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Download No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam epub

by Larry Berman




On April 30, 1975, when U.S. helicopters pulled the last soldiers out of Saigon, the question lingered: Had American and Vietnamese lives been lost in vain? When the city fell shortly thereafter, the answer was clearly yes. The Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam -- signed by Henry Kissinger in 1973, and hailed as "peace with honor" by President Nixon -- was a travesty.

In No Peace, No Honor, Larry Berman reveals the long-hidden truth in secret documents concerning U.S. negotiations that Kissinger had sealed -- negotiations that led to his sharing the Nobel Peace Prize. Based on newly declassified information and a complete North Vietnamese transcription of the talks, Berman offers the real story for the first time, proving that there is only one word for Nixon and Kissinger's actions toward the United States' former ally, and the tens of thousands of soldiers who fought and died: betrayal.

On April 30, 1975, when U.S. helicopters pulled the last soldiers out of Saigon, the question lingered: Had American and Vietnamese lives been lost in vain? When the city fell shortly thereafter, the answer was clearly yes. The Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam -- signed by Henry Kissinger in 1973, and hailed as "peace with honor" by President Nixon -- was a travesty.

In No Peace, No Honor, Larry Berman reveals the long-hidden truth in secret documents concerning U.S. negotiations that Kissinger had sealed -- negotiations that led to his sharing the Nobel Peace Prize. Based on newly declassified information and a complete North Vietnamese transcription of the talks, Berman offers the real story for the first time, proving that there is only one word for Nixon and Kissinger's actions toward the United States' former ally, and the tens of thousands of soldiers who fought and died: betrayal.

Download No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam epub
ISBN: 0743223497
ISBN13: 978-0743223492
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Author: Larry Berman
Language: English
Publisher: Touchstone (August 6, 2002)
Pages: 334 pages
ePUB size: 1362 kb
FB2 size: 1194 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 605
Other Formats: rtf docx doc mbr

Adoraris
“No Peace, No Honor,” the final installment in Larry Berman’s excellent trilogy on the Vietnam War, focuses on the tortured three-year-long negotiations that ultimately led to the 1973 Paris Peace Accords.

Never mind the superlative on the back cover from Mark Clodfelter claiming that this book is “The most complete analysis of the Nixon era of the Vietnam War yet written…” It isn’t. It is mainly a highly critical analysis of the secret talks between national security advisor Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Politburo member Le Duc Tho that occurred outside the official four-party peace process. The official talks taking place at the International Conference Center, led by the distinguished American ambassador David Bruce were evidently all a charade, albeit a charade that Bruce and others knew nothing about.

In Berman’s damning assessment, the Paris Peace Accords, for which Kissinger and Tho later shared the Nobel Peace Prize, were actually a “Jabberwocky Agreement,” a reference to the strange, nonsense poem of gibberish from Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass.” He goes on to say: “There are at least two words no one can use to characterize [the Paris Peace Accords]. One is ‘peace.’ The other is ‘honor.’” Although I genuinely enjoyed this book and learned much, I completely disagree with the author’s cynical perspective. It is hard to imagine how Kissinger and Nixon could have secured a better deal given the tremendous domestic political constraints they were under and the sagacious negotiating tactics employed by the North Vietnamese.

Berman likes to toss around strong words like “betrayal” and “lies” when describing the actions of the Nixon White House. But one must also ask about the antiwar movement led by liberals in the United States, both those in Congress and those in the streets. After all, it was Kennedy and Johnson – liberals par excellence – that started the war and bequeathed the mess to Nixon and Kissinger in 1969.

Consider the words of Thai Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn to Kissinger in 1972: “I wonder why Congress is so much more worried about your enemies than your friends.” Or Le Do Tho’s acerbic assessment to the same person in the same year: “I don’t know what I’m negotiating with you. I have just spent six hours with Senator McGovern. Your anti-war movement will force you to give me what I want.” Indeed, Berman acknowledges that “The antiwar movement was one of [Le Duc Tho’s] strongest allies, and he knew it”, but never once does he suggest that those in the American antiwar movement bear any culpability for the pain and suffering that ultimately befell the innocent, non-communist people of South Vietnam.

Berman also more-or-less concedes that Nixon never intended to abandon the regime in Saigon: “The whole purpose of [the Paris Peace Accords] from the President’s point of view is that it provides the indispensable foundation for continued American involvement in Indochina, not for American political disengagement.” Moreover, he cites other non-partisan sources with the same perspective, such as career Foreign Service Officer and Ambassador to Laos, William H. Sullivan, who quipped to a dubious Nguyen Van Thieu, the embattled president of South Vietnam: “In 1953 Syngman Rhee did not like the agreement and did not trust us. But we have kept every commitment to South Korea, and today South Korea is in the strongest position.” Or as Berman rightfully acknowledges: “The ink on the paper was not nearly as important as the steel and power of the American B-52s,” which Nixon had every intention of using to uphold the agreement.

In fact, after reading “No Peace, No Honor,” it seems to me that Nixon and Kissinger got perhaps the best deal possible under the conditions. From the start, Berman says, “The North was obsessed with changing the Thieu regime.” Yet, the United States stuck by their man and ultimately Hanoi conceded. One of the more shocking things I learned from this book is that Nixon (via Marie Chennault, the widow the WWII Flying Tiger commander), convinced Thieu to avoid the opening of the Paris Peace talks on October 31, 1968 to help Nixon in the presidential election, a contest he won by 0.7% of the popular vote. Even more shocking, Berman explains that the Johnson administration knew all about the (highly illegal) electoral subterfuge because LBJ had the FBI tap the planes and offices of the Nixon/Agnew campaign. In other words, the Democrats “Watergated the Republicans” four years before Watergate.

Berman acknowledges that Nixon’s massive military response to the North Vietnamese 1972 Easter Offensive, Operation Linebacker, did much to secure key concessions from Hanoi. He echoes the conclusions of Mark Clodfelter in “The Limits of Airpower” (a study that Berman calls “masterful” not once, but twice), calling Linebacker I “the most successful use of airpower during the Vietnam War.”

The biggest sticking point in the negotiations involved the status of North Vietnamese Army troops in South Vietnam, the vast majority of them recent arrivals from the March 1973 Easter Offensive. Berman makes clear that Kissinger used every diplomatic tactic possible to expel those troops, but finally conceded “no negotiations would be able to remove them if we had not been able to expel them with force of arms.” That is, after all, why countries have armed forces. But Thieu, a soldier by training, was not convinced. “Have you ever seen any peace accord in history of the world in which the invaders had been permitted to stay in the territories they had invaded? Would you permit Russian troops to stay in the United States and say you have reached a peace accord with Russia?”

It’s a fair point, but one that misses the realities of the situation in 1973. The Nixon White House was clearly doing everything it could. “Throughout the entire negotiation, Hanoi would demonstrate a good grasp of American democratic politics,” Berman says, and it showed. The United States Congress was sure to cut off all funding for the war in early 1973. Nixon had dramatically circumscribed US war aims from Johnson’s lofty goal securing an independent, non-communist South Vietnam to merely assuring “the right of the South Vietnamese people to determine their own fate free of outside coercion.”

“No Peace, No Honor” makes it obvious that the Nixon/Kissinger near-term strategy for Vietnam was ultimately based upon a fundamental misreading of the American public, which was further undercut by the unanticipated and disastrous political consequences of the Watergate scandal. For instance, in the final days before the 1973 armistice, Kissinger noted to Singaporean leader and staunch American ally, Lee Kuan Yew: “Sixty-one percent voted in November 1972 not to abandon Southeast Asia. It was a clear issue.”

But was it? Berman shows that a Gallup Poll taken simultaneously with the 1972 US presidential election told a very different story. First, few believed that the peace would last. Some 70% of those polled thought that North would try to invade again. Second, and far more important for national security decision-making purposes, only 17% said that they would support US bombing in retaliation if the North should break the agreement and invade the South.

Kissinger later acknowledged the error. He wrote that the Nixon White House believed “that if we could get peace with honor, that we would unite the American people who would then defend an agreement that had been achieved with so much pain. That was our fundamental miscalculation. It never occurred to me, and I’m sure it never occurred to President Nixon, that there could be any doubt about it, because an agreement that you don’t enforce is a surrender; it’s just writing down surrender terms.”

And Watergate, arguably the greatest political scandal in American history, only made things worse. Berman concedes “Nixon planned for indefinite stalemate by using B-52s to prop up the government of South Vietnam until the end of his presidency…” but that Watergate destroyed those “plans for Vietnam by destroying his public support, and thus all chance for him to continue bombing after a peace agreement was signed.”

In closing, the Paris Peace Accords were by no means a perfect agreement for either the US or Saigon. But that is the price to be paid for failing to win on the battlefield. Moreover, Hanoi made some genuine concessions, too, most likely thanks to the eardrum-bursting power of the B-52s in Linebacker I and II. Kissinger was able to secure an agreement that allowed Thieu to stay in power and US troops to leave with their 600 POWs under a “cease-fire-in-place,” all while setting up a situation that would allow the US to uphold the agreement with an instrument of war that clearly terrified Hanoi. All sides knew that the agreement would not bring long-term “peace” to Vietnam, but to suggest that the final agreement, even in light of its attendant weaknesses, was somehow “dishonorable” for the US is, in this reviewer’s opinion, nothing but silly, revisionist posturing.
Monn
I am only part way through reading this book. It is unbelievable that the country was betrayed in the manner these two did. If even half of the facts are correct it is beyond despicable how the military was betrayed. South Vietnam was betrayed and the S Vietnam government was powerless to protect themselves. There are so many pieces of information that have not been publicized.
The hubris of these two was more important that the thousands of lives lost.
This has lead to additional research on Kissinger and it is ugly.
Felolune
The inside story on how the Democrats in Congress, Nixon, and Kissinger sold an ally down the tube. Most disgusting political maneuvering by men without honor or the ability to see the long range effects of their decisions.
Jogas
Great book read "Planning A Tragedy" first then this one. If you were their you'll understand what was happening at home while you were in the bush.
Fecage
Fine product and quick delivery
Duktilar
Factual presentation of how the United States Congress. The United States knew that the North Vietnamese would violate the Paris Peace Accords and we promised the South Vietnamese that we would support them militarily and logistically. We did not. This happen due to the resignation of President Nixon due to the Watergate. Then a majority victory for the new Congress in 1974 by the Democrats who withdrew the military aid promised by the United States. The majority of Democrats of the 94th Congress did not keep the word of the United States.

A very black day for the United States.
Nafyn
I found the book to be well written. It did shed a new light on Nixon's actions to get us out of VietNam. I had previously read his book titled "No More Veitnams" and this book made me lose a lot of respect for how the administration acted to make political points out of the war. In Nixon's book he cited the fact that congress had taken away his power to bomb the North as the reason that the war was lost after the military had won it on the ground. We don't seem very capable of negotiating in order to get out of wars that we no longer want to fight. This fiasco mirrors the long negotiations we went through in order to get out of the Korean war as well. I voted for Nixon because of his promise to get us out of Vietnam and never thaught that he would turn his back on the government in the South. As a Vietnam veteran, I was shocked by the revelations in this book.
I bought this book as gift for my husband for Christmas. My husband is a history buff. He is interested in the vietnam war as one of his followings. He was most pleased with this book. It arrived soon after I bought it. The dealer had it packaged very securely. I am most impressed by the dealers professionalisum....... Marge