Senator Mark O. Hatfield
30 YEARS OF LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP

Home

Domestic Policy

Foreign Policy

Resources

Bosnia Herzegovina  | Middle East | Vietnam

 

Foreign Policy:
Vietnam

November 23, 1971
 
Congressional Record – Senate:  Pages 42939 - 42942

Concurrent Resolution 39

Relating to Withdrawal of US Forces from Vietnam

Mr. HATFIELD.  Mr. President, Monday’s Washington Post should be mandatory reading for those who are fond of talking about the war in Vietnam that is “winding down.”  On page one we read:

Thousands of South Vietnamese troops, spearheaded by an armored column, pushed north from Highway 7 in eastern Cambodia today in the start of a new offensive . . . Scores of U.S. helicopters and advisers moved into Tayninh to support the operation.

In an adjoining article about the war in Cambodia titled, “Bloody Little Battle” we read this description of the villages on the outskirts of Phnom Penh:

The Communists are massed in the fields and bushes, attracting Cambodian artillery, South Vietnamese bombers, and American helicopter gunships.  Along the roads, there are hundreds of refugee families, in carts drawn by cows, taking their possessions to a nearby village or pagoda, only to move again when that refuge is threatened. . Last weekend the Communists seized the railroad station town of Toul Leap, about three miles from here, wiping one while Cambodian battalion in the process. The bombers and gunships went to work and the enemy has been run out.  But there is no more town.

On the editorial page in a column written from Svayrieng, Cambodia, we read:

Meanwhile, refugees at a camp near here, whose homes were destroyed by U.S. bombing and allied artillery fire, exist with a pitiful shortage of food, shelter, clothing.  American funds must be reserved, officials explain, for the military and essential economic programs which other countries won’t provide . . . Thus Cambodia has found its place in the Southeast Asia dilemma.  It looks to the United States to be able to survive, and about all the United States knows how to do is help speed destruction.  Having become involved this far, America can’t decently tell the Cambodians to forget it and lose.  But neither can either country gain from a bloodier war.

Then, back to page 1, we read:

Meanwhile, in Saigon, the U.S. Command announced one of the deepest bombing raids this year inside North Vietnam, against an anti-aircraft gun site near Vinh . . . It was the 80th “protective reaction” strike by U.S. planes over North Vietnam this year, and the fifth within the last eight days . . . U.S. Air Force and Navy fighter-bombers made their 79th “protective reaction” strike of 1971 inside North Vietnam earlier Sunday.”  The same article states, “U.S. headquarters also reported three more B-52 raids in the northwest corner of South Vietnam along the Laos Border . . . Saigon headquarters reported a Vietcong mortar shelling early Monday of Hoian . . .In the same area, Saigon headquarter said, an enemy unit shelled and attached a regional force position Monday morning near the district town of Ducdun . . .Fresh fighting was also reported in the Central Highlands.

Perhaps Gary Wills’ column in the same paper sums it all up best:

Vietnam has always been the invisible war.  We were in it before we knew we were in.  And we have forgotten it before we are cut.  There is a feeling that if the war is not an issue, it is nothing; it does not exist . . . So we hear a great deal about withdrawals, each time there are some, while our bombing is increased; or “support troops” keep the Thieu regime in office, its own troops in the field; and Vietnamization” means continuation of the war until we can entirely forget it---and then all the pretensions on which it has been prolonged can collapse unnoticed.  For the aim of the war is no longer to win it, but to forget it.

It is an indictment of our moral insensitivity for this body to vote more money for continuing the war, while in the same breath we talk about the war’s end---if we talk about the war at all.

It is worth noting just how long we have been winding down this war.  The Paris talks, begun ostensibly to bring the war to a close, first met on May 13, 1968.  That was almost 3 years ago---we have been in the process of “winding the war down” or ending the war for that long.  The war had already been going on with substantial American involvement since 1965.

As one who fought in World War II, I cannot help but remember that it took about 3 years for that war, against Germany and Japan, to begin, escalate, and totally cease.  In  other words, by the end of the year, we will have been in the process of just ending this war for about as long as it took us to fight all of World War II, and with no real end to the fighting and bloodshed in sight.

Just how is this war winding down?  First of all, in terms of the U.S. troops actually there on the ground.  This we all know.  The total number of troops in Vietnam has been reduced by about 67 percent.  Furthermore, in 1967, U.S. troops made up 34 percent of the total allied troops there.  Presently, they comprise about 10.6 percent of those forces.  There has been a corresponding drop in the percentage of Americans killed in action among all those of the allied force who die.  Through 1971 thus far, U.S. soldiers have comprised about 6 percent of those allied forces killed in action, compared to about 38 percent in 1967.  But that is one of the few dramatic ways in which the ugly statistics of bloodshed and death in Indochina are changing.

Consider, for example, the rate of overall casualties in Indochina.  In 1967, there were about 24,000 to 25,000 deaths from hostile action among allied forces; these figures include estimated of allied deaths in Laos.  At the very peak of the war in 1968, there were over 45,000 allied deaths.  If we look at the average rate of overall total casualties among the South Vietnamese, Americans, and other allies, we find that from 1966 through this year, that average has been about 30,400 deaths per year.  Now, when we look at the overall allied causality rate for this year, and assume that will continue to be about the same, we find that there will be about 31,590 total deaths from hostile action in 1971---a figure higher than the level in 1967, when our troop strength was growing to its peak level.  Of course, the current level of overall casualties among the allied forces has reduced from that during the Laotian invasion, earlier this year, and from the Cambodian invasion last year.  But taken on the whole, and put into perspective since 1966, we find that overall military deaths from the fighting in Indochina and continuing this year at an alarming level, only slightly reduced from last year.  The substantial reduction of American deaths has not been matched by any similar reduction in the Vietnamese who are dying in this war.  And the official statistics reporting enemy deaths would lead us to believe that at our present rate, we will kill about 20 percent more enemy soldiers this year than last.  My point is that as far as the Vietnamese are concerned, this war is not winding down.

Civilian casualties further reflect the reality of war whose destruction and suffering for the people of Indochina knows no end.  Precise figures and trends are not known.  The Pentagon has never seen the need to make the kind of estimates of civilians killed in the way as they have for the number of enemy soldiers who die, and are computed each week.  The only estimates that we do have come from sources outside of the executive branch, such as the Senate Subcommittee on Refugee.  The evidence suggests that as the overall bomb tonnage over South Vietnam has decreased in the past 2 years, civilian casualties may be reduced from the peak of the war in 1968.  Yet, as the bombing has begun in earnest in Cambodia since early 1970 and has significantly intensified in Laos since the beginning of 1969, civilian casualties in those countries have become significantly intensified.  Estimates placed the number of refugees in Laos during June of this year at 315,000 or more than 10 percent of the entire population of the country.  This amounts to an increase of 240 percent since 1969.  And in Cambodia, the refugee toll since April 1970 is believed to be about 1.5 million people.

When the total tragic toll of this war’s continuing human cost is taken, we find that the suffering for the people of Indochina is not winding down at all.  In fact, it can be argued that the overall suffering of the war---those killed, wounded, and made refugees---has actually been rising this year compared to last. During the time that we have been “ending the war,” the human suffering it is causing, while somewhat less intense within South Vietnam, has been tragically magnified throughout Laos and Cambodia in ways unknown during the Johnson year of the war.

The human toll of the war’s suffering has always been most heavily inflicted by the bombs that have fallen on Indochina.

By the end of this year, we will have dropped 6 million tons of bombs on Indochina, an area about the size of Texas.  That is 3 times the total tonnage used in World War II.  Nearly half of this total will have been dropped during the first 3 years of this administration.  In fact, the 2.9 million tons dropped since the beginning of 1969 through August of this year is more than the total tonnage dropped during the last 3 years of the Johnson administration, when the bombing of North Vietnam was being undertaken.  That 2.9 million tons also exceeds the combined total of the bombing during World War II and the Korean war, and is only slightly less than the 3.2 million tons dropped during the 4 years of President Johnson’s bombing policies.

It has been pointed out that the total of bombs dropped over Indochina has decreased in the past 2 years, and this is true.  Primarily this reflects the substantial decrease in the level of bombing in South Vietnam proper, as well as the cessation of bombing over North Vietnam at the end of 1968.

What is far more revealing, however, is the way in which new air war has been opened in Cambodia and the ongoing air war has been greatly intensified in Laos.

During the height of the bombing of North Vietnam, our bombs were falling at the rate of 200,000 tons per year.  It is thought that during the peak there were at least 1,000 civilian casualties per week.

The effects of that bombing campaign were well documented by authors and members of the press who were allowed to visit North Vietnam during that time. And as the Pentagon papers reveal, the “Rolling Thunder” was a carefully orchestrated attempt to bring North Vietnam to their knees by our bombing.

Revealing comparisons between that bombing and our present level of bombing can be made.  The bombing in Laos, for instance, increased by 2 times in 1969 over 1968, and has remained since then about 44,000 tons per year---more than twice the level of the bombing of North Vietnam.  About 90,000 tons of bombs will fall on Cambodia this year; in that country’s relatively young air war.  And in South Vietnam, the one place where our bombing has decreased under the present administration, we will drop about 270,000 tons this year---still higher than the peak of our bombing of North Vietnam.

We could phase out the U.S. bases for our planes within South Vietnam next year.  But our planes based in Thailand, on carriers, and at Pacific bases will remain for the air war that will continue for years into the future, if there is no political settlement of this war.

It cannot be seriously contended that the air war is winding down or ending.   There are overall decreases in total tonnage dropped, but of far greater consequences for those who live in Indochina is that the air war has escalated geographically over new areas previously spared from our bombs.  The human consequences are revealed in thousands of new casualties and refugees from those same locations.

We have been winding down the rhetoric about this war; it has been talked about so little lately that you would think it is over.  But little else about this tragedy is being wound down or ended.

The Mansfield amendment which has now become law declares it to be the policy of the United States to withdraw all of its forces and end all military operations at the earliest practicable date.  In implementing that policy, it calls upon the President to set that date certain.

The administration, however, has announced that they intend to disregard the Mansfield amendment which has become the law of the land.

We have heard about this war winding down for long enough.  And the people of Indochina have suffered under this perpetually “ending” war for long enough.

By voting for the defense appropriation bill, we are all voting to continue the war that we are trying so hard to forget.  There, I shall vote against the bill, and urge other Senators to do likewise until the President announces that date for our total military withdrawal from Indochina.

Let us vote to stop this tragedy and save ourselves and our country.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that four articles published in the Washington Post on Monday, November 22, to which I have referred, appear at this point in the Record.

There being no objection, the articles were ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

[From the Washington Post, Nov. 22, 1971]

SAIGON LAUNCHES NEW OFFENSIVE INSIDE COMBODIA

UNITED STATES TAKES SUPPORT ROLE IN OPERATION

Saigon, November 22 (Monday).---Thousands of South Vietnamese troops, spearheaded by an armored column, pushed north from Highway 7 in eastern Cambodia today in the start of a new offensive.

U.S. advisers said the drive is aimed at raiding staging areas from which elements of three North Vietnamese divisions could attack South Vietnamese bases on the highway, about 90 miles northwest of Saigon.

South Vietnamese field commanders said they anticipated that the new operation would also relieve enemy pressure on Phnom Penh and on the 20,000-man Cambodian government force battling Communist-led troops on the northeastern front in Cambodia.

Initial reports said that more than 5,000 South Vietnamese soldiers were involved in the opening thrust.  The number was expected to increase.

There were no immediate reports of significant ground contact, but South Vietnamese air strikes killed 40 enemy soldiers west of the town of Krek, officers in the field said.

Officers said the operation could last up to 30 days, depending on what the South Vietnamese find.

Scores of U.S. helicopters and advisers moved into Tayninh to support to operation.  Tayninh, 55 miles northwest of Saigon, is the forward command post for South Vietnamese operations into eastern Cambodia.

Communist-led forces who have fought their way to within 10 miles of the Cambodian capital are known to be resupplied from bases in the border region.

The South Vietnamese field commanders felt that the Communist-led forces would have to divert some men from fighting elsewhere in Cambodia to protect their base camps and storage depots in the border region north of Highway 7.

Meanwhile, in Saigon, the U.S. Command announced one of the deepest bombing raids this year inside North Vietnam, against an antiaircraft gun site near Vinh.

The command said four Navy A-7 Corsairs based on a carrier in the Tonkin Gulf struck at the site Sunday afternoon after North Vietnamese guns fired on an unarmed Navy reconnaissance plane.

It was the 80th “protective reaction” strike by U.S. planes over North Vietnam this year, and the fifth within the last eight days.

The command said that results of the strike were not known and that there was no damage to the four attack bombers or the reconnaissance plane, which apparently was on a photo mission over North Vietnam.

Vinh, a major North Vietnamese city about 145 miles north of the Demilitarized Zone, is at the hub of five supply routes.  The site was eight miles west of the coast, the command said.

U.S. headquarters also reported three more B-52 raids in the northwest corner of South Vietnam along the Laos border.

South Vietnamese headquarters said its propeller-driven Skyraiders attacked North Vietnamese position near Chrum in eastern Cambodia and pilots claimed 40 North Vietnamese killed.  The claim was not confirmed by a body count on the ground.

Saigon headquarters reported a Vietcong mortar shelling early Monday of Hoian, a coastal province capital 15 miles south of Danang.  The shelling hit a U.S. compound, wounding five American servicemen, and also damaged South Vietnamese installations, wounding four militiamen and four civilians.

In the same area, Saigon headquarters said, an enemy unit shelled and attacked a regional force position Monday morning near the district town of Ducduc, about 25 miles south of Danang.  Headquarters said the attack was repelled.

Fresh fighting also was reported in the Central Highlands. Fields reports said a battalion of North Vietnamese attacked the Pleidjereng South Vietnamese ranger camp, 25 miles west of Pleiku and 12 miles from the Cambodian border, on Sunday.

There was no immediate word on casualties.  It was the second attack on the camp in three days.

U.S. Air Force and Navy fighter-bombers made their 79th “protective reaction” strike of 1971 inside North Vietnam earlier Sunday.  Pilots said they knocked out two enemy antiaircraft 80 miles north of the DMZ and near the North Vietnam-Laos border when the site fired on an American bomber on a mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

[From the Washington Post, Nov. 23, 1971]

BLOODY LITTLE BATTLE

NIGHT FIGHT NEAR PHNOM PENH LEAVES THE QUESTION:  WHY?

(By Peter Osnos)

Prey Khieu, Cambodia, November 21.---For the better part of five hours early today, Cambodian soldiers withstood a determined enemy ground attack atop this bump in the rice paddies, just 15 miles from the center of Phnom Penh.

When it ended at sunrise, 13 Cambodians were dead, including three soldiers’ wives and one child.  Another 23 people were wounded.  Some of these were women and children, too.

The enemy left two bodies behind.  One, found near the Cambodians’ skimpy command post, was wearing only shorts and a skull cap.  He carried a grenade bag and had made himself darker with charcoal.  He looked Vietnamese.

It was a tough and bloody little battle that proved nothing.  But it was close enough to the capital to be considered part of the enemy’s dramatically stepped-up activity in the area, and for that reason it was significant.

American officials maintain that the attacks are merely harassment and not intended to culminate in a drive on Phnom Penh.  That remains to be seen. For the moment, the city itself seems as quiet and lovely as always, except for the sound of constant artillery fire at night.

But in the villages on the outskirts to the northwest, there is considerate fear.  The Communists are massed in the fields and bushes, attracting Cambodian artillery, South Vietnamese bombers and American helicopter gunships.

Along the roads, there are hundreds of refugee families, in carts drawn by cows, taking their possessions to a nearby village or pagoda, only to move again when that refuge is threatened.

The family of 48-year-old Nop Sim, his wife, children and grandchildren, fled from their home a month ago and came to a pagoda called Angtaloenk because Vietcong and Khmer Rouge were gathering in the vicinity.

Today, because of the fighting at Prey Khieu, a mile or so away, they were preparing to go again, taking Nop Sim’s sister along also because now her village is endangered too.

At midday, A-37 bombers were making strike after strike just a few hundred yards from the bumpy road where the farmers and some of the weary defenders of Prey Khieu were making their way to safety.

The company atop the knoll had been there for a month, with only a few light contacts.  Then at 1:30 a.m. this morning the enemy struck with rocket and mortar fire and, at practically the same time, moved in on the ground.

In one corner of the Cambodian outpost the attackers killed three soldiers and one wife.  From the way the dead looked, they were hit pointblank.  A shallow trench ad been dug where the enemy fortified the tiny stronghold they had taken.

Ut Seng Ean, 35, commander of the company at Prey Khieu, said that at the height of the fighting there were 40 Communists, while his force was 120 men strong.  The Cambodians must have held their own, because the enemy withdrew.  But the company was tired so replacements were brought in.

What is most distinctive about the Cambodian position is how weak it looks.  Although they had been there for weeks, the soldiers had built no bunkers and relied on lean-tos made of palm leaves.  The new company seemed content to leave things that way.

There is every likelihood that the Communists will make another try for the knoll, and probably, if they risked enough men, could take it.  But then what?  The hill is high ground, commanding a view as far as Phnom Penh, but is also a prime target for bombers and gunships.

Last weekend the Communists seized the railroad station town of Toul Leap, about three miles from here, wiping out a whole Cambodian battalion in the process.  The bombers and gunships went to work and the enemy has been run out.  But there is no more town.

At Toul Leap, the Communist surrounded the Cambodian battalion’s camp in one section of the town and allowed most of the villagers to flee.  Fighting went on for four days, and when it was over fewer than 10 of the Cambodians made it out.  The rest were killed, captured, or wounded.

The Cambodians counterattacked with a brigade led by Lon Non, the mercurial brother of Prime Minister Lon Nol.  By the standards of the Cambodian war, air support was very heavy.

It took four days to rout the enemy, and when the Cambodians finally made their way to the town they met very little resistance.  The official government news agency declared that there solders’ victory was “astonishing.”

This morning, as if to prove that they are still around, the Communists fired about 20 mortar rounds into the rubble of the town and killed three Cambodians.

For the enemy, taking Toul Leap accomplished little more than would overrunning Prey Khieu---at least the town had food.  The Communist must have a reason for what they are doing, the Cambodians say, but nobody has a clue what it is and that is what makes them especially nervous.

In the meantime, all that is known for sure is that the enemy is hitting closer and closer to the capital.

AN INVISIBLE WAR IS SOON FORGOTTEN

(By Garry Wills)

Vietnam has always been the invisible war.  We were in it before we knew we were in.  And we have forgotten it before we are out.  There is a feeling that if the war is not an issue, it is nothing; it does not exist.  Even its critics, among the politicians, are afraid to run hard against it, for fear they will base their campaign on a non-existent thing.  And the administration, of course, keeps taking credit for having ended the war because it is in the process of ending it.

So we hear a great deal about withdrawals, each time there are some, while our bombing is increased; our “support troops” keep the Thieu regime in office, its own troops in the field; and “Vietnamization” means continuation of the war until we can entirely forget it--- and then all the pretensions on which it has been prolonged can collapse unnoticed.

For the aim of the war is no longer to win it, but to forget it.  We cannot withdraw entirely without remembering the pesty thing.  If we phase out, the same thing will, in time, take place that would have followed on a complete withdrawal two years ago.  But “phasing out” lets us avoid looking at what is happening.  That is worth a great deal to us, and we are paying a great deal for it, in money and lives (our own and others’).

The worst danger is that our prolongation of “phase-out,” to achieve forgetfulness, will lead to an open-ended minimal “presence” in Vietnam, with a residual force just sufficient to keep the Vietnamese fighting each other for another decade.  It would be our last cruel gift to this country we have absentmindedly ravaged so long, and it would guarantee a hatred for us quite earned, a hatred felt by all side (as already it is felt in some measure, by followers of a Diem or Ky no less than by partisans of the Vietcong).

Our rulers do not tend to think in terms of “costs” to others.  But even they see one danger in the “residual force” solution---the danger of a rear-guard massacre, once our residual troops reach a dangerously exposed minimum.

It is on this subject that the China and Moscow visits can be most useful.  Our President, like the other rulers, must deny that the fate of Saigon and Hanoi will be settled in the absence of either regime’s representatives. And it is true that direct settlement of the war cannot be conducted at such meetings.  But our cordial relations with such “big brother” of the Communist world must give Hanoi pause at anything so offensive as a slaughter of remaining Americans.

On the other hand, pressure can be put on us through this network of forces making for coexistence to take our tempting exposed last targets out for good and all.  In this way, the politics of these visits may betray Mr. Nixon into statesmanship, into a real ending of the war, not mere hypnotic lullings of our consciousness that it goes on.

He can probably, even in those conditions (of total withdrawal), conclude the hidden war with a disguised defeat, getting credit for doing now what he could have done earlier, under better terms, without the intervening loss of life.  The Vice President, with his customary candor, has stated the real goal:  “It will be Nixon’s peace, and his alone.”  Well, all right---let it be his.  But let it be.

CAMBODIA FINDS ITS PLACE IN THE ASIAN DILEMMA

(By Flora Lewis)

Svayrieng, Cambodia.---This key junction on the major road between Pnom Penh and Saigon is now firmly in Cambodian hands, and the road is---usually---open.  But some 15 miles back toward Pnom Penh, at Neak Leung, whole blocks lie in ruins.  A devastating Communist raid took Neak Leung by surprise not long ago, and most of the people fled.

North and northwest of here, vast areas of Cambodia are dented to government control, about half of the national territory, although it would be too much to say that the region is all under Communist control.

Every bridge along the canal-laced road from Pnom Penh has been blown at least once.  Almost every bridge in Cambodia has been blown, many replaced by Bailey bridges donated by Britain.  Here, unlike in Laos and even much of Vietnam, it is a war of destruction and disruption rather than selective combat.

It has led Cambodian nationalists to believe that the North Vietnamese don’t just want to impose a sympathetic government in this country, but want to subjugate it.  Now whole platoons of soldiers, living with their wives and babies in tiny pup tents made of grass and thatch, guard the vital bridges.

In the circumstances, it may be surprising to hear that Cambodian and American officials alike are pleased with the military situation.  It is, as they point out, much better than might have been expected.  A year and a half after the fighting started, they no longer veil the dire realities of Cambodian’s wildly risky plunge into Vietnam’s war.

Now it is conceded that the Vietnamese could probably have taken Pnom Penh at any time they wished in the summer of 1970, but didn’t wish to pay the price because they couldn’t have mustered enough Cambodian supporters for a victory parade.   They were modest, or shrewd, enough to choose against a show of purely Vietnamese Communist strength in the Khmer capital.

The intervening months have been used to multiply the Cambodian army almost 10-fold, provide some equipment and training and establish a defense organization for the first time.  The Communists have also used the time, however, to recruit supporters.

Official figures, which must be considered decidedly conservative, show the difference.  In the first months of the war, Cambodian officials spoke of the local pro-Communist force, the Khmer Rouge, as negligible.  No more than 2,000, they said.  They still call the Khmer Rouge negligible.  Only 15,000, they say, though that is a 750 per cent growth in something over a year.

But here is a certain stabilization of the front.  Neither side has made, nor apparently expects to make, much change in the areas of control for the visible future.

This is really a Nixon doctrine war.  The Cambodians and the Vietnamese are fighting.  The United States and, on the other side, Russia and China, are providing the wherewithal.  Since the Nixon Doctrine remains imprecise, however, there are naturally arguments among both Americans and Cambodians about how it should be applied.

Cambodian officials, with support from American military officers, think the United States should Americanize the war at least in the technical sense, with helicopters and tanks and heavy artillery, if not with manpower.  The Cambodian plea, which I heard repeatedly from Premier Lon Nol, his partner Deputy Premier Sirik Matak, Lon Nol’s rambunctious and lively younger brother Lt. Col. Lon Non, down through the chain of command to the young captain who reported on the tactical situation at Svayrieng, was this:  If you won’t give us as much as South Vietnam, a more populous country, at least you should give us half as much.

Brig. Gen. Theodore Mataxis, who heads the U.S. “Military equipment delivery team” here, thinks Cambodia should have more of a chance to fight the American way, with more American support.  His Pnom Penh staff, after much argument, was recently limited to an expanded complement of 150 Americans, but he has another 75 working on military help to Cambodia under him in Saigon.

A U.S. mission from Pacific command headquarters recently recommended another 50 people to handle the flow of supplies.  U.S. Ambassador Emory Swank, slipping but still trying to cling to the “low-profit” policy in this war, has proposed that the United States hire under contract other nationals---South Koreans, Filipinos, Thais---to do the job more discreetly.

Essentially, Swank and his advisers rely on Congress to limit the funds that would be needed for a bigger American role with men or major weapons.  They don’t admit it, but congressional truculence is their main defense in resisting the insistent pressures to “really support Cambodia.”

Meanwhile, refugees at a camp near here, whose homes were destroyed by U.S. bombing and allied artillery fire, exist with a pitiful shortage of food, shelter, clothing.  American funds must be reserved, officials explain, for the military and essential economic programs which other countries won’t provide.  Humanitarian needs are left to those countries, but they have too many other requests to notice.

Thus Cambodia has found its place in the Southeast Asian dilemma.  It looks to the United States to be able to survive, and about all the United States knows how to do is to help speed destruction.  Having become involved this far, America can’t decently tell the Cambodians to forget it and lose.  But neither can either country gain from a bloodier war.

There are no clean answers, now that war unhappily exists here too.  For the United States, however, the only helpful answer is to sustain economic aid and refute the Cambodians’ belief that what we want most from them is to fight, or that the American way of fighting is the way for Indochina.

Sitemap  |  PDF Scans of Congressional Record

Contact:  info@markohatfield.org

Site design by Craig Jessen