Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Fall of Saigon

Hard to believe thirty years have passed. And that it was the communists third attempt to conquer South VietNam in an overt way.

Tet 1968 saw all the Viet Cong cadres rise up and strike in South VietNam. They caused much damage but the population of South VietNam did not rise up as the communist theology predicted. So in the end Tet 1968 was a crushing military defeat for the communists as their indigenous cadres were exterminated or defected.

April, 1972 saw the communists' second attempt to overtly conquer South VietNam. This time uniformed elements of the North VietNamese Army invaded South VietNam from Cambodia in an attempt to take the besieged country over. With some support from the few remaining American military units, 1972 was South VietNam's military baptism by fire. At An Loc, barely 50 miles from Saigon, the communist juggernaut ground to a halt due to vicious fighting from the defenders.

April 1975 though turned out different. With the United States' attention drawn inwards because of Watergate and a very anti-VietNam Congress, South VietNam found itself abandoned by it's ally. So this time the NVA tanks rumbled into Saigon as Americans and South VietNamese fled via any aircraft or boat that would carry them. Many fled out to sea where the US Navy still patrolled the waters. Who can forget the footage of overloaded UH-1 Hueys of the VNAF landing aboard an aircraft carrier and the deck crew having to shove the Huey overboard to make room for even more aircraft.

With the last Americans scaling a steel staircase to the top of the American embassy to board the last chopper to safety, freedom and democracy left South VietNam as communist North VietNam imposed its Bamboo Curtain and set about 're-educating' the captive population of South VietNam.

South VietNam did not fail. What did fail was America keeping its word to an ally. If we want to learn anything from that turbulent time it must be that. When the United States gives its word, then the United States better be prepared to pay any price required, be it gold or blood, to keep that word. To fail to keep one's word, invites distrust and disbelief which in turn invites adventurism by the power hungry and misery for innocent people.

Thiry years on, has the lesson been learned? Time will tell. Just as thirty years later the truth is, it was the NVA who conquered South VietNam and not the Viet Cong guerillas. So VietNam was never a true civil war.

Always remember this while we honor all the people who did survive those years; South VietNamese, American, Australian, South Koreans, and many other brave people.


docjim505 said...

Thanks for posting about this. I wish more bloggers had noted the anniversary. Most people are grossly ignorant of the facts of the Vietnam War, and the left plays on this ignorance for its own ends. Oh, the number of times I've heard Iraq compared to Vietnam... THERE IS NO COMPARISON!

Oh, wait, yes there is: just as the left scuttled our war against the communists thirty years ago and left the people of SVN in communist bondage, so do they now want to scuttle our war against the Islamofascists and leave the Iraqi people in terrorist bondage.

Anna said...

It sickens me to hear those comparisons also. The far left sheds crocodile tears and hyperventilates at every American soldier wounded or killed. Once again dragging out the statistic of the 58,000 American lives wasted in a 'lost' war called VietNam.

I really hate to tell these pathetic lapdogs of depression one sad fact. When the US 'lost' at Tet it was because American media freaked out and said all was lost while Johnson never really committed to fighting the war, the truth was far from it. For Ho Chi Minh's minions, the butcher bill for Tet and Khe Sahn totaled 45,000 killed or wounded. Or just 13,000 shy of the total US casualty count for 10 years in country. And Tet 1968 destroyed the Viet Cong cadres.

We could compare both figures to a real modern bloodbath, Verdun. If we accept a total casualty list of 834,000 for French and German sides. And World War I continued for two more years after this battle.