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Peace Politics and Military Strategy: Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq & China

Peace Politics and Military Strategy:

Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and
China.

By Dr. Roger Canfield, Presented at Vietnam Symposium, Vietnam Center, Texas Tech, March 10-12, 2011.

Adapted from Comrades in Arms: How the Americong Won the War in Vietnam Against the Common Enemy—America.

Copyright Roger Canfield, 2011. www.americong.com

History of Peace Movement in Vietnam War is False…Mostly

Much of what our children learn, our historians write and the mass media tells us
about the war in Vietnam is false. Consider the near universally effusive
accounts of the peace movement, portraying idealistic youth and honest
pacifists rightfully protesting an illegal and immoral war by U.S. imperialism
against innocent peasants in a far away place of no strategic interest to the
United States.

At home the battle was between war criminals and peacemakers. This deconstructive
history teaches our children to hate America as well as the war. The truth is
hard to come by.

Historians of the peace movement breezily dismiss the multiple dealings of the leadership[1] of
the American antiwar movement with the top leadership of North Vietnam.[2]  “No evidence has ever been produced for
foreign communist involvement in the anti-Vietnam War Movement,” Tom Wells, writes
in his The War Within. “The antiwar movement was not a movement inspired
or led by foreign powers,” write Nancy Zaroulis and Gerald Sullivan in their
Who Spoke Up?

Compare Wells with captured enemy documents;The spontaneous antiwar movements in the US have received assistance and
guidance from the friendly [Viet Cong/North Vietnam] delegations at the Paris
Peace Talks…. The PCPJ [People’s Committee [sic] for Peace and
Justice]…maintains relations with us…” from
the Viet Cong’s Circular No. 33/VP/TD.

Time and again Hanoi, Cuban and Soviet bloc meetings and conferences across the planet forged international
unity on dates, events and propaganda themes despite bickering leftist groups
in America. Hundreds participated in hundreds of meetings across the globe.  Much was duly recorded in newspapers,
memoirs, leaflets, radio broadcasts, investigations etc.

Politics is War

Ho Chi Minh’s instructions to general to-be Vo Nguyen Giap on December 22, 1944 were that the first unit
of the Liberation Army of Vietnam was the Armed Brigade of Propaganda, because
Ho told Giap, “Politics is more important than military affairs” and “Fighting
is less important than propaganda.”[3]
Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap wrote, “Political struggle [dau tranh chinh tri]
plays a very fundamental role because it is in the political field that lies
our fundamental superiority and the enemy’s fundamental weakness.”[4]

Hanoi’s Politics was total.
It involved everyone everywhere.  Arlene Eisen Bergman, an activist for peace and justice and a Marxist-Leninist, wrote of
“The concept that every citizen is a soldier…is a tried and tested tradition.
…During the People’s Wars of this century…there were no civilians. …The front
is everywhere and everyone is involved in the fight.”[5] General Giap said,
“Each inhabitant is a soldier, each village a fortress…”[6] Hanoi told the
leaders of the peace movement that they were fellow “Comrades in Arms”, gave
them rings, war trophies, made from shot down American aircraft and a few won
war medals for fighting behind enemy lines.

Peace Movement, a Strategic Asset

Harold W. Rood, military strategist, has written, “The victories denied the Communists on the
battlefields of South Vietnam were recouped strategically through a campaign
waged within the West. Campuses, editorial offices, film and television studios
became the strategic arena. …The politics of peace in the West was the politics
of war for the communist conquest of Indo-China.”[7]

Hanoi targeted the antiwar movement and U.S. media politically. This was a well-designed program of
unified “political actions among the enemy” (dich van) which was one of
three pincers of “political struggle” (dau tranh chinh tri) equal to or
greater than “armed struggle” (dau tranh vu trang) in Hanoi’s grand
strategy for winning of revolutionary war against a stronger enemy.[8] The
Vietnam War was a political war, a unified struggle, dau tranh, of
politics as much or more than arms.

The Vietnamese Communists considered the antiwar movement an essential, ultimately the most critical
factor, in their grand strategy for a military victory. Hanoi integrated the
peace movement into a unified struggle, dau tranh, of politics making
the campuses of universities, newsrooms of mainstream media, and the lobbies of
Congress the crucial battlefields in America (dich van). Douglas Pike
says that dich van was political action in the world arena, specifically
among the American people… “To do battle with America on its home ground, not
with guns but with weapons of perceptual obfuscation…”[9] Dich van had
the strategic objective of convincing Americans “victory in Vietnam was
impossible.”

Dich van’s tactical aim was “power nullification…inhibiting full use of American capabilities…”[10] False or
distorted claims of war crimes were effective in changing public opinion and
limiting military actions. Skillful propaganda, usually unanswered,
significantly restrained U.S military actions and tactics: inside North
Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos; against dikes, dams, harbors and supply routes; and
using napalm, cluster bombs, B-52s. The political struggle inside the USA
effectively limited U.S military strategy, tactics and weapons, exhausted the
political will of America’s leaders, killed congressional support for allies in
Indochina and ultimately abandoned the people of South Vietnam.

Very many of those leading demonstrations and lobbying congress happily collaborated with Hanoi. We can
only hint at the whole story here so we cover a few final scenes.

Hanoi’s US Agents Conduct Political Operations in USA

In January 1973 a peace accord had been signed in Paris, POWs returned, American troops were gone, but
Hanoi conquest of South Vietnam was incomplete. The American
peace movement played the critical role in that conquest. Tom Hayden,
a founder of the Students for a Democratic Society and a very frequent visitor
to Hanoi, Paris and elsewhere to meet the enemy in war, returning from meeting
Hanoi and Kymer representatives in Paris, in mid October 1973[11] brought back
a new sense of focus for the peace movement.

In order “to clarity and to develop a coordinated strategyamong over a dozen peace
organizations,[12] the Hayden and Jane Fonda’s Indochina Peace Campaign, IPC,
held a National Planning Conference on Indochina October 26-28, 1973, at a
chapel in a Methodist camp in Germantown outside Dayton, Ohio.[13]

In Paris on October 20, 1973 Ly Van Sau,[14] had instructed Tom Hayden that political “action should be
pursued” to cut aid to Thieu in South Vietnam and Lon Nol in Cambodia, free
200,000 political prisoners and to implement the Paris Peace Treaty, i.e.
overturn the Thieu regime.

In Germantown in October 1973 the Coalition to Stop Funding the War, the IPC’s
ad hoc coalition, pursuing a hodgepodge of goals, was transformed into a
strategically defined political campaign with quite specific tactical
objectives. The tactics created the conditions to achieve the strategic objective
of a communist victory in Vietnam.

The Germantown conference document, almost certainly drafted in Paris, focused with
“clarity” upon a single overriding issue, political prisoners, and a single
target, members of Congress in selected states. The IPC said falsely on all
accounts that South Vietnam had 200,000 political prisoners, many kept in inhumane tiger
cages, and had created six millions refugees. IPC-Hanoi would stick to this
10-year old, story, a political campaign plan, for another two years.

IPC outlined a sophisticated grass roots political campaign in key states and Congressional districts to put
local service group pressure on U.S. Senators and House members to cut off aid
to Thieu. Indochina Resource Center and IPC produced common pamphlets and
sample letters.

The short of it is that Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda toured the country and their allied organizations
successfully lobbied Congress to cut off aid.

How can this possibly be this relevant today?

One, Long War

Until we understand the political warfare of Vietnam and of the Jihadists we shall never achieve today’s limited
counter insurgency and counterintelligence goals let alone victory. There is
“one war” to win or to lose, both military and political, counter terrorism and
counterinsurgency.[15]  There are signs that the domestic element may again be the critical political battlefield in
the war against Islamic terrorism.

The US has a growing inability to cope with future enemies (Islamo-fascists, or Chinese
totalitarians). Today Jidahist terrorists and Red China practice Hanoi’s dau
tranh
franchise allied with many of the cast and characters of the Vietnam
War and severely limit US capabilities in waging war against Islamic terrorism
and in preparing for emerging military powers, e.g. China.

Today the Chinese and the Jihadists understand the value of
American public opinion and politics to their war winning strategies.

Many of the same organizations, individuals and propaganda themes now arise in opposition to the
long war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. From the Vietnam era United For
Peace and Justice includes American Friends Service Committee, Center For
Constitutional Rights, Coalition for Peace and Justice, Communist Party,
Episcopal Peace Fellowship, IPS, Fellowship of Reconciliation, National Lawyers
League, Peace Action, Pledge of Resistance, Students for a Democratic Society,
Unitarian Universalists, United Congregational Church, United Church for
Christ, United States Student Association, Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans
Against the War, War Resisters League, and WILPF.[16]

Today’s antiwar protesters, Congressmen, and the media have mounted a propaganda war
against our Presidents, U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, the War on
Terror, the Patriot Act, NSA intercepts of phone calls domestic terrorists and
agents of foreign powers and the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants.

In al Qaeda training manuals captured terrorists are told to claim torture and Osama bin Laden tells us he
knows the lessons of Vietnam. Osama watches American public opinion polls and
believes troop morale and political will are waning under the impact of a long
war against terror.[17]

Like the Viet Cong, today Jihadists rely upon a culpable media to pass on outrageous claims of American
atrocities. George Soros funded a study claiming 650,000 deaths in Iraq from
2003 to 2005, about eight times the actual number. The New England Journal of
Medicine
published research showing far fewer deaths over a longer period,
151,000, from 2003-2007.[18] Torture stories in the Iraq War were manufactured
out of distorted versions of incidents at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.[19] From a
firefight at Haditha with insurgents hiding “among civilians and …aided by
them” Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, claimed it was a cold-blooded massacre
that courts martial largely proved not to have happened.[20]

As for Guantanamo the true story later revealed by FBI, DOD and other investigations.
Prisoners have excellent medical care, 5-6,000 calories daily, recreational
opportunities, satellite TV, library, and institutionalized respect for their
religion. Tales of the toilet and urine desecration of the Koran though proven
false rated 4,677 mentions in news coverage.[21] Nasal feeding tubes for
fasting prisoners are humane, standard hospital equipment. “No prohibited acts
were found and conditions are humane,” according to a Pentagon study. Reports
of torture at Guantanamo were false: all interrogations are voluntary. An FBI
study based on interviews of 450 FBI employees found no prisoner beaten,
burned, electrocuted or subjected to frightening insects or animals. Yes, a few
detainees were subjected to sleep deprivation, loud music, bright lights,
isolation, and some held in painful positions. There was one case of water
boarding.[22] Life is far, far better in Guantanomo than in most American state
prisons and county jails, not to mention hardscrabble existence of most of the
people in the Middle East.

Responding to distorted enemy propaganda, domestic echo chambers thoughtlessly repeat
inflated allegations of U.S. atrocities, terror and torture at Abu Ghraib,
Guantanamo and Haditha. The Obama administration has been persuaded to close
Guantanamo and to grant enemy combatants in wartime American Constitutional
rights, the same Miranda rights, attorneys, and criminal trials given to
pickpockets, shoplifters and delinquents.

The Hard Questions

Jidahist terrorists and Red China practice Hanoi’s dau tranh franchise. They operate near freely in
the open stirring up dissent that they do not allowed in their midst. When does
dissent become treason? How can republics wage long wars against fanatical and
bloody tyrannies when their enemies know their vulnerabilities to popular
abhorrence of the barbarity of war and the sacrifice of innocent civilians? How
is it possible for democracies to wage war against opponents for whom there are
no innocent civilians, women and children?

Consequences of a False History

Hate America

The consequences of a false history are many beyond the military consequences of a lost war.
Since the conventional Vietnam War template of U.S. government war criminals
and innocuous peacemakers is carried to the present, our children are taught a
deconstructive history not only of the Vietnam War, but also of a grievously
flawed America. Many do not believe America is worth defending. Very many
Americans of left progressive persuasions presume that every U.S. military endeavor
is evil imperialism, a futile exercise rather than a defense of U.S. national
interests or of freedom. Those who have learned to hate the Vietnam War have
come to hate in turn the politicians, the warriors and America itself.  Howard Zinn, an antiwar activist, traveler to
Hanoi and secret member of the CPUSA, wrote the extraordinarily hateful A
Peoples’ History of the United States,
required reading in thousands of
American high schools and colleges.  As
in Vietnam some of the most vociferous purveyors of hate, e.g. Noam Chomsky,
declare themselves for love, peace and social justice.

Vietnam became a template for destroying, “deconstructing,” the legitimacy of ordinary
patriotism through ridicule of simple acts and symbols of loyalty and allegiance,
the pledge, the flag, and assaulting the integrity of the nation’s leaders as
universally liars, fools and war criminals.

The pervasive perception that American wages unjust wars has eroded the very legitimacy of
the America’s exceptionalist claim to be the regime of liberty. The nations of
the world assembled at the United Nations in New York, listen not to Barack
Obama, but rise to applaud Robert Mugabe, Hugo Chavez, and Fidel Castro.
Indeed, since most of what we think we know about the Vietnam War is false, we
have distorted visions of ourselves, of our place in the world and of how wars
should be fought.[23] Napoleon said, “History is a fraud agreed upon.”[24]

Roger Canfield, February 2, 2011

What reviewers are saying about Comrades in
Arms: How the Americong Won the War in Vietnam Against the Common
Enemy—America.

“Awesome. Fascinating. Incredible. Every Vietnam vet should
have a copy of this work.”
LT. COL ROBERT K. BROWN, publisher, Soldier of Fortune, Capt. Army
Intelligence, Special Forces, 1st Infantry, Phoenix Program Vietnam 1968-1971. sofmag.com.

A very detailed and valuable study of the antiwar movement.” MARK MOYAR, author of Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965 and
Phoenix and the Birds of Prey: Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism in Vietnam.

“Connects America’s left-wingers and the Communist brass of North Viet-Nam”
ARMOND NOBLE, Publisher, Military magazine. Warrant Officer, California State Military Reserve; US Army Signal Corps, Westinghouse
Broadcasting, Time Magazine. Vietnam, 1966-67. milmag.com

Obtain a prepublication release of either a CD-R in
Microsoft Word at a discounted price of $15 or a PDF from Roger Canfield Rogercan@pacbell.net at 7818 Olympic
Way, Fair Oaks, CA 95628, 916-961-6718 or at www.americong.com

Completely SEARCHABLE for any name, date, place or event of
the War and its protesters.

Notes

[1] Though hundreds of persons led the usual American suspects include: John Kerry,
William Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, Joan Baez, David
Dellinger, Cora Rubin Weiss, Daniel Berrigan, Tom Harkin, John Conyers. The top
Vietnamese Communist leaders meeting American fellow travelers: Ho Chi Minh,
Pham Van Dong, Nguyen Van Hieu, Nguyen Khac Vien, Madame Nguyen Thi Binh,
Nguyen Thi Dinh, Col. Ha Van Lau, Le Duan, Le Duc Tho, Xuan Thuy, Nguyen Minh
Vy, Huyn Van Ba, Do Xuan Oanh, Hoang Tung, Hoang
Minh Giam, Mai Van Bo and scores more.

[2] Zaroulis Who Spoke Up; Tom Wells, The
War Within

[3] Ho Chi Minh, Directive on Establishing
Liberation Army of Vietnam Propaganda Units, December 1944, Historic Lao Dong
Documents, Hanoi Feb 3, 1970, JPRS, 30 May 1970, Indochina Archives, Univ.
California, 011043; Also Tran Van Dinh, “Cigarette Pack Helps Start North
Vietnam Army,” Collegiate Press Service, (National Student Association)
November 10, 1967; Arlene Eisen Bergman, Women of Vietnam, San
Francisco: People’s Press, 1975, 148; SGM Herbert A. Friedman, “National
Liberation Front (NLF) Anti-American Leaflets of the Vietnam War,” 2,
psywarrior.com/VCLeafletsProp.html.

[4] Quoted by Vu Can, “The NLF and the Second Resistence in South Vietnam,” in South
Viet Nam: From NLF to PRG
, Hanoi: Vietnamese Studies #23 1969, 40.

[5] Arlene Eisen Bergman, Women of Vietnam,
San Francisco: People’s Press, 1975, 118

[6] Vo Nguyen Giap, People’s War, People’s
Army
, Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1960.

[7] Harold W. Rood, Kingdoms of the Blind:
How the Great Democracies Have Resumed the Follies That Nearly Cost Them their
Life,
St. Petersburg: Hailer publishing, 2005, 243-244.

[8] Douglas Pike, Viet Cong: The Strategies
and Tactics of the National Liberation Front,
MIT Press, 1966; Douglas
Pike, PAVN: People’s Army of Vietnam. Presidio Press, Novato,
California, 1986; also Phillip B. Davidson, Vietnam At War: the History:
1946-1975
, New York: Oxford University Press, 1991; Mackubin T. Owens,
“Senator Kennedy, Iraq is No Vietnam,” National Review, April 2004.

Douglas Pike, PAVN: People’s Army of Vietnam, Presidio Press 1986, 236-245: also
Rothrock, Divided We Fall 5.

[9]  Douglas Pike, PAVN: People’s Army of
Vietnam
, Presidio Press 1986, 239; also Rothrock, Divided We Fall, 5.

[10]  Max Friedman, Council for Inter-American Security,
study in lieu of testimony to Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Lobbying
and Political Activities of Tax-Exempt Organizations
, Hearings, Committee
on Oversight, March 12-13, 1987, 403.

[11] Some 200 representatives from 15
organizations attended the Germantown gathering of mostly hard-left
organizations: America Friends Service Committee, Clergy And Laity Concerned,
Women Strike for Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, War
Resisters League, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, People’s Coalition for
Peace and Justice, Fellowship of Reconciliation, SANE, Episcopal Peace
Fellowship. Church groups were in the majority. Some others organizations
performed specialized tasks or represented special interests such as Bill
Zimmerman’s Medical Aid to Indochina, Indochina Resource Center, Don Luce’s
Indochina Mobile [tiger cage] Education Project, church affiliated
International Committee to Free South Vietnamese Prisoners from Detention,
Torture and Death and the small, but symbolic Union of Vietnamese in the U.S.A.
Together the tax exempted United Methodist Church, Board of Social Concern,
United Church of Christ, and the United Presbyterian Church funded the tax
exempt Indochina Resource Center, which illegally lobbied Congress despite a
demand for records from the House Committee on International Affairs.

[12] Emphasis in original, IPC, “Indochina: A National Planning Conference,
October 26-28, in a camp near Dayton, Ohio, initiated by the Indochina Peace
Campaign,” n.d., [October 1973] provided by Max Friedman; Conference materials
also are in the papers of Jan Waggoner Suter, 1954-1985, MSS-059 at the Ward M.
Canaday Center, University of Toledo. Suter, a Harvard graduate, was an
antidraft Counselor for the Toledo Area Council of Churches, 1969-1973.

[14] Ly Van Sau was a Viet Cong spokesman at
the Paris Peace talks, a journalist and Vietnamese Ambassador to Cuba. Politics
in Brief, “Cuban hero’s birthday celebrated,” June 13, 2008.  Http://english.vietnamnet.vn/politics/2008/06/788292/

[15] Gen. Craighton Abrams, Philip Davidson, Lewis Sorley, John Lenczowski.

[16] United for Peace and Justice, 1, 444
member organizations at http://www.unitedforpeace.org/groups.php?country.

[17] Osama bin Laden, “Text-Bin Laden Tape,”
BBC, January 19, 2006 at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4628932.stm
cited and discussed in J. Michael Waller, Fighting the War of Ideas Like a
Real War
, Washington: The Institute for World Politics Press, 2007, 28-30;
captured documents are cited in David E. Spencer, “Red-Teaming Political
Warfare,” Second Conference on Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and
Political Warfare
, The Institute for World Politics, May 2005 also in
Waller, ed., Strategic Influence; John Miller interview of Bin
Laden, May 1998 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/interview.html#video
also cited in David  Horowitz, Unholy
Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left
, Washington: Regnery,
2004.

[18] Brendan Montague, “Anti-war Soros funded Iraq study,” Times (London),
January 13, 2008.

[19]Lawrence R. Velvel, “Introduction” to “Are
Our Highest Officials Guilty of Torture?” The Long Term View, Volume 6
Number 4, Spring 2006. Velvel as a member of the Consultative Committee
of Lawyers Committee on American Policy Towards Vietnam made precisely the same
charges about the war in Iraq. Bruce Kesler, Advance
Screening: PBS’ Frontline Haditha Earns a “B-”
Democracy Project,
February 16, 2008 democracy-project.com.; Tim McKirk, “Collateral Damage or
Civilian Massacre in Haditha?”

[20] Time.2006;for extensive
analysis of Haditha press coverage see http://www.sweetness-light.com/

[21]American Enterprise search of LexisNexis cited in Lt. Col. Robert ‘Buzz” Patterson, War Crimes New
York: Crown Forum, 2007, 102.

[22] Oversight and Review Division, Office of
Inspector General, A Review of the FBI’s Involvement in and Observations of
Detainee Interrogations in Guantanomo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq
, May 2008,
171-201; See also Thomas Joselyn, The Real Gitmo: What I saw at America’s
best detention facility for terrorists
, Weekly Standard, Vol. 15,
No. 15, December 8, 2009; Rich Lowry, Soft Cell: The Reality of Guantanomo,” National
Review
; Gabe Ledeen, “A Firsthand Look at the Real Guantanomo,” Pajama
Media
, January 15, 2009; Peter King, “The Real Gitmo,” The New York Post,
February 26, 2009.

[23] Thanks to John Del Vecchio, author of
both The 13th Valley and For the Sake of All Living Things
for his insights about the importance of the “story” of the Vietnam War.

[24] George Seldes, The Great Quotations,
New York: Pocket Books, 1967, 476.

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