Hillary Clinton and State Dept. to Celebrate War Criminal Henry Kissinger, While the White House Repeats His Deadly Mistakes
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"Had I thought it possible that Congress would, in effect, cut off aid to a beleaguered ally, I would not have pressed for an agreement as I did in the final negotiations in 1972." -- Henry Kissinger, Ending the Vietnam War
"The Defense Department said today that despite Congressional reductions in military aid, South Vietnamese forces were not critically short of either ammunition or fuel." -- "U.S. Says Arms Situation in Vietnam Is Not Critical," New York Times, March 27, 1975
Kissinger began to try to blame Congress for the fall of Saigon even before April 30, 1975. Sorley's book contends that the failure of the North Vietnamese spring 1972 offensive in South Vietnam proves that Thieu forces could have prevailed in April 1975. Newsweek, interviewing Sorley, reported that "in 1974, breaking Nixon's promises of continued support to Saigon, the U.S. Congress cut off all aid to South Vietnam. Without logistical support or air cover, the South Vietnamese army collapsed in 1975 and the communists swept into South Vietnam."
Former Defense Secretaries Melvin Laird and James Schlesinger, along with Kissinger, have consistently maintained the North Vietnamese were receiving more aid from the Soviet Union and Chinese than were the South Vietnamese from the United States.
None of this is even remotely true:
Congress did not "cut off all aid to South Vietnam," as Kissinger falsely claims. On the contrary. Congress in August 1974 only reduced military aid to Thieu from $1.2 billion to $700 million.
The $700 million in military aid voted by Congress "is apparently running at twice that of Chinese and Soviet military aid to North Vietnam," according to the New York Times on March 27, 1975. The CIA estimated that U.S. military aid of $1.7 billion to Thieu in 1974 was four times the $400 million it estimated the North Vietnamese received from the Soviet Union and China. All told, official figures show the U.S. spent $141 billion in Vietnam from 1961-'75, compared to $7.5-$8 billion in Soviet and Chinese aid to North Vietnam during the same period ( Congressional Record, May 14, 1975).
Sorley's contention that the failure of the North Vietnamese 1972 offensive proved the Thieu army could stand on its own is particularly absurd. Sorley himself quotes General Creighton Abrams, the head of U.S. forces in South Vietnam, as saying "on this question of the B-52s and the tac air 'it's very clear to me that this (the Thieu) government would now have fallen, and this country would now be gone, and we wouldn't be meeting here today, if it hadn't been for the (U.S.) B-52s and the tac air. There's absolutely no question about it."
During the 1972 offensive, the Times reported on May 3, 1972, that "the growing consensus among Americans here is that the South Vietnamese forces have proven unequal to the task of defending it." And on May 19, 1972, that "despite four years of Vietnamization, American and South Vietnamese military commanders here have relied less on the Government's ground troops to stem the current North Vietnamese offensive than on an instrument of massive bombing that only the Americans have — the B-52"; from Anloc on June 24, 1972, that "American advisers here say that the South Vietnamese helicopters are not flying because the crews have panicked under fire and suffer from low morale; and on October 7, 1972, that "both American and South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam say that the B-52s played a major role in halting the North Vietnamese offensive last spring as government units were disintegrating."
Neil Sheehan reported in his biography of U.S. adviser John Paul Vann, who directed U.S. and Vietnamese military forces in Region III in the spring of 1972 that "Vann did not see the fallacy in his victory. He did not see that in having to assume total control at the moment of crisis, he had proved the Saigon regime had no will of its own to survive."
Conclusion: Repeating History
We all have a natural tendency to want to forget an unpleasant past. Even many of us whose lives were deeply affected by the Indochina war often prefer to put those years of anguish, divisiveness and anger behind us.
Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Those who cannot remember the past are indeed condemned to repeat it.
Future historians will marvel at how U.S. leaders so thoroughly failed to learn from their horrific mistakes and crimes in Indochina, and have instead repeated many of them today in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is clear to all but the most blind or brainwashed that the basic lesson of Indochina is that the United States cannot create democratic and stable governments out of corrupt, brutal, autocratic and unpopular warlords who can neither direct nor motivate their own people.
Secretary Clinton is not only insulting history and betraying her own past by giving a platform to Henry Kissinger to continue distorting history; she is betraying America today, foolishly perpetuating policies toward the Muslim world that can only end in even greater losses for the U.S.