A Liberal Marines Progressive Perspective

Marines are defenders of the republic and the Constitution. That is our oath, that is our purpose, that is our calling. Many are Democrats. This is the journal of one such Marine. This leatherneck's progressive perspective is as follows...

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Location: Southwest, United States

U.S. Marine,0300 MOS,eight years in,honorably discharged,college-educated. To all the damned trolls, you better believe there are liberal Marines. Read "War Is A Racket" by 2-time Medal of Honor recipient Maj.Gen.S.D.Butler, plus Lewis B. Puller, Jr.'s "Fortunate Son" and maybe then you'll understand. Semper Fi!

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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Dateline 30 April 1975: North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front Forces Enter Saigon, Vietnam War Ends Posted by Hello
Thirty years ago today, South Vietnamese military resistance collapsed, leaving Saigon to capitulate and surrender to overwhelming North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front (the NLF a/k/a the Viet Cong) forces thus ending the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War lasted from 1945-1975 for the Vietnamese people and from 1965-1975 (I say 1965 in that the Marines landed at Da Nang in 1965 as a response to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/vietnam/timeline.php) in terms of U.S. involvement. The war cost the Vietnamese some two-three million people killed and the United States suffered 58,000 killed in action (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4491099.stm). Needless to say, this is a very special day; for those that served in the war and also for those that did not serve but, nonetheless, have a deep sense of the historical and human implications of the struggle that was the Vietnam War. For a war that lasted nearly thirty years for the Vietnamese people as a whole, the end came rather quickly for South Vietnam. With American military personnel no longer playing a significant strategic nor tactical role in the field since 1973 (the year of 'Vietnamization', as President Nixon called it, when the bulk of the reponsibilities of warfighting were phased over from American forces to South Vietnamese forces), the South Vietnamese slowly (but surely) were dispatched by the superior military might of the North Vietnamese Army. Two years after what can only be described (for all intents and purposes) as America's disengagement from the field of battle, the South Vietnamese Army found itself broken, tactically non-viable and unable to withstand the relentless assaults of the armies of North Vietnam. As Wikipedia states (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War): "...by 1975, the South Vietnamese Army (the ARVN) stood alone against the powerful North Vietnamese Army (the NVA). Despite 'Vietnamization' and the 1972 victories against the NVA offensive, the ARVN was plagued with corruption, desertion, low wages, and lack of supplies". South Vietnam found itself in late April 1975, desperately trying to stem the juggernaut-like, southward advance of the bulk of the North Vietnamese Army as swarms of Communist forces, i.e., elements of NVA and what remained of the Viet Cong (Viet Cong pretty much gutted during the Tet Offensive of 1968, but did assist the NVA in the final offensive, http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/central/brush/LocalForces.htm) surrounded the beleaguered South Vietnamese capital and attacked it from all directions. This was all part of North Vietnam's final phase offensive, known as the 'Ho Chi Minh campaign' (named for the revered leader of North Vietnam and the whole independence struggle, Ho Chi Minh, who died in 1969 and thus never saw the victory he had long struggled for). North Vietnam's plan was to capture Saigon by 1 May 1975 before the South Vietnamese could refit/regroup and defend it.The remaining American element (a small number of Americans remained in country in 1975 as a support presence, i.e., advisors, diplomats and Marines on duty at the American embassy...more of a show of moral support for the South Vietnamese government than anything else) in South Vietnam were extracted (along with those South Vietnamese that were lucky enough to exit with them) on 29 April 1975, the day before Saigon fell to the Communists (sidenote: in the early hours of 30 April, the last Marines disembarked from the American embassy as Communist forces began their final assault on the capital, http://www.fallofsaigon.org/lastto.htm). What would go down in history as a devastating defeat and stinging blow to American confidence and international prestige was, for the North Vietnamese (and Communists all over the world), a glorious victory. They had taken on the world's greatest western nation in the field of battle and, not only endured everything the American military arsenal could dish out (save the nuclear option, of course), but defeated it and sent it packing humiliated for all the world to see. To say the defeat in Southeast Asia was traumatic to the American national psyche would be an understatement. It would take the United States years to recover from the defeat of the VietnamWar, both in terms of international confidence and domestic tranquility; and it is very safe to say that many are still recovering from the wounds (both psychic, as well as, physical wounds inflicted on those that "bore the burden") some thirty plus years later. I hope all those that served and/or lost people that served during those terrible years that were the Vietnam War can find some semblance of peace and comfort on this special day marking the end of the longest and most bitter war abroad our country has ever had to endure. Let us also hope and pray that we, as an American nation, have learned some lessons from our Vietnam experience in terms of when, where, how and for how long we will engage our young men and women in terms of placing them in hostile situations and in harm's way. Semper Fidelis


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