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This page first appeared on Oct. 9, 2008
|Senator Joe Biden played a part in removing U.S. military airpower support for our allies in Cambodia when he first became a U.S. Senator in 1973.|
action by the left wing Congress to prohibit any U.S. bombing of the
communist invaders played a part in allowing Pol Pot to later take over
Pot and the communists went on to murder over 1 million innocent
Cambodians. (Sometimes referred to as the "murder of a gentle land", or
"the killing fields".)
We must not repeat this sad history.
We must not betray the people of Iraq.
should provide assistance to the people of Iraq for as long as they
would like us to help them on the road to a stable government.
Some brief history of the Vietnam War.
North Vietnam was trying to brutally conquer South Vietnam. They were
heavily supplied with war material by the Soviet Union and Communist
1965 the United State dramatically increased its military presence
in South Vietnam beyond the advisor role so as to try to protect South Vietnam.
Lydon Johnson had been elected U.S. president in 1964. Johnson had been
the vice president under President John F. Kennedy. Lyndon B. Johnson first
became president in November 1963 after President Kennedy was
President Richard M. Nixon came into office in Jan. 1969.
Nixon inherited the Vietnam War.
peak U.S. personnel presence there was 543,000 in April 1969. Nixon
began the good program of Vietnamization, by transferring more of the
load for its own defense to the South Vietnamese.
By 1971 the
American presence was down to 184,000 and the anti-communist South
Vietnamese forces were up to 1,000,000.
By mid 1971 the U.S. military ground (fighting) operations had just about ended.
Truce Agreement achieved in January 1973
Jan 27, 1973 the Paris truce agreement was signed and soon, just about all the
U.S. forces left South Vietnam. President Nixon assured President Thieu
of South Vietnam that if North Vietnam broke the agreement and started
major operations against South Vietnam, that the U.S. would respond
with severe retaliation. This was the vital foundation of the agreement
for keeping the peace.
of the January 1973 truce agreement, all U.S. bombing was ended against
communist positions in the northern part of South Vietnam or any other
part of South Vietnam. Any U.S. bombing had also ended in North Vietnam
However, it was not contrary to the truce
agreement for U.S. airpower to continue coming to the defense of
Cambodia against the communist forces that were trying to overthrow the
U.S. Aircraft in Thailand are ready to help enforce the peace.
is on the west side of Cambodia and Laos. The mighty
Mekong River provides a natural border for hundreds of miles between
Thailand and Laos.
The United States military had 400
aircraft and 45,000 military personnel in Thailand (August 1973). They stood by to
help enforce the peace in Laos and South Vietnam with the threat of
possible reactivation of U.S. bombing. Meanwhile the U.S continued to
actively help with airpower in the defense of Cambodia.
But then the U.S. Congress committed a great act of betrayal, in my opinion, against our allies in South Vietnam and Cambodia.
liberal majority in the U.S. Congress passed a law that forbade any
U.S. military action including bombing in Laos, Cambodia and South
Vietnam or North Vietnam.
This law, called the Case-Church amendment
(passed in June 1973), removed the vital underpinnings of the truce
agreement that went into effect only a few months before in January
Senator Joe Biden was listed as one of 40 cosponsors of the Case-Church Amendment on May 14, 1973.
(See Congressional Record Volume 119 - Part 12, page 15437)
Congress effectively stopped U.S. military airpower (bombing)
from coming to the aid of Cambodia on August 15, 1973. However, civilian piloted supply
flights with needed U.S. aid continued to land in Phnom Pehn
(Cambodia's Capital). Also U.S. unarmed reconnaissance planes continued
to fly over Laos and Cambodia.
North Vietnam had been breaking the truce agreement in small
ways, but the U.S. Congress action to stop the threat of U.S.bombing
allowed the communists to venture into larger truce violations.
North Vietnam had 43,000 troops in Cambodia in August 1973.
troops were mainly concerned with South Vietnam and were using Cambodia
as a sanctuary and staging area in the eastern part of the country near
South Vietnam. But they also gave some support to the communist
Cambodian insurgency. The insurgency were receiving training and
supplies from NorthVietnam. The Cambodian communist rebel leadership
was trained in Hanoi (capital of North Vietnam). The communists pushed
thousands of Cambodians into the rebel army which was more than 50,000
Refugees trying to get away from the brutal
communists in the countryside, came into the cities. Phnom Pehn
(Combodia's Capiatal) was crammed with more than 2 million people.
Some people figured that once the help of U.S. bombing was cut
off on August 15, 1973, that Cambodia would fall to the communists in 3
months. However, Cambodia continued to survive. The U.S News &
World Roport (Jan. 7, 1974, page 31) reported: "But to experts on the
scene, Cambodians have more spunk than they are given credit for."
contrast to the many left leaning members of Congress, was
very interested in helping South Vietnam and Cambodia defend themselves
from the evil aggression of North Vietnam. Nixon wanted freedom,
self-determination and a long lasting peace for South Vietnam and
However, a small but unfortunate event happened back during the election year of 1972. Some of Nixon's
underlings, without his knowledge, engaged in breaking into a private
office and tapping a phone at the Watergate apartments in Washington
Nixon found out about it at some point and evidently got involved
with trying to cover up some things. The Congress threatened to impeach him. So
rather than go through the impeachment process, Nixon resigned from the
presidency on August 9, 1974. Vice President Gerald Ford then became
November 1974 Election - Democrat Party Sweep
voter turnout of 38% was the lowest in 28 years. The Democrat Party
majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate was
made even bigger by the 1974 election.
The labor unions poured record cash and manpower into the election and were able to accomplish their goals.
the left leaning election results put the final coffin nail in the
prospects for a free and independent Cambodia and South Vietnam.
Communist North Vietnam and American left wing "Peace" groups try to get Congress to cut funding for our friends.
U.S Ambassador of South Vietnam, Graham A. Martin, described communist
North Vietnam's "...marvelously clever, ingeniously sophisticated and
frightenly pervasive propaganda campaign to force the American Congress
to immediately and drastically reduce American aid to the Republic of
Vietnam." (see U.S. News & World Report, April 29, 1974, P. 72)
Left wing "peace" groups played an important role in molding
public opinion and helping to undercut necessary funding for our South
Vietnamese and Cambodian allies.
In the year prior to
June of 1974 the U.S provided 1.5 billion dollars in military and
economic aid to South Vietnam.
Later in 1974, Congress cut the
yearly aid budget to a mere $700 million. President Gerald Ford, who
wanted to help South Vietnam requested 1.4 billion dollars, but
Congress wouldn't budge.
U.S. aid for Cambodia was cut from about 362 million dollars to 200 million.
Weather Underground - left wing group sets bombs in the United States.
1969, the pro-communist William Ayers co-founded the left-wing radical organization known
as the Weather Underground. It was a splinter group from the radical SDS
(Students for a Democratic Society). The Weather Underground pretty
much ended its existance by the late 1970's. Bill Ayers turned himself in, in 1980.
William Ayers has appeared in the news again in 2008
because he has had some association with Barack Obama starting about in
the mid 1990's
(They are both from Illinois).
One Weather Underground bombing
that occurred on January 28, 1975, was referred to in U.S. News and
World Report, Feb. 10, 1975, page 41 in the "Worldgram" report:
|"Vietnam's war remains a devisive element
in the U.S. President Ford has requested an extra 300 million dollars
for South Vietnam. That's over and above the 700 million Congress
appropriated for this year--half the 1.4 billion Mr. Ford originally
asked. But once again Congress is balking.|
Bombs in Washington
and in Oakland, Calif., were placed in the State Department and in a
federal building by extremists protesting the additional aid,
extremists of a group said to have 20, perhaps 30, members in all. But
there were no bombs in Moscow or in Peking where Communist arms aid for North Vietnamese invading South Vietnam is keeping the war going."
Communist brutality in Cambodia
North Vietnamese supplied Cambodian communist insurgency controlled
much of the Camobodian countryside. The U.S. News & World Report,
January 27, 1975, p. 27, reports about the Cambodian communists:
"...they start clamping down on peasants right away and turn the
peasants against them. They ban Buddism, turn villages into communes,
prohibit new marriages. Whole villages are sometimes burned, and
captured military officers are executed as a matter of policy."
North Vietnam illegally builds up strength in South Vietnam
Meanwhile, North Vietnam continued to build up its military
stockpiles and manpower in South Vietnam, in violation of the Paris
truce agreement. It was estimated that North Vietnam had 600
tanks in South Vietnam. They constructed a fuel pipeline and an
all weather highway (in violation of the truce terms) to supply their
troops in the northern part of South Vietnam.
January 1975, it was estimated that North Vietnam had 160,000 combat
troops and 110,000 supply and service troops in South Vietnam. The Viet
Cong (South Vietnamese communist insurgents) numbered 30,000.
South Vietnamese ammunition and other military supplies were
sometimes in short supply because of cuts by the left wing majority in
the U.S. Congress.
Russian and Chinese aid to North Vietnam (economic-military) was estimated at 1.6 billion dollars in 1974.
North Vietnam launches full attack
Ultimately, the North Vietnamese brazenly broke the truce
agreement that they had signed, and launched a full scale attack on
South Vietnam in early 1975. It must have been exceedingly
disheartening to the South Vietnamese to find that their ally, the
United States was abandoning them. But left wing pressure groups in the
United States had been working steadily to gnaw away support for
the freedom loving people of South Vietnam and Cambodia.
South Vietnam pulls back
In many instances the South Vietnamese fought well against the North Vietnamese invaders.
due to concern that the U.S. Congress was throttling down support and
aid, South Vietnam decided to engage in a strategic withdrawal to more
defensable positions. They wanted to withdraw to a giant enclave in the southern part of South Vietnam (about 1/3 of South Vietnam).
However this withdrawal became disorganized and in some areas
became a rout. There was a massive exodus of civilians fleeing south,
away from the advancing North Vietnamese army.
President Thieu of South Vietnam had an "enclave" strategy which is descibed in the U.S. News and World Report, April 7, 1975, page 21:
basic objective is to hold the main population centers along the
eastern coast, the Provinces surrounding Saigon and the food rich
Mekong Delta, which will harvest one of the best rice crops in history
|U.S. still had 25,000 troops and 350 warplanes based in Thailand in April 1975.|
U.S bombers could have come to the aid of our friends in South Vietnam
and Cambodia. It would have given the South Vietnamese and Cambodians a
tremendous boost in morale. A few B-52's would have made all the
difference in the world.
But the left wing U.S. Congress prohibited the use of any U.S. bomber or fighter aircraft.
The South Vietnamese army (ARVN - Army of the Republic of Vietnam) makes a heroic stand for freedom.
on April 9, 1975, the 18th ARVN Division made a heroic stand at Xuon
Loc (38 miles northeast of Saigon). They put up fierce resistance
against the North Vietnamese Army even though they were outnumbered by
more than 3 NVA divisions. They destroyed 37 NVA tanks and killed over
5000 of the communist attackers. They held back the NVA for 2 weeks,
but ultimately had to withdraw. The gallantry and fighting spirit of
the 18th ARVN Division will never be forgotten.
The end of South Vietnam
April 20, 1975, U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin met with President Thieu
and pressured him to resign due to the grave nature of the military
On April 21, 1975, a bitter and tearful
President Thieu went on South Vietnamese TV and gave a 90 minute
resignation speech. He read a 1972 letter from then President Nixon
which pledged "severe retalatory action" if South Vietnam was
threatened. President Thieu condemed the U.S. and said: "The United
States has not respected its promises. It is inhumane. It is
untrustworthy. It is irresponsible." The CIA then helped him go into
exile in Taiwan.
South Vietnam fell on April 30, 1975.
Cambodia fell on April 17, 1975.
I will add more to this page soon (after Oct. 27, 08)
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Written and paid for by Randy S. Griffin, PO Box 73653, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99707