[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/]
Red Tide, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Issue #7), November 1972
Let’s Not and Say We Did
[By Michael Letwin]
We too were fooled by the “peace plan”. This is an attempt to analyze the situation as it now stands to see what is really going on.
Since the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (DRV or “North Viet Nam”) announced that a peace settlement has been negotiated, millions of Americans have been hoping that an end to the War was at long last here. Even though Nixon had postponed the signing way beyond the agreed Oct. 31 deadline, he was still giving the impression that “peace is at hand”, when in fact it seems he may not sign at all.
Nixon has been able to win additional concessions from the DRV and the Provisional Revolutionary Government (the PRG, or called by the U.S., the Viet Cong), by squabbling over small details until the election was past and he was free to demand what he wants. Now he does not have the pressure of the election to sign early.
Without that pressure, he will feel free to break any agreement he finally reaches, if he does decide to reach one, just as every other president, both Democratic and Republican, has felt free to break all other agreements ever signed regarding Southeast Asia.
During the period between the announcement of “peace” and this writing, there has been the heaviest bombing in the history of the War. This way, Nixon is forcing the DRV and the PRG to make further concessions.
But even if a ceasefire is ever signed, the War will not be over. The U.S., its weapons and its “civilian advisers” (read C.I.A.} will remain. Already, the government has sent in pilot trainers from the Lockheed Corporation. They are also refitting Air America, the air force, to run bombing missions. This is the same Air America that is bombing northern Laos, off-limits for official U. S. bombs.
Yes, the “forces of democracy” will remain, attempting to force their policies on the people of Indochina. The agreement solves none of the basic issues involved in the War, and these forces will be there to intervene when the fighting breaks out again. Specifically, American bombers will still be stationed in Laos, Thailand, Guam and other areas within easy bomber reach.
The terms are a compromise, a compromise with U.S. aggression. But after all the years of war that Viet Nam has seen, any ceasefire, no matter how short lived, has to be welcome. However, before we start celebrating the end of the War, lets look at the terms of this “peace with honor”.
This agreement allows Thieu to remain in power. Thieu, a mass murdering puppet of the United States, serves absolutely no one inside of Viet Nam, and could not last a day without U.S. support. He needs U.S. dollars to pay his army, and U.S. weapons and ammunition to arm his mercenaries and draftees with.
Just think back to last years “elections” in South Viet Nam. Thieu outlawed all dissent, from the moderate Big Minh (a general the puppet army) to Vice-President Ky, a man certainly no “softer” on Communism than Thieu himself.
Finally, by election time, Thieu was the only person on the ballot. This is the man that will, represent the “democratic” segment: of the new government. With Thieu style democracy, who needs elections?
The agreement calls for a National Council, a coalition between Vietnamese Communists, neutrals, and these puppets of the U.S. In other words it’s a coalition between the NLF and the with some neutrals thrown in for good looks.
The whole agreement is under the supervision of an international commission. According to the most recent rumors, this commission will be made up of Canada, Indonesia, Poland and Hungary. Poland and Hungary will do Moscow’s bidding, and Canada will surely act in the best interests of its ally, the U.S. The same can be said of Indonesia, a butcher regime put in power with U.S. backing in 1965 over the corpses of a million Indonesians. So again, the fate of Viet Nam is left up to the whims of the superpowers.
The agreement does allow the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and the NLF to hold on to some of the land they now control. This was an absolute minimum, without which no deal could be reached. Any less would have meant surrender for the NLF.
This is the “principled peace” that the President has been promising us. The only truly principled peace, the only “peace with honor”, would be the complete, immediate, total and unconditional withdrawal of all troops and aid from Southeast Asia. Many people say that this would equal surrender for the U.S. The fact is that the U.S. has no right to discuss ”victory”, or even set conditions on its withdrawal.
The DRV-NLF were forced to make the deal with the United States. This is a crime, not justice. Given the corner in which the Vietnamese found themselves, they had no choice.
The American peace movement placed much of its faith in McGovern (who by the way thought that the peace agreement was peachy) instead of trying to build an independent movement speaking to the real needs of the American people. That also was crucial for Nixon.
Russia and China too, added to the plight of the Vietnamese. Instead of giving the Vietnamese unlimited supplies and sweeping the harbors the day they were mined, they compromised with the wishes of the U.S., and restricted the amount of aid they gave the Vietnamese.
The U.S. offered the NLF a deal “they can not refuse”, like in the GODFATHER. There is no way of knowing how long the ceasefire will last if it is ever signed. The most that can be hoped for is that when the fighting resumes, all the U.S. troops will be gone, to insure a victory for the Vietnamese.