Skip to comments.Question: Anyone been able to disprove The Urban Legend view of General Giap
Posted on 12/19/2007 6:59:14 AM PST by april15Bendovr
I heard recently on the Rush Limbaugh show this quote.
"What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battles of TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it.
But we were elated to notice your media was definitely helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!"
After I used this quote I have been informed that this memoir is listed as a Urban Legend.
Can anyone help me prove that this "False status" in itself is an urban legend?
Rush states he is right 90% of the time so I figured I had a 10% chance of being wrong.
I think it would be quite difficult to prove or disprove the claim that Giap never conceded what has been suggested because just about everything he ever said or wrote 1)was uttered either in Vietnamese or French and 2)was uttered to friendly individuals/groups.The Vietnam war was,in part,a proxy war.A proxy war in that our true adversaries,the Russians and Chinese,had allowed (compelled?) their revolutionary brothers and sisters in Vietnam to do the fighting and dying.
You can check McCain's biographies, for example. McCain and Jeremiah Denton later noted that they could tell when the bombing was having an effect, even from inside their prisons.
Supposedly the quote is posted and documented at the Vietnam War Memorial in Hanoi. Someone who has been there just needs to speak up.
I would add that this didn’t seem to be something Giap would say-—he was more involved in the tactical situation in the South, not the STRATEGIC situation in the North. It is entirely possible the quotation is accurate, but it needs to be attributed to someone else.
One more source. You shold look at a book called “The Transformation of American Air Power,” by Benjamin Lambeth. It sounds like something he would have found.
“America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.”
So all we really needed to do to win was squelch democracy, protest and dissent?
“We had the impression that American commanders had their hands tied by political factors. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effect.”
Master of the obvious.
...former Colonel Bui Tin who served on the general staff of the North Vietnamese Army and received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30,1975, confirmed the American Tet 1968 military victory: "Our loses were staggering and a complete surprise. Giap later told me that Tet had been a military defeat, though we had gained the planned political advantages when Johnson agreed to negotiate and did not run for reelection. The second and third waves in May and September were, in retrospect, mistakes. Our forces in the South were nearly wiped out by all the fighting in 1968. It took us until 1971 to reestablish our presence, but we had to use North Vietnamese troops as local guerrillas. If the American forces had not begun to withdraw under Nixon in 1969, they could have punished us severely. We suffered badly in 1969 and 1970 as it was." On strategy: "If Johnson had granted Westmoreland's requests to enter Laos and block the Ho Chi Minh trail, Hanoi could not have won the war. It was the only way we could bring sufficient military power to bear on the fighting in the South. Building and maintaining the trail was a huge effort involving tens of thousands of soldiers, drivers, repair teams, medical stations, communication units, etc. Our operations were never compromised by attacks on the trail. At times, accurate B-52 strikes would cause real damage, but we put so much in at the top of the trail that enough men and weapons to prolong the war always came out the bottom. If all the bombing had been concentrated at one time, it would have hurt our efforts. But the bombing was expanded in slow stages under Johnson and it didn't worry us. We had plenty of time to prepare alternative routes and facilities. We always had stockpiles of rice ready to feed the people for months if a harvest was damaged. The Soviets bought rice from Thailand for us. And the left: "Support for the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9AM to follow the growth of the antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and would struggle along with us ... those people represented the conscience of America ....part of it's war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor."
Until recently according to Snopes Hillary wasn’t a liar when she said that she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary.
Victory at Any Cost: The Genius of Viet Nams Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap (The Warriors) (Paperback)
by Cecil B. Currey (Author)
I think that this is one source of the quote.
The protest movement was NOT about Democracy.
It was about advancing Communism. Jane Fonda was not a peace protester. She was a North Vietnamese SUPPORTER. A traitor.
If you knew what communism truly was, you would get on your hands and knees and pray that one day we [U.S.] would be communist. - Jane Fonda (exact phrasing may by slightly different) at University of Michigan (November 21, 1970)
John Kerry’s busy looking for a pen to sign his 180 form.
Just think how truly wrong America was, via its liberal democrat nuts, to deny our allies support so they could defend themselves against a communist ofensive. The liberals are not happy unless friends of America are killed, imprisoned, and their countries turned into enemies. That is how insane the left is.
According to ‘snopes’ the entire Clinton body count is false. Of course their analysis itself contains many ommissions and errors.
We paid a high price [during the Ted[sic] offensive] but so did you [Americans]... not only in lives and materiel[sic].... Do not forget the war was brought into the living rooms of the American people. ... The most important result of the Ted[sic] offensive was it made you de-escalate the bombing, and it brought you to the negotiation table. It was, therefore, a victory....The sense of that quotation is very much along the lines of the internet legend quotation, IMHO.
The war was fought on many fronts. At that time the most important one was American public opinion.
| If I have dinner
with Kari I'll suggest it.
If I remember . . .
As I recall, Gen Giap defintenitely stated that they had lost massively, the Tet Offensive, until they saw the media coverage that is.
The bombing during Linebacker I and Lb II I haven’t heard a comment on, but I would bet that it came about during the Paris “Peace” Accords if it was said at all.
Well, it may have been bogus on the absolute face of it being from Giap, but it was undoubtedly true in the sense that the long-term bombing that Nixon initiated had an effect to dampen some of the will of the NVA, because it forced them to at least talk to Kissinger in Paris about peace. However, short-term bombing never works. It didn’t work when Hitler was trying it over England; it didn’t work when Clinton was bombing the Balkans (remember them wearing target clothes). Long-term did seem to work when the U.S. 8th and 10th Army Air Corps was bombing Berlin and Germany; and to a lesser extent when Curtis Lemay was doing it to Tokyo. But LBJ never seemed to realize that his “Christmas pause” in stopping Operation Rolling Thunder only steeled the North Vietnamese and made the South Vietnamese wonder about our will. I recall an old “Papa San” telling me in the fall of 1967 in DaNang (I wasn’t there long and missed Tet): “Ho Chi Minh number one, LBJ number 10!” (1 was good, 10 was bad).
“I heard recently on the Rush Limbaugh show this quote.”
I listen to Rush everyday. I have never heard him utter something anywhere near what you attribute to him. I have heard him say (something along the line of ) it is now common knowledge to anyone that pays attentiont that we had North Vietnam on the ropes and almost defeated according to their military leaders of the time and that the greatest asset the Communists had during the Vietnam war was Walter Cronkite on the evening news every night.
The beat goes on:
By 1968, NVA morale was at its lowest point ever. The plans for “Tet” ‘68 was their last desperate attempt to achieve a success, in an effort to boost the NVA morale. When it was over, General Giap and the NVA viewed the Tet ‘68 offensive as a failure, they were on their knees and had prepared to negotiate a surrender.
At that time, there were fewer than 10,000 U.S. casualties, the Vietnam War was about to end, as the NVA was prepared to accept their defeat. Then, they heard Walter Cronkite (former CBS News anchor and correspondent) on TV proclaiming the success of the Tet ‘68 offensive by the communist NVA. They were completely and totally amazed at hearing that the US Embassy had been overrun. In reality, The NVA had not gained access to the Embassy—there were some VC who had been killed on the grassy lawn, but they hadn’t gained access.... According to [General] Giap, these distorted reports were inspirational to the NVA. They changed their plans from a negotiated surrender and decided instead, they only needed to persevere for one more hour, day, week, month, eventually the protesters in America would help them to achieve a victory they knew they could not win on the battlefield... Today, there are 58,000 names on the Vietnam Wall Memorial that was built with the donations made by the American public. Although Giap did not mention each and every protester’s name in his book, many of us will never forget the 58,000 names on the Wall. We will also never forget the names of those who helped in placing those additional 48,000 names there: Bill, Jane, Tom, Cronkite, and others. Those of us who rotated prior to Walter Cronkite’s report on “Tet-68” can clearly state, “We were still winning when I left!”— Gene Kuentzler, ‘66-67 S-3 Operations
Rush actually states he is right 98% of the time.
If the U.S. had dropped the same tonnage in bowling balls, instead of bombs, they’d never have been able to “repair” the supply routes.
You can plow the dirt that the bombs stir up, but it’s almost impossible to move tons of bowling balls.
I don't think POWs were very well situated to make this judgment.
What I meant by “long and short term” was the intensity of the bombing campaigns, rather than the duration. I believe that Rolling Thunder was a considerably longer campaign than the Nixon ones but, because of LBJ interference, Navy and USAF planners had to work in certain paramenters (i.e. not bombing Haiphong, certain areas of Hanoi, etc.)
January 27, 1973 - The Paris Peace Accords are signed by the U.S., North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the Viet Cong. Under the terms, the U.S. agrees to immediately halt all military activities and withdraw all remaining military personnel within 60 days. The North Vietnamese agree to an immediate cease-fire and the release of all American POWs within 60 days. An estimated 150,000 North Vietnamese soldiers presently in South Vietnam are allowed to remain. Vietnam is still divided. South Vietnam is considered to be one country with two governments, one led by President Thieu, the other led by Viet Cong, pending future reconciliation.
March 29, 1973 - The last remaining American troops withdraw from Vietnam as President Nixon declares "the day we have all worked and prayed for has finally come."
America's longest war, and its first defeat, thus concludes. During 15 years of military involvement, over 2 million Americans served in Vietnam with 500,000 seeing actual combat. 47,244 were killed in action, including 8000 airmen. There were 10,446 non-combat deaths. 153,329 were seriously wounded, including 10,000 amputees. Over 2400 American POWs/MIAs were unaccounted for as of 1973.
April 1973 - President Nixon and President Thieu meet at San Clemente, California. Nixon renews his earlier secret pledge to respond militarily if North Vietnam violates the peace agreement.
June 19, 1973 - The U.S. Congress passes the Case-Church Amendment which forbids any further U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia, effective August 15, 1973. The veto-proof vote is 278-124 in the House and 64-26 in the Senate. The Amendment paves the way for North Vietnam to wage yet another invasion of the South, this time without fear of U.S. bombing.
August 9, 1974 - Richard M. Nixon resigns the presidency as result of Watergate. Gerald R. Ford is sworn in as the 38th U.S. President, becoming the 6th President coping with Vietnam.
September 1974 - The U.S. Congress appropriates only $700 million for South Vietnam. This leaves the South Vietnamese Army under-funded and results in a decline of military readiness and morale.
October 1974 - The Politburo in North Vietnam decides to launch an invasion of South Vietnam in 1975.
December 13, 1974 - North Vietnam violates the Paris peace treaty and tests President Ford's resolve by attacking Phuoc Long Province in South Vietnam. President Ford responds with diplomatic protests but no military force in compliance with the Congressional ban on all U.S. military activity in Southeast Asia
January 8, 1975 - NVA general staff plan for the invasion of South Vietnam by 20 divisions is approved by North Vietnam's Politburo. By now, the Soviet-supplied North Vietnamese Army is the fifth largest in the world. It anticipates a two year struggle for victory. But in reality, South Vietnam's forces will collapse in only 55 days.
January 14, 1975 - Testifying before Congress, Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger states that the U.S. is not living up to its earlier promise to South Vietnam's President Thieu of "severe retaliatory action" in the event North Vietnam violated the Paris peace treaty.
January 21, 1975 - During a press conference, President Ford states the U.S. is unwilling to re-enter the war.
April 21, 1975 - A bitter, tearful President Thieu resigns during a 90 minute rambling TV speech to the people of South Vietnam. Thieu reads from the letter sent by Nixon in 1972 pledging "severe retaliatory action" if South Vietnam was threatened. Thieu condemns the Paris Peace Accords, Henry Kissinger and the U.S. "The United States has not respected its promises. It is inhumane. It is untrustworthy. It is irresponsible." He is then ushered into exile in Taiwan, aided by the CIA.
April 23, 1975 - 100,000 NVA soldiers advance on Saigon which is now overflowing with refugees. On this same day, President Ford gives a speech at Tulane University stating the conflict in Vietnam is "a war that is finished as far as America is concerned."
April 27, 1975 - Saigon is encircled. 30,000 South Vietnamese soldiers are inside the city but are leaderless. NVA fire rockets into downtown civilian areas as the city erupts into chaos and widespread looting.
April 30, 1975 - At 8:35 a.m., the last Americans, ten Marines from the embassy, depart Saigon, concluding the United States presence in Vietnam. North Vietnamese troops pour into Saigon and encounter little resistance. By 11 a.m., the red and blue Viet Cong flag flies from the presidential palace. President Minh broadcasts a message of unconditional surrender. The war is over.
ping for reference
What ignorance. Pray and communism together. Hmmmmm. Did she have a full understanding? Nope, just a traitor. Ignorant traitor.
“We were elated to notice your media was definitely helping us......”Don’t know if the quote is accurate,but the essence of what he said is accurate.The North could not have won w/out the active and vigorous support of the mass media,celebrities(Fonda,Baez,etc),and leftists/marxists in our government.
Its in his biography
I’ve never understood Giap’s reputation as a brilliant General.
He beat the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu mostly because of his willingness to sacrifice his own troops and the ineptness of the French commanders. The French gave up in Indochina, largely because of the efforts of the Marxists at home and in other French Colonies.
We cleaned the Communist’s clock during Giap’s Tet ‘68 offensive and in the aftermath, essentially destroying the Vietcong in the south. After Tet '68 the Vietcong was mostly made up of Northern draftees.
Giap’s invasion of the South in 1972 was another bloody failure, and it took three years of rebuilding and the aid of the DemocRAT party for the Communists to finally succeed.
Maybe Saigon is now Ho Chi Minh City, but that has less to do with Giaps military brilliance than it does with the perfidy of the DemocRAT party and the US Legislature.
Then I had a 2% chance at being wrong
My bad, memriors
And a Good Morning to you, Sir.
Snopes also says American GIs were never spit on when returning from the war. People throw Snopes out there like they’re God himself. I don’t trust them though, like Wiki, I may use them for background.
I attended college in those days and believe me; the hard left on campus made any Veteran unwilling to admit he was a “baby killer” and that the war was wrong....very VERY UNCOMFORTABLE on campus.
It was shameful that the so called Professors of the age were in on this disgusting treatment of veterans also.
Its like getting the facts reporting in the green zone.
Well, like Wiki, it probably depends on what the area you’re looking up is. I was surprised to find, when I started Grad school last summer, that my professor loves Wiki, uses it all the time, no problem with us citing it as a source. But that was in biology.
That would be Snopes and urban-legends reporting in the green zone just to make myself clear.
I agree. I was just addressing the specific question as to whether Giap (or ANY N. Viet leader) actually said this. It sounds too “Americanized,” but I know these sentiments were in play in Hanoi.
McCain’s or Giap’s?
Wrong. POW’s are always in a position to get an inkling on what is going on. Many times POW’s have been able to create relationships with one or two or several guards and information is gained. In addition, guard attitudes change, rations change, POW’s see more discussions between guards, tempers may flair, and they can hear the bombs falling.
PLEASE don’t think that when a US Soldier gets captured he considers his duty finished until his release. There are always de-briefings on information a POW’s may have gleaned after their release. POW’s continue their obligation to the best of their ability even during imprisonment by the enemy.
Get yourself a copy of the 3 August 1995 edition of the Wall Street Journal (your local library probably has it on microfilm) and read Col. Bui Tin's interview.
He also knew that he could get his ass kicked and still win politically and that's exactly what happened.
Whether he said these exact words or not is of little consequence. He knew he was a loser militarily and could only win politically, he just didn't expect to be so thouroughly beaten militarily while reaping such huge political rewards courtesy of the American media and left.
Thta's the truth of the matter and nothing John Kerry, Snopes or anybody else says will ever change it.
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