“No matter what engagement we’re in, they say we’re in another Vietnam,” said author, professor, commentator, and former RN Special Assistant Bruce Herschensohn.
What they don’t know, he continued, is that “we won.”
Herschensohn was at the Nixon Library on Monday night to discuss his new book about the last years of the Vietnam War, An American Amnesia, the story of how the U.S. Congress forced the loss of South Vietnam and Cambodia, and sealed the fate of millions of Southeast Asians.
When Herschensohn told his Pepperdine graduate level class about how President Nixon brought an end to the Vietnam War, he was asked by one student: “why didn’t I learn this from my professor as an undergraduate?”
Herschensohn concluded: “He either didn’t know or didn’t want you to know, my guess is the latter.”
This revelation inspired An American Amnesia.
In December 1972, President Nixon ordered the bombing of military and industrial targets in Hanoi and Haiphong, a move which forced the North Vietnamese to the negotiating table.
The Paris Peace Accords, signed in January 1973, stipulated that the North Vietnamese recognize the South’s right to self determination, the right to free and democratic elections, and guaranteed a litany of additional rights that could have been “plagarized from the First Amemdment.”
As Americans withdrew its last troops from Southeast Asia, Congress used its authority over appropriations to cut off all aid to allies in Cambodia and South Vietnam.
April 17, marked the thirty-fifth anniversary of the fall of Cambodia. And nearly two weeks later, on April 30, will mark the anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
“Millions were killed,” Herschensohn said. “It was a genocide.”
Upon hearing of the surrender of the South Vietnamese, former Arkansas Senator J. William Fullbright said that he was “no more depressed than I would be about Arkansas losing a football game to Texas.”
Conversely, President Nixon told Herschensohn that had he not been forced from office, he would have bombed North Vietnam again in order to insure the observance of the 1973 Accords.
Herschensohn recalls that RN said that though he would have been impeached, he would have saved “millions of Southeast Asian lives.”