Re: Vietnam - What were our options? (fwd)

Thu, 4 Jan 1996 12:55:28 -0500 (EST)

Sender: (drieux H.)
Subject: Re: Vietnam - What were our options?

] I think the point isn't what Chomsky calls the individual men in different
] roles, but that the term advisors was used generally by the JFK administration
] and media to characterize the overall U.S. role in Vietnam during these years
] before Tonkin & ground troops. The implied meaning being that the U.S. was
] not engaged in a war, when in fact the U.S. had invaded South Vietnam and was,
] in Chomsky's view, engaged in a war against the people of South Vietnam, via
] the Strategic Hamlet program, massive defoliation & bombing of South Vietnam
] --all virtually invisible in the U.S. media. Thus the mythology that the war
] somehow BEGAN in 1965 as the U.S. "responded" to North Vietnamese aggression.
] Ted Morgan

I would be greatly appreciative of any information
about this 'massive defoliation' and the bombing
of South Vietnam prior to the Gulf of Tonkien Resolution.

The Attack on the Air Base at Pleiku was against the older
generation of helicopters and some tactical air assets, so
I haven't the Foggiets Idea where the notion comes from that
we had the Air Assets IN AREA to engage in a major bombing
campaign in the South. Is the argument here that the provisions
of close air support are in some way more Morally Reprehensible
than allowing troops to be cut up in the field without support?

Operation Ranch Hand, "Remember Only YOU can prevent Forests"
did not get going until after Tonkien and we had the Lift
Capability in country to engage in serious defoliation.

As for the Concept of 'Strategic Hamlets' that was the
Brain Child of the British and had worked Ever So Well
during the Malayan Crisis as a means of seperating the
local population from the predominantly ethnic ChiComSymps.

We would also acquire a bit of the british SAS approach
to operations, as SAS had proven that small unit jungle
operations would mess up a Guerrilla War, were one to
seperate the Guerrillaes from the Population, and provide
a dedicated band of specialists willing to make the Jungle Their Home!

None of which addresses the varying roles of a MAAG, which we
still have deployed around the world providing Military Aid and
Assistance to a wide variety of locals, locales, and at times
even forces of democracy. As a General Rule Of Thumb, clerk typists,
and Supply Corp members rarely go about armed and dangerous, in the
classical civilian perception of Combat. { Save of course for those
of us here who have ever had to hand walk paperwork through the
maze, or tried to make sense of a Supply Requisition, but I doubt
that this sort of COMBAT was implied by Ted. } So yes, there were
combat personnel involved in the Training of South Vietnamese Units
and as such would travel with them, but were under rather strict orders
as to what they were allowed to do. But by the very same set of rules,
so too were troops restricted on both the Korean Border, and in West
Germany, as to what weapons they could carry, and the ROE.

You will, I hope, accept the fact that I consider the term
'invasion' to be a technical term that does NOT cover the
american involvement in vietnam under the Diem Regime. Especially
given as President Eisenhower had supported that regime with
the Formation of a MAAG for south vietnam, that was not a part
of the extension of our MAAG in Paris. I can appreciate the need
for Political Rhetoric Totally Free of Content, made ever redundently
clear in these days of Budgetary Discussions, but can we at least
try to remember the actual HISTORY of american involvement in vietnam.