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July 02, 1971 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1971-07-02

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Page Six

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, July 2, 1971

GRAVEL RELEASE
Hanoi resistance detailed ,

WASHINGTON (M) - The Pen-
tagon papers lift the lid on how
North Vietnam survived the fury
of American bombing through
1965, the year the United States
fully entered the war.
Copies of the top secret docu-
ments released by Sen. Mike
Gravel, (D-Alaska) disclosed that
after American intervention in
force that year, the expectation
among some Washington policy
makers was that a patient old
revolutionary like Ho Chi Minh
might defer his dream of taking
over South Vietnam until another
day, after the American blast was
spent.
Instead, the documents said,
Hanoi remained as defiant as
ever, its leaders seemingly re-
solved to endure the worst until
the Americans were heaten.
Explaining what went wrong,
the Pentagon analysis concluded:

The terrain in Vietnam did not
lend itself to effective deploy-
ment of modern weapons. There
were no obvious industrial tar-
gets to hit. There were few siz-
able confrontations of power, and
thus few opportunities for forces
of each side to slug it out.
Instead, in many ways it was a
fight against guerrilla phantoms,
with the troops of North Vietnam
linking up with the Viet Cong in-
surgents of the South, while all
the time intrigue, maneuver, in-
ternecine rivalries weakened the
Saigon government.
As if that were not enough, said
the documents, political factors
tied one of President Johnson's
hands behind his back. To lash
out too hard against the North
would he to risk a world war
for which the President-disre-
garding Secretary of State Dean
Rusk's advice - was not pre-

pared. To campaign too softly
would, in the words of then as-
sistant secretary of Defense,
John McNaughton, be to produce
"an escalating stalemate" that
would bog down American forces
indefinitely.
Examining the effects of the
American bombing attack on
North Vietnam, the Pentagon
writers offered the following ex-
planation, based on U.S. intelli-
gence reports and on observa-
tions of witnesses:
"In the North the regime bat-
tened down and prepared to ride
out the. storm. With Soviet and
Chinese help, it greatly strength-
ened its air defenses, multiplying
the number of anti-aircraft guns
and radars, expanding the num-
her of jet fighter airfields and
the jet fighter force, and introduc-
ing an extensive SAM (surface-to-
air-missile) system.
"Economic development plans
were laid aside. Imports were in-
creased to offset production
losses. Bombed facilities were in
most cases simply abandoned.
The large and vulnerable bar-
racks and storage depots were re-
placed hy dispersed and conceal-
ed ones.
"Several hundred thousand
workers were mobilized to keep
the transportation system in op-
eration. Knocked - out bridges
were replaced by fords, ferries or
alternate structures. And meth-
ods were adopted to protect them
from attack. Traffic shifted to
night time, poor weather and
camouflage. Shuttling and trans-
See HANOI, Page 10

4

D. DANIEL ELLSBERG, who says he leaked Pentagon secrets
to the New York Times, talks to newsmen in Cambridge yester-
day. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) claims to have received secret
documents from Ellsberg.
U.S. bucked Diem COUP

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Diem made their first contact
with an American representative
to discuss their plans to oust the
president, the study disclosed.
The documents reported- "The
generals wanted a clear indica-_
tion of where the U.S. stoodI."
The U.S. answer, the Pentagon
study said, concluded that "Nhu's
continuation in a power position
within the regime was intoler-
able" and it added: "We must
face the possibility that Diem
himself cannot be preserved."
The message was to have been
passed to the generals while
Diem himself was to be told IN.
must go.
But Lodge informed only the
general, reasoning that to con--
front Diem with an ultimatum
might "tip off the palace to the
coup plans. He made clear to the
generals on Aug. 27 "that keep-
ing Diem was entirely up to
them."
Back in Washington, meantime,
Kennedy and some of his advis-
ers began having second thoughts
about a sudden switch of horses.
They need not have worried. The
plot proved premature. Within a
few days it fizzled.
Subsequently a month-long re-
appraisal began focusing on a
search for alternatives to Diem.
Military and Central Intelli-
gence Agency men were for
Diem - the diplomats in Saigon
and the State Department and of-
ficials in the White House were
generally against him.
Ultimately it was agreed to try
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a third line: pressing Diem to
fire Nhu and to ease up on his
harsh rule.
But in the process of discus-
sion several participants - not-
ably then Atty. Gen. Robert
Kennedy - came up with a new
argument tending to favor an or-
derly U.S. disengagement from
the Vietnam war. The Pentagon
report put it thus:
"If the war could not be
with Diem, and if his removal
would lead to political chaos
also jeopardized the war effort,
then the war was probably un-
winnable. If that were the e-
the argument went, then the
U.S. should really be facing a
more basic decision on either an
orderly disengagement from F
irretrievable situation or a ma-
jor escalation . . . including the
use of U.S. combat troops.
"These prophetic m i n o r i t y
voices were, however, raising
an unpleasant prospect that the
administration was unprepared to
face at that time. In hindsight,
however, it is clear that this
was one of the times in the his-
tory of our Vietnam involvement
when we were making fundamen-
tal choices."
During October Lodge shunned
all contact with the regime. He
suspended some aid. This was
taken by the Vietnamese gen-
erals as a signal to proceed with1
a coup, the document said.
The Vietnamese generals ad-
vised the U.S. mission in Saigon
they were preparing to strike
against Diem. Lodge was order-
ed by Washington not to encour-
age the coup but yet to maintain
contact with the plotters and to
monitor their plans. Hy Oct. 2')
Lodge had concluded Diem was
unlikely to respond to his at-
tempts at persuasion - and the
U.S. therefore "s h o u 1 d not
thwart the coup forces."
It was while American authiori-
ties in Saigon were debating the
wisdom of this decision with
Washington that the generals
struck, culminating "a slimmer
and fall of complex political ac-
tivity."
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