Nhìn Lại Hai Cuộc Chiến Ở Việt Nam

Cuộc Chiến 20 Năm Chống Mỹ: 1955-1975

Một Khảo Luận Qua Các Tài Liệu

Trần Chung Ngọc



1   2   3

Chú Thích Phần II:


1. The Government of the United States will refrain from the threat or the use of force to disturb them…

 In the case of nations now divided against their will, we shall continueto seek to achieve unity through free elections supervised by the United Nations to insure that they are conducted fairly.

2. Though the US said it would “refrain from the threat or the use of force to disturb” the agreements, it soon become evident that it was prepared to use every other means to back up the Saigon regime in its departure from their central provisions.

3.  During the course of its 21 years of involvement in Indochina, the United States Government offfered “reasons” for its actions.  These reasons were worthless.  The only reason for the American being in Indochina was to prevent the area from going Communist by an election, by an internal revolution... And this was reason enough...

More reasons.  And more reasons.  They sprouted like asparagus in May.  Before the Indochina War came to an end, a book could have filled with reasons.  None of them were valid.

4.  Protecting the “freedom” of the people of South Vietnam?  In internal documents the harsh realities of US War aims were spelled out – none more succinctly than a memorandum prepared by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Secretary McNamara (with an eyes-only copy to George Bundy) on US War aims:  70% to preserve our national honor,; 20% to keep South VN territory from being occupied by the Chinese; and 10% to the South VN to enjoy a better and freer way of life.

5.  On March 24, 1965, Assistant Secretary for Defense John T. McNaughton stated that whereas in effect only 10% of US efforts aimed to help Vietnamese people, 20% aimed “to keep South VN (and adjacent territory) from Chinese hands”, and the greatest part, or 70%, aimed “to avoid a humiliating US defeat”.

6. The pages that follow grow out of our shared concern that our nation is embroiled in a conflict in Vietnam which we find it impossible to justify, in the light of either the message of the prophets or the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth.

7.  Our very right to be there is questioned, in the light of international law, by men highly placed in our government, among them Senators Morse, Church, Gore, and Gruening.  But even if there is a clearcut “right”, the nature of what we are doing in Vietnam must be increasingly condemned.

8. It is ironic that at precisely the moment we are saying that we must “halt communism” in Vietnam, we are coming to terms with it elsewhere, working out new treaty agreements with Russia, extending trade in Eastern Europe, giving support to Tito in Yougoslavia.  Elsewhere, we have clearly decide to coexist with communism, and to encourage independent Communist societies that will be increasingly free of the need for alliance with one another.

9.  Our alleged concern with human rights borders on the ludicrous.  We dropped twice as many bombs on Vietnam as all the countries involved in World War II dropped on each other.  We killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in the course of that war.  Very recently, in Central America, we sponsored, trained, and endorsed the local armies - Guatemalan, Salvadoran, and Nicaraguan Contras - in the killing of at least 200000 people.)

10.  Don't we have our own history of "ethnic cleansing", first of the Native American population and later in Vietnam, when U.S. troops herded loyal, mostly Catholic villagers into so-called "strategic hammers" for safety while turning the mostly Buddhist countryside of South Vietnam into a saturation bombing zone?

11.  I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar soaked fingers out of the business of these [Third World] nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own. And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the "haves" refuse to share with the "have-nots" by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don't want and above all don't want crammed down their throats by Americans." [General David Sharp, former U.S. Marine Commandant, 1966.]

12. We're going to become guilty, in my judgement, of being the greatest threat to the peace of the world. It's an ugly reality, and we Americans don't like to face up to it. I hate to think of the chapter of American history that's going to be written in the future in connection with our outlawry in Southeast Asia." [Senator Wayne Morse, (D-OR), 1967]

13. There had been no First and Second Indochina Wars, just one continuous conflict for almost a quarter of century.

In practical terms, on one side, it had been an American war almost from its beginning: at first French-American, eventually wholly American.  In both cases it was a struggle of Vietnamese – not all of them but enough to persist – against American policy and American financing, proxies, technicians, firepower, and finally, troops and pilots.

It was no more a “civil war” after 1955 or 1960 than it had been during the US-supported French at colonial reconquest.  A war in which one side was entirely equipped and paid by a foreign power – which dictated the nature of the local regime in its own interest – was not a civil war.  To say that we had “interfered” in what is “really a civil war”, as most American writers and even liberal critics of the war  do to this day, simply screened a more painful reality and was as much a myth as the earlier official one of “agression from the North”.  In terms of the UN Charter and our own avowed ideals, it was a war of foreign agression, American aggression.

14. As late as 1982 – after years of unremitting propaganda with virtually no dissenting voice permitted expression to a large audience – over 70% of the general population (but far fewer “opinion leaders”) still regarded the war as “fundamentally wrong and immoral,’ not merely “a mistake”..

It is worth recalling a few facts.  The US was deeply committed to the French effort to reconquer their former colony, recognizing throughout that the enemy was the nationalist movement of Vietnam.  The death toll was about half a million.  When France withdrew, the US dedicated itself at once to subverting the 1954 Geneva settlement, installing in the south a terrorist regime that killed perhaps 70000 “Viet Cong” by 1961, evoking resistance which, from 1959, was supported from the northern half of the country temporarily divided by the Geneva settlement that the US had undermined.  In 1961-1962, President Kennedy launched a direct attack against rural South Vietnam with large-scale bombing and defoliation as part of a program designed to drive millions of people to camps where they would be “protected” by armed guards and barbed wire from the guerillas whom, the US conceded, they were willinggly supporting.  The US maintained that it was invited in, but as the  London Economist accurately observed, “an invader is an invader unless invited in by a government with a claim to legitimacy.”  The US never regarded the clients it installed as having any such claim, and in fact it regularly replaced them when they failed to exhibit sufficient enthusiam for the American attack or sought to implement the neutralist settlement that was advocated on all sides and was considered the prime danger by the aggressors, since it would undermine the basis for their war against South Vietnam.  In short, the US invaded South Vietnam, where it proceeded to compound the crime of aggression with numerous and quite appalling crimes against humanity throughout Indochina.

15.  The direct U.S. invasion of South Vietnam followed our support for the French attempt to reconquer their former colony, our disruption of the 1954 “peace process”, and a terrorist war against the South Vietnamese population.. (p. 224)

There was a political settlement, the Geneva Accords, in 1954…  We immediately proceeded to undermine them, installing in South Vietnam a violent, terrorist regime, which of course rejected (with our support) the elections which were projected.  Then the regime turned to a terrorist attack against the population, particularly against the anti-French resistance, which we called the Vietcong, in South Vietnam.  The regime had probably killed about 80,000 people (that means we had killed, through our arms and mercenaries) by the time John F. Keenedy took over in 1961…  [p. 323]

In 1961 and 1962 Kennedy simply launched a war against South Vietnam.  That is, in 1961 and 1962 the U.S. Air Force began extensive bombing and defoliation in South Vietnam, aimed primarily against the rural areas where 80% of the population lived.  This was part of a program designed to drive several million people in concentration camps, which we called “strategic hamlets” where they would be surrounded by armed guards and barbed wire, “protected”, as we put it, from the guerrillas whom, we conceded, they were willingly supporting.  That what we call “aggression’ or “armed attack” when some other country does it.  We call it “defense” when we do it.

16. Though few people knew this, the Cardinal played a prominent role in creating the political career of a former seminary resident in New York who had just become Premier of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem.  In Diem, Spellman had seen the qualities he desired in any leader: ardent Catholicism and rabid anti-Communist.

A staunch Catholic from a patrician family, Diem was at seminary at the intercession of his brother, Ngo Dinh Thuc, a Roman Catholic bishop.  A lay celibate and deeply religious, Diem had cut himself off from the world, especially his war-shredded nation, and had been known only to a small, politically active circle in the United States.  In his homeland his name had hardly evoked enthusiasm. 

After Dien Bien Phu, Eisenhower wanted to support a broader-based government than that of Emperor, who enjoyed little popular support and had long been considered a puppet of the French and the Americans.  Thus US officials wanted a nationalist in high office in South Vietnam to blunt some of Ho Chi Minh’s appeal.  The result was that Bao Dai offered Diem the job he had always wanted – Prime Minister.  Diem returned to Saigon on June 26, 1954, or several weeks after the arrival of Edward Lansdale, the chief of the CIA’s Saigon Military Mission, who was in charge of unconventional warfare..

“The Pope was concerned about Communism making more gains at the expense of the Church,” “He turned to Spellman to encourage American commitment to Vietnam”.

Thus Spellman embarked on a carefully orchestrated campaign to prop up the Diem regime. 

17. The United States had created South Vietnam and its leader; it was now clear that any opposition to Diem would be understood as a hostile act, an attack on America’s baby.  “This is our offspring”, Senator Kennedy said in 1956, “and if it falls victim to any of the peril that threaten its existence – Communism, political anarchy, poverty and the rest – then the United States, with some justification, will be held responsible; and our prestige in Asia will sink to a new low.” 

But, in fact, what the United States had labored mightily to produce was not a democratic, independent new nation-state but an autocratic ruling family held in place by foreign power.)

18. In any case, future President John F. Kennedy could justly state on June 1, 1956: “If we are not the parents of little Vietnam, then surely we are the godparents.  We presided at its birth, we gave assistance to its life, we have helped to shape its future.”  Then on the very day of his own death, November 23, 1963, Kennedy went further to state, ‘Without the United States, South Vietnam would collapse overnight.

19. Ngo Dinh Diem's militancy is of that kind: His faith is made less of the kindness of the apostles, than of the ruthless militancy of the Grand Inquisitor; and his view of government is made less of the constitutional strength of a President of the republic than of the petty tyranny of a tradition-bound mandarin. To a French Catholic interlocutor who wanted to emphazise Diem's bond with French culture by stressing "our common faith," Diem was reported to have answered calmly: "You know, I consider myself rather as a Spanish Catholic," i.e., a spiritual son of a fiercely aggressive and militant faith rather than of the easygoing and tolerant approach of Gallican Catholicism.

20.  Spellman was the papal point man to lead America into  deeper  involvement  in  Vietnam.  According  to  a Vatican official letter, the pope "turned to Spellman to encourage American commitment to Vietnam."

All US relief to the South was funneled through the Catholic Church's agencies.  Although these policies resulted in a wave of conversions, Catholics still made up only about 12 to 13 percent of the South Vietnamese population.  Not surprisingly, the resentment among the Buddhist majority soon resulted in their open resistance to Diem's policies.  As the situation deteriorated, Diem resorted to mass arrests and suppression of the Buddhists, closing shrines and monateries.  As the Church should have known from its own early experience, persecution can only strengthen a cause.  As a horrified world watched, the Buddhists resorted to the ultimate act of passive resistance and several monks set themselves ablaze.  During these terrible times, when I, too, was a Catholic, I don't recall one word of criticism of Diem's policies from a Catholic priest or bishop.  However, it finally became too much for President John Kennedy, who withdrew US support for Diem.  Diem was soon executed in a coup.  Throughout this dreadful ordeal the role of the Church followed true to the course of its sordid history.)

21.  Diem was a medieval Catholic – he was right, the others were wrong.  Truth has privileges, error đoes not have.  And, well aware of the precarious nature of his rule, he was obsessed with the idea that all who criticized anything about his regime were inveterated enemies.

He was St. Dominick.

June of ’55 he opened an “Anti-Communist Denunciation Program”.  The Geneva Accord specifically forbade political reprisals.

Thus, Diem began the hostilities.  It was he, who by his assault on the Vietminh, began the fighting in the South.  And, it must be emphasized, that he did this not in response in any Vietminh provocations, but out of his compulsion to exterminate the Reds – the spirit of the Medieval Catholic heretic-hunter.

22.  American Intelligence estimates during the 1950s show, The Pentagon account says, that the war began largely as a rebellion in the South against the increasingly oppressive and corrupt regime of Ngo Dinh Diem.

“Most of those who took up arms were South Vietnamese and the causes for which they fought were by no means contrived in North Vietnam,” the Pentagon account says of the years from 1956 to 1959, when the insurgency began.

There is only sparse evidence that North Vietnam was directing, or was capable of directing, that violence (Last quarter of 1957: 75 local assassinated or kidnapped.  On October 22, 1957, 13 Americans were wounded in three bombings in Saigon)

From 1954 to 1958 North Vietnam concentrated on its internal development, apparently hoping to achieve reunification either through the election provided for in the Geneva settlement or through the natural collapse of the weak Diem regime.  The Communist left behind a skeletal apparatus in the South when they regrouped to North Vietnam in 1954 after the war with the French ended, but the cadre members were ordered to engage only in “political struggle.”

North Vietnam’s leaders formally decided in May, 1959, to take control of the growing insurgency.

The Pentagon account says that both American intelligence and Vietcong prisoners attributed the Vietcong’s rapid success after 1959 to the Diem’s mistakes.

Diem’s mentality is described in the account as like that of a “Spanish Inquisitor”.)

23. Behind its facade its real objective was the Catholicization of the Country.  The Catholic repression of South Vietnam was not the work of a fanatical individual, or a group of individuals, like the three Diem brothers, dedicated to the Catholicization of a Buddhist country.  It was the by-product of a well calculated long range policy conceived and promoted by minds whose basic objectives were the expansion at all costs, of a religion which they were convinced was the only true religion on earth.

The main inspirer and prosecutor of such a policy, as we have seen, was Pope Pius XII.  Such policy was totally consonant with his globl strategy, directed at two fundamental objectives: the destruction of Communism, and the expansion of the Catholic Church.

24. Covert American subversion of the Geneva Agreements began simultaneously with their final signing on July 21, 1954.  Lansdale was already in place.  His original mission, to bypass the French and work with sympathetic Vietnamese in unconventional warfare, was now readily redirected to “paramilitary operations in Communist areas.”  In Hanoi, his team distributed leaflets that spread misinformation about new economic and monetary regulations, causing some panic among more affluent residents; they poured sugar into the gas tanks of Hanoi buses, impeding public transporation and creating consumer dissatisfaction; they suborned astrologers who predicted dire disasters; they spread rumors of ramparing, raping Chinese Communist troops.

Of particular propaganda value to Diem was the exodus of almost 1 million Catholics from north to south who were said to have “voted with their feet” for freedom.  Encouraged by the Catholic hierarchy and organized by Lansdale and his team, entire parishes were carried south in American ships, following priests who told them Christ had moved south, as well as making promises of land and livelihood…

One of the more effective rumor campaigns Lansdaled developed was that the U.S. would back a new war, one in which atomic weapons would certainly be used.  Widely believed, this added to the flow of refugees south.  With boyish enthusiasm, Lansdale reported these triumphs, all of them in direct violation of the Geneva Accords, to the CIA.  In the South the team was equally busy, smuggling in arms, ammunition, radios, some for use on spot, the rest destined to be shipped North.

25. The local church is an organized army equipped for battle, ready to charge the enemy.  The Sunday school is the attacking squad.  The Church should be a disciplined, charging army.  Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.

26.  It is important to bombard the territory, to move out near the coast and shell the enemy.  It is important to send in the literature.  It is important to send that radio broadcast and to use that dial-a-prayer telephone.  It is important to have all those external forces being set loose on the enemy stronghold.

But ultimately some Marines have to march in, encounter face to face, and put the flag up, that is, build the local church.

I am speaking of Marines who have been called of God to move in past the shelling, the bombing and the foxholes and, with bayonet in hand, encounter the enemy face to face and one-on-one bring them under submission to the Gospel of Christ, move them into the household of God, put up the flag and call it secured… You and I are called to occupy until He comes.

27.  Americans were ignorant about the Vietnamese not because we were stupid, but because we believe certain things about ourselves... To understand our failure we must think about what it means to be an American...  The myth of America as a city on a hill implies that America is a moral example to the rest of the world, a world that will presumably keep its attention riveted on us.  It means that we are a Chosen People, each of whom, because of God’s favor and presence, can smite one hundred of our heathen enemies hip and thigh...

In countless ways Americans know in their gut – the only place myths can live – that we have been Chosen to lead the world in public morality and to instruct it in political virtue.  We believe that our own domestic goodness results in strength adequate to destroy our opponents who, by definition, are enemies of virtue, freedom, and God.]

28. For those with a very simple theology, this meaning is limpid.  It is good guys versus bad guys, the godly versus the ungodly, the forces of light against the forces of barbarism. The battle we face in our century is the battle for civilization itself, and the antagonists are the “slave nations” and the nations of the “free world”, a battle against   barbarians threaten civilized peoples, law and order, and the American way of life.  Their view of history is apocalyptic.. 

In cowboy stories, one side is clearly distinguished from the other side – sometimes even by the color of their hats.  One side fights for law and order, the other side is lawless.  If the plot includes Indians, racial overtones are usually present; then the conflict is between savages (nonwhites) and civilized, peace-loving pioneers (whites, who represent the forces of progress.  The showdown almost always comes through violence.  Those win who have the more sophisticated weapons or the faster draw.  The good guys always win.  When, temporarily, the bad guys wipe out a group og good guys, it is a cruel and heartless massacre; when the good guys kill huge numbers of bad guys, it is a victory for justice.

29.  Trang 112: The Judeo-Christian approach is based on the comforting idea that, so long as a man keeps faith, God will be on his side and he, or at least his cause, will eventually triumph.

30. The presence of a Communist threat, even the possibility of a Communist threat (as in the Dominican Republic) has supplied adequate justification for a variety of interventions.  To identify the threat has been enough to preclude any further challenge to the necessity or morality of its suppression.  The US has become increasingly outspoken in claiming the unilateral right to make the determination whether a conflict anywhere in the world constitutes a threat to its national security or international order and what should be done about it.

31. The present world order is very profitable for capitalists in the United States, who are sitting on top of the heap.  The foreign aid given by the United States to underdeveloped nations is regarded as a new kind of imperialism: not military but dollar imperialism; it does not attempt to set up a colonial political office.  Instead, it buys out willing native politicians and interferes in the country through economic rather than political methods.  It is just as effective as colonial imperialism, though harder to unmask.

32. In strategic and economic terms, Southeast Asia was also critical to American interests.  The fall of Southeast Asia would threaten the island chain stretching from Japan to Philippines, cutting off American air routes to India and South Asia and eliminating the first line of defense in the Pacific.  Australia and New Zealand would be isolated.  The region was loaded with important natural and strategic resources, including tin, rubber, rice, copra, iron core, copper, tungsten, and oil.  Not only would be the US be cut off from those resources, but huge potential markets for American products would be threatened.

33. Presidential letters are not legal commitments but expressions of the intent of the incumbent President with respect to the foreseeable contingencies.  They impose a moral, not a legal, obligation on his successors.. And of course, no President is able to commit Congress by a unilateral declaration)  

34. Kissinger advised Ambasador Bunker to urge ARVN military commanders to secure as much territoty as they could in the coming weeks in the light of a possible cease-fire.  At about the same time a resupply operation code-name ENHANCE was renamed ENHANCE PLUS.  Under  the provisions of ENHANCE PLUS, Saigon was treated to an airlift of 105mm and 155mm howitzers, helicopters, fighter aircraft (making its air force the fourth largest in the world), armored personnel carriers, tanks, trucks and naval artillery.  “If we had been giving this aid to the North Vietnamese,” an American general joked, “they could have fought us for the rest of the century.”)

35. The shooting did not stop for so much as a single day. Most combat incidents in the first few months after the supposed cease-fire were initiated by the ARVN, which wanted to take as much territory as possible before the Communists could rebuild their forces too much.

The processes for a political settlement of South Vietnam's future that had been specified in the Paris Agreement were blocked by the Thieu Administration in Saigon.

(Copyright © 1998 Edwin E. Moïse. Revised November 6, 1998.)

36.  I see no way to escape the conclusion that in South Vietnam we are systematically destroying a country and its people – the very country and people that we say we are fighting to preserve…

Our present procedures in Vietnam include operations against the civilian population that come closer to genocide than to the waging of war as Americans have understood it in the past, as generally accepted by civilized nations and embodied in International Law.  The wide and indiscriminate use of tear gases, herbicides and defoliants looms large among those procedures.

37. The war criminals of the United States Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force murdered three million people in Vietnam, in countless places like My Lai. Most of the victims were women and children.

The CIA even had an official program of state terrorism in Vietnam, known as "Operation Phoenix" or the " Phoenix Program. " Through the Phoenix Program, hundreds of thousands of people were tortured to death in provincial "interrogation centers" all over South Vietnam. These torture centers were built specifically for that purpose by the United States. Women were always raped as part of the torture before being murdered. The large-scale terrorism, rape and mass-murder throughout the countryside was the collective policy of the CIA, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Navy. The My Lai massacre itself was an operation of the Phoenix Program.

The American genocide of the Vietnamese people had it's origins immediately following World War II. America supported France in its attempt to regain its bloody colonial rulership over all Southeast Asia.

In addition to allying itself with the colonial oppressors of the Vietnamese people, America actually joined forces with those who had collaborated with the Japanese! And who was the new enemy? Ho Chi Minh and his followers, the Viet Minh — who had worked closely with America and the Allied war effort against the Japanese. The Viet Minh had even rescued downed American pilots of the U.S. Fourteenth Air Force.

But that counted for nothing with the plutocrats of the United States Corporate Mafia Government. This classic American backstabbing of a former ally set the tone for the appalling nightmare in Southeast Asia that would overwhelm the next 35 years.

Ho Chi Minh was betrayed by the U.S. Corporate Mafia Government because they simplistically labeled him a "Communist."

John Kerry, Navy lieutenant, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 1971:  

"I would like to say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam, in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country."

U.S. Army atrocities and Green Beret torture techniques:

During the Kennedy and Johnson administrations the number of murderous U.S. military personnel invading Vietnam jumped from 23,000 in 1963 to 184,000 in 1966. They reached their peak during Dickhead Nixon's presidency in 1969, with 542,000 American soldiers fighting the Viet Cong.

But that's not all they were doing.

Too many of "our boys" committed sadistic crimes against humanity. American soldiers tortured prisoners. American soldiers sodomized, raped and murdered women and girls. American soldiers slaughtered entire villages of civilian men, women, children — even infants — in many, many places like My Lai and Thanh Phong.

    From Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower by William Blum:

   The Green Berets taught its members who were slated for duty in Vietnam in the 1960s how to use torture as part of an interrogation.

The notorious Operation Phoenix, set up by the CIA to wipe out the Vietcong infrastructure, subjected suspects to torture such as:

· electric shock to the genitals of both men and women

· insertion into the ear of a six-inch dowel, which was tapped through the brain until the victim died

· suspects were also thrown out of airborne helicopters to persuade the more important suspects to talk, although this should probably be categorized as murder of the ones thrown out, and a form of torture for those not.

In violation of the Geneva Convention, the US turned prisoners over to their South Vietnamese allies in full knowledge that they would be tortured, American military personnel often being present during the torture.

The slaughter begins in earnest.

Meaning genocidal business, the United States Air Force launched the "Rolling Thunder" air assault on the people of Vietnam in 1964. This assault alone dropped more bombs on the little country than were used in all of World War II.

During the next five years, unknown hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese civilian men, women and children were butchered and burned alive by United States Air Force bomber crews. Vietnam was pounded with the equivalent of 22 tons of explosives for every square mile of territory.

That's 300 pounds of high explosive for every man, woman and child.

During 13 years of America's cruel war against the people of Vietnam eight million TONS of bombs (like Napalm and cluster bombs) and defoliants (Agent Orange) were dropped in total — and at least 3 MILLION Vietnamese people were slaughtered.

Most Americans cannot possibly even comprehend what that means.


Along with the Indian Holocaust, the Vietnamese Holocaust ranks America right down there in the pits of hell — with such fine company as the German Nazis, the Croatian Ustashi, the Japanese military, the Turkish military, the sadistic Conquistadors, the Mongols, the Romans and all such genocidal monsters.

The vast majority of Americans have absolutely nothing in their experience to compare it to.

It wasn't just the demonic Nazis who committed genocide. Our own evil American government and military have committed genocide too. By the MILLIONS.

And the overwhelming majority of the victims were helpless, innocent civilian people.

Civilian men. Women. Children.

See the story of My Lai for an example of our heroic American soldiers on the job — murdering Vietnamese babies and raping Vietnamese girls to make the world safe for corporations like Coca Cola and Standard Oil.

After the slaughter... disease and more death

Thanks to racist American arrogance, self-righteousness and indifference, the Vietnamese people have continued to suffer. In 1985 it was estimated that fully one-third of the Vietnam was a toxic wasteland, thanks to the U.S. Air Force use of chemical defoliants like Agent Orange. All of this left Vietnam impoverished, the land severely polluted and covered with deadly cluster bombs — and the people psychologically traumatized. Thirty years of genocidal war were then followed by almost 20 years of a U.S.-led embargo.

In the years since the murdering, raping U.S. soldiers, Navy SEALS and airmen were finally defeated and kicked ignominiously out of Vietnam, America's evil legacy has continued. Agent Orange has led to large-scale birth defects in succeeding generations of Vietnamese people and hundreds of thousands of cancer deaths among those the who were living in the areas sprayed with the defoliant.

The unexploded cluster bombs have created uncharted minefields, terrorizing everybody and preventing farmers from working in many arable fields and rice paddies. These American bombs continue to murder, dismember and cripple for life thousands of Vietnamese children and young adults.

38. The primary U.S. goal in the Third World is to ensure that it remains open to U.S. economic penetration and political control. Failing this the United States exerts every effort to ensure that societies that try to strike an independent course ... will suffer the harshest conditions that U.S. power can impose

39. After so many lies, so much carnage, the myth of the city on a hill no longer provided the moral justification for American involvement in Vietnam.  After so may disappointments, so much tested patience, the cultural faith in technology became weaker than the desire to cut our losses and run…  The military was not beaten in battle; American culture was beaten in the face of victories…Benjamin Franklin taught us that time is money.  As we spent billions, they spent years.  They paid a high price in lives.  Their investment succeeded.

p. 341: Another  consequence of our prodigal use of technology was the satisfaction, such as it could be, of discovering  that the Communists could not solve  Vietnam’s economic and social problem after they won.  We  had conducted ourselves in a way that guaranteed that they would win a broken country, with nothing of economic value left standing in the North, with thousand of square miles of dead forests in the South, along with the flooding and erosion of the top soil that follows.  We left them  a moonscape of poisoned water, dead land, and a corrupted southern population, that Senator Fulbright once called “a society of prostitutes and mercenaries”.

40. After the war:  Vietnam need for aid was extreme: in the South, 9000 out of 15000 hamlets, 25 million acres of farmland, 12 million acres of forest were destroyed, and 1.5 million farm animal had been killed; there were an estimated 200000 prostitutes, 879000 orphans, 181000 disabled people, and 1 million widows; all six of the industrial cities in the North had been badly damaged, as were provincial and district towns, and 4000 out 5800 agricultural communes.  North and South the land was cratered and planted with tons of unexploded ordnance, so that long after the war farmers and their families suffered serious injuries as they attempted to bring the field back to cultivation. 19 million gallons of herbicide had been sprayed on the South during the war, and while the longterm effects were unkown in 1975 (and are not clear now), severe birth defects and multiple miscarriages were apparent early on.

41. The big mistake the Americans made was not understanding the Vietnamese’s history, culture, mentality.  They were so sure military strength sould win the war, they never bothered to learn who they were fighting.... The US had come to Vietnam to build and ended up destroying. It came to the jungles of VN to win hearts and minds, and in fighting its longest war – the first war the US had ever lost – discovered the tools of war were no substitute for the vitality of nationalism..

42. There were only a few villagers and some domesticated animals.. A woman was screaming and cursing at us as we filed through the village.  I do not know for sure what she was saying.  It was not complimentary.  Why is she yelling at me?  I com ten thousand miles, march in the rain, monsoons, tropical sun, rice paddies, rivers, hip-deep in slime, tripping over vines, falling over dikes, being bitten by uncounted species of bugs, always tired, getting diarrhea, living on crap I wouldn’t have given a dog, getting shot at, ambushed, hand grenaded...to save her – and she is going to stand there and spit and curse at me?  A voice in the back of my head started speaking softly, very softly.  It was saying: “Hey, man, this woman doesn’t care how noble you are from coming all this way to save her from the communists; all she knows is that you or someone like yoi just set her house on fire.  You may call it a hooch and laugh because it dosen’t have a door, but it is her house and it has just been torched, for whatever noble reasons.  That’s why this woman is cursing you and all your ancestors.  Because you, and not her evil communist, just Zippoed her home and destroyed all the things valuable in her life.  As far as having no door goes, she is so far ahead of you, you will probably never know.  She has a society that does not need a door, let alone a series of locks on the door, as opposed to the noble society you come from.  That’s right, asshole, you thought you were so civilized, you thought you were going to do so much for these poor, ignorant savages.  Maybe in a thousand years, if your society lasts that long, it will have evolved to the point where it can live without the fear that causes people to put locks on doors.  And then after another thousand years, it will get to the point where even the doors won’t be necessary.  Think about that for a while, shitbird.”

43.   Vietnam made clear the inherent unworkability of a policy of global containment.. The US enjoyed a position of unprecedented power and influence, and achieve some notable early successes in Europe.  Much of America’s power derived from the weakness of other nations rather than from it own intrinsic stregth, however, and Vietnam demonstrated conclusively that its power, however great, had limits… Vietnam makes clear that the US cannot uphold its own concept of world order in the face of a stubborn and resolute, although much weaker, foe.  The war did not bring about the decline of American power, as some have suggested, but was rather symptomatic of the limits of national power in an age of international diversity and nuclear weaponry.

The US did not intervene in Vietnam primarily to ensure a better life for the Vietnamese.  That large number of Vietnamese did not want to live under a Communist form of government seems clear.  On the other hand, the Vietnamese did not eagerly embrace – probably did not even understand – American ways. 

44. In Vietnam we lost not only a war and a subcontinent we also lost our pervasive confidence that American arms and American aims were linked somehow to justice and morality, not merely to the quest of power.  America was defeated militarily, but the “idea” of America, the cherished myth of America, received an even more shattering blow… Vietnam robbed us of an image this nation we desperately needed.

45. The incredible war in Vietnam has provided the razor, the terrifying sharp cutting edge that has finally severed the last vestige of illusion that morality and democracy are the guiding principles of American foreign policy.  The saccharine self-righteous moralism that promises the Vietnamese a billion dollars of economic at the very moment we are delivering billions for economic and social destruction and political repression is rapidly losing what power it might ever have had to reassure us about the decency  of our foreign policy.  The further we explore the reality of what this country is doing and planning in Vietnam, the more we are driven toward the conclusion of Senator  Wayne Morse that the U. S. may well be the greatest threat to peace in the world today…

President Lyndon Johnson says that we are defending freedom in Vietnam.  Whose freedom?  Not the freedom of the Vietnamese.  The first act of the first dictator Ngo Dinh Diem, the U. S. installed in Vietnam,  was to systematically begin the persecution of all political opposition, non-Communist as well as Communist…

The pattern of repression and destruction that we have developed and justified in the war is so thorough that it can only be called cultural genocide.  I am not simply talking about napalm or gas or crop destruction or torture, hurled indicriminately on women and children, insurgent and neutral, upon the first suspicion of rebel activity.  That in itself is horrendous and incredible beyond belief.  But it is only part of a larger pattern of destruction to the very fabric of the country.  We have uprooted the people from the land and imprisoned them in concentration camps (Ấp chiến lược).  Through conscription (cưỡng bách tòng quân) and direct political intervention and control, we have destroyed local customs and traditions, trampled upon those things of value which give dignity and purpose to life…

How can anyone be surprised that people who have had total war waged on themselves and their culture rebel in increasing number against that tyranny?  What other course is available?  And still our only response to rebellion is more vigorous repression, more merciless opposition to the social and cultural institutions which sustain dignity and will to resist.

Not even the president can say that this is a war to defend the freedom of the Vietnamese people.  Perhaps what the president means when he speaks of freedom is the freedom of the American people…By what weird logic can it be said that the freedom of one people can only be maintained by crushing another?

46. No one can dispute the victorious struggles of the Party and the government of Vietnam leaders in the decades before 1975.  To understand those struggles, it is necessary to start before 1945, when the Communists already took partial power in Vietnam.  Only such a larger perspective opens the way to an understanding of the incredible perseverance and resilience of the Vietnamese Communists.  It then becomes possible to see that those qualities were a product, perhaps an almost unique product, of a dedication rooted in the country’s historial culture, in the religious aspects of the revolutionaries commitment to nationalism and Marxism, and above all in their organization, which for 50 years mobilized youth, women, and peasant-worker activists to form the “brass citadels’ and “steel fortresses” that withstood some of the greatest odds in history…What happened in Vietnam, nonetheless, will be recalled as one of history’s most remarkable revolutionary wars.

47. National aspiration was the historical imperative that explained Ho Chi Minh.  The international Communist overtones were real enough, but secondary.  Maintaining a broad base of support for the war over several decades; instilling the Army cadres with tenacity, ingenuity, and readiness for sacrifice in the face of enormous odds; nurturin resiliency in the face of repeated disappointment; reorganizing the economy and distribution system under the heavy pressure of U.S. bombing – in short, defeating one renowned military power and holding at bay the most powerful nation in the world – these were achievements which, viewed objectively, would cause Ho Chi Minh to go down in history as an extraordinary leader.  But they were explainable primary in term of nationalism; ideology was a fuel of insuffivient octane rating.  But nationalism was the principal driving force, it follwed that the war in Vietnam was not a test of wills between the two parties – Hanoi and Washington – with equal interest at stake.  For North Vietnam it was a fundamental struggle, the priority task that embraced all others, a matter of survival.  To the United States, it was far more peripheral, necessarily competing for attention and resources with the other manifold interests and commitments of a global power.

Tài Liệu Tham Khảo Chọn Lọc:

Archer, Jules. Ho Chi Minh, Legend of Hanoi, Crowell-Macmillan Limited, London, 1971.

Baritz, Loren. Backfire: Vietnam – The Myths That Made Us Fight, The Illusions That Helped Us Lose, The Legacy That Haunted Us Today, Ballantine Books, New York, 1985.

Barnet, Richard J. Intervention and Revolution: America’s Confrontation With Insurgent Movements Around The World, A Meridian Book, New York, 1972.

Boettcher, Thomas D. Vietnam: The Valor and the Sorrow.  From the Home Front to the Front Lines in Words and Pictures”, Little, Brown and Company,  Boston-Toronto-London, 1985.

Bowman, John S. General Editor, The Vietnam War Almanac, Barnes & Noble,  New York, 2005.

Brown, Robert McAfee, Abraham J. Heschel & Michael Novak. Vietnam: Crisis of Conscience, Association Press, New York, 1967.

Burchett, Wilfred, 1. Ho Chi Minh: An Appreciation (pipeline.com); 2. Vietnam Will Win; 3. Grasshoppers and Elephants: Why Vietnam Fell.

Capps, Walter H. The Unfinished War: Vietnam and the American Conscience, Beacon Press, Boston, 1982. 

Cawthorne, Nigel. “Tyrants, History’s 100 Most Evil Despots and Dictators”, Barnes & Noble, NY, 2004.,  

Chomsky, Noam & Edward S. Herman, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, The Political Economy of Human Rights: Volume I, South End Press, Boston, 1979.

Cohen, Mortimer T. From Prologue To Epilogue In Vietnam, Publisher Retriever Bookshop, N.Y., 1979.

Daughterty, Leo G. & Gregory Louis Mattson, NAM: A photographic History, Barnes & Noble, New York, 2004.

Dellinger, David. Vietnam Revisited: From Covert Action to Invasion to Reconstruction, South End Press, Boston 1986.

Dickstein, Morris Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties, Basic Books, New York, 1977

Duiker, William J. The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam, West View Press, Colorado, 1981.

Ellsberg, Daniel. Papers on the War, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1972.

----------, Daniel. Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, Viking, 2002.

Emerson, Gloria.  Winners & Losers, A Harcest/HBJ Book, New York, 1976.

Fitzgeral, Frances.  Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam, Random House, New York, 1972.

Fulbright, William J.  The Arrogance of Power, Random House, New York, 1966.

Gallucci, Robert L. Neither Peace Nor Honor: The Politics of American Military in Vietnam, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Mryland, 1975.

Gettleman, Marvin E.  Vietnam: History, Documents and Opinions on a Major World Crisis,  A Fawcett Premier Book, New York, 1965.

Grant, Zalin. Facing the Phoenix: The CIA and the Political Defeat of the U.S. in Vietnam, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1991.

Halberstam, David.  The Making of a Quagmire, Ballantine Books, New York, 1965.

Harrison, James P. The Endless War: Vietnam Struggle For Independence, Columbia University Press, New York, 1989.

Hassler, Alfred.  Saigon, U.S.A., Richard W. Baron, New York, 1970.

Herring, George C. America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam 1950-1975, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1979.

Hoopes, Townsend. The Limits of Intervention, W.W. Norton & Co., New York 1987.

Joseph, Paul. Cracks In The Empire: State Politics in the Vietnam War, South End Press, Boston, 1981.

Kahin, George McTurnan & John W. Lewis, The United States in Vietnam: An Analysis in Depth Of The History of America’s Involvement in Vietnam, A Delta Book, New York, 1967.

Karnow, Stanley.  Vietnam: A History, The Viking Press, New York, 1983.

Kinnard, Douglas. The War Managers: American Generals Reflect on Vietnam, A Da Capo Paperback, Da Capo Press, New York, 1991.

Kissinger, Henry.  Ending The Vietnam War, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2003.

Kolko, Gabriel.  Anatomy of a War, Pantheon Books, New York, 1985.

Kutler, Stanley I. Review:“Ho Chi Minh, A Life” By William J. Duiker.

Lacouture, Jean. Vietnam: Between Two Truces, Vintage, New York, 1966.

Lamb,  David.  Vietnam, Now, Public Affairs, NY, 2002

Maclear, Michael.  Vietnam: A Complete Photographic History, More than 2000 photographs and maps, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc., New York 2003.

Macdonald, Peter.  The Victor in Vietnam: Giap, Norton & Company, London, 1993.

McNamara, Robert. In Retrospect, Random House, New York, 1995.

------------   Argument Without End , Public Affairs, New York, 1999.

Nelson, Deborah.  The War Behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront The Truth About U.S. War Crimes, Inside the Army’s Secret Archive of Investigation, Persus Book, New York, 2008.

Porter, Gareth.  Vietnam: A History in Documents, A Meridian Book, Maas., 1981.

Prochnau, William. “Once Upon a Distant War: Reporting from Vietnam”, Mainstream Publishing, London,  1996.

Rowe, John Carlos and Rick Berg, The Vietnam War and American Culture, Columbia University Press, New York, 1991.

Salisbury, Harrison E. Vietnam Reconsidered: Lessons From A War, Edited by Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1984.

Sheehan, Neil.  A Bright Shining Lie, Vintage Books, New York, 1989.

Shultz, Jr., Richard H. The Secret War Against Hanoi: Kennedy’s and Johnson’s Use of Spies, Saboteurs, and Covert Warriors in North Vietnam, HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 1999.

Taylor, Telford (U.S. Chief Counsel at Nuremberg), Nuremberg and Vietnam: An American Tragedy, A New York Times Book, New York, 1970.

Tiziano Terzani, Giai Phong: The Fall and Liberation of Saigon, Ballantine Books, New York, 1976.

Turse, Nick. Kill Anything That Moves – The Real American War in Vietnam, The Metropolitan Books, New York, 2013.

Valentine, Douglas.  The Phoenix program, William Morrow & Co., New York, 1990.

Whiteside, Thomas. Defolation: What Are Our Herbicides Doing To Us?”, Ballantine Books; First Canadian edition, 1970.

Wiest, Andrew.  Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land, Osprey Publishing, London, 2006.

Williams, William Appleman, Thomas McCormick, Lloyd Gardner and WalterLaFeber, America in Vietnam: A Documentary History, Anchor Books, New York, 1985.

Young, Marilyn B. The Vietnam Wars: 1945-1990, HarperPerennial, New York, 1991,

“Les Collections de L’Histoire”, số 23, Avril-Juin 2004, một tuyển tập về “Indochine Vietnam: Colonisation, Guerres et Communisme”

Trần Chung Ngọc

Grayslake, IL.

Ngày 15 tháng 2, 2013.