[Marxism] the horrific violence of US "pacification" of South Vietnam

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 24 00:34:32 MST 2018

clip - By the time of the cease-fire in Vietnam in 1973, more than 10
million South Vietnamese, mostly from rural areas — well over half of the
estimated total population of 17 million — had been driven from their homes
by the war. The United States Senate subcommittee on refugees estimated
that by 1974, over 1.4 million civilians had been killed and wounded, and
attributed over 50 percent of these casualties to the firepower of American
and South Vietnamese forces. These displacements and casualties were not
just the byproduct of warfare but also a result of deliberate policies by
the United States and South Vietnamese governments.

To clear the Viet Cong from the areas they controlled and from contested
villages, the United States relied on the strategy of pacification.
“Pacification” derives from a Latin word that means to make peace, but the
act of pacification is violent. It started with an assault on hamlets and
villages, with bombing, shelling and mortar barrages to prepare the way for
ground attacks. Once a hamlet or village was taken over, South Vietnamese
government officials moved in to solidify control. Militia and self-defense
forces were set up to provide security. Then the government would try to
win hearts and minds by building schools and clinics, and begin a process
of economic development leading to modernization.

In mid-1967, Samuel Huntington of Harvard, working as a consultant to the
State Department, visited Vietnam. On his return, he wrote an article in
Foreign Affairs, “The Bases of Accommodation
in which he stated that “the most dramatic and far-reaching impact of the
war in South Vietnam has been the tremendous shift in population from the
countryside to the cities.”

He went on to say, “In an absent-minded way the United States in Vietnam
may well have stumbled upon the answer” to the insurgency. The answer lies
in “forced-draft urbanization and modernization,” which would drive the
rural population from the villages into urban areas and deprive the
insurgency the support it needed “to generate enough strength to come to

The war had taken from the peasants who had been driven into urban areas to
find safety what they cherished most: the land that their forebears had
walked and tilled, and the homes that had sheltered them for generations.
It had also shattered the families that had sustained them from birth.
These were the things that had made their life whole before they became
victims of the Americans’ “forced-draft urbanization” of their society,
accomplished with bombing and shelling rather than with the
industrialization that had “urbanized and modernized” the United States and
other Western countries.


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