Sunday, February 03, 2008
Thoughts on This Day 40 Year Ago
Here is another take on the events back then from good guy David Warren. Money quotes:
The Tet Offensive was a desperate ploy by the Communist enemy in Vietnam. Tens of thousands of his troops were flung simultaneously at more than 100 South Vietnamese towns, and into the heart of Saigon. The Communists announced a general uprising, but that did not occur. The tide was actually turned within a few days by the U.S. and South Vietnamese armies. As they re-took town after town, they discovered massacres the Communists had committed while in possession. The enemy's real object had been to decapitate a whole society.Instead Tet showed, and showed clearly, that our media, in large part, were there to spread anti-American propaganda, as Walter Krankheit did after his very brief visit then to Saigon. Like anyone in the media does now who continues to think, speak or print that the war was lost in Viet Nam for any reason other than the stab in the back our Democratic controlled Congress in 1974 and 1975 gave our erstwhile ally in the South, with prohibitions on weapons sales and air support. The real history is disgraceful enough without compounding it by denying the sole cause; without spreading more lefty lies.
My friend, Uwe Siemon-Netto, a German Lutheran pastor and also life-long journalist, was there as a reporter. Entering Hué as the smoke was clearing: "I made my way to university apartments to obtain news about friends of mine, German professors at the medical school. I learned that their names had been on lists containing some 1,800 Hué residents singled out for liquidation.
"Six weeks later the bodies of doctors Alois Altekoester, Raimund Discher, Horst-Guenther Krainick, and Krainick's wife, Elisabeth, were found in shallow graves they had been made to dig for themselves.
"Then, enormous mass graves of women and children were found. Most had been clubbed to death, some buried alive; you could tell from the beautifully manicured hands of women who had tried to claw out of their burial place.
"As we stood at one such site, Washington Post correspondent Peter Braestrup asked an American TV cameraman, 'Why don't you film this?' He answered, 'I am not here to spread anti-communist propaganda'."
The Tet Offensive ended not only in a huge allied victory in the field -- some 45,000 of the Communist soldiers had been killed, and their infrastructure destroyed. It was victory after an event that showed sceptical South Vietnamese, and should have shown the world, the nature of the enemy our allies were fighting.
Vox clamantis in deserto, but it is a bitter, truthful voice.