LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Sorting out revisionist history of Vietnam War

Sometimes I’m almost sure Paul Donnelly [“True treason,” Letters to the Editor, Aug. 31] writes only to see his name in print. To think that someone with little or no military experience and no Vietnam service could make such an assertion is incredible. Instead, he chooses to remain in lockstep with his socialist Democrats and repeat the lies of revisionist history.

Just to be clear, there is certainly some turpitude of immorality in any war, and Vietnam was no different. Let’s just stop revising history and show exactly who and which party was most culpable in those acts, however.

Start with Democrat Woodrow Wilson. He refused advances by Ho Chi Minh in uniting the country of Vietnam and established South Vietnam.

Franklin Roosevelt, Democrat, denied French government requests for assistance in maintaining control of the country and set them up for Dien Bien Phu.

Reeling from impending war with Korea, both Harry Truman, Democrat, and Dwight Eisenhower, Republican, both gave the French moral support and some clandestine operations, but couldn’t commit to any large-scale alliances.

Then comes John Kennedy. Authorized by Kennedy and sanctioned by the CIA, President Ngo Dinh Diem was murdered while in military custody after being arrested for his egregious acts against Buddhists and Montagnards in South Vietnam. Setting up a puppet military junta, supposed elections took place to replace him with a more “U.S.-friendly” head of state. Then, sending in 400 “military advisers” to train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and establishing “Green Berets” as a Special Forces group for guerrilla tactics and warfare, the stage was set.

Next is Lyndon Johnson, Democrat, and likely the worst in creating immoral situations. History is still debating if the Gulf of Tonkin incident ever took place. Regardless, Johnson used it as a springboard to institute a massive U.S. military presence in Vietnam. He and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara took the unprecedented use of that build-up and subsequent combat as a personal chessboard.

Controlling everything from targets, to bomb loads, to missions, [they left] commanders in the field increasingly helpless in controlling a worsening situation. Through the CIA, Johnson actually supplied the military operations flight plans to the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) through an intercessor. This was done, the spokesman claimed, to reduce collateral civilian casualties.

McNamara refused to allow pilots to bomb missile construction sites for the same reason, ultimately reducing fighter pilots to cannon fodder when sent back to take those same sites out when they became operational. Johnson had it made abundantly clear that the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was supplying Viet Cong with supplies from the north, could be effectively shut down with the placement of a battalion-strength unit at pinch points along the trail.
Instead, he chose sacrificing men in patrols and using aircraft to make sporadic disruptions to the trail, which only allowed the NVA to become more diligent in their efforts. He refused to bomb Haiphong and only [bombed] certain areas of Hanoi under that tired analogy of collateral damages. All these acts ultimately led to the devastation during the Tet offenses.

Then came Richard Nixon, Republican. Recognizing the obvious, he gave the NVA an opportunity to negotiate. His offenses held no quarter, and huge military airstrikes in the northern cities finally brought the North Vietnamese to the negotiation tables in Paris. When he sensed that a cease-fire was being used by them to rebuild and re-equip, even-larger air operations began.

NVA Gen. [Vo Nguyen] Giap, the man credited with “winning” Vietnam, would later admit that those actions had demoralized, decimated, and defeated the North Vietnamese. They returned to the table expecting to have papers of surrender, but were astonished that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was offering a peace accord. The agreement was struck that both countries would remain independent and that the U.S. would withdraw, but to continue to fully fund the replacement of military hardware and systems, as well as train ARVN troops.

Nixon had other issues, and with his impending impeachment and conviction, Gerald Ford became a lame and sitting duck. Democrats used that to dominate the elections and control Congress. Jimmy Carter, Democrat, is elected in a landslide. When faced with a budget, the Democrats immediately pushed the Vietnamese under the bus.

They refused to honor the Paris agreement and cut all funding to Vietnam.

When asked, one congressman remarked something to the effect that he was more concerned with Arkansas beating Texas in football than what happened in Vietnam.

When the NVA learned there was no defense to stop their “liberation,” it took only 55 days to take over the country.

Thousands of Montagnards and Hmong tribesmen were relegated to brutal torture and murder; thousands of ARVN leaders were tortured, imprisoned and killed, while millions were sent through “indoctrination camps.” No one ventures a guess to the number of “boat people” who died trying to escape the communists.

So, don’t try to hang Vietnam veterans with a self-ingratiating “loss” on me or any of the millions I’ve served with, Mr. Donnelly. I never felt serving my country in any capacity was “immoral,” and I know it was the Democrats who lost that war. We never lost squat. People like you gave it away and used us as a scapegoat for your inadequacies.

George Roof
Vietnam veteran

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