In 1972, we were in the fourth year of Nixon’s stupid “Vietnamization” slow withdrawal, otherwise known as “peace with honor.” This idiot’s peace with honor crap got another 20,000 and God knows how many hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese dead. So Americans could have honor. 500,000 human beings dead so Americans could feel honorable. You know what? Fuck that. I was a sophomore in high school at the time.
I remember my father hated Nixon and Vietnamization. The Paris Peace Talks were going on all this time too. (((Henry Kissinger))) (The Evil One) was representing the US, so of course almost nothing got done. Nixon was bombing North Vietnam all this time. The Vietnamese had good anti-aircraft weapons (often manned by women!) and they shot down quite a few of our planes.
In addition, they had a lot of Russian MIG fighter jets. I’m not sure if it was Russians or Viets flying them, but they were very good. They were move than a match for our F-15’s and F-16’s, which were very good jets by the way. A lot of our jets got shot down in dogfights with MIGs. I believe he mined the harbor at Haiphong too. The schmuck even invaded Cambodia. I remember that. My father was livid.
This was also the time of My Lai. And the POW’s making broadcasts in North Vietnamese prisons.
Of course, over South Vietnam, we ruled the skies and our jets were never shot down. But we also used helicopters for air cover, and those things did get shot down a lot by Vietnamese troops on the ground. There was the Ho Chi Minh Trail, not really a road but endless paths cut through the thickest jungle on Earth. We flew planes over that trail all the time bombing it, but we never could shut it down, and the Viets still moved an incredible amount of men and equipment through that trail. The vehicles were often camouflaged with leaves.
Keep in mind that the Viet Cong (the South Vietnamese Communists) were basically wiped out by the Tet Offensive. After Tet, the North Vietnamese took over the war and they were a much more formidable opponent – a real army – than the Viet Cong, who were also very good but specialized in guerrilla war.
We were also bombing the Hell out of Laos at the time. Most of the bombing was focused on the Plain of Jars in the north. A number of our jets got shot down over Laos too. I’m not sure how they did it. POW’s were not just in North Vietnam. The Pathet Lao (the Laotian Communists) held quite a few US POW’s too. Neither they nor the North Vietnamese treated the POW’s well, but the Pathet Lao were probably worse. One small group of POW’s managed to escape a Pathet Lao prison camp. It is quite an impressive story.
In Laos, we recruited the Hmong, primitive tribesmen who didn’t understand the meaning of the words communism or capitalism and couldn’t have cared less even if we did. We paid these suckers and bribed them to be our mercenaries.
The CIA also smuggled a vast amount of opium out of this area called the Golden Triangle via the Nugen Hand Operation.
In 1968, I walked precints with my father for the antiwar candidate, Gene (Clean Gene) McCarthy. I was 10 years old. I think my father supported the war but he turned after the Tet Offensive. That’s when US support for the war dipped below 50% for the first time.
Westmoreland kept telling us that we were winning all the time, getting closer and closer to total defeat of the enemy. The phrase “light at the end of the tunnel” was used many times. Then Tet hit. The Viet Cong attacked every significant city and US military base in South Vietnam simultaneously. They infiltrated Saigon where there were guerrilla battles everywhere. They invaded the US embassy and almost took it over. The Marine guards shot the invaders, who lay on the front lawn, but some of the attaches had to retreat up to higher floors to be rescued.
This was the enemy, that was on its last legs, nearly defeated. Yeah right. Tet showed this for the massive lie it was. Light at the end of the tunnel my ass. Slowly getting better my ass. People had had enough. There was already an antiwar movement, but it really took off after Tet.
Back then we had an actual free independent First Amendment style media, unlike the stenographers, hacks, and state controlled media we have now. Journalists would actually get on TV and criticize a US war! It was during Tet that the great Walter Cronkite (yes, I saw him on TV many times) said the war was hopeless and he was withdrawing support for it. Can you imagine any US TV presstitute saying that about any US war nowadays? Hell no! A free press was a beautiful thing. Too bad we haven’t had one for a very long time in this country, a good 30 years, maybe more.