I will add one fact I doubt many of you ever heard.
During the build up to the Tet Offensive we were collecting all levels of Chinese and N Vietnamese Regulars in the areas around Saigon, Da Nang, Hue and all the other important sites in Nam. When they started hitting the cities it was only the press and the politicians that had no clue what was going on.
But - The most important thing that happened was that at the end of the Tet Offensive, the N. Vietnamese offered Ho Chi Min to us if we would stop the bombing.
So President Johnson did the same thing as he did earlier when we had bombed the north into submission - he stopped and waited for them to show up at the talks in Paris.
They waited how long?
3-4 months as I recall. In the mean time they rebuilt and rearmed through China and Russia.
Each time Johnson patiently had his negotiators waited in Paris - twiddling their thumbs while our men continued dieing.
If Johnson had of done what Westmorland and Abrams suggested, the North would be told to get to Paris anyway they could and when a treaty or truce was signed, then and only then would we stop bombing them. Instead, we cleared the airspace and allowed any and all flights out of Hanoi in the hopes that they were going to Paris.
I know these facts because I was the only one who saw and handled the messages given directly to Generals Westmorland & Abrams. I took the online encrypted messages to offline encryption and then directly to General Westmorland’s Adjutant who then handed it directly to General Westmorland (in my presence).
I then waited for further instructions and reversed the process of encryption to transmit their response to Washington.
Only I, the Adjutant and the two Generals knew what was in those messages (well - and the Senate Arms Limitation Committee and I suppose Pres Johnson). When I left the service I was specifically told not to disclose any information I gathered in my duties while in this Top Secret position.
I have told others of this in the past as I am telling you this now. I will continue to do so until my dying day in hopes that the story will be written correctly and not the way the press wrote it.
I also did some things which helped our cause during the Tet Offensive. I delayed messages (Officially) reaching Westmorland and Abrams until they could take specific action to prevent the Viet Cong, Chinese and N Vietnamese Regulars from getting their equipment back into the DMZ on their exit and TET Failure.
- But that is an entirely other story.
As the saying goes, "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it".