Red Tide, Vol. 2, No. 2 [Issue #6]
Peace of What?
[By Michael Letwin]
Well, it seems that Nixon and Kissinger, and the big corporations that are behind them, finally realized that there is too much public opinion, and stiff resistance from the Vietnamese people, for the U.S. to completely wipe out Viet Nam, or to remain there as they have been doing.
They therefore seem to have come to an agreement with the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam and the National Liberation Front to get out. Henry Kissinger, in a nationally broadcasted T.V. press conference on October 26, 1972, said that the agreement provides, among other things:
1. Withdrawal of all U.S. forces within 60 days in coincidence with the release of P.O.W.s on both sides.
2. “Right of Self-determination for South Viet Nam,” to be determined by elections to take place in a time and manner to be agreed upon by the Thieu dictatorship and the National Liberation Front. These negotiations would also set a date for the reunification of Viet Nam and the state of armed forces in South Viet Nam.
3. Third-party administration to be in control in the interim period before elections, to be composed of the Thieu dictatorship, the National Liberation Front, and other religious and political groups.
However, many of the points of this agreement have already been broken by the U.S. Both sides had agreed on Oct. 8th that the bombing would stop on the 18th, [and] that the agreement would be signed in Hanoi and Saigon on the 19th and in Paris on the 26th. The U.S. has consistently moved the date farther and farther away, either to show that the U.S. is not really in that pressed of a position that it has to keep its agreements or because it has no intention to sign and is stalling until after the elections.
These points are almost identical to those that were reached in 1954 in Geneva, to settle the conflict in Viet Nam. What happened then?
Well, the elections were supposed to take place two years later, in 1956. However, the U.S. stopped these elections from taking place. President Eisenhower (whose vice-president was Nixon) said that if he allowed the elections to take place, Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the revolutionary forces, would “win by 80%.”
So what is happening now (if in fact it does happen) is the realization by the U.S. of the 1954 Geneva Accords that they broke 18 years ago. Kissinger also said that the document would not be signed until after one more meeting with the D.R.V., which at the time of this article has yet to take place.
The Nixon administration is trying to show that they are responsible for bringing “peace” to Viet Nam (at a coincidental time of only one week or so before the elections). Just the opposite! The Nixon administration has perpetuated the Viet Nam war and only when it realized that it could no longer safely carry it on, did it make an effort to end it.
Nixon and Kissinger have been carefully negotiating for 4 years, [so] why did it take until a few days before the elections to come to a settlement? Nixon claims that the reason is because the Vietnamese have refused this type of offer before.
This is a lie. The Democratic Republic of Viet Nam and the National Liberation Front have for over 3 years proposed a program which says the same things in effect that the U.S. proposal says. The following is the text of what is known as the Vietnamese “7 point program.” Compare it to the U.S. proposals and see if after all it isn’t Nixon who has changed his mind. The two major points of this proposal are that:
1. Regarding the military situation: the U.S. must set a date for the total withdrawal of all U.S. troops, military personnel, weapons and war materials and those of its allies.
2. Regarding the political situation in South Viet Nam: the U.S. must end its intervention in the internal affairs of South Viet Nam and stop backing the regime of Nguyen Van Thieu.
The U.S. agreement fails to mention the U.S. bases in Thailand, a neighbor from which the American planes bomb Viet Nam.
Nixon wants to make sure he is reelected, and he knows that if he makes peace in Viet Nam, he will be looked upon by many as the great “peacemaker” of our time. Under Nixon’s administration, millions of Vietnamese have been killed, and much of its land destroyed. How can anyone look at him as the great peacemaker?
The real peace makers are the Indochinese people who struggled for 18 years against American domination, and the anti-war movement in this and other countries that have demonstrated and worked to keep the issue of the war a major thing in the minds of the people, thereby forcing Nixon to make any kind of deal, instead of dropping an atomic bomb on the country.
The most important thing to remember is that it is a victory for people all over the world that even this conditional peace has come about. This is not a credit to Nixon that after 18 years of U.S.-perpetrated death and corruption he finally decided to end it.
We do not believe that the withdrawal from Viet Nam represents any policy change. The U.S. is still in many countries both militarily and economically, and oppresses and destroys people all over the world. This is done so that companies in this country excel in their profits even though the government, who is controlled by these very companies, would have us believe that when we kill Vietnamese or Columbians or Guatemalans that we are doing it for their own “good” and “freedom.”
The U.S. knows that if people gain their freedom in one part of the world, that it will inspire people inspire people in other colonized countries to revolt, and that someday the U.S. will not be the kind of monster it is today, but rather that its wealth will be used to benefit the people of the world, from which all of it has come.
[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/%5D