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February 09, 1968 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-02-09

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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1$68

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9,1968 THE MICHIGAN DAILY l'AGE FJVI~

SOME TURNED AWAY:
"Survivors

of Lang Vei

Kennedy Says Vietnam Victory
'Probably Beyond Our Grasp'

Seek Aid at he Sanh

KHE SANH, Vietnam ()-Bar-
riers were up at Khe Sanh yes-
terday against nearly 200 irregu-
lar defenders of Lang Vei who
escaped to, this U.S. Marine base
after the fall of that Special
Forces camp.
Accorded no hero's welcome, the
Montagnard and Vietnamese ci-
vilian soldiers were stripped of
their weapons and turned out into
the Communist controlled coun-
tryside to fend for themselves.
Some were wounded and some

were without shoes. Only a few
had food and blankets.
About 2,000 Laotian civilians,
some soldiers from an American
supported Laotian battalion and
local Brou tribesmen also are
caught like table tennis balls be-
tween a huge North Vietnamese
force and the Marine base.
Marine officials had tried for
days to get the refugees out of
what promises to be the bloodiest
battle zone in this country, but
without avail.

One informed source said a high
Vietnamese official refused to
permit the refugees to be evacu-
ated, saying the Montagnards and
Laotians are not Vietnamese and
thus none of his affair.
The case of the Lang Vei sur-
vivors still was not entirely clear,
but appeared to involve a ques-
tion of jurisdiction between U.S.
Special Forces and Marine au-
thorities.
When the first stragglers
turnednup Wednesday they asked
to be let inside the base, which
also includes a highly secret Spe-
cial Forces camp.
A Marine officer who went to
the gate which borders on one
side of the Special Forces camp
said he was told by an American
Green Beret standing atop a
bunker, "They're not our prob-
lem."
The Marine refused to bring in
the survivors, who are known to
be riddled with Viet Cong even
though they work for the Special
Forces.
A Special Forces spokesman in
Da Nang, when asked about the
situation, said about 180 of the
Lang Vei survivors had been re-
turned to Da Nang beginning
Wednesday night.
However, late yesterday morn-
ing, none of the Montagnards and
Vietnamese had been permitted
to cross Marine lines to reach the
Khe Sanh airstrip, the only way
out.
The Marines, of course, have
problems of their own. They are
girding for a showdown battle
with two or more North Vietnam-
ese divisions. The Khe Sanh camp
has been hit by up to 1,500 rounds
of mortar, artillery and rockets
in a single day.
ADVERTISING

CHICAGO ( ) - Sen. Robert F.
Kennedy, (D-N.Y.) said yester-
day that the American military
effort to resolve the Vietnam war
is "like sending a lion to halt an
epidemic of jungle rot."
Kennedy said that "a total
military victory is not within
sight or around the corner . .
it is probably beyond our grasp."
Speaking at a book and author
luncheon sponsored by the Chi-
cago Sun Times, Kennedy chal-
lenged observations that the re-
cent savage fighting in South
Vietnam constituted any sort of
American victory.
He said that the reported ene-
my losses "cannot be as devas-
tating as the figures appear."
"Our intelligence chief," he
said, "tells us that of 60,000 men
thrown into attacks on the cities,
20,000 have been killed. If only
two men have been seriously
wounded for every one dead, a
very conservative estimate, the
entire enemy force has been put
out of action."

"Who, then," he said, "is doing
the fighting?"
"How ironic it is," he contin-
ued, "that our public officials at
the highest levels, should claim a
victory because a people whom
we have given 16,000 lives, bil-
lions of dollars and almost a dec-
ade to defend, did not rise in
arms against us .
"More disillusioning," he said,
"and painful is the fact the pop-
ulation did not rise to defend its
freedom against the Viet Cong.
Few, if any, citizens rushed to in-
form their protectors of this mas-
sive infiltration."
He added that the events of the
last two weeks showed that "none
of the population is secure and
no area is under sure control "
"This has not happened be-
cause our men are not brave or
effective . . . It is," he added, "be-
cause we have sought to resolve
by military might a conflict whose
issue depends upon the will and
conviction of the South Vietnam-
ese people.
"It is like sending a lion to halt

an epidemic of jungle rot," Ken-
nedy said.
Kennedy recalled that the
South Vietnamese senate had onlyI
one- opposing vote when it de-
feated a proposal to lower the
country's draft age from 20 to 18.
"With all the lives and re-
sources we have poured into Viet-
nam," he said, "is there anyone
to argue that a government with
any support from its people, with
any competence to rule, with any
determination to defend itself,
would not long ago have been vic-
torious over an insurgent move-
ment, however assisted from out-
side its borders?"
Kennedy said that for 20 years,
first the French and then the
United States have been predict-
ing victory in Vietnam.
"Once," he said, "in 1962, I par-
ticipated in such predictions my-
self. But for 20 years we have
been wrong. The history of con-
flict among nations does not re-
cord another such lengthy and
consistent chronicle of error."
- -I -

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PAGE FIVE

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A WOUNDED special forces soldier is helped to an evacuation
helicopter at Khe Sanh after his escape from Lang Vei special
forces base Wednesday. Lang Vei, only three miles from Khe
Sanh, was overrun by North Vietnamese troops.

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