His ratings had plummeted from 80 percent when he assumed the presidency upon Kennedy's death to 30 percent after Tet. Even Giap admitted in his memoirs that news media reporting of the war and the anti-war demonstrations that ensued in America surprised him.His handling of the war dropped to 20 percent, his credibility shot to pieces. military personnel from advisers to South Vietnamese troops to full-fledged fighting men. Instead of negotiating what he called a conditional surrender, Giap said they would now go the limit because America's resolve was weakening and the possibility of complete victory was within Hanoi's grasp.Conventional media wisdom had been set in concrete.Public opinion perceptions in the United States changed accordingly.The last American soldier left Vietnam in March 1973. military assistance with weapons and hardware, including helicopters.And the chances of the South Vietnamese army being able to hack it on its own were reasonably good. But Congress balked, first by cutting off military assistance to Cambodia, which enabled Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge communists to take over, which, in turn, was followed by a similar Congressional rug pulling from under the South Vietnamese, that led to rapid collapse of morale in Saigon. Whatever one thought about the advisability of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the United States is there with 100,000 troops and a solid commitment to endow Iraq with a democratic system of government.Through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win." Kennedy should remember that Vietnam was the war of his brother who saw the conflict in the larger framework of the Cold War and Nikita Khrushchev's threats against West Berlin.
As he recounts in his memoirs, Hanoi had to improvise a general offensive -- and then rolled into Saigon two years before they had reckoned it might become possible. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who called Iraq the president's Vietnam. But it could become so if Congressional resolve dissolves.A commando is a soldier or operative of an elite light infantry or special operations force often specializing in amphibious landings, parachuting or abseiling.Originally "a commando" was a type of combat unit, as opposed to an individual in that unit.Giap had thrown some 70,000 troops into a strategic gamble that was also designed to overwhelm 13 of the 16 provincial capitals and trigger a popular uprising. By the time the facts emerged a week or two later from RAND Corp.But Tet was an unmitigated military disaster for Hanoi and its Vietcong troops in South Vietnam. interrogations of prisoners and defectors, the damage had been done.Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of the North Vietnamese army, received South Vietnam's unconditional surrender on April 30, 1975.In an interview with the Wall Street Journal after his retirement, he made clear the anti-war movement in the United States, which led to the collapse of political will in Washington, was "essential to our strategy." Visits to Hanoi by Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and various church ministers "gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses." America lost the war, concluded Bui Tin, "because of its democracy.They did the bulk of the fighting and took some 6,000 casualties. And some 50 million Americans at home saw the carnage of dead bodies in the rubble, and dazed Americans running around.Vietcong units not only did not reach a single one of their objectives -- except when they arrived by taxi at the U. Embassy in Saigon, blew their way through the wall into the compound and guns blazing made it into the lobby before they were wiped out by U. Marines -- but they lost some 50,000 killed and at least that many wounded. As the late veteran war reporter Peter Braestrup documented in "Big Story" -- a massive, two-volume study of how Tet was covered by American reporters -- the Vietcong offensive was depicted as a military disaster for the United States.Several mass graves were found with some 4,000 unarmed civil servants and other civilians, stabbed or with skulls smashed by clubs.The number of communist defectors, known as "chieu hoi," increased fourfold.