November 16th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Terrorism and our population policy

VICTORIA: Bracks launches shock bid for second term

AGRICULTURE: Sugar collapse will hit Queensland economy

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Defence chickens come home to roost

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Vanity, all is vanity / That was the town that was

QUEENSLAND: ALP browns off its rank-and-file

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Electricity: half-way to privatisation?

COMMENT: Another Pink Ribbon Day

LETTERS: Vietnam commitment (letter)

LETTERS: Democrats (letter)

Senate report on Embryo Research Bill analysed

COMMENT: Universities in 2002: what would Newman think?

ECONOMICS: Can capitalism be rescued?

COMMENT: Lack of respect for early human life must be addressed

COMMENT: Australians - better people than we know

Books promotion page

Vietnam commitment (letter)

by T Fiddes

News Weekly, November 16, 2002

General Cosgrove's words about our Vietnam commitment are unreasonable. In light of the Allied military achievements in Vietnam, how on earth can a General make such a statement?

Allied forces won every major battle against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army.

The Tet Offensive in early 1968 was depicted in the media as a defeat for Allied forces; in fact, the offensive resulted in a defeat for the Viet Cong, a defeat from which they did not recover.

The 1972 invasion by the North Vietnamese Army was brought to a stop in spite of headlines in the media saying "North Vietnam shows it can't be stopped".

Seeing their guerilla forces and their armies defeated in battle after battle, North Vietnam's leaders and General Giap no doubt at times thought their military campaign was not likely to be successful.

The General realised the geopolitical reasons for our involvement: that communism had to be opposed in whatever form. Policy was in accord with reality.

The General knew the power of the US military: he knew the political, social and military situation in Vietnam. He praises Australia's veterans; but his words would puzzle and hurt some of them and puzzle and sadden those of us who believed in our involvement and devoted argument, effort and time in support.

Were the sacrifices in Vietnam in vain? No. Communism as a world power has collapsed, and our being in Vietnam helped toward victory over communism.

Unheralded Victory: Who Won the Vietnam War? by Mark Woodruff, a US marine Vietnam veteran who has spent time with Australians, shows some of the reality of the Allied campaign.

While Allied forces were in South Vietnam, they helped prevent a communist takeover; that is, the military campaign was successful. North Vietnam signed an agreement to cease aggression, and broke it.

The North was able to achieve victory about two years after American and other Allied forces had withdrawn from the south; that is, when policy was no longer in accord with reality.

We were right to be there.

T Fiddes,
Heidelberg Heights, Vic

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