01x03 - Peace with Honor

Episode transcripts for the TV show "The Seventies". Aired: June 2015 to August 2015.*
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"The Seventies" is a documentary series that looks back on this remarkable and controversial decade. The Vietnam w*r, Watergate scandal, music industry, Iran Hostage Crisis, and the rise of foreign and domestic terrorism are just some of the events this series covers.
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01x03 - Peace with Honor

Post by bunniefuu »

Vietnam is the most divisive, morally abrasive w*r Americans have ever fought anywhere.

It's time for the great silent majority to stand up and be counted.

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

We're just going to refuse to do it. You may be in jail but you won't be d*ad.

m*llitary pressure will continue until a peace settlement is reached.

We have achieved peace with honor.

The Americans are leaving.

The Vietnamese must stay and face uncertainty.

In Vietnam, we have reached the end of the tunnel and there is no light there.

There's no understanding of America in the 1970s without understanding how the decade began in relationship to the w*r in Vietnam.

Normally, live casualties for the previous week are released on Thursday.

But fighting in the last week has been so bitter that m*llitary sources released the casualties, unofficially, today.

340 Americans and 527 South Vietnamese were k*lled last week.

Enemy d*ad were reported to be more than 5,000.

There was some grumbling among numbers of young G.I.s taking part in the as*ault, questioning whether the objective is worth the bloodshed.

Nixon did not want to be the first President of the United States to lose a w*r.

It was a matter of personal pride with him.

His basic goal was to end the w*r as quickly as possible, but on honorable terms that would preserve, in his view, credibility as a world power and as an ally.

President Nixon will dispatch his adviser on foreign affairs, Henry Kissinger, to Paris for the peace talks.

It is thought the U.S. is working on a new proposal to offer to the Viet Cong and North Vietnam.

Nixon's strategy on Vietnam was to negotiate a peace agreement, but at the same time, to Vietnam-ize the conflict.

We had to turn the w*r over to South Vietnam or it was going to be hopeless. We couldn't fight their w*r forever.

The South Vietnamese were taught to think like Americans, act like Americans, fight like Americans.

South Vietnam's President Thieu had said that he wanted nothing more than gradually to take over full responsibility for the w*r.

President Nixon started withdrawing troops almost right away.

He had a lot to withdraw. There were over 500,000 men there.

But he did this very slowly as they supposedly shifted the burden of the fighting to the South Vietnamese Army.

He was withdrawing so slowly, a lot of people were getting k*lled in the process.

And there was no end to it.

October 15, 1969. Vietnam Moratorium Day.

Surely this is a day unique in our history.

Never have so many of our people publicly and collectively manifested opposition to this country's involvement in a w*r.

It wasn't hippies. It wasn't radicals and Marxists.

It was ordinary middle-class Americans. 2 million of them, taking the day off from school, from work.

It was a genuine democratic expl*si*n of anti-w*r sentiment.

1, 2, 3, 4, Tricky d*ck, stop the w*r!

Mr. Nixon has told aides that the loss of American popular support, or the appearance of it, could induce the new leadership in Hanoi to press on in the expectation that the United States would quit.

The October Moratorium made Richard Nixon go to the mountain top, literally.

He went to Camp David for two weeks to write a speech to answer the anti-w*r movement.

The elites had gotten on the anti-w*r bandwagon.

The press, Harvard, the universities, the East Coast establishment.

By 1969 they were all anti-w*r.

Hell no, we won't go!

And Nixon wanted to rise up and show that there was another side. His side.

The outsiders, the people who didn't go to Harvard, who revered the flag and supported our soldiers.

And he wanted to rally them.

To you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans, I ask for your support.

North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States.

Only Americans can do that.

The term "silent majority" clicked with Middle America because they were never represented on television and they didn't feel they were represented in Washington and didn't really have a voice.

President Nixon proudly displayed 52,000 telegrams from persons who supported him.

It's time for the great silent majority just to stand up and be counted.

At that point he went to 68% approval.

It gave him the room he needed to maneuver.

Good evening, my fellow Americans.

Tonight American and South Vietnamese units will att*ck the headquarters for the entire Communist m*llitary operation in South Vietnam.

This is not an invasion of Cambodia.

Nixon's conviction is that what you've got to do is cut off the supplies that the North Vietnamese are funneling into the South to the Viet Cong.

And the way to do it is take out the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the route they're using through Cambodia.

They don't quite realize that Cambodia is its own country.

In fact, a country that's always had tenuous relationships with Vietnam.

And once they destabilize Cambodia, you really just have all hell breaking out.

The Cambodian operation will continue during the coming days.

American units searching for North Vietnamese troops and installations.

But what they will find or how long they will be here no one can say for sure.

The active, large scale American and South Vietnamese participation in the fighting in Cambodia has brought a cry of anger from many college campuses.

At Kent State University in Ohio, the protest turned into a riot, with thousands of demonstrators facing National Guardsmen and police.

Four students are k*lled at Kent State.

Two students are k*lled at Jackson State in Mississippi.

Nixon is sort of overwhelmed. He's bewildered.

Nixon was very upset by the deaths, by the belief that he had caused them.

That was a low point of his presidency.

The events of this past week have polarized not only the opposition to the w*r but also the opposition to the anti-w*r movement.

Hard-hat construction workers chased and b*at demonstrators in the streets of the financial district.

Police joined ranks with attacking workers and laughingly watched students brutally b*at.

Smoke generated by this latest fuss is tending to obscure the only real question...

Will the demonstrations have any effect on shaping the President's Vietnam policies?

The answer here remains no.

A United States m*llitary court martial formally established today there was a m*ssacre of civilians at My Lai.

It convicted, Lieutenant William Calley, one of the American soldiers who was there, of premeditated m*rder in the death of 22 South Vietnamese.

William Calley commanded the unit that went into My Lai, a village that was supposed to be harboring Viet Cong troops.

We were ferried in by helicopters. We led on the outskirts of the village.

We came across some people who were in the village.

As I have in this one photograph, you can see the expressions in their faces just before they're about to be sh*t. Especially the small child on the left.

And the one small boy not realizing what is about to happen.

In the spasm of v*olence, hundreds of people are k*lled, all of them civilians.

This unit from the Americal Division lost it.

They said that, "well, we just felt like we were k*lling vermin."

They pulled the trigger by somehow tricking themselves to think that they're not k*lling a human, they're k*lling an animal.

The captain and Lieutenant Calley did not do anything to stop them.

They had lost it themselves. It was a complete failure.

The White House is acutely aware that the My Lai scandal could bring about a disastrous withering away of public support for the Vietnam w*r and from Mr. Nixon's plans for a staged withdrawal of American forces.

What happened in the Calley case was not a combat situation.

He sh*t in cold blood old men, women and children.

And the day that we as a country fail to recognize an act of cold-blooded m*rder as m*rder, then we are no better...

Fine. But why convict Lieutenant William Calley?

Why not convict the battalion command?

Hold it. Hold it. Hold it.

All right. Fellows.

This is your defense?

Every single one of them that put the man in Vietnam should be standing there saying, "I am guilty too."

That's how I feel. Every one of them.

Vietnam, 5th Cavalry. Initiating new men.

Start out by singing a little song.

♪ You're going home in a body bag, do-dah, do-dah... ♪

♪ You're going home in a body bag, all the do-dah day... ♪

The day after the initiation, five men came back in body bags.

By the '70s, the U.S. Army in Vietnam had been essentially destroyed.

Every time we tangled with the Vietnamese we were getting k*lled.

And there was no end to it.

So you've got what amounted to a state of individual mutiny in the U.S. Army.

It's senseless walking down the road. I'm not going to walk down it.

I'll walk on the trail. The whole squad'll walk on the trail.

We're going to move out and they're going to be left behind.

Or I am going to take the point and they can follow me if they want to.

It's that simple. We've got a job to do, we'll do it.

We're just going to refuse to do it.

Because it's... You may be in jail, but you won't be d*ad.

You're supposedly withdrawing, right?

Well, I figure since we're going home in the long run, why don't we just sort of take it easy, you know?

Don't go out looking for trouble, just maybe sit down.

If they come to us, we'll fight.

But going out looking for trouble and wasting more lives for just time's sake, to me is just absurd. I don't know.

All the people coming over here now, they're a lot different than they used to be.

Like World w*r II-type people or the old Vietnam people.

It's the Woodstock generation coming to Vietnam.

The public campaign against the w*r in Vietnam took on a new dimension in Washington today.

Men who have been there began demonstrations armed at speeding the end of the conflict.

Businessmen have protested. Students have protested. Mothers have protested. Everybody has.

But the men who fought the w*r, who know what it's like, who know what we're fighting, know what they've been made to do, haven't.

And it's the first time in history that they're going to do that.

Lieutenant Paveral d*ed, so I got a medal.

Sergeant John d*ed, so I got a medal.

I got a Silver Star, a Purple Heart, and the rest of it's garbage.

It doesn't mean a thing!

Good evening. The w*r in Vietnam has often been camouflaged by misleading statistics of body counts, w*apon captured, hamlets pacified.

But we are now in the midst of new, more revealing statistics...

The 2.5 million words of the Pentagon Papers.

These once-secret papers tell the agonizing story of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam through four administrations of expanding commitment.

The Pentagon Papers have touched off the deepest controversies, centering on whether the Presidents and their men deceived the people.

Daniel Ellsberg, an official who had served in the Defense Department and had access to these materials, he's the one who leaks this to the press.

I was the lead reporter in the Pentagon Papers.

Ellsberg turned against the w*r, and he copied these papers with the hope that eventually they would be used to embarrass an awful lot of people, and which would show that we had made a terrible mistake fighting this w*r in Vietnam.

I think Kissinger was obsessed with secrecy, and so was Nixon.

My first three articles were published, and the Nixon administration then wanted to stop the whole thing.

My argument inside was if you want to make the case against the Pentagon Papers, get up and charge The New York Times with publishing national security secrets, gross irresponsibility, and sabotaging the w*r in Vietnam.

The Justice Department went to court in New York today and got a temporary order restraining the Times from publishing the next and last two installments.

Attorneys for The New York Times claim the protection of the First Amendment, which embodies the concept of freedom of the press, as sufficient to protect their disclosure of the Vietnam memorandums.

The Supreme Court today ruled that The New York Times may continue to publish the secret Pentagon Papers.

I think the lesson is that the people of this country can't afford to let the President run the country by himself.

Even foreign affairs, any more than domestic affairs, without the help of the Congress... Without the help of the public.

If you had to sum up the prevailing mood here on Capitol Hill, you could do it with two words... Embarrassment and anger.

Because of the following CBS News Special Report, The Merv Griffin Show will begin one half-hour later than usual.

The President of the United States tonight disclosed a Vietnam peace offer that he says has been secretly offered to the Communists.

The plan calls for withdrawal of all U.S. forces within six months and new South Vietnamese elections in exchange for a cease-f*re and return of all American prisoners.

The offer that I shall now present on behalf of the government of the United States and the government of South Vietnam, with the full knowledge and approval of President Thieu, is both generous and far-reaching.

The response from North Vietnam was, "no, you're missing something.

You've got to overthrow the Thieu government."

But we were not going to overthrow an ally as we left.

And that was the sticking point.

We were stuck. It was a stalemate.

This is the scene on the White House lawn. as the Presidential helicopter waits for President Nixon to begin what must be surely one of the most remarkable journeys ever undertaken by an American President, his trip to Peking.

I will undertake what I deeply hope will become a journey for peace.

Is the food as good as people say it is?

I'm no expert on Chinese food, but I liked it.

Nixon was a very geopolitical thinker and he liked this idea of linkage.

The idea that he could link U.S./Soviet policy with U.S./Chinese policy with U.S./Vietnamese policy and produce one tidy bundle.

Nixon thought that Vietnamese were hirelings or pawns of the Chinese and the Soviets.

They weren't. They were Communists domestically, but they were no one's pawn.

They were using the Chinese and the Russians, playing them off against each other to get w*apon to fight us to gain their independence.

The heaviest fighting in a year broke out in South Vietnam today.

North Vietnamese forces struck at eight bases manned by South Vietnamese troops just south of the demilitarized zone.

The North Vietnamese are unnerved by the fact that the Americans seem to be making peace with both the Soviets and the Chinese.

They're feeling alienated from their principal allies.

They see the Easter Offensive as a bold effort to perhaps bring the w*r to a close, or at least put themselves in a much better position with respect to negotiations.

The President has decided to keep American troops out of fight and to keep them coming home on schedule, no matter what happens to the South Vietnamese.

According to top officials here, he will limit U.S. counteraction to massive air strikes against enemy forces and installations in South as well as North Vietnam.

The Americans respond in great force.

And so you see an absolutely massive aerial b*mb.

The latest, and in some ways, the greatest of Mr. Nixon's gambles in his efforts to end the w*r, as he says, "with honor and not defeat."

Now the world is waiting to see how the American minefields will affect the North Vietnamese supply system.

Will they really strangle the enemy's most important supply line?

The North Vietnamese fail in this effort to have a breakthrough as a result of this offensive, and they suffer massive casualties.

It helps to advance the negotiations in a way that hadn't been possible before.

Henry Kissinger has dropped out of sight again and nobody is saying where he is.

The President's top adviser left the western White House yesterday with his children.

There has been speculation he might have gone to Paris to renew secret peace talks with North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho.

The North Vietnamese position began to change a few weeks before the 1972 election.

They knew Nixon was unpredictable.

So they say, "if we get this mad-man re-elected, as it looks like he's going to be, "and he doesn't have to worry about re-elections ever again, what the hell is he going to do to us from now on?"

So on October 8 in Paris, the North Vietnamese presented a proposal which for the first time, after three or four years of endless negotiations, dropped their political requirement that we overthrow the Saigon government.

I remember stepping outside at a break, and Kissinger and I were in a garden in Paris and we shook hands and we said, "we've done it."

We believe that peace is at hand.

There will be a return of all American prisoners within 60 days after the agreement comes into force.

Now with the election just 12 days away, the Nixon administration says peace is at hand.

It might appear that someone has pulled a rug out from under McGovern.

Kissinger telling us "peace is at hand" was seen in the United States as a cynical ploy to win the election.

The fact is Kissinger is telling Saigon this is the best you're going to get.

Thieu was afraid that he was being sold out, and that once the Americans left it would be a short matter of time before his own government fell.

Looked like we had a peace deal. Kissinger had said "peace is at hand" publicly.

No deal.

Massachusetts is the only state going for McGovern.

Now President Nixon is swept back into the White House.

The victory landslide though it is seems to be Mr. Nixon's alone, not his party's.

I think Nixon was resolute. "Now I am liberated.

"Now I am never going to have to run again.

Now I'm going to be whom I wish to be."

The United States has resumed full-scale b*mb of Haiphong area.

The North Vietnamese said American planes carried out heavy att*cks around those cities tonight, and Hanoi's armed forces sh*t down a large number of planes and captured several pilots.

First Lieutenant. Navigated B-52.

Nixon wanted the Communists to think that he was crazy in the hopes that that would drive them back to the bargaining table.

A lot of the civilian areas were h*t, apparently.

Civilian areas must have been h*t.

And I don't want to say that it was not a very painful thing to have to do.

When 8,500-pound b*mb come off of one plane that's the closest thing to a nuclear w*apon.

The response to the Christmas b*mb was such an outrage.

Here is this small third-world country that the United States is b*mb back to the Stone Age.

The word from the President is m*llitary pressure will continue until a peace settlement is reached.

Within days after this so-called "Christmas b*mb," the North Vietnamese came back to us and wanted to re-open the negotiations, made some concessions, and within weeks we had an agreement.

So whatever one thinks of the b*mb, it produced peace within about a month.

Good evening. The Vietnam w*r ended today.

Ended officially in this room in Paris.

The treaty basically said the South Vietnamese get to keep their government.

The North Vietnamese get to keep their soldiers in South Vietnam.

The North Vietnamese will release the 500 American P.O.W.s.

And everybody promises to stop fighting.

As far as this administration is concerned, we've done the very best that we can against very great obstacles, and we finally have achieved a peace with honor.

I know it gags some of you to write that phrase, but that is true.

And most Americans realize it is true.

It is the Americans who are celebrating. They are leaving.

The Vietnamese are not celebrating.

They must stay and face the uncertainty of whatever is going to happen to them next.

In Hanoi, the American m*llitary involvement in the Vietnam w*r finally came to an end.

For if anything or anyone symbolized the American agony of Vietnam, it was the prisoners Most were pilots, and many had spent more than six years in prison.

Now they are on their way home.

It wasn't really until we rolled down the runway, finally lifted off enemy soil that we all broke loose and started hugging and kissing the Air Force nurses.

It was just unbelievable, and it was all euphoria.

Family gathered in the den to watch the arrival of the planes from the Philippines.

There was no word as to which of the three planes Lieutenant Colonel Purcell would be on.

The first one landed, but it wasn't that one. Then came the second plane.

Someone in the family said that he won't be on this one either.

But he was.

We were greeted by thousands of people.

They let out the schools and everyone was waving flags and calling our names.

It was a great, great homecoming.

We are honored to have the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances.

They were legitimate heroes. They had suffered terribly, and here they were home.

And it gave the country something to cheer about after having so little to cheer about.

Mr. Nixon said he does not plan to greet returning P.O.W.s because, "this is a time when we should not grandstand it. We should not exploit it."

So many of the soldiers that came home from Vietnam in the early '70s couldn't wear their uniforms in public.

They were called baby K*llers to their face.

And it really was very disturbing. It distressed us all to think that those comrades in arms had come back to such a negative reception, where we had come back to ticker tape parades.

The American language has changed since you went away.

It may even have changed since you returned.

So the conversation of your wives, friends, and your children may seem strange.

The Today Show devoted an entire two-hour episode to explaining, ostensibly, to the prisoners of w*r what had happened in America in their absence.

They left a country where The Sound of Music was the most popular movie.

They returned to one in which Last Tango in Paris was the most popular movie, which involved unspeakable carnal acts that are illegal in most states.

Whatever you do, don't call a group of women "girls."

It's no longer considered a compliment by many.

We came home to quite a different world.

It was like Rip Van Winkle waking up after nearly six years in a prison camp.

It was just unbelievable that our culture had changed to that point.

In South Vietnam, both the Saigon government and Communists have accused each other of new cease-f*re violations, motivated by attempts to gain more villages and territory.

The Nixon administration again expressed confidence the cease-f*re will prove effective before long.

Mr. President, we have been allies in a long and difficult w*r.

And now you can be sure that we stand with you as we continue to work together to build a lasting peace.

Nixon promised that if the North Vietnamese renewed the offensive, he would send the B-52s back to Hanoi.

Well, it didn't happen because he was caught up in Watergate.

Washington is a city that revolves around controversy during office hours and elegant social events at night.

These, of course, are days where there is no shortage of controversy with the sensational testimony before the Watergate Committee on Capitol Hill, with Henry Kissinger still trying to get that cease-f*re agreement implemented.

For a few hours tonight, attention will be shifted away from those daytime problems here at the White House.

The guests of honor are 600 Americans who were held prisoner of w*r at some time or other during the long and agonizing Vietnam conflict.

All of us would like to join in a round of applause for the brave men that took those B-52s in and did the job.

Nixon was overjoyed when the P.O.W.s came home.

And they were overjoyed to see him. Nixon was a hero to the P.O.W.s.

Because as all of you know, if they hadn't have done it, you wouldn't be here tonight.

But while he was cheering the P.O.W.s, Nixon was thinking, "Watergate's going to take me down."

That night when it was over, he went back to his study and got his daughters down and said, "you know, I might have to resign."

Good evening. The Congress of the United States in a historic action today made effective a limitation on the powers of the President to make w*r.

The House and then the Senate overturned President Nixon's veto of the w*r Powers Bill.

And despite his opposition, that measure now becomes law.

Does this override the new developments in Watergate?

I think this has no relationship at all to Watergate.

This is a prerogative of the Congress of the United States that several Presidents have tried to take unto themselves.

But the people of this country are demanding that never again do we stumble into a Watergate. Excuse me...

The people of this country are demanding that we never again stumble into a Vietnam.

At 9:04 this evening, Richard M. Nixon became the first President ever to resign his office.

There is the President waving good-bye. You can hear the applause.

As we bind up the internal rules of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.

There was this collective sigh of relief in the country.

Okay, we have a new President. It's a new day. Let's see how things go.

Secretary Kissinger... The President has already announced that he will stay in the cabinet.

Sophisticated Vietnamese believe they're the ultimate victims of Watergate.

They think Congress cut U.S. aid to settle a score with former President Nixon.

Cronkite News. March 18, 1975.

According to Pentagon sources, the North Vietnamese have now penetrated to a point some 25 miles east of the provincial capital of Ban Me Thuot, which fell over the weekend.

The cease-f*re that wasn't a cease-f*re involved a lot of bloody combat.

For the first 11 months, the South Vietnamese fought quite well.

But by 1975, it became more and more clear that the North Vietnamese were building up a formidable logistical system that portended real danger for the South Vietnamese.

The Communists began the first major att*ck of their offensive.

Saigon's troops made a stand. It was a vital one.

The entire central highland might be lost.

And South Vietnam could be cut in two by the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong.

The plan that the North Vietnamese conceived would be a two-year plan.

What happened was that when attacking the central highland town of Ban Me Thuot, the Thieu government lost its composure.

Government troops were secretly ordered by President Thieu to pull out of the central highland provinces.

The withdrawal quickly became a rout. Civilians and soldiers fleeing in panic, leaving behind huge supplies of American-made w*r materials.

The North Vietnamese never dreamed it would result in such a dramatic decision as to abandon the highlands which had been fought over for 12 years.

So they reconvened their central m*llitary committee and determined that the iron is hot and this the time to strike.

President Thieu said he would not abandon Hue but the people are leaving anyway.

Thieu said he would not abandon Quang Tri, and that city is now gone.

The world witnessed the tragedy of the overrunning of Quang Tri, followed by Hue, followed by Danang. And the next thing you know, those of us sitting in Saigon are watching our map legitimately bleed red.

A somber Henry Kissinger outlined in a news conference what he saw as the choices now facing the United States.

What we face now is whether the United States, not just will withdraw its forces, which we achieved, and not just will start the end of the loss of American life, but whether it will deliberately destroy an ally by withholding aid from it in its moment of extremity.

There is a new Harris Poll out today on how people feel about continued m*llitary aid to Vietnam.

Only 17% favor that and almost 3/4 of those questioned are opposed to further m*llitary aid.

It is a tragedy unbelievable in its ramifications.

I must say that I am frustrated by the action of the Congress in not responding to some of the requests both for economic and humanitarian and m*llitary assistance in South Vietnam.

When you consider how much we've spent in blood and treasure in Southeast Asia, and how little we've bought with the money, I should think that now the time has finally come to say no more.

A Communist commando unit, probably Viet Cong, has slipped into Saigon and dug itself beneath this American bridge over the Saigon River.

Above them, South Vietnamese helicopter g*n circle and fling down their salvo of rockets.

Soldiers behind me are f*ring at Viet Cong units who are 500 yards away, no more.

This is the closest to fighting has ever come to Saigon since the Communist Offensive in 1968.

Reporting from ABC News, Saigon.

Now there are reports that the Communists have the city within a*tillery range.

At least the airport.

Many Americans on the ground in South Vietnam at that time felt serious obligation to Vietnamese whom they had worked with and knew.

They were running in panic, not because the NV were so hot on their heels but because of the thr*at that the NV were coming.

They city was suddenly choked with people, lorries and cars all chasing one American evacuation convoy after the other.

I borrowed a truck with a bogus Embassy license plate on it and stuffed people in the truck and drove them through the gate.

The airport received sporadic rocket f*re from Communist forces closing in on the city.

Minutes later came the report that all Americans are to be evacuated immediately.

By the 29th at noon, there were about 2,500 people in the U.S. Embassy who can only be gotten out by helicopter.

The scene at the U.S. Embassy here in Saigon is total chaos.

The Embassy gates were closed, and we, like the frightened Vietnamese and their families, had to fight and claw our way out.

I turned to help them if I could, but I couldn't get anyone out.

50 at a time took off to the carriers waiting in the South China Sea.

There was no room, so the Navy men ordered the pilots to ditch the helicopters in the ocean.

We were living in a period of what the Greeks call hubris.

Overweening pride.

This was this eighth-rate m*llitary power. How were they going to defeat us?

Once it became a reality, seeing the pictures on television of not only a retreat, but a disorderly retreat. and that ache within ourselves, we end up saying, "this is not who we thought we were."

To see what was in store for the South Vietnamese people, to see the visions of our helicopters and people struggling to get out, terrible triage and choices that had to be made. was clearly one of the lows in my life.

The Communist forces, some of them riding in Russian-made t*nk, some in captured American jeeps, rolled into Saigon about 3.5 hours after the end of the dramatic American evacuation of U.S. nationals and many South Vietnamese.

There's no way to capture in one evening's broadcast the suffering and the grief of 30 years of a subcontinent at w*r.

There's no way to capture the suffering and grief of our own nation in the most divisive conflict since our own Civil w*r.

In Vietnam, we've finally reached the end of the tunnel and there is no light there.

What is there, perhaps, was best said by President Ford...

A w*r that is finished.

The Vietnam w*r produced a million unwritten stories of human misery and human dignity.

In all, the w*r in the South produced over 11 million refugees.

430,000 civilians d*ed in the w*r according to an American estimate, along with 254,000 South Vietnamese soldiers.

The United States has spent more than $350 billion on Vietnam.

And it may end up being much higher than that.

The other loss we also know about, even though we don't talk about it very much.

And when we do, it's as if it were some kind of index or score.

56,000 lives, plus about 150,000 seriously wounded.

Many of whom will never recover.

So, when some future politician for some reason feels the need to drag this country into a w*r, he might come out here to Arlington and stand maybe right over there somewhere to make his announcement and to tell what he has in mind.

If he can attract public support speaking from a place like this, then his reasons for starting a new w*r would have to be good ones.
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