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FOUR YEARS have gone by, and the war has changed. Richard Nixon became President of the United States with the promise that he would end the war in Vietnam. Although he has not ended the war he has ended the antiwar movement. From all we can tell, he considers his policy a great success.
So, apparently do the American people We are left with the spectacle of the world's most powerful nation democratically deciding to grind a much smaller country into the dust While American men were dying the people of the United States wrestled with the life and death question. Should we be there? It was a concrete and immediate question. Now only Vietnamese people are dying. The question has become an abstraction.
Relieved and grateful that they are no longer paying the price in blood. Americans have permitted the war to become just another issue. For the Vietnamese the war can never become another issue. Every day American planes bomb their country, devastating their land and their lives to an extent that we cannot comprehend. Under President Nixon, the war has escalated to a new level of terror. The mining of the harbors, the step-up in the bombing, and the introduction of fragmentation bombs are the cynical acts of a man who lives in a world of political rhetoric where a life is simply a bargaining chip. Polls say that the American people do not want to bargain they believe the U.S. should never have become involved and now they want only to get out "with honor." Who will tell them the truth, that there is no honor left in this miserable neo-colonialist adventure? Not President Nixon.
President Nixon will not tell them that their country is destroying Vietnam to protect a corrupt and despicable tyrant who fought with the French army against his own people in 1954. He will not tell them that President Thieu and his string of predecessors have failed to win the support of the people of South Vietnam because they realize that they need only the support of the United States to remain in power. He will not tell them that Viet Minh (the direct ancestor of the National Liberation Front) was the only group to mount an effective resistance against the Japanese invader in World War II and against the French colonialists who attempted to regain their imperialist booty after the war. He will not tell them that North Vietnam sent troops into the South only after the United States willfully sabotaged the Geneva Agreements which would have created a stable and peaceful Vietnam. He will not tell them that the United States is losing the war, and that unless the barbarity continues indefinitely and America is able to destroy the entire fabric of Vietnamese society, the liberation forces will be successful. He says only that they are Communists, and that the United States will not "sell out" its despot or "abandon" its prisoners. He says only that the United States must emerge with honor. He has said it so often that the words are beginning to take on a life of their own.
WE MUST NOT forget that the words are all lies. The POW issue is a fraud. No country at war will release its prisoners until the war is over. Once the Indochina war ends satisfactorily, the North Vietnamese would be inconceivably stupid to retain American prisoners and needlessly inflame American public opinion. The American government, which is engaging in mass terror on an unprecedented scale, likes to point to NLF terror. It is true that the NLF has assassinated carefully selected Saigon officials. It is also true that while the American and Saigon terror have lost support for the perpetrators, the NLF terror has built support by eliminating hated outsiders, who usually were foisted on a village by the central Saigon government. Lacking the unlimited support of a wealthy superpower, the NLF was forced to rely on the support of the villagers. The 1968 Hue massacre which has reached legendary status in American propaganda, was indiscriminate, but as Frances Fitzgerald notes in her acclaimed book, Fire in the Lake, the Hue massacre seems to have been the work of troops gone beserk. Unlike the indiscriminate terror of the United States and Saigon governments, the killing at Hue was not ordered by responsible officials. Can we say the same for the continuing massacre committed by American planes?
America is only the last and most powerful of the enemies that have opposed Vietnamese in dependence for the last hundred years Three years ago The Crimson announced its support for the NLF. Since that time, the removal of American draftees from combat and the repeated, reasonable offers of the Provisional Revolutionary Government and the NLF for a coalition government can only reinforce our conviction. The cruel trick of Vietnamization has proven that calling for the end of the war is not enough. Most Americans think the war is ending, although in fact it is escalating.
Once again we say that the Vietnamese liberation forces will eventually win. They deserve to win We support them.
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