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March 16, 1968 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-03-16

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Saturday, March 16, 1969


Page Five

Saturday, March 16, 1968 THE MiCHIGAN DAILY Page Five

Ben Tre Displays Vietnam Inertia

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EDITOR'S NOTE - Amid the
ruins of a Mekong Delta commun-
ity early in February a U.S. major
said sadly: "It became necessary to
destroy the town in order to save
it." He mean't that allied bombers,
* rockets and napalm had to be used
to rout Viet Cong from the city
of Ben Tre even though civilians
suffered and buildings crumbled to
dust. This is an up to date report
on Ben Tre.
BEN TRE, Vietnam (A - Ben
Tre bleeds in the hot tropic sun,
its wounds still bare.
A U.S. officer said Ben Tre had
to be destroyed to be saved from
a horde of Viet Cong. It took 45
hours of fighting to destroy 45 per
cent of Ben Tre, a city of 34,000.
Now, 46 days later, the govern-
* ment has not provided one brick
to rebuild the Mekong Delta com-

"Ben Tre is a microcosm of
Vietnam now, of the inertia that
still lies over most of the country
in the wake of the Tet offensive,"
a senior U.S. civilian observed in
In Ben Tre, an American civil-
ian official commented: "In six
weeks here we have seen that the
government cannot protect the
people, or control them, or admin-
ister them or help them recover.
"We may well have lost the
political war for Ben Tre."
The bleak picture is brightened
by one factor, a pioneer do-it-
yourself attitude. Some of the pop-
ulation are patching their bat-
tered homes together brick by
brick. The high school student
body has organizedda refugee re-
lief force that digs bunkers,
washes children and distributes
An American official said, "The
local people are way ahead of the
local government in getting things
moving here. The people are our
brightest hope." Another official
echoed, "The people are our only

Americans see glimmerings of a
bolder approach.
The problems are many.
Ben Tre is clogged with refu-
gees. U.S. officials estimate that
about 2,500 of the town's 8,000
families are homeless and living
in bad conditions. The first pri-
ority of the refugees is getting
their homes rebuilt.
The allotment of cement per
family is 15 bags, when it arrives.
Fear Attack
Viet Cong still abound in the
area. U.S. officials fear another
attack, and the province chief each
night draws a ring of armored
cars around his headquarters.
Military patrols outside the city
itself are finally being started
again. The U.S. advisers continue
thickening their bunkers against
renewed attacks.
Should the Viet Cong enter Ben
Tre again, the same tactics would
be used -,artillery and airpower
against the town. The one ad-

vantage for the population would
be that they now have bunkers.
The chairman of the high
school relief force, Le Trung Hau,
18, said the people initially re-
jected the student volunteers,I
thinking they were governmentj
Suspect Revenge
"They were suspicious of us,
and frightened that the Viet Cong
would seek revenge if we worked
amongst them. When we explain-
ed we were volunteers, and peo-
ple like them, they accepted us as
Hau said that when he started
working with the refugees late in
February many of them blamed
the government and the Ameri-
cans for destroying their homes.
"We tried to tell them why, that
the Viet Cong had entered the
town to destroy it, and that the
allies had no choice," Hau said.
"I think they understand now. I'
hope they do."

The Daily Official Bulletin is an
HOMfca publication of the Univer-
sity of Michigan for which The
Michigan daily assumes no editor-
ial responsibility. Notices should be
sent in TYPEWRITTEN form to
Room 3564 Administration Bldg. be-
fore 2 p.m. of the day preceding
publication and by 2 p.m. Friday
for Saturday and Sunday. General
Notices may be published a maxi-
mum of two times on request; Day
Calendar items appear once only,
Student organization notices are not
accepted for publication. For more
information call 764-9270.
Day Calendar
Graduate School of Business Ad-
ministration -- Colloquium for Grad-
uate Counselor, Room 376, Business
Administration Building, 9 a.m. to 12
School of Music Degree Recital -
Charles Lehrer, Oboe: School of Music
Recial Hall, 2:30 p.m.
Cinema Guild - John Ford's "The
Long Voyage Home", Architecture
Aud., 7:00 and 9:05 p.m.
Department of Speech University
Players - Richard Reichman's "Jude",

Trueblood Theater, 8:00 p.m.
School of Music Degree Recital -
Martin Zyskowski, Percussion: School
of Music Recital Hall, 8:30 p.m.
General Notices
TV Center Programs: On Sun., March
17 the following programs produced by
the TV Center will have their initial
telecast in Detroit:
11:00 a.m., WJBK TV, Channel 2
"Changing Classroom Behavior." A
documentary describing new ways of
maintaining classroom discipline in
large city schools to establish an at-
mosphere for teaching and learning.
12:00 Noon, WWJ-TV, Channel 4.
The Quiet Furies. "I Told You I Was
Sick." The case study of a hypochon-
driac, his symptom aned treatment.
The approval of the following stu-
dent sponsored events becomes effect-
ive after the publication of this notice.
All publicity for these events must
be withheld until the approval has
become effective.
Approval request forms for student
sponsored events are available in
Rooms 1001 and 1546 of the Student
Activities Building.
(Continued on Page 6)

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