• A View of the Vietnam War


    Vincent Phạm Văn Bản

    From the day I was in POW I said clearly that, the United States (US) has although failed in the Vietnam War because of neglect for his Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) fell to the Communists. But the US involvement in Vietnam and the US achieved three purposes of the strategic national policy (1) create contradicts the division between the Soviet Union and Communist China, (2) success on the battlefield of Viet Nam to test weapons and troops to bloc international Communists forces hiding in North Vietnam. (3) The US forces prevented the Communists from spreading to Southeast Asia.

    I have worked with the Civil Action of the US 18th Military Police Brigade in Long Binh Post. The unit had much work serving the Vietnamese people as medical checkup and gave medicine, building schools, roads and bridges, or to distribute rice and clothing to the needy. I saw American soldiers are admirable because they conscientiously help, and zealous service.

    Many people say that the US sent half a million troops in the years 1965-1968 to South Vietnam and lost justness of the war, infringing upon sovereignty Vietnam, but something unforeseen to save the South Vietnam the US has no other way. The US sent troops to save South Vietnam, nearly sixty thousand dead US troops have sacrificed on behalf of the Southern. If the US doesn’t send military to Vietnam that only military aid, I think that the Republic of Vietnamese forces will suffer casualties added up hundreds of thousands of people, the total number of soldiers killed three hundred thousand will reach or more but haven’t win the war, because the Viet Cong has the support of powerful and plentiful Soviet, Chinese and Eastern European Communist countries, and they don’t need Congressional censor their defense budgets as in the US.

    From the early Twentieth Century to the present, the United States Forces remain a national championship to save the people. The US helped the allies win two world wars. During the Cold War between the Freedom and the Communist, the US won the glorious Soviet Union, pulling down the Berlin Wall, the Soviet award, the liberation of Eastern Europe and many other countries, including Communist East Germany, Russia, Poland... to save the peoples and help them get out of the communists’ slave in decades.

    The Geneva Accords of 1954 divided the country of Vietnam into Freedoms and Communist including Germany and Korea. But Vietnamese leaders lacked political vision of the Information Revolution and lacked understanding of the political world, so Vietnamese political leaders (both sides of North and South) have only applied their agricultural ideas to build the governments, and they fell into the wrong hands to dictate on the international political chessboard.

    I also think that the Geneva Accords were a disaster for the free world, because it gave Communist China and North Vietnam opportunity to exploit bases in Southeast Asia. Therefore, the US had to prevent this by signing the Treaty of SEATO, and the desired date of August 9th, 1954 South Vietnam turned into a fortress against Communism. The US supported the Republic of Vietnam and aided the government of Ngo Dinh Diem to help them gain independence from France, and established a national unity government presenting the political trend in Vietnam. It is a South Vietnam stable, elected National Assembly, drafted the Constitution, and deposed King Bao Dai legally. Finally, South Vietnam has become a strong Freedom country to anti Communist.

    The Diem Government was the First Republic of South Vietnam and established following the 1955 referendum in Southern Vietnam. The results of the referendum was the head of state for King Bao Dai, be deposed and President Diem established a republic with anti-communist. 1956 National Constituent Assembly formally prepare a new constitution and the birth of the republic. The President Diem government was supported by the US and the West governments, and successful in unifying power up the armed forces of Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, and others.

    President Diem was a true patriot, capable leader, but lacked vision of times to understand the United States and the Information Revolution. For example, Ambassador Elbridge Durbrow said, “They must replace Diem in the near future,” because Americans were completely helpless before decisions of President Diem.

    President Diem would have liked a completely independent Vietnam, not depending on France or King Bao Dai. He said that France had failed in the fight against the Communists and the Nationalists who followed in Vietnam. Colonization was terminated and the promise of France in Vietnam’s independence was broken. The point of President Diem was “To convince the people of Vietnam’s independence, the government is politically necessary to show that anti-colonial and especially against France.”

    But anti-communist President Diem would not like the US military intervention in Vietnam. He said, “If you bring US troops in Vietnam, I must explain how this force with my people? The Vietnamese, horrific images of the French Expeditionary Army was deeply imbedded in their minds. The invention of any foreign troops in Vietnam will be disadvantaged for us.”

    The President Diem government boost up the Strategic Hamlet and his plan is called “National Book.” Preliminary results are very good. Only in particular on my local area, for example, the provincial government had been collected at 250 Villages People Strategy and during nearly a year, the government has put Kien Giang element is Vietnamese community in the remaining 35 Villages. The isolated element Vietnamese community in the province are also recorded as positive. In other words, the plan established Strategic Hamlet threaten the survival of communism in South Vietnam.

    After President Diem was killed, the National Government of South Vietnam doesn’t have a leader with aura minimum for the international community to respect. The political situation of the Republic of Vietnam was disordered, the generals had vied for civil and military strength deterioration, lost soldiers fighting spirit. Again the enemy while were strengthening the military situation and the increase in multiple waves. That is why the US military and its allies had troops in South Vietnam to stop communism influx and invaded South Vietnam.

    President Ngo Dinh Diem has maintained South Vietnam for nine years, and President Nguyen Van Thieu continued to lead the Government of South Vietnam and fighting in extremely difficult conditions before the pressure expansion of the international communist, while US at this time, never have truly supported for the Armed Forces. But with determination of President Thieu, government and people as well as fighting power of the army heroically, therefore Republic of Vietnam survived until April 30, 1975.

    My significant to mention that is Tet Mau Than of 1968, a fierce battle was opened by the flip of communist parasols while people in the South are prosperous Tet. It is worth mentioning as the flip parasols duplicity and shameless way of communism, taking advantage of Tet, what is the day of joy and reunion, so overall progress takeover. But the Viet Cong don’t think that the Army Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) soldiers could turn things around into a different direction. ARVN protected radio and counterattacked and then retook the places were occupied by communist troops, and ARVN made the world to admire.

    The ARVN soldiers were humanitarian behavior, respect for human rights, human behavior with others, different from the Viet Cong soldiers who were always bringing hatred and class struggle and brutal behavior with others. ARVN soldiers have fought to defend the ideal of freedom and democracy for the Vietnamese peoples, and ARVN soldiers have fought to the last moment of April 30, 1975, although their allies were selling South Vietnam to Communists invaded.

    Ho Chi Minh said it was Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh’s failure for not relying on China and Soviet Union as Ho Chi Minh did. Indeed, he led Vietnam to come out of this war, another bloody war. After World War II, the Empire era has given way to a joint statement to the Union era, tendencies “decolonization” was global. Particularly, Vietnam led by Ho Chi Minh under Communists, launched the war ideology, and should forever decade’s later peaceful unification and independence.

    However, no one would deny completely the merits of Ho Chi Minh in the war against France. But bring Communism to Vietnam synonymous with Ho Chi Minh are sinners. No Ho Chi Minh does not have “a class struggle takes a while,” without being brought a hundred thousand people denounced, were looted, many thousands of people were killed unjustly in land reform.

    Without the Communists and Ho Chi Minh after World War II, Vietnam was divided into non-domain and no war “Ideology Communist and Capitalist” fratricide for 21 years, making nearly 4 million people died unfairly. Since the Communists and Ho Chi Minh that after 1975 nearly 3 million people have left the country as refugees, many thousands of whom were drowned in the East Sea.

    In terms of the nature, Communism is based people to conduct war, so it is political in nature in the form of the People’s War is applied in Vietnam. Viet Cong and Ho Chi Minh took Communism and the desire independence for the country to apply the agreed participation of the masses. Viet Cong is to uphold the banner of justice based on the guise of fighting against foreign regain national sovereignty to manipulate patriotism and fighting spirit. Viet Cong applied tricks and terrorist violence no limited to the motto: “The end justifies the means.”

    Viet Cong has a very solid rear and huge the North Vietnam Communist and whole international communist such as the Soviet Union and Chinese support for their political, psychological, economic, weapon, military personnel, and experience subversive struggle.

    Viet Cong has used the border with difficult terrain as staging terrorist activities. The war is nature-term and comprehensive. Time factor is favorable to the Viet Cong, while our United States and Allies are difficult to overcome disadvantages of the freedom country daunting battle lasted for many casualties.

    Viet Cong had increasingly active in city officials launched mining conflicts, disagreements between the government and the characters, the opposition groups in urban areas. The course of this conflict must be in the context of South Vietnam was to make a relatively free society, democracy, prosperity than the North Vietnam.

    There was freedom and democracy for so many forces volume, this group of people could against another new circumstances and conditions that anti-government activity, nor even as the situation in Vietnam, today, under the communist regime, the government found violent opposition, was established and using police, military immediately destroy by force, but also spending more opposition. The Southern right then, at the same time having to deal with the situation of their country, had to cope with war aggression, vandalism comprehensive Hanoi Communists, led and supported from Moscow as well as from Beijing, according to "The way the global proletarian revolution of the Third International.”

    Agreement on “Ending the war and restore peace in Vietnam,” Paris Peace was signed, but I think that control as a very difficult job, and a “cease-fire leopard skin,” what is very dangerous for the Republic of Vietnam. Because there is no clear boundary to identify the final boundaries for both sides.

    Of course, Viet Cong will never stop in place. With inherent aggressive nature, Viet Cong will find ways to violate the cease-fire after the Paris Peace effective, by dispersed forces to invade the villages to demonstrate the presence of Viet Cong. The enemy will invade the area of the Republic of Vietnam and will mark presence by the Viet Cong flags. As for the International Control Commission and the Monitoring Armistice are powerless to against the tricks of the Viet Cong soldiers.

    Generally, the US Army, ARVN and Allied troops are operating under conventional war, which is always infantry and armored aircraft, artillery support, the army should organize very costly. While Viet Cong is using guerrilla tactics and equipped with modern weapons of communists support.

    In all kinds of war, the war between people of the same state as Vietnam was more dramatic. Vietnamese always feel crushing pain and most poignant. Vietnamese were fought and killed each other, the last in a hostile villagers killed each other. Sometimes people in the same family were to fight in both opposing ranks and killed each other.

    When I was a child, my grandfather taught me that the new era has new needs, new ideas, and new institutions of people to meet the development of the time. But Vietnam was just only a slow agricultural country, backward; especially my people didn’t have any new knowledge to apply into the Industrial Revolution as Western countries did.

    On the other hand, Vietnam was invaded, exploited the national resources by France for hundreds of years. The Vietnamese ancestors were always up against the French colonialism to regain independence and sovereignty of Vietnam. But they failed because of insufficient knowledge and non-scientific and non-technical qualifications of the time, to organize and lead the people in order to have revolution, prosperity, and happiness for everyone.

    Finally, I have to learn and to get a new vision, a new knowledge and a new life. When England invented the engine and applied in production systems to change the new world, and left agricultural revolution to go to industrial revolution. Today the United States had invented a computer IBM since 1953, and led the global coming to a new era of civilization that it’s called the Information Revolution.

    Thanks to the United States of American!





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