Saturday, April 30, 2005

Thirty Years Ago Today

Thirty years ago today I wept at the sight of desperate Vietnamese falling from the skids of helicopters as they tried to escape the coming bloodbath.

The fall of Saigon marked the climax of the greatest betrayal in American history. To this day no one knows exactly how many people died in summary executions and of malnutrition, torture and overwork in the 'reeducation camps'. Nor is there a good handle on the number of Cambodians that died to prove that the Domino Theory was real.

The tragic thing was that we won that war, by the time we pulled our ground troops out all the RVN needed was air and naval support and a supply of weapons and ammunition. Until the Democrats in Congress cut those supplies off the RVN troops defeated every offensive attempted by the NVA. They even had a a little luck in offensive operations, pushing the NVA back and spoiling the buildups for planned NVA operations.

We Americans are still counting the costs. Some 58,000 killed and missing and there's no telling how many veterans died early, some from wounds and injuries, some from the various chemicals we were exposed to and some from heartbreak. This cost is still mounting. Most of the Agent Orange cancer has done it's work but the higher percentage of Parkinson's Disease, among others, in the no longer young veterans is still taking it's toll.

Another cost we are still counting is the doubt that other nations and peoples still feel about whether or not America's word can be depended upon. After Viet Nam and Cambodia, after Carter left Iran to fend for itself and after we let the Shiites of southern Iraq be slaughtered after Gulf War One, I cannot understand why people just can't figure out why so many Iraqis are sitting on the fence as we and the Iraqi police and military fight the terrorists.

This cost may eventually be higher than those 58,000 that never grew old.

April 30, 1975. The day that America's solemn word became worthless.

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