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to Vital Issues and Events at Home and Around the Globe"


Remembering the Fall of Saigon --
and Why We Must Never Forget

By Rand Green
Editor & Publisher, Perspicacity Press
Founder, Spread Freedom Institute

Saturday, April 30, 2005, marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon to Communist North Vietnam.

It is a commemorative event that did not go unnoticed in press. A quick search turned up hundreds of stories relating to the fall of Saigon published in mainstream American newspapers during the week leading up to April 30. Sadly but not surprisingly, about 90 percent of these stories continue to perpetrate the Communist Party’s perfidious propaganda line, just as they did 30 and 40 years ago. (Story continues below)


T
he flag of Free Vietnam flies alongside the Stars and Stripes
in Freedom Park, Westminster, California, at a monument honoring
the American and South Vietnamese soldiers who died in the Vietnam War.
May we never forget the courageous service and selfless sacrifices
of the American and South Vietnamese soldiers who fought
shoulder to shoulder as brothers in defense of freedom and democracy.
May the world never again allow the forces of oppressive totalitarianism
to engulf a freedom-loving people.

Photo by Rand Green

There is story after story about what a joyous day it was for the people of Vietnam when they defeated the American aggressors who had invaded their country.

These journalists want you know that the the people of Vietnam don’t hate Americans anymore -- in spite of all those "terrible atrocities" our soldiers supposedly committed and about which we are supposed to still feel guilty. They just want to put the war behind them and be our friends.

No doubt, many of them do want to be our friends. But I find it curious that the same writers who tell us this would also have us believe that everyone else in the world hates us.

Oh yes, and the country of Vietnam is now prospering under a thriving capitalist economy, they will have you know. (Excuse me, but was not capitalism the very thing the Communist revolution sought to destroy?)

Many of these articles contend that as North Vietnamese armies advanced on Saigon in April 1975, only a paranoid few among South Vietnam’s population of 16 million feared a Communist victory and tried to evacuate. The fears that a bloodbath would follow the American withdrawal were, they claim, unfounded. There was no bloodbath, they say.

And by the way (they tell us over and over again), the younger generation of the Vietnamese diaspora, those born after the war in the United States and elsewhere, are quite OK with a communist government in their parents’ country of birth. They don’t see what the fuss is all about with the older generation, those who fled the country rather than live under a totalitarian regime. “That was a long time ago. Put it behind you and move on.”

This is but a sampling of the elaborate and insidious mesh of falsehoods and historical inaccuracies first fabricated in the 1960s by the anti-American, pro-Hanoi Leftists who had come to dominate (and continue to dominate) the mainstream American press. The lies were pounded into the American consciousness then by what was arguably one of the most well-organized and successful propaganda campaigns in world history. They have been perpetuated and embellished ever since by the same individuals and their like-minded protégés of the next generation in what someone has aptly termed “the Old Media.”

These same fictions are now taught as fact (with no questioning permitted) in our public schools and universities which have also come to be dominated by the radical Left.

But such outrageous prevarications cannot withstand scrutiny.
Having spent the last ten years in an intensive study of what really went on, both at home and overseas, during the Vietnam War and the aftermath of the Communist victory, I now have a much different picture than mainstream media has portrayed over the last four decades, and a much clearer picture than I was given, even, as a history major at a conservative university.

First, I will say emphatically that the United States did not enter the war in Vietnam as an aggressor. We went there to help a free, democratic and independent South Vietnam defend itself against aggression from Soviet and Chinese-backed North Vietnamese Communists and to check the global expansion of Communism.

Yes, our government made some poor policy decisions, about which I have written previously. But American involvement in Vietnam was not in any sense imperial expansionism, any more than was the liberation of France from Nazi German during World War II. As former Secretary of State Colin Powell stated so well, all America asked of France was enough land to bury our dead.

Contrast this, if you will, with the demonstrably imperialist expansionism of Communist Russia which, as Winston Churchill warned, swallowed up every inch of real estate it occupied at the end of the war. Contrast it with the aggressive expansionism of Communist China which continues to this day.

No, the United States went to war in Indochina not to conquer and dominate a free people but to keep them free and to defend against the aggression of a ruthless totalitarian regime.

Secondly, the Vietnamese Communists did not defeat the United States. Oh, we lost the war, all right. But we lost it on the home front, in the propaganda war, not on the battlefields of Southeast Asia.

The United States lost the Vietnam War because people like John Kerry, a 1960s war protester who served briefly in Vietnam for the sole purpose of giving credibility to his protests and furthering his political ambitions, returned and picked up where he had left off, not only protesting the war but manufacturing lie upon lie about supposed atrocities and war crimes by U.S. soldiers and even conspiring with the enemy to bring about America’s defeat

That such a traitor came within a few percentage points of becoming president of the nation he betrayed is a fearful thought and ought to awaken us to the dangers of letting mythmakers and anti-American propagandists dominate our schools and news sources.

The best thing Kerry ever did for this country was to make his service in Vietnam an issue in the presidential campaign, because it provoked a much-needed public debate about the Vietnam War era. It generated public scrutiny not only of Kerry’s personal record and his true agenda but that of his Vietnam Era war protester cohorts in politics and in the media. It shed light on their Internationalist predilection (subordinate the United States to the United Nations). It brought to public attention their outrageous slandering of American troops as war criminals, which had but a single purpose: to deliver to Vietnamese communists a victory they could never gain on the battlefield, by undermining support for the war at home.

Contrary to reports in the American press at the time, the United States was winning the war. The 1968 Tet offensive, which was characterized by the media as a disaster for the United States, was actually a solid victory. We now know that Hanoi was on the verge of surrender when John Kerry, Jane Fonda and others conspired with America’s enemies, telling the Communist leaders that if they would just hang on a little longer, the American public would force a withdrawal and the Communists of North Vietnam could have their way with their southern neighbor.

Ever since the smear campaign against America’s troops in Vietnam began, many Americans have had pangs of guilt about what they perceive as the wrongdoings of their country. People often say that we shouldn’t talk about these things anymore because they open old wounds; rather, we should put the past behind us.

But those wounds continue to fester below the surface. They continue to poison the nation. The wounds need to be opened and cleansed in order to heal. Americans need to understand that we went to war in Vietnam for a good reason. Our cause was just. We should be proud of that and of our troops, the overwhelming majority of whom served with honor and integrity.

If there is anything we should feel badly about it is abandoning our South Vietnamese allies before they were strong enough to defend themselves against an overwhelming invasion from the north.

Those who opposed America’s involvement in Vietnam would have you believe that by the time the decision was made to withdraw American troops, the majority of Americans no longer supported the war. But the fact is most Americans would not have supported the premature withdrawal if they had known the outcome.

Those who opposed America’s involvement in Vietnam would have you believe that the majority of the people of South Vietnam (some say 75 percent, some say all but a handful of corrupt officials) hated Americans and wanted us to leave. That is an outlandish claim and totally unsubstantiated.

It is true that by the end of the war a substantial portion of the population sympathized with the Viet Cong, but it was never a majority. And it had become as high as it did largely because the anti-war propaganda from the U.S. press accusing the American military of atrocities became an effective propaganda tool for the Hanoi government. If American journalists --and even a former U.S. Navel officer by the name of John Kerry -- were saying such things about their own soldiers and accusing the United States government of conducting a war of extermination against the South Vietnamese people, is it any wonder that many of those people believed the reports?

But there were many others who well understood that the Utopian promises of Communism were predicated on lies and that living under Communist rule would mean living in poverty and virtual slavery for all but the party elites. There were millions among the population of South Vietnam who were prepared to sacrifice all in defense of their country’s freedom and democracy and who were grateful to the American soldiers who had come from the other side of the world and put their own lives on the line to aid them in that struggle.

Many of these people, understandably, felt betrayed and abandoned when the United States reneged on its promise to stay the course and not only withdrew troops but terminated the promised financial and material assistance for the South Vietnamese military before it was prepared to take over its own defense.

In the January 1973 Paris peace accords, to which, inexplicably, our allies in South Vietnam were not even invited, Hanoi agreed not to invade South Vietnam and the United States agreed to withdraw. A nearly total withdrawal was completed by the end of the year.

The United States did threaten to “respond with decisive military force” if Hanoi violated the 1973 accords. But when, in January 1975, North Vietnamese regular units invaded the Phuoc Long Province on the Cambodian border and began rolling toward Saigon, the United States did nothing.

As the Communist military juggernaut pressed forward, the residents of the cities and towns in their path began to flee by the thousands. And they were slaughtered by the thousands --children and infants; the elderly and the infirm as well as the able-bodied; women and men alike. Apparently, the effort to escape life under Communist rule was deemed a capital offense, justifying summary execution.

Among the prevalent myths about the Vietnam war is the myth that the South Vietnamese soldiers fought only half-heartedly, at best, in defense of their own country. That assertion is difficult to support when one realizes that more than 200,000 South Vietnamese soldiers paid the ultimate price in the ultimately futile effort to preserve their country’s freedom. Certainly not all were equally valiant. But many in the U.S. military who served alongside their South Vietnamese brothers-in-arms will tell you that they would not hesitate to stand shoulder-shoulder with those same courageous warriors again in battle.

And remember -- it was not the South Vietnamese soldiers who turned and ran from the fight.

Nor, for a fact, was it the American soldiers. Many of them were furious at being ordered to leave before their job was done. No, it was the folks back home who, believing the lies of a treacherous few pro-Communist activists and their willing accomplices in the media, lost the will to fight.

But the effect was the same, and the end was near.

Almost to the end, many South Vietnamese were still convinced that America would keep its promise, would storm in at the last moment and beat back the invaders. But the promised help did not come. And as the communist forces approached Saigon, with news preceding them of the wanton slaughter of fleeing civilians along the way, panic ensued.

The president of the United States ordered military transport planes to fly into the Tan Son Nhut air base on the north edge of Saigon to evacuate about 5,000 Americans and as many as possible of the locals who feared for their lives. Nearly 60,000 people were flown out by fixed-wing aircraft, including some commercial planes that joined in the rescue effort, the most massive aerial evacuation in history. Another 70,000 or so left the country by boat.

But the communists were determined to stop the exodus.

On March 28, Tan Son Nhut was rendered unusable by a North Vietnamese bombing raid, and at that point military transport helicopters were employed to continue the evacuation. All the rest of that day, all the following day, and until the early hours of April 30, the choppers shuttled refugees from the U.S. Embassy complex in Saigon to American aircraft carriers waiting offshore. As the last helicopter departed, it left behind hundreds of thousands who had tried desperately but unsuccessfully to get on one of the flights.

The opponents of the war would have you believe that once the last few American troops were gone, the South Vietnamese army had been defeated, and the South Vietnamese government had surrendered, there was universal rejoicing throughout a newly unified country, that everything was copasetic, and that everyone was better off than before.

The reality is that following the fall of Saigon, more than a million South Vietnamese were either massacred or thrown into prison (euphemistically called “re-education camps”), where many were tortured starved to death. Often their only crime was owning property or allowing a family member to leave the country.

Which brings us to another point. What North Vietnam really wanted from the South was its wealth. Saigon, once called the Pearl of the Orient, was a beautiful and prosperous city. A free economy had made it so. The entrepreneurial spirit was strong, and the people were hard working and industrious.

In the North, the socialist economic model was a failure, as it has always been everywhere. In the North, there was poverty. But the promise of Communism was to take from the wealthy and distribute among the poor. North Vietnamese soldiers were motivated by a promise that when they arrived in the prosperous cities of the South, they could take what they wished.

And they did.

The fall of Saigon became the sack of Saigon. Many young girls were raped or forced to become the wives or mistresses of North Vietnamese officers. Pillage and plunder almost overnight destroyed much of the beauty of the city, its infrastructure, and its economic engine. It didn’t make the North any richer beyond the immediate benefits of the looting, and it plunged the entire country into deep poverty, although the party elites became (and remain) fabulously wealthy. The decades that followed were a nightmare of civil rights abuses.

Things have improved somewhat in recent years, and I certainly hope the improvement will continue. Allowing more economic freedom and some business ownership has helped the economy to improve, although the opportunity to participate in the business renaissance, such as it is, is still very much a matter of party privilege.

But the popular notion that Vietnam is now prospering and that everyone there loves the political system under which they live is just so much Communist propaganda. Human rights violations are still rampant. Much of the country continues to be poorer than it was before fall of Saigon. It is still a Communist state. It is not prosperous. It is not free. And while the locals would not dare speak publicly about it for fear of reprisals, many of them still don’t like living under the yoke of Communism.

Would you?

In short, April 30 is not a date to be celebrated with rejoicing, as some suggest. It is an occasion to recall the tragic cost of failing to stand up to totalitarian aggression -- a date on which 16 million people lost their freedom.

April 30 is a time to mourn the staggering loss of lives, military and civilian, American and Vietnamese -- both North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese -- that resulted from a despotic regime’s determination to expand its sphere of power by force and enhance its wealth through confiscating the property of others. It is a date to remind ourselves that freedom is not free and that if it is not defended it can be lost.

In Freedom Park in Westminster, California, the yellow-and-red-striped flag of Free Vietnam flies today alongside the Stars and Stripes at a monument honoring the American and South Vietnamese soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. May we never forget the courageous service and selfless sacrifices of the American and South Vietnamese soldiers who fought shoulder to shoulder as brothers in defense of freedom and democracy. May the world never again allow the forces of oppressive totalitarianism to engulf a freedom-loving people.

The anniversary of the fall of Saigon is an occasion on which -- to paraphrase what Abraham Lincoln said so eloquently in the Gettysburg Address -- to give increased devotion to that cause for which those who died in defense of freedom on the battlefields of Vietnam gave their last full measure of devotion.

Let us now highly resolve that those honored dead shall not have died in vain -- that not only this nation but every nation shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall spread throughout the earth.

Source: www.PerspicacityPress.com.
Copyright
©
2005 Spread Freedom Institute.
Do not reproduce or re-post without this notice

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