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By Dan Swanson

1.) The Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

2.) On December 23, 1950, when the U.S. signed the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with Vietnam, France, Cambodia and Laos.

3.) Casualties among Americans were 55,567 killed and another 1000 missing in action. If you thought "casualties" meant just Americans you were wrong. It is estimated that 1.6 million Vietnamese lost their lives in the conflict.

4.) The sisters Trung led a successful anti-Chinese rebellion in 39 A.D. and the Tay-Son rebellion (1771) also ousted Chinese rule. These rebellions illustrate both the long history of peasant activism and independence from China, making a mockery of the U.S. assertion that the Vietnamese have always been under Chinese control.

5.) The French first landed in Vietnam in the 1860s, but they did not manage to wipe out the last remnants of major resistance until 1885.

6.) The French stole land from the peasants and gave it to a small, new class of absentee landlords, some French, some wealthy Vietnamese. In addition, they slapped huge taxes on the peasants, who were already hurt by paying rent for land they had once owned. To survive, many peasants had to sell their children as servants to the wealthy.

7.) The Vietnamese Declaration is nearly a word-for-word copy of the American Declaration of Independence.

8.) 30,000.

9.) Very little, beyond the latitudes they inhabit and the way they pronounce three consonant sounds. Language differences are tantamount to those of a person from Atlanta and one from Boston. Racial and religious characteristics among the ethnic Vietnamese, who comprise some 85 per cent of the country's population, are virtually undifferentiated. Tribal minorities, who generally inhabit the interior highlands in both the North and South, show a wide diversity of language and culture.

10.) The NLF was officially founded on December 20, 1960.

11.) On February 12, 1955, as advisers.

12.) 550,000 in 1968-69.

13.) The puppet army, which raised troops through conscription, numbered one million men by 1973. The puppet air force, lavishly equipped with U.S. warplanes, was the third or fourth largest in the world.

14.) The NLF only rarely employed assassination, and then only against ranking agents of the puppet regime or members of its feared secret police. In large measure, support for the NLF in areas it controlled emerged because it carried out an extensive and democratic program of land reform.

15.) A U.S. machine gun, mounted on a helicopter or airplane, capable of shooting 2400 bullets per minute.

16.) They urinated on them.

17.) The Tet Offensive of February 1968, in which 86,000 NLF soldiers simultaneously attacked every major U.S. installation in the country, including the U.S. embassy.

18.) When the NLF and the North Vietnamese, tired of Thieu's continued attacks on areas they held, started a spring offensive, puppet resistance collapsed, due to the dwindling American aid and NLF uprisings behind ARVN lines. The end of the war came swiftly, in 55 days.

19.) Bach Mai hospital, located in Hanoi, was destroyed by American bombs in December 1972. Part of the hospital's function was to teach people deafened by bomb concussions to speak again. A Pentagon spokesman said at the time that there might have been "accidental, limited damage...if indeed there is such a hospital."

20.) About 7.5 million tons.

21.) Anti-personnel, or "cluster" bombs, contained 600,000 tiny pellets, which upon detonation shot across an area of one square kilometer. They were not meant to kill, merely to maim.

22.) Examples of Saigon-regime repressive measures. Tiger cages were prison cells dug into the ground and topped with grillwork, in which prisoners were shackled and mistreated. The Phoenix Program employed agents who assassinated between 20,000 and 50,000 suspected members of the NLF.

23.) An area where "anything goes"; a noman's-land near U.S. base camps where, Americans declared, there was open season on all moving objects.

24.) Napalm is a chemical agent developed by U.S. scientists in the 1940s. When added to gasoline it forms a gel which can be dispersed over a wide area by a bomb. The gel sticks to whatever it hits until it slowly consumes itself. It causes fourth degree burns.

25.) No accurate figures exist. The New York Times reported 128 dead; Medina reported a body count of over 200 to his superiors.

26.) The heavy earthen dikes regulated the flow of water to North Vietnamese rice paddies. Weakening and possible collapse of the dikes caused by U.S. bombs would destroy rice crops, and provoke food shortages and starvation.

27.) Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, who in 1965 was proud of the fact that the U.S. sent over 100,000 troops to Vietnam within six months.

28.) President Johnson.

29.) Describing the collapse of ARVN in the 1975 offensive, the official Vietnamese report said, "It appears that their computers have no equations for morale factors."

30.) "We had to destroy it in order to save it."

31.) The poem is part of the battle orders of NLF and North Vietnamese forces in the 1972 spring offensive.

32.) A North Vietnamese farmer mourning over the coffin of his eight-year-old daughter, killed in the 1972 Christmas bombings.

33.) "Well,...the Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner. Life is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient. And as the philosophy of the Orient expresses it, life is not important."

34.) "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is gonna win!" "Stop the war, end the bombing." "All we can say is... give peace a chance." "One side's right, one side's wrong; we're on the side of the Vietcong." "Dien Bien Phu in '72." Or, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"

35.) They gave back their medals for heroism and service by throwing them on the steps of the Capitol.

36.) In 1967, in Washington, D.C.--150,000. In 1969, nationwide--350,000.

37.) "Fragging" is a term used to describe the practice of enlisted men trying to kill overeager and/or obnoxious commanding officers. The practice increased as the war became more futile, and it was especially prevalent after the Cambodian invasion. The term derives from "fragmentation grenade."

38.) Quang Duc, who was aged 73 at the time (June 11, 1963).

39.) A former U.S. Marine--now a paraplegic as the result of Vietnam injuries; a member of the VVAW; author of Born on the Fourth of July.

40.) A Quaker who lived in North Carolina and who burned himself to death in 1965 in Washington D.C. to protest the war. He is nearly unknown here. He is a hero in Vietnam.

41.) Madame Binh was foreign minister for the Provisional Revolutionary Government, the political arm of the NLF, founded in 1969. She is presently minister of health in the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

42.) Beats us. Ostensibly, Kissinger and Le Duc Tho won for having negotiated the 1973 peace agreement. But Le Duc Tho quite sensibly refused his half of the prize, pointing out that the war had not ended.

43.) The last two Americans to die in action in Vietnam.

44.) No. This is one of the biggest lies the U.S. ever produced. Foreign journalists who remained after the liberation of Saigon reported a remarkable policy of conciliation toward former members of the Saigon regime.

45.) The U.S. dropped its opposition last year to Vietnam's entry into the United Nations; it still does not formally recognize Vietnam, although Vietnam seeks recognition.

46.) Bad. The incidence of suicide, psychosis, drug- and alcohol-related problems and unemployment is much higher among Viet vets compared to the general population.

47.) Perhaps the best single introduction to Vietnam is Fire in the Lake, the noted study by Frances Fitzgerald '62. Other books include: Vietnam: The Origins of Revolution, by John T. McAlister; Before the Revolution, by Ngo Vinh Long '64; War Comes to Long An, by Jeffrey Race '65; Hell in a Very Small Place, by Bernard Fall; and the selected writings of president Ho Chi Minh and general Vo Nguyen Giap.

48.) We don't understand why. The American people should feel proud of their contribution to ending the war, a contribution recognized by the Vietnamese themselves. Never before in history has a people risen up to such an extent to oppose a colonial war fought by its own government. We are reminded of a quotation from Albert Camus, "In a time of pestilence, we learn that there are more things in men to admire than to despise."

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