The blood on Kerry’s hands (also Ted Kennedy, Ramsey Clark, Jane Fonda, The Democratic Party, The Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which morphed into the Vietnam Veterans of America, et. al.)

By Jim Bancroft, Sep 1, 2004

Every action has a reaction. We sometimes refer to Newton’s Third Law in ways that do not refer to physical science, but to social and emotional constructs, events we see or hear of, events we perceive of happening or events that we experience ourselves.

In my life time, I have seen my country and our politics change in many ways. As a child, I watched the Vietnam War on television; I saw the body counts, I saw the nation fixated on the war shown on the TV screen, I cheered on the troops, and I felt sorrow when I saw the caskets and heard of our losses.

I also saw the anti-war protests on TV. I had to have my Dad explain some words and terms used by the Police in Detroit in 1968 after the riots in how they described the actions of the anti-war people who claimed to be for peace, but seemed to only come to fight and disrupt.

Their actions had consequences. The American people started to see our media play over and again the masses of people who looked normal sometimes, and some that were the Hippie looking type people. We saw abnormal behavior portrayed on television and in the news as being common.

We saw our nation change.

One of the people who most affected us, was John Kerry. John Kerry’s association with these anti-war groups changed our nation forever.  I am 45, and even in my age, I see it. But, I wonder how many others do.

John Kerry’s actions, and the actions of those who openly protested against our country during the Vietnam War, made it socially acceptable to hate the US while living here, and to falsely claim what they are doing is Patriotism. The actions of the Vietnam protester was to make the call for Socialist or Communist type changes in our government system an accepted thing.

But that is not all. By their actions, a war was ended earlier than expected. Not in a way that was in our favor, but in a way that embarrassed our country even though we were winning the war militarily.

The actions of the anti-war groups affected national policy. We had anti-war groups start up earlier than 1968 when John Kerry entered Vietnam, true, but their acceptance and liveliness was not noticeable. It wasn’t until after John Kerry got home and started a group called Vietnam Veteran’s Against the War, VVAW, with his friend Jane Fonda that the openly socially acceptable participation in American anti-war activity took place in common American thought.

This was a significant group, in that, for the first time in our nation’s history that I can find, a group of veteran’s who had fought in a war, founded a group that was against national policy in calling for the war to end; not with a victory by our armed forces, but with a defeat of our armed forces. This group was calling for our own nation, THEIR own nation, to remove all troops from Vietnam, admit that our actions there were morally wrong.

They were calling for their nation to lose against the enemy, to give up the fight against the Communist system which genuinely threatened the nation of Vietnam since the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. And because of Vietnam’s geographic location, the seaways of South-East Asia would be threatened with a puppet government run by either China or the Soviet Union in direct opposition to the United States as a nation in order to spread their communist philosophy through the end of a gun.

And they did all this with the backing of our national media, and with all the backing of the political party that was against the President who was in power. . . who had absolutely nothing to do with starting the war in the first place.

These peace groups, led by John Kerry and Jane Fonda and Bill Clinton and their sort, caused our government to step back away from a national commitment to our allies in the South-East Asia peninsula, abandon our war against Communism in Vietnam, and in general, stop our pro-active response to the Communist threat that was a definite reality in the world then.

I titled this paper, “THE BLOOD ON KERRY’S HANDS” for a reason, and that reason all goes back to Vietnam and the effect that his participation in leading a group like VVAW had on the United States and the world.

The connection between VVAW and the peace groups and the early end of the Vietnam War without a US victory against the Communist forces fighting in South Vietnam has not been explored in depth by anyone that I am aware of. There are some things that are important to remember from this time period that can only be examined in hindsight; namely, What happened to the US and it’s policy in foreign affairs immediately following the Vietnam War, and why?

At the time John Kerry left Vietnam, it was early 1969. According to records kept by the US government, by the end of 1968, the US losses in personnel were 36,152 persons killed in action from service in Vietnam from all causes.

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This is important for one significant reason: 1968 was the TET offensive, the last gasp of the North Vietnamese, a large offensive where the American people were told by a media that the war was un-winnable. But was this the case?

General Vo Nguyen Giap, the leader of the North Vietnamese Army during the war, had these comments to make concerning the efforts of anti-war protesters like John Kerry, Jane Fonda, and VVAW, which Jane Fonda was the co-founder with John Kerry; this article is reprinted from NEWSMAX:

Gen. Giap Thanks Kerry & Co. for Anti-war Protests

Celebrating the 29th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the North Vietnamese general who led his forces to victory said Friday he was grateful to leaders of the U.S. anti-war movement, one of whom was presidential candidate John Kerry.

"I would like to thank them," said Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, now 93, without mentioning Kerry by name. "Any forces that wish to impose their will on other nations will surely fail," he added.

Reuters, which first reported Giap's comments, suggested that the former enemy general was mindful of Kerry's role in leading some of the highest-profile anti-war protests of the entire Vietnam War. Before the British wire service quoted Gen. Giap, it noted:

"The Vietnam War, known in Vietnam as the American War, has become a hot issue in the U.S. presidential race with Democrat John Kerry drawing attention to his service and President Bush's Republicans disparaging Kerry's later anti-war stand."

North Vietnamese Col. Bui Tin, who served under Gen. Giap on the general staff of the North Vietnamese army, received South Vietnam's unconditional surrender on April 30, 1975.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal after his retirement, Col. Tin explicitly credited leaders of the U.S. anti-war movement, saying they were "essential to our strategy."

"Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9AM to follow the growth of the antiwar movement," Col. Tin told the Journal. Visits to Hanoi by Kerry anti-war allies Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and others, he said, "gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses."

"We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war," the North Vietnamese military man explained.

Kerry did much the same thing in widely covered speeches such as the one he delivered to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 1971. "Through dissent and protest [America] lost the ability to mobilize a will to win," Col. Tin concluded.

These are not insignificant statements. These North Vietnamese military men are crediting the American Anti-War movement with being the reason they held out in time of war. The obvious conflict in this statement of theirs is, if there was NO ANTI-WAR movement in the US, these North Vietnamese military men would have NOT been optimistic about the outcome of the war. They would have been approaching the US in an attitude of military weakness, not military strength.

This is undeniable. In fact, there are some more direct quotes from General Giap on this very subject.

Gen. Giap: Kerry's Group Helped Hanoi Defeat U.S.

The North Vietnamese general in charge of the military campaign that finally drove the U.S. out of South Vietnam in 1975 credited a group led by Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry with helping him achieve victory.

In his 1985 memoir about the war, Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap wrote that if it weren't for organizations like Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Hanoi would have surrendered to the U.S. - according to Fox News Channel war historian Oliver North.

That's why, he predicted on Tuesday, the Vietnam War issue "is going to blow up in Kerry's face."

"People are going to remember Gen. Giap saying if it weren't for these guys [Kerry's group], we would have lost," North told radio host Sean Hannity.

"The Vietnam Veterans Against the War encouraged people to desert, encouraged people to mutiny - some used what they wrote to justify fragging officers," noted the former Marine lieutenant colonel, who earned two purple hearts in Vietnam.

"John Kerry has blood of American soldiers on his hands," North said.

The TET offensive of 1968 has been claimed to be a disaster for American forces, but is this the case?

Here is a short synopsis of just what happened during the TET Offensive of 1968:

Myth: The Tet Offensive Was a Communist Victory The 1968 Tet offensive was a total and complete miltary disaster for the North Vietnamese Communists no matter how you look at it. If you measure victory by territory gained or enemy killed, the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong failed dismally in their attacks.

The NVA and VC had counted on a "People's Uprising" to carry them to victory, however there was no such uprising. They did exactly what the American military wanted them to do. They massed in large formations that were incredibly vulnerable to the awesome fire support the U.S. Military was able to bring to bear on them in a coordinated and devastating manner.

The NVA and VC attacked only ARVN installations with the exception of the US Embassy in Saigon. Despite reports to the contrary by all major television news networks and the print media, the VC sapper team of 15 men never entered the chancery building and all 15 VC were dead within 6 hours of the attack. They caused no damage to any property and managed to kill 4 US Army MPs, and one Marine guard. The South Vietnamese Police tasked with guarding the Embassy fled at the first sound of gunfire.

The NVA/VC launched major attacks on Saigon, Hue, Quang Tri City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Qui Nhon, Kontum City, Ban Me Thout, My Tho, Can Tho, and Ben Tre. With the exception of the old imperial city of Hue, the NVA/VC were forced to retreat within 24 hours of the beginning of the offensive. In the process they suffered devastating losses among the southern VC cadres. Using the southern VC as the spearhead of these attacks was an intentional device on the part of the North Vietnamese politcal leadership. They did not want to share power with the southerners after the war, so they sent them out to what was inevitable slaughter. The NVA mainforce battalions were held in "reserve" according to Vo Nguyen Giap, in order to "exploit any breakthroughs".

In the first week of the attack the NVA/VC lost 32,204 confirmed killed, and 5,803 captured. US losses were 1,015 KHA, while ARVN losses were 2,819 killed. ARVN losses were higher because the NVA/VC, reluctant to enter into a set-piece battle with US forces, attacked targets defended almost exclusively by South Vietnamese troops.

Casualties among the people whom the NVA/VC claimed to be "liberating" were in excess of 7,000, with an additional 5,000 tortured and murdered by the NVA/VC in Hue and elsewhere. In Hue alone, allied forces discovered over 2,800 burial sites containing the mutilated bodies of local Vietnamese teachers, doctors, and political leaders.


And that is the point of this letter. The actions of John Kerry and the anti-war protesters caused American men and women to be killed in war time in Vietnam, the very war where they insisted we withdraw and claim we were at fault and it was all our fault; where Americans were all war criminals and “baby-killers”. And it was a war we were winning.

According to American records, a total of 58,193 American personnel died in Vietnam from all causes, with 36,152 having died by the end of 1968 when John Kerry entered Vietnam. Kerry entered the Swift Boat Service in December of 1968 and served only 4 months before being sent home after his third Purple Heart.

In 1969, 11,616 American personnel died, and that is the year Kerry started protesting against the Vietnam war after his service. He had already made public statements against the war at the speech he gave at his Yale graduation:

"What was an excess of isolationism has become an excess of interventionism. And this Vietnam War has found our policy makers forcing Americans into a strange corner . . . that if victory escapes us, it would not be the fault of those who lead, but of the doubters who stabbed them in the back -- notions all too typical of an America that had to find Americans to blame for the takeover in China by the communists, and then for the takeover in Cuba.

"The United States must, I think, bring itself to understand that the policy of intervention that was right for Western Europe does not and cannot find the same application to the rest of the world. "We have not really lost the desire to serve. We question the very roots of what we are serving.''

Kerry’s actions after the war began as early as 1969 while an Admiral’s aide:

In October 1969, while Kerry was still on active duty assigned to Admiral Schlech, Kerry was flying Adam Walinsky (Robert F. Kennedy's former speech writer), around New York state to deliver anti-war speeches. BY Jan. 3, 1970, Kerry had become so inspired by Walinsky's anti-war beliefs that he petitioned Admiral Schlech, "to tell his boss that his conscientious dictated that he protest the war, that he wanted out of the Navy immediately so that he could run for congress."

Admiral Schlech consented and Kerry received an honorable discharge from the Navy six months early.

Kerry was full force into the VVAW by early 1970. The anti-war movement was well known by then and many protests were held including the ill fated Kent State incident.

John Kerry did not just protest in the US because of his beliefs, he also traveled to meet the Communist leaders of North Vietnam in Paris.

“ John Kerry, in sworn testimony before the Senate in April 1971, said he met with the North Vietnamese and Vietcong delegations in Paris in May 1970. He said they discussed their peace proposals -- especially the eight points of Madam Binh. Kerry strongly recommended that the Senate accept those proposals.

I have been to Paris. I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government and of all eight of Madam Binh's points...

…I realize that even my visits in Paris, precedents had been set by Senator McCarthy and others, in a sense are on the borderline of private individuals negotiating, et cetera.

In the ensuing months, Kerry became even more strident in his insistence that the US accept Madam Binh's (and the NVM and VC's) peace proposals.

Meanwhile, other representatives of Kerry's group, the Vietnam Veterans Against The War (VVAW ), met with the NVM and VC delegations in Paris, in March 1971. They were even photographed sitting at a table with them, as in a photo displayed in Winter Soldiers, by Richard Stacewicz, page 284.

Subsequently, VVAW representatives met with the North Vietnamese and Vietcong delegations on numerous occasions, both in Paris and even in Hanoi.

The VVAW even signed a treaty with the North Vietnamese which included all of Madam Binh's points, as noted by the historian of the anti-war movement, Gerald Nicosia, his book Home To War: “

The FBI has recently released the files on VVAW and can be found here, documenting the knowledge of Kerry’s visit to Paris to speak with the North Vietnamese:

These actions in meeting with foreign leaders who are directly engaged in treaty negotiations with the United States Government border on treason.

Did Navy Lt. Kerry violate The UCMJ?
August 23rd, 2004
The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is a federal law, enacted by Congress. Its provisions are contained in United States Code, Title 10, Chapter 47. Article 36 of the UCMJ allows the President to prescribe rules and procedures to implement the provisions of the UCMJ. The President does this via the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) which is an executive order that contains detailed instructions for implementing military law for the United States Armed Forces.

The UCMJ states:
Any person who--
(1) aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other things; or (2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly;
shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct.

John Kerry’s meeting with the North Vietnamese, the very people who are killing Americans in the war, borders precariously close to treason, enough to be investigated.

What must be reinforced here, however, is the effect of these actions concerning the point of this paper: How many men died at this point, and what did the North Vietnamese say about why they prolonged the war?

It was the American Anti-War movement.

John Kerry was a part of that movement, a major leader of that movement.

The North Vietnamese publicly stated that the American anti-war movement encouraged them to continue to fight.

The next connection is impossible to avoid: John Kerry’s actions directly lead to American servicemen and women to be killed in combat because of the encouragement his actions gave to the enemy, the North Vietnamese.

From 1970 until the end of American involvement in 1975, 9,586 Americans were killed in Vietnam. Killed because American anti-war protests encouraged the North Vietnamese to continue fighting the war.

It is not a stretch to see that the actions of John Kerry and Jane Fonda directly lead to the deaths of thousands of Americans in the Vietnam War.

Is this the only list of failures or deaths caused by the American Anti-war movement? Sadly, no.

American foreign policy was changed dramatically after the Vietnam War. American military dominance was questioned, new weapons programs were held back, American intelligence operations were ended and our CIA was attacked and almost shut down, efforts to remain technologically superior were thwarted at times, and material replacement of military hardware was slowed or refused after 1975.

American prestige was shattered globally. The newspapers of the world all spoke of the American loss in Vietnam, the movie industry put out movies showing Vietnam veterans as psychotic drug abusers or wife beaters and social misfits.

But most importantly, it shattered American resolve to fight when necessary. It caused American public opinion to sway and support a political party over another, even though the party portrayed in a negative light had nothing to do with causing the war and never received the respect it deserved with ending it without a total disaster for the American public had we followed the advice of the anti-war protesters.

This lack of resolve showed in 1975 when the North Vietnamese invaded the South and began a slaughter, killing as many as 1 Million people, causing over 1.5 Million to 2 Million people to flee in small boats to save their very lives.

This lack of resolve showed later that year when the Khymer Rouge began their systematic genocide in Cambodia, leaving the US powerless to intervene to stop the killing, and over 1 Million people were slaughtered.

This lack of resolve showed even in 1979 when the American Embassy was overrun in Tehran, Iran, and then President Jimmy Carter failed to respond with forceful effort with our military in response to the new world threat: Islamic Terrorism.

This lack of resolve showed when then President Ronald Reagan failed to fully make a military effort in Lebanon because of a lack of backing in the House and Senate.

This lack of resolve showed when the Contras were supported for a year or two, only to have the Democrat Senate and House remove the means to provide for their actions against a Communist dictatorship in Nicaragua.

By then, it was almost too late. American resolve was a joke. It took the efforts of Ronald Reagan to rebuild our military out of the shambles that Jimmy Carter left it. It took the efforts of George H. W. Bush in defending the nation of Kuwait in the first Gulf War.

But, once again, an anti-war person came to the forefront, Bill Clinton, who during the 1990’s, ignored the obvious threat of radical Islam that the world was facing.

And again, in 2001, with a lot of words, people like John Kerry started blaming someone else instead of the bad guys for 9/11. John Kerry voted for war against the Taliban, and then again voted for war against Saddam Hussein.

But what happened next? The Anti-War movement came out of hiding, and in a war where the enemy directly provided aide and support for terrorists who exploded bombs on American soil, anti-war activists have once again divided the American people, and John Kerry is one of their leaders . . .again.

It is not that much of a stretch to see what happened from John Kerry’s actions in the 1960’s to today, and how people like him affected our national government policy through their activism and actions.

By leading and organizing protests against the war, John Kerry encouraged the North Vietnamese to continue the war, and thousands of Americans died...

Over a Million South Vietnamese died...

Over a Million Cambodians died . . .

American prestige was tarnished. . .

Islamic terrorism was born and not stopped because of American reluctance to engage in combat after Vietnam, reluctance which was called the “Vietnam Syndrome” . . .

Communism attempted to overthrow more countries in our own hemisphere . . .

An anti-war leader, Bill Clinton, carrying on the same traditions as John Kerry, failed to stop the obvious growing threat of Islamic Fundamentalist sponsored terrorism . . .

And now, we are engaged in a world wide terror war. The United States appears to be alone in it, too. All because of the pacifism of the American Anti-War movement of the 1960’s.

That’s when it started in our generation.

John Kerry has blood on his hands.

Jim Bancroft is a former Marine who served in the United States Marine Corps from 1977 to 1981, and served off the coast of Iran for the Hostage Rescue Attempt of April 24-25, 1980.

Antiterrorism & Force Protection Fusion
I Corps and Fort Lewis (SAIC)
Directorate of Emergency Services
Ft. Lewis, WA
Vietnam War Interview
What did the North Vietnamese leadership think of the American antiwar movement? What was the purpose of the Tet Offensive? How could the U.S. have been more successful in fighting the Vietnam War? Bui Tin, a former colonel n the North Vietnamese army, answers these questions in the following excerpts from an interview conducted by Stephen Young, a Minnesota attorney and human-rights activist [in The Wall Street Journal, 3 August 1995]. Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of North Vietnam's army, received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. He later became editor of the People's Daily, the official newspaper of Vietnam. He now lives in Paris, where he immigrated after becoming disillusioned with the fruits of Vietnamese communism.
Question: How did Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans?
Answer: By fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh said, "We don't need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out."
Q: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi's victory?
A: It was essential to our strategy. Support of the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits toHanoi by people like Jane Fonda, and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.
Q: Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits?
A: Keenly.
Q: Why?
A: Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.
Q: How could the Americans have won the war?
A: Cut the Ho Chi Minh trail inside Laos. If Johnson had granted [Gen. William] Westmoreland's requests to enter Laos and block the Ho Chi Minh trail, Hanoi could not have won the war.
Q: Anything else?
A: Train South Vietnam's generals. The junior South Vietnamese officers were good, competent and courageous, but the commanding general officers were inept.
Q: Did Hanoi expect that the National Liberation Front would win power in South Vietnam?
A: No. Gen. [Vo Nguyen] Giap [commander of the North Vietnamese army] believed that guerrilla warfare was important but not sufficient for victory. Regular military divisions with artillery and armor would be needed. The Chinese believed in fighting only with guerrillas, but we had a different approach. The Chinese were reluctant to help us. Soviet aid made the war possible. Le Duan [secretary general of the Vietnamese Communist Party] once told Mao Tse-tung that if you help us, we are sure to win; if you don't, we will still win, but we will have to sacrifice one or two million more soldiers to do so.
Q: Was the National Liberation Front an independent political movement of South Vietnamese?
A: No. It was set up by our Communist Party to implement a decision of the Third Party Congress of September 1960. We always said there was only one party, only one army in the war to liberate the South and unify the nation. At all times there was only one party commissar in command of the South.
Q: Why was the Ho Chi Minh trail so important?
A: It was the only way to bring sufficient military power to bear on the fighting in the South. Building and maintaining the trail was a huge effort, involving tens of thousands of soldiers, drivers, repair teams, medical stations, communication units.
Q: What of American bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail?
A: Not very effective. Our operations were never compromised by attacks on the trail. At times, accurate B-52 strikes would cause real damage, but we put so much in at the top of the trail that enough men and weapons to prolong the war always came out the bottom. Bombing by smaller planes rarely hit significant targets.
Q: What of American bombing of North Vietnam?
A: If all the bombing had been concentrated at one time, it would have hurt our efforts. But the bombing was expanded in slow stages under Johnson and it didn't worry us. We had plenty of times to prepare alternative routes and facilities. We always had stockpiles of rice ready to feed the people for months if a harvest were damaged. The Soviets bought rice from Thailand for us.
Q: What was the purpose of the 1968 Tet Offensive?
A: To relieve the pressure Gen. Westmoreland was putting on us in late 1966 and 1967 and to weaken American resolve during a presidential election year.
Q: What about Gen. Westmoreland's strategy and tactics caused you concern?
A: Our senior commander in the South, Gen. Nguyen Chi Thanh, knew that we were losing base areas, control of the rural population and that his main forces were being pushed out to the borders of South Vietnam. He also worried that Westmoreland might receive permission to enterLaos and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
In January 1967, after discussions with Le Duan, Thanh proposed the Tet Offensive. Thanh was the senior member of the Politburo in South Vietnam. He supervised the entire war effort. Thanh's struggle philosophy was that "America is wealthy but not resolute," and "squeeze tight to the American chest and attack." He was invited up to Hanoi fo r further discussions. He went on commercial flights with a false passport from Cambodia to Hong Kong and then to Hanoi. Only in July was his plan adopted by the leadership. Then Johnson had rejected Westmoreland's request for 200,000 more troops. We realized that America had made its maximum military commitment to the war. Vietnamwas not sufficiently important for the United States to call up its reserves. We had stretched American power to a breaking point. When more frustration set in, all the Americans could do would be to withdraw; they had no more troops to send over.
Tet was designed to influence American public opinion. We would attack poorly defended parts of South Vietnam cities during a holiday and a truce when few South Vietnamese troops would be on duty. Before the main attack, we would entice American units to advance close to the borders, away from the cities. By attacking all South Vietnam's major cities, we would spread out our forces and neutralize the impact of American firepower. Attacking on a broad front, we would l ose some battles but win others. We used local forces nearby each target to frustrate discovery of our plans. Small teams, like the one which attacked the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, would be sufficient. It was a guerrilla strategy of hit-and-run raids. [looks like a re-writing of history with the benefit of hindsight]
Q: What about the results?
A: Our losses were staggering and a complete surprise;. Giap later told me that Tet had been a military defeat, though we had gained the planned political advantages when Johnson agreed to negotiate and did not run for re-election. The second and third waves in May and September were, in retrospect, mistakes. Our forces in the South were nearly wiped out by all the fighting in 1968. It took us until 1971 to re-establish our presence, but we had to use North Vietnamese troops as local guerrillas. If the American forces had not begun to withdraw under Nixon in 1969, they could have punished us severely. We suffered badly in 1969 and 1970 as it was.
Q: What of Nixon?
A: Well, when Nixon stepped down because of Watergate we knew we would win. Pham Van Dong [prime minister of North Vietnam] said of Gerald Ford, the new president, "he's the weakest president in U.S. history; the people didn't elect him; even if you gave him candy, he doesn't dare to intervene in Vietnam again." We tested Ford's resolve by attacking Phuoc Long in January 1975. When Ford kept American B-52's in their hangers, our leadership decided on a big offensive against South Vietnam.
Q: What else?
A: We had the impression that American commanders had their hands tied by political factors. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effect