R.J. Del Vecchio 9
Episode 9 by R.J. Del Vecchio
First nice point, Marlantes confirms that returning vets were seriously harassed at airports, which of course has been denied or at least discounted by many antiwar defenders over the years.
About the Lam Son invasion of Laos, presented as not just a military failure, but a demonstration that the ARVN couldn't really measure up to anything. But hold the phone there, it was 17K ARVN and 60K NVA, so that's a ratio of 3.5 to one, and the NVA had been there a long time, knew very well the ARVN were coming, had lots of artillery and a huge mass of AA guns to wipe out planes and especially choppers. That level of superiority in men and weapons kind of tells you what had to happen, and it would have happened to a Marine Division as well. (We might have lost fewer people or killed more NVA, but we would not have prevailed under those circumstances.)
They mention heroin as a problem. No mention that it was deliberately sent down the HCM Trail as a form of poison to be sold cheap to the US troops.
Second good news, the US Army vet Phil Gioia finally gets to say something positive about our guys and our service. But not exactly a long time, while the four vets who were all in the VVAW get all the time anyone could want. Let's see, 2.7 million men served in Nam, the maximum membership of the VVAW was about 1000, so that makes them what percent of us? What it is, it's a lot less than the percent of VVAW and other antiwar vets appearing in this series. What percent of vets threw their medals away? Even smaller, but several of the ones speaking in the series did. Is that the Burns idea of balance?
And finally we get to the Easter Invasion. Yes it was 14 extremely well equipped NVA Divisions, but that totals up to more than the 120K men they claimed, closer to 200K. 400+ tanks, several hundred excellent Russian artillery pieces, all with longer range and faster rates of fire than any we'd left the ARVN, and hundreds of AA guns and missiles to take out the ARVN Air Force. And yes, US air support was there to offset the NVA advantages, but thank heavens they let Willbank say the key thing -- if the ARVN hadn't fought (and fought very hard), no amount of air power would have made a difference. But then they moved on with the flow of other topics, and never pointed out that this proved that when supplied and supported, the ARVN were fully capable of knocking heads with the NVA and winning.
And our massive Xmas bombing killed 1600 people in two cities. That we killed over 30K in Dresden with 1/4 the tonnage kind of spells out how incredibly careful and precise that bombing was in avoiding population concentrations certainly wasn't going to get noted.
Little details -- Kim Phuc got most of her care in US military hospitals. And was manipulated the rest of her life after '75 by the communists for propaganda purposes, until she and her husband managed to escape to Canada from one of the tours Hanoi sent her on. She fled communism and all the privilege they gave her to be free. Maybe a lesson there?
Nice notes about Fonda and all the rest of it about the giant excesses that the antiwar movement went to.
Horrendous recordings of the total hypocrisy and heartlessness of Nixon and Kissinger as they threw RVN under the bus to stay viable for the next election. They should both burn in hell.... just my opinion.
Last great line... "we bombed them into accepting our concessions". Extremely true, we had by then agreed to terms that guaranteed the destruction of the South, and both we and Thieu and Ky knew it well. But Nixon promised them, on behalf of this nation, "eternal support". A promise that was probably never solid, but most certainly died to dust the day he left the White House.
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