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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.
The 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 Cambodia.
Pol 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.
We 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.
South East Asia Map 1973




Some brief history of the Vietnam War.
Communist North Vietnam was trying to brutally conquer South Vietnam. They were heavily supplied with war material by the Soviet Union and Communist China.
In 1965 the United State dramatically increased its military presence in South Vietnam beyond the advisor role so as to try to protect South Vietnam.
(President 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 assassinated.)

President Richard M. Nixon came into office in Jan. 1969.
Nixon inherited the Vietnam War.
The 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
On 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.

Because 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 and Laos.
   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 Cambodian government.

U.S. Aircraft in Thailand are ready to help enforce the peace.
Thailand 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.
The 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 1973.

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.
Those 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 in size.
   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."

President Nixon, in 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 Cambodia.

Watergate
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 D.C.
   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 president.

November 1974 Election - Democrat Party Sweep
The 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.
Unfortunately, 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.
The 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.
In 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
The 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.
   In 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.
But 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:
"His 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 this year."

U.S. still had 25,000 troops and 350 warplanes based in Thailand in April 1975.
The 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.
Starting 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
On 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 situation.
   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