No Damn Way

Considering all of the hoopla over the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of Vietnam. I thought it more than right that I, too, add a few words.

There are a great number of points to be made and in no particular order: I will start by saying that we were the dupes of the dispossessed French Imperialists. The history and geography books of my grade school years didn't show Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Instead the area was named French Indo-China.

The region was "owned" by the French Colonial Empire. I'm talking about an old-fashioned colonial power with total control of the government, the land, and the people. The sap from the rubber trees went to the French tire industry, as did the straw from the rice crops (for the cords in the tires). The rice was exported for profit. What little that was left, not much, was used to keep the population strong enough to keep working for the foreign masters.

This was something that didn't just take place in my lifetime. The French were entrenched even before World War I. In fact, in 1918 a young Ho Chi Minh addressed and petitioned The League of Nations to pressure France to withdraw and leave Vietnam for the Vietnamese. It was the rebuttal and non action that drove Papa Ho to communism and the Soviet Union.

If you are a veteran who served in Vietnam (as I am) you were awarded a green and white ribbon with a small silver scroll with the year 1965 stamped into it. That year was the official start of our involvement in Vietnam. The truth is that the OSS was on the ground and helping the Vietnamese to fight against the Japanese during World War II. It was from us that they received their formal jungle and tactical training. When the war was over the Vietnamese were more than just surprised that "we" turned our backs on them and allowed the French to re-occupy their country.

There have been some comparisons made between the Vietnam War and our own Revolutionary War: the length of time, fighting a foreign colonial power, etc.

However, the one comparison overlooked is that of the U.S. to the Hessian troops that fought for Britain. We were in fact just that. The French had been tossed out of Vietnam after their loss at Dien Bien Phu. We were still fighting for their economic interest in Vietnam and all of "French Indo-China".

The other comparison overlooked is that they, like us, won their independence from a corrupt foreign government.

I often hear people complain that we could have won the war if the politicians would have let us fight. That is hog wash. First, all one has to do is take the time to read the "Pentagon Papers" to know that the military ran that show. Second, we could have "nuked" that country from one end to the other, paved it over, made it into a K-mart parking lot, and six months later they would have tunneled-up and started all over again. There is no way, other than complete genocide that we could have even come close to winning the War in Vietnam.


Mike Sherer


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