View Full Version : The fall of Saigon

12-03-2005, 19:14
Thirty years ago next month, the Vietnam war reached its chaotic and terrifying final act. 05 March 2005

This is the opening paragraph of a journalist's article, from The Independent on-line.


Saigon, April 1975. At dawn I was awake, lying under my mattress on the floor tiles, peering at my bed propped against the French windows. The bed was meant to shield me from flying glass; but if the hotel was attacked with rockets, the bed would surely fall on me. Killed by a falling bed: that somehow made sense in this, the last act of the longest-running black farce: a war that was always unnecessary and often atrocious and had ended the lives of three million people, leaving their once beautiful land petrified.

"If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future." Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)

There is a beatifully, and tastefully done web site on, entitled: History of Vietnam.

Tet 30th Anniversary

Tet's 30th anniversary presents a good opportunity to cut through the bodyguard of lies that distort that battle's real significance.

One might ask, well what has this got to do with my topic, on Who's Americas Worst President?

I suggest quite a lot. I was particularly surprised to read that Koba suggested it was a war, which America really did not want to win. The site I've found seems to give good answer and insight, into that statement, by stating that:

The decline was not due to the efforts of the anti-war movement, which, polls showed, was the most despised group in American society. American pragmatism was the cause of the decline. "Either win the damn thing or get the hell out," was the public mood. After all the reassurance from the politicians and generals that all was well, Tet was the icing on the cake, proof positive that we did not know what we were doing. The perspicacity of the American people was confirmed by Clark Clifford when he took over as secretary of defense after Tet and found that three years into the ground war the Joint Chiefs of Staff still had no plan for victory.

That shortcoming is usually ascribed to ineptitude, but in this issue, Stephen B. Young claims that President Lyndon B. Johnson, following the lead of his predecessors, never subscribed to the goal of traditional victory and, in fact, had instructed his ambassador to Vietnam, Ellsworth Bunker, to work toward an eventual U.S. disengagement without losing the war (see story, P. 20). That, says Young, was achieved in the wake of the 1973 Paris Accords, but was then sabotaged by Congress and by the fecklessness of the Ford administration.

NB. I seriously recommend taking a long, hard look at this really superb and factual site too.