Sound Familiar?

In the spring of 1969 President Richard M. Nixon initiated his new policy
of "Vietnamization." Vietnamization had two distinct elements: first, the
unilateral withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam; and, second,
the assumption of greater military responsibilities by the South Vietnamese
armed forces to make up for that loss. Military planners had based previous
withdrawal plans on reductions in enemy forces. Vietnaminization rested
on the twin assumptions that the combatants would not reach any kind of
political settlement, or understanding, and that the fighting in the South
would continue without any voluntary reduction in enemy force levels. Although
in theory the subsequent withdrawal of American troops depended on improvements
in South Vietnamese military capabilities and the level of combat activity,
in practice the timing and size of the withdrawals were highly political
decisions made in the United States. Senior advisors in Vietnam were asked
for their opinions on South Vietnam’s ability to handle a Viet Cong threat,
or a combined Viet Cong – North Vietnamese threat, and their answers were
for the most part the same. They agreed that South Vietnam would be able
to "contain" a Viet Cong threat except in the III Corps Tactical zone,
where continued American air and artillery support would be needed. Against
a combined threat, however, all doubted that the South Vietnamese could
do little more than hold their own, and judged their offensive capabilities
marginal at best. Although they made no recommendations as to how the South
Vietnamese could deal with either a Viet Cong or a combined threat, and
suggested no changes in their military organization or strategy, all saw
a pressing need for more air, artillery, and logistical support, and more
attention to training and retaining troops. Most recommended more promotions
based on merit, and more stationing of troops near home to reduce desertions.
Phasing the American troops out of Vietnam could take no less than five
years was often mentioned. The four senior advisors were hopeful that the
South Vietnamese could eventually deal with the insurgency by themselves,
but none felt that they could handle a conventional North Vietnamese threat
or a combined Viet Cong – North Vietnam opponent.


One Response to “Sound Familiar?”

  1. Gene Frederickson Says:

    Hi Sam –
    With regard to your comments on Vietnamization = “Irqization”, you gotta’ remember that Vietnamization worked for the most part. To be sure the ARVN was never, ever going to be equal to, say, the 1st Air Cav as far as combat effectiveness went, but given the material support promised by Nixon the VNs were more than capable of holding their own against the communists. Unfortunately, thanks to the bedwetting limpwristed liberal Democrats in congress (read Frank Church and our boy Teddy) the U.S. reneged on its promised support and effectively cut off South Vietnam’s logistical tail. Luckily for Hanoi, the Red Chinese and Soviets kept their supplies coming in ever increasing amounts. By 1975 the SVN military was short of ammo, spare parts and replacements for the material lost in combat. And you know what happened then. South Vietnam and Cambodia went tits up with genocidal results – but we rarely hear about that from the libs.
    Iraq is never going to be Mainstreet USA and the Iraqi Army, should it actually come to fruition, is never going to be the USMC, but maybe, just maybe, we can arrange for Iraq to not become the planet’s next third-world shithole terrorist breeding ground. ‘Course it’s going to take a good deal of blood, sweat and tears on our part to pull it off. And I know how much certain folks would rather spend the resources that will take on more entitlement programs for the poor and oppressed here in Bushland. But I, for one, think it would be a pretty sound investment to stay the course. Then again, I also think that cutting off South Vietnam when it needed us most was (and remains) a national disgrace.
    All the best.
    Your old Fort Mac buddy, Gene.
    P.S. These are some bitchin’ websites you’ve created.

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