusting employment of chemical warfare, i.e. Agent Orange and napalm, against this small and seemingly innocent population seemed particularly cruel and disgusting. For these reasons, the American Public, especially the younger generation, came to perceive the Vietnam War as an ‘unjust war’. It was not a ‘righteous’ war, like the World Wars or the Korean War. There was no reasonable justification for the sacrifice of American lives in this faraway place, which posed no threat to the U.S. With this realization, many young men left the country or faced imprisonment rather than joining the army when called to serve.

Combined with the physical deaths were the psychological deaths of America’s youth. Suffering from both physical and psychic injuries, the emotionally disturbed Vietnam veteran became a living indictment of the U.S. role in Vietnam. Americans of all generations responded with civil disobedience to this desecration of their youth. The draft became a rallying point for those protesting against the war.

The Tet Offensive, the Turning Point of the War

Due to continuing propaganda from all major media, the American populace assumed that the enemy forces were on the verge of collapse. This sense of confidence was especially prevalent in 1968 with half a million troops occupying this small foreign country. Then during the Tet (lunar new year) Vietnamese festival, the Vietnamese launched a well-organized, surprising, massive counterattack. During the so-called Tet Offensive the combined forces of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacked more than 100 cities and military bases, holding on to some for several weeks.

Although ultimately unsuccessful due to superior U.S. firepower, this shocking counter-offensive was a wake-up call to the American Public. It became apparent that the Vietnamese People’s Army, instead of being on the verge of collapse, was instead well organized and committed to complete independence, even if it took years. The ‘communist insurgency’ was alive and well. Despite government claims to the contrary, the Vietnam War was not close to an end and the enormous U.S. military was not close to victory, but was instead on the defensive. This was the turning point of the war, not for the government or the military. General Westmoreland, who was in charge American military operations in the war, simply issued a call for more troops and weaponry to meet this threat. An almost unanimous Congress generally approved these requests. However public opinion shifted dramatically after the Tet Offensive.

The Power of the People thwarts the Cartel’s diabolical schemes.

After the arranged Gulf of Tonkin incident, 61% of Americans approved of U.S. intervention in the Vietnam War. Approval remained in the 50% range until the Tet Offensive, at which time it plummeted to 42%. Public dissatisfaction with the war continued to fall from this point, reaching 28% in 1971 when the last poll was conducted.

American outrage with U.S. involvement expressed itself in peace marches, demonstrations, and acts of civil disobedience. More than once War Moratoriums were held. These moratoriums were massive cross-generational, cross-cultural protests that involved the entire nation in work stoppages and class shutdowns. These disruptions were so all encompassing that bosses couldn’t fire employees who failed to show up for work. Further many colleges even granted special concessions to students during these turbulent times. For instance, no student received a failing grade for classes taken during particularly disruptive sessions.

In 1968 President Johnson accurately expressed the sentiment of the ruling class:

“The weakest chink in our armor is American public opinion. Our people won’t stand firm in the face of heavy losses, and they can bring down the government.”

Fearful of this possibility, Johnson finally began de-escalating the war.

More disturbing for the American Pentagon was the erosion of military discipline. Lacking a plausible reason for risking their lives in combat, American soldiers began disobeying their commanders and refusing to fight. By the late 1960’s, there was virtual internal civil war between the soldiers and their officers. Reporting on the state of affairs, military expert, Col. Robert Heinl of the Marine Corps warned:

“[By] every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and non-commissioned officers, drug-ridden and dispirited where not near mutinous.”

The murder of officers by soldiers in the Vietnam War was so prevalent that the term ‘fragging’ arose to indicate its occurrence. Initially a grenade was thrown at an officer to hide the intent. Eventually, fragging included any means of disposing of a commander. The rank and file soldiers considered it a matter of survival, as their officers would frequently send them on suicide missions. Further eroding the effectiveness of the American military forces record numbers of soldiers and sailors deserted or went AWOL.

Presumably due to this public pressure and the breakdown of military discipline, the U.S. finally entered into negotiations with the North Vietnamese in the Paris Peace Talks of 1968. During this period, Johnson halted the relentless bombing of North Vietnam and the Vietnamese eased up on their military offensives.

Nixon Administration: Reduce Ground Troops; Increase Bombings

As a further indication of the power of public opinion, Nixon was elected as the new U.S. President in 1968 on promises that he would end the draft and ‘de-escalate’ American involvement in what many by now considered to be an unjust war. Of course, the generals continued to claim that all they needed was a few more soldiers and a little more time to turn the tide and claim victory. But the public wasn’t buying the propaganda this time. Protests continued to disrupt the nation.

However, the Cartel’s military arm certainly wasn’t going to let go of military conscription. The draft supplied their U.S. Army with fresh human cannon fodder to fight for corporate rights. Although the draft law expired in 1971, Congress extended it for two more years. The last soldier was drafted in 1973.

Instead of eliminating the draft, the primary way in which the Nixon administration intended to ‘de-escalate’ American involvement was via troop reduction. To this end, 25,000 of the 540,000 American troops were withdrawn. They reasoned fairly accurately that one of the main irritants to the U.S. public was the loss of American lives in this war without a perceivable end. The U.S. warlords reasoned inaccurately that if casualties fell that protests would abate or cease.

American Casualties

Vietnam War





































As the war escalated so did the deaths. 1965, the first year of official American involvement resulted in ‘only’ 2K deaths. With the commitment of increasing numbers of troops, this figure jumped to 6K deaths in 1966, followed by 11K in 1967, and then a peak of 17K casualties in 1968.

To appease public outrage at the loss of American youth, the Nixon administration reduced the number of troops, and field commanders were instructed to keep U.S. casualties to ‘an absolute minimum’. With U.S. air support and supplied with an abundance of technically advanced weaponry, the South Vietnamese army did an increasing amount of the land fighting. This ‘Vietnamization’ of the army did reduce U.S. casualties. As troops were gradually withdrawn, the numbers of American deaths fell to ‘only’ 12K in 1969, 6K in 1970 and then 2K in 1971.

Despite the continuing public outcry against the war, the Cartel still clung to their income property. Rather than relying upon ground troops to win the war, the Nixon administration decided to bomb all of Indochina into submission. Bombings were resumed and the scope was increased. The Cartel expanded the war into Cambodia and Laos. The U.S. Air Force began with the heavy bombing of the bordering areas of Cambodia and Laos that were suspected of providing a safe haven for the Vietnamese liberation forces. Then in 1970, the Cartel’s army actually invaded Cambodia.

The express purpose of these aerial and land aggressions was to destroy the staging grounds of the Vietnamese Liberation Army. The hidden intent was to fight the local communist movement that was gaining ground. Although the bombings increased the carnage, they did nothing to quell these independence movements. Even though American casualties were falling, the U.S. bombing and subsequent invasion of Cambodia sparked a new wave of protests.

Vietnam attains Independence

In 1969 at the peak of U.S. involvement there had been 540,000 troops stationed in Vietnam. This figure fell to 335,000 in 1970 and then 160,000 in 1971. By 1972 the South Vietnamese army was entirely responsible for the ground war, although supported by U.S. air power. With the decreasing number of American troops in the field, the Vietnamese liberation movement became stronger and seized control of some significant provinces. The protest movement was also gaining momentum, as more and more citizens joined in civil disobedience.

Finally on Jan. 27, 1973, an international agreement was reached in Paris. There would be a ceasefire throughout all of Vietnam and all U.S. forces would be withdrawn and all its bases dismantled. In effect, Vietnam would be left alone to settle its own internal affairs without any further outside interference. Then in August 1973, the American Congress proscribed any further U.S. military activity in Indochina. In the following year, they cut military funding as well. No longer propped up by outside support, morale plummeted in the South Vietnamese Army.

In early March of 1975, the North Vietnamese launched a full-scale invasion with the purpose of at last uniting all of Vietnam under indigenous rule. The war was basically a rout. On April 30, 1975, the communist army occupied Saigon without a struggle. After nearly 20 years, the Second Indochina War was finally at an end.

Then on July 2, 1976, the country was officially united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam with Hanoi as its capital. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, in honor of his ceaseless efforts for Vietnamese independence. After over a century of foreign rule starting with the French in 1862, the Vietnamese were finally in charge of their country.

This victory was a dual effort. The long-term persistence of the Vietnam freedom fighters was, of course, the primary factor in the success of the independence movement. However, the American public has to be given credit as well. The protest movement had an enormous effect upon U.S. foreign policy. First, civil disobedience was directly responsible for America’s troop reduction. Second, the continuing national protests in response to the bombings and invasion of Cambodia certainly contributed to the U.S. decision to completely withdraw from Indochina.

It seems to be the first time in recorded history that the citizens of an imperial/colonial nation were able to actually shut down their overseas military aggression. Hooray Americans! We’ve also seen many examples where the indigenous people have successfully fought for independence from their colonial overlords. We’ve seen other instances where the working classes have successfully risen up to demand basic human rights. Frightened of the power of the populace, the Cartel projects the notion via the media that resistance is futile and nothing can be done. The facts indicate otherwise. Power to the People everywhere!


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