[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 #17
Victory in Vietnam
By Michael Long [Michael Letwin]
It seems like a dream. A good dream. After 20 years of the existence of a phony “South Vietnam,” and a bloody liberation struggle in Southeast Asia that has lasted much longer than that, Cambodia and Vietnam are “falling.”
At the time of this article, the beginning of April, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia is within a couple of miles of the capital, Phnom Penh, and North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front troops have taken Da Nang, the second largest city in the South. So finally with the disappearance of American troops, it has become clear that the puppet regimes of Cambodia and Vietnam couldn’t be propped up by even billions of dollars of aid.
THE AMERICAN PRESS
The media in the U.S. has made a valiant attempt to stir up sympathy for the quickly losing governments. In endless reports we hear about the terrible plight of the refugees (it is indeed terrible).
If war in Asia hadn’t taken place for years and years, it would seem as though this was the first time that refugees existed, and that they do because of the horrible things that await them with the liberation forces. Nowhere is it mentioned that if it wasn’t for the war that the U.S. created, there would be no refugees, and nor would there be millions of dead Vietnamese and Cambodians.
The press has sadly reported the defeat of the American governments in Asia. This is to be expected from them. While they moan, the people of Vietnam and Cambodia are seeing for the first time in a generation it may be that they are actually winning against the foreign domination that they have lived under for decades, and that they may have a chance to live without bombs and napalm.
THE CONGRESS AND FUNDS
The U.S. Congress has no use for the victory of the Vietnamese and Cambodian people. If they thought it were possible, they would have continued the aid, and perhaps even the troops that they have been more than happy to supply for the ’60s and early ’70s.
It is not anyone’s morals that has kept the U.S. from sending in troops or planes all over again. Instead, what is keeping them from doing that is the understanding that they can’t win military against a totally hostile population, and that the people of this country would not stand for it. They tried that already, and for years afterwards they moaned about the “deep wounds of the nation,” and other such drivel.
From “liberals” to “conservatives” in both parties, the politicians realize that they have lost in S.E. Asia. The American business interests which they for so long protected there cannot win. All of this of course does not prevent these same politicians from talking about the possibility of war elsewhere, specifically going to into the Middle East.
But what Ford and the Congress both know is that there is such as thing as the “domino theory.” It is true that when S.E. Asia falls to the liberation forces, other colonies of the U.S. will look to those victories as proof that it is possible to fight the most powerful imperialist country in the world — and win.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Cambodia is as good as gone, and the rest of Vietnam doesn’t have long to wait. Saigon can’t last without the massive U.S. aid that it has gotten in the past. The leaders of both puppet regimes are doing nothing more now than figuring out the best route to get to their Swiss bank accounts that have been so thoughtfully furnished by the U.S. government, containing millions of dollars.
The soldiers of their regimes rush further and further south, hoping that there is something there that will save them from being torn away from the life of banditry, rape and barbarity that they have had a free hand to practice for years.
IS THE STRUGGLE OVER?
There is no question but that the forces of U.S. imperialism are being smashed by the liberation forces in S.E. Asia. What is to come however is less certain.
The workers and peasants have never in all their history had the right to run their societies the way that they saw fit, through their own democratic organizations. The victory against what seemed to be a never ending imperialism is coming to a close. What will follow will be left to the people of Cambodia and Vietnam to fight for.