tv Reel America Where We Stand in Vietnam - 1967 CSPAN November 12, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm EST
in vietnam. according to the national 11,360 three000 -- of them were killed or died there in 1967. , unreal america "where we stand in vietnam." it is a critical assessment of the military situated at the time posted by charles collingwood. the program includes a variety of field reports from vietnam and interviews with u.s. political and military leaders, soldiers. >> this is the first of two cbs news special reports -- "where we stand in vietnam." in the final analysis, it is their war. they are the ones who have to win it or lose it. we can help them, give them equipment, send our men out there as advisors, but they have to win it, the people of
vietnam, against the communists. [explosions] charles: the explosion of events has given the ring of anachronism and agent history to those words four years ago of john f. kennedy. these are u.s. soldiers, fighting on vietnam's front lines. they are giving their lives, they are not just giving their advice. doing -- to a degree never foreseen by kennedy, we hold the destiny of vietnam in our hands, and it holds hours. 500,000 american troops, 14,000 american dead, $50 billion american dollars later, their war is not for them to win or lose, it is ours as well. it has become the most divisive in 100 years of american history. is it a war we are winning?
can progress be measured? do the results match the effort? these are the subjects of this broadcasts tonight. >> this cbs news special report -- "where we stand in vietnam," is brought to you by western electric, the manufacturing and supply unit of the bell system as part of their continuing coverage of important events. "where we stand in vietnam" is reported by the saigon bureau of cbs news, and by chief foreign correspondent charles collingwood. charles: this is my 14th visit to vietnam in the last eight years. during that time, one has seen a change, step by step, from a vietnamese war to one that is visibly, demonstrably, and painfully an american one as well.
when i started coming here in 1960, there were only 773 american military advisers. now there are nearly half a million american troops in vietnam, more on the way, and, to sustain their operations, they have all of this -- acre upon endless acre of all the -- upon which a modern military machine depends. some simple, some complex. some frivolous, some as deadly as sin. there are tens upon tens of thousands of trucks, jeeps, tanks, and every kind of vehicle that has a military application. we burn up fuel and lubricants in vietnam at the rate of 1,700,000,000 gallons a year.
every year, our forces spread 1 million and a half drums of asphalt and 15 million bags of cement to roll upon. and because the army is the army, it uses up more than 10 million sheets of paper every day in vietnam. paper in duplicate, triplicate, sextuplicate, and as numerous as autumn leaves. this particular base had long been occupied as an area larger than the entire city of saigon, and all of it is stiff with the hardware of war. president johnson decided to give south vietnam this massive transfusion of american military power in 1965. there was only one deep water port in vietnam then, saigon. now, there are eight. led by the vast installation at cam ranh bay, dredged out of the sand dunes on the pacific at a cost of $150 million.
cam rahn -- one of the great natural harbors of the pacific is one of the more spectacular of the new ports, which overnight have been carved out, up and down the coast of south vietnam. terminals of the long transmission belt that brings supplies, 15,000 miles from the factories and workshops of america. when president johnson made the fateful decision in 1965 to throw in a great weight of american power, south vietnam had only two airfields which could take a jet airplane. today, there are 10. loud with aircraft of every description. 5000 aircraft, which come in 50 varieties of planes and 15 different kinds of helicopters.
bases not only for offensive sorties and supplies of military hardware, but for that software, which is the most precious of military commodities -- the soldier. with a one year tour of duty in vietnam, half a million come in every year, and half a million go out again, many in planes chartered from big airlines. all of those indians require a multiplication of chiefs. to house the chiefs in proper style, a vast new office complex has sprung up in saigon for the headquarters of the u.s. military assistance command vietnam. that is its official title. naturally, it is referred to as pentagon east. pentagon east is relatively spartan. not so the new american embassy, imposing and luxurious, complete
with a helicopter pad on top from which the various ambassadors can be whisked off to their responsibilities. all of these installations, all of this equipment, all of these men have been conjured up in the span of only two years, a great amount of power to support what we once were told would be a small war to be fought by other people. but it is being fought now by americans as well. every day, the planes take home their melancholy burden of those who were lost and those who were wounded. in the inevitable arithmetic of war, more men equals more fighting equals more casualty. no wonder people wonder whether it is all worth it, and ask why, with all this stuff, with all the men, all the time we have
been here, we have not been able to achieve what we set out to do? one difficulty in coming to grips with the reality of vietnam is that our official prophecies have tended to outpace our progress. sweeping predictions have been followed by modest results, sometimes even by setbacks. at the beginning of the year, henry cabot lodge was asked about our military prospect for 1967. >> this is a dangerous business for public officials to get into, but it is a very good question. i would expect that the percentage rate of american casualties would go down in 1967. i would expect a conventional military war to achieve a very sensational results in 1967. >> however the future looked in january, the fact is in 1967, the number of u.s. troops killed in vietnam has nearly doubled,
and the percentage rate of casualties has not gone down. the military result in 1967 has been somewhat less than sensational. one of the reasons that forecasts about vietnam are dangerous is that you can always find evidence to support what you want to believe on either side. without taking sides, it is the observation of this reporter that militarily, things are better than when i was in vietnam six months ago. better than they were one year ago. progress has not been sensational, it is painful, spotty, but it is visible. we may even be, as is officially claimed again, on the verge of much more rapid progress. this is not a military map. is a, more important, it population map. these symbols represent the hamlets of south vietnam and who controls them, what the war is really about.
they range from a hamlets which are completely under control, to v hamlets. those that are under vc control. there are more relatively secure vc hamlets, one sign of progress. the biggest concentration of viet cong hamlets is in this populated delta, the fourth core area of vietnam. this is almost an entirely south vietnamese army show. the south vietnamese army is mounting larger operations in the delta and reporting diminished viet cong effectiveness, but they have made slow headway in winning back the populated areas. in some only modest progress down here so far, things have gone somewhat better in the third corps, which includes the
capital of saigon. three u.s. divisions and the u.s. per gauge, plus three south vietnamese divisions have been busy here. the threat to saigon itself has measurably decreased. more population has been brought under government control, and u.s. commanders think we are poised for even better things. however, the first division has just had a bloody encounter with the revised viet cong 271st regiment, which shows the enemy is by no means inequipped. still, we claim substantial corps.s in third the most solid gains of all have been made in the second corps area. here, our big unit actions in the wide-open spaces of two corps have, for the time being, at least, gained the upper hand. one year ago, only 25% of its one million inhabitants were under government control. now, 70% are. good progress in two core.
but in the first corps, what we call i corps in vietnam, the picture is different. the enemy was operating on short lines of communication, and has been able to pin down the u.s. marines and the u.s. army and south vietnamese army units rushed up to help them. casualties have been heavy, and pacification has ground to a halt. fighting has been severe throughout the whole of i corps, but what has caught our attention is the conventional warfare south of the dmz. the only battlefield where the enemy can fight with artillery. >> i have about 25, 30 incoming heavy artillery rounds. that area seems to be really covered. i will go ahead and get these people out and inform you when i have done so. >> roger that, go ahead and fire. make sure your own troops are out of the way and let the tigers do their business.
>> this has become a focal point for more than a year of heavy fighting along the dmz. a lightning rod for north vietnamese artillery across the border, and the closest the vietnam war has come to being conventional. the marines are holding a half dozen outposts and base camps just south of the dmz. from near the laotian border along route nine, to the south and the north of what is called leathernecks square. they provide the marines with observation posts overlooking the narrow mountain valleys and coastal plains the north vietnamese use to move their troops south. they are also staging bases for patrols and operations. these cities are connected by a six mile strip of bulldozed land, cleared to give the marines a better view, and intended to become part of a longer, more elaborate barrier from the south china sea, 40
miles to the laotian border. work has stopped on the strip. vegetation is growing back, and it does not appear possible to resume the job without many more marines to protect the engineers. above the river, the north vietnamese introduced heavy artillery this summer, pounding several cities with 152 millimeter shells, as often as a thousand a day. a marine who was there in the month of september had a 50-50 chance of being hit. there were 600 casualties among the 1200 men there. the marines took a terrible pounding, but they held their ground gallantly. >> how do you feel about this kind of war? >> it is what we trained for. we will prevail. we will win. >> did you ever imagine that war
is like this war? >> i did not. i thought it was a big joke before i came here. it is real serious. i thought it was a joke before i came over, but now i realize it is no joke. >> we cannot reach those big guns and they keep dropping in. there is nothing you can do. it is like being a big bull's-eye on top of the help. you just sit there, waiting. you can be lucky, that's it. >> since the marines cannot seize the enemy artillery positions in the north, it has been suggested that they withdraw and lure the north vietnamese guns into the south, where they can be attacked by ground forces. the marine commander in vietnam, robert cushman, does not like the idea. >> i would like to point out, first, that those cities, while we have no emotional attachment to them or stubbornness about it, do constitute the commanding
terrain for miles around. from these two points, one can see all the way up into here in north vietnam. consequently, if you give these positions up, and i say these positions, i am also referring to the maneuvering forces in these areas, you give up dong ha, cam lo, this whole route, , you give up khe sanh in the end. in addition, you have exposed the provincial capital to greatly increased pressure from the enemy. i might also mention that in this general area, there are some 50,000 friendly people who would either have to be evacuated or abandoned. >> you do not intend to abandon them? >> no, i do not. >> the only present alternative for the marines is to sit out the shelling, take the casualties, and hope that american air and artillery strikes are hurting the enemy more.
there is no way to tell. such a defensive position along the dmz is not a tactic the marines prefer, but the officers say they can live with it. whether it is due to the enemy's clever tactics or the bad fighting conditions, weather, or terrain, it seems clear that the american military offensive along the dmz has bogged down like the marines in the mud. john lawrence, cbs news. charles: it is no longer at all an offensive we are engaged in, it is a stubborn defense, by definition uncongenial to the assault-minded marines, bought on a battlefield particularly favorful to the enemy. and while this is not what they feared, this is hardly the situation they desired. there is much question aimed by professional military opinion of
the wisdom of establishing the marines where they cannot maneuver northward without invading north vietnam, but where they are within enemy artillery range. to pull them back would be to give the enemy a prestige victory and, as the general says, to possibly expose the northernmost part of south vietnam to concentrated assault. neither is considered acceptable. it is not a pretty picture. it is the part of the war that is going least well. apart from the gallantry of the marines, the best thing you can say about this is it is not typical of the rest of the war. elsewhere, in its ponderous way, the u.s. military machine is grinding ahead. nothing is more typical of the frustration of the war in vietnam or better illustrates the enormous effort that the american way of fighting a guerrilla war requires than the so-called search and destroy operations. these are missions against the viet cong base areas designed
not to occupy the ground, but to make it less useful to the enemy. don webster went out on one that is still underway, about 30 miles from saigon. >> the 25th division is getting bo woods pretty well. this is the 10th time in 18 months they have been in here, and each time the story is the same. a fine the enemy, find they just missed him, and then they leave and the viet cong come back. and these woods represent many of the following in the united states central part of vietnam. >> we are moving. this man is going to stay over there. >> most of these places are worthless pieces of land, except for the fact that the enemy lives here -- or at least used to -- and probably will again once the americans leave.
[gunfire] >> the americans never sneak into the jungle quietly and unobtrusively. the enemy always knows they are there or on their way. [helicopter blades whirring] [gunfire] >> airstrikes like this on artillery are used for preparing an area before the american center. the idea is to keep the viet cong busy, ducking more hiding, to prevent them from setting up ambushes or booby-traps.
it also warns them and gives them a chance to get away. they usually do. nine times out of 10, sweeps like this results in finding enemy bunkers, base camps, equipment, or rice, but very few enemies. most of the battles in vietnam are at the time and place of the enemy's choosing. if he does not want to fight, he does not have to. when the supply routes falter, short of men, weapons, and ammunition, he simply disappears into the jungle and waits. the americans have to wait, too. invariably, the americans find enemy hiding places. this hole in the ground might not look impressive, but it leads to several hundred yards of underground tunnels, where the viet cong live and hide from american firepower. the current invasion of the ho
bo was is different from the preceding ones. the americans are in the process of methodically knocking down bo woods. ho using these giant machines, these woods are being eliminated. the project is taking six weeks, and 12,000 acres of jungle will be flattened. knocking down the woods may eliminate one of the enemy's favorite hiding places, but you cannot flatten an entire country. in the past, the viet cong have been well organized, adaptable, and resourceful, and there is little doubt while the americans are busy knocking down trees, the viet cong are thinking up new tactics. charles: the test of the effectiveness of operations like
this is whether the new tactics that the enemy has to think of to answer them are as good as the ones that we have forced him to abandon. american commanders are convinced that our search and destroy operations have been successful enough to make -- to make the enemy's task immensely more difficult. places --e to go into each time, it is more difficult for him to establish himself. it has hampered his operations and cost him not only sanctuary, but supplies he cannot afford to lose. the ninth divisions stumbled upon a huge tunnel complex in one of the base areas. we talked to the company commander. >> for four days, they have been pulling weapons out of these tunnels, which extend as much as 500, 600 meters under the ground and are big enough that i can stand up in the passageway and walk. over 100 machine guns, over 500
rifles, 575 millimeter recoilless rifles, 10 82 millimeter mortars. so much equipment you cannot imagine. they could have easily equipped a regiment or division. >> one of the most popular misconceptions about this war is that the vc and north vietnamese are noble savages, wise in the ways of the jungle but armed only with a humble slingshot against the mechanized goliath of the united states. that is not quite true. except for our air and artillery, in the field of personal weapons, the enemy's equipment is quite comparable with ours. this is the soviet model chinese manufactured ak-47 rifle. it is the standard equipment of
the main force vc and north vietnamese. it is a very effective weapon. a match most american soldiers say, for our m-16s. gas operated, air cooled, automatic and semi-automatic, can fire at a rate of 350 rounds a minute. there was a time when the vc did rely more on ingenuity and homemade stuff. when the third brigade of the first division which maintains this war museum of captured weapons first came here, they were finding stuff like this, a homemade rifle made out of a piece of pipe. they were finding things like these steel bars. nasty and unpleasant, but not deadly, or these sharpened bamboo sticks. they set those in ditches for the unwary soldier to step on. they will pierce a boot. booby-traps and hand grenades,
homemade out of american beer cans or coca-cola cans. condensed milk cans. now we are finding more sophisticated things. the claymore mine, with its charge, which carries a deadly load of shrapnel, steel, iron that they find. these mines account for 47% of american casualties in vietnam. this is a sophisticated weapon, chinese made, for a russian antitank grenade launcher. this will pierce 11 inches of steel. they have other things. this soviet heavy 7.62 heavy machine gun, 57 millimeter recoilless rifle. this is their favorite mortar weapon. the soviet 82 millimeter mortar.
it is the enemy's main artillery south of the demilitarized zone. it is an effective weapon which he handles with great accuracy. only a few weeks ago, all the windows in this war museum were blown out when the post came under 82 millimeter attack. they were lucky it was not the new soviet 122 millimeter rocket. those rockets have not come down this far south yet. they have had plenty of them at da nang. >> the surprising thing is not that this happens, but that it is does not happen more often. this was da nang air base the night of the 15th of july. the first rocket hit at 10 minutes after midnight. in just a few seconds, 22 aircraft were in flames, eight men were dead, 140 marines and
airmen injured. 13 barracks were destroyed. damage was estimated between $25 million and $50 million. it was the most costly of the many attacks the communists have launched against american installations in vietnam. the trouble is we build such juicy targets. nang complex. drop a rocket anywhere within several square miles down there, you're bound to hit an airplane, a warehouse, a barracks, an ammunition dump, or a ship. an american general admits it is still easy for a couple of guerrillas to cause $50 million worth of damage. the best defense is still an old-fashioned one, the infantry patrol. elements of three marine regiments spend all their time
trying to prevent an attack on da nang. a recent one was launched near cam ne, the location of so much controversy when the marines burned it in 1965. the villagers have been moved out and the communists have used it as a launching site twice, almost certainly for symbolic reasons. we discussed the rocket problem with the captain of the first marine division. >> you cannot even see the airbase, yet they did a pretty good job. how do they know just where they are? >> they would have had to survey this area. this vicinity has been in viet cong territory for a long time. it has only become less so in the last couple years. it might've been surveyed at any time, or it might have been done fairly recently. >> how they get all this equipment in here? through the patrols that go on? >> it is probable they brought these in quite a long time ago. they used this site two
different times. not this precise location, but this general area once in march and once recently. it is possible the weapons were put in plastic and buried in the river. >> once the attack has been launched, escape is fairly easy for the viet cong. they can melt into the population or hide in the jungle areas just a few miles away. the number of bridges the communists have blown in the da nang area has lengthened the marine reaction time. a year ago, you could travel nang andne between da the farthest outpost to the south and about one hour. today, the only way to make the trip is in an armed convoy and if you're lucky you will do it in seven hours. each day, a convoy led by two with their cannon heads out from da nang.
they carry supplies and the material of war. at the same time, another heads north, this one empty, for more supply. the trip used to be faster until the viet cong set out to destroy all the bridges on highway 1. the most recent to fall has already been replaced by a pontoon span, but the temporary bridge cannot carry heavy equipment. each bridge that goes down causes a bottleneck, an ideal spot for an ambush. the near trouble spot is about five miles before you reach -- before you reach hill 63. the bridge is being replaced, but the convoys have to be ferried across. two makeshift barges do the job, but there is a delay of several hours while waiting for the tide to come up. it takes 30 minutes to make one -- it takes 30 minutes to make one trip. with 40 trucks in this convoy, dark will come long before the crossing can be completed. there is one man who can prevent
the attacks -- the peasant. nothing happens in his rice paddy without his knowledge. he watches the attack being planned and says nothing, he watches them launch and gives no warning. if he can be convinced that our war is his war, these attacks would stop almost overnight. >> the continued ability of the viet cong to mount these attacks on our key communications on our most important bases shows that however well we are doing in large unit actions, we are making much slower progress against guerrillas and terrorists. they can and do still stage incidents and kidnap or murder local officials in the outskirts of saigon itself. american military commanders say you can never completely stop that sort of thing anymore than you can completely stop muggings and bank robberies in the united states. it is still true that someone knows where the vietcong guerrillas and terrorists are and does not want to tell us or finds it safer or more politic not to.
so far, we have been talking only about the ground war in vietnam. we will look at the air war next. charles: the entire path of our involvement in vietnam is strewn with predictions gone astray. in 1964, before the decision to commit american troops, we were urging a greater effort on the part of the south vietnamese. i asked secretary of defense mcnamara then whether that did not inevitably mean an increase in american personnel. >> it may increase certain categories of american personnel but on balance i doubt there will be any increase. the south vietnamese are willing to carry on their own fight. we all recognize that the war must be won by the effort they -- by the effort of the vietnamese. we are providing economic
assistance. we are providing training. we are not carrying the brunt of the fighting. charles: we are now carrying a great deal of the fight, on the ground and in the air war, except for an insignificant south vietnamese force, it is almost entirely an american show. airpower, of all the sophisticated and deadly weapons of war in south vietnam, is the one thing we most conspicuously have and the enemy has not. he has none. we have the entire range, from supersonic jets to helicopters that can land on a dime. the use of air power is crucial to the kinds of war americans fight. we use the airplane against the enemy, against two shelters, against the very trees of the jungle itself. sometimes we use it against friend instead of foe. because our superiority is so overwhelming, it has created problems as well as solving
them. >> more than 1/5 of all the americans in vietnam are assigned to fight in or support the air war. the accomplishments can be impressive. for example, transport by air mobilee our forces more than in any other war. the air force estimates that transports within vietnam in the first months of 1967 carried half a million tons of cargo, 2 million passengers. airplanes are called on for strange and novel missions. this plane is spraying defoliation chemicals on the jungle to open up the hiding places we think the enemy may be using. the dragon ship, actually an old world war ii transport converted into a flying gun platform for nighttime assault. it's three miniguns capable of
spewing out 900 bullets every second. and in the daytime, the armed hog gunship,he with grenade launchers and six machine guns, one of the more notable innovations in aerial warfare developed in vietnam. the heavy weapon in the air war in the south is still the strike by fixed-wing jet warplanes. these are jets that can exceed the speed of sound, designed to carry atomic bombs, they are now assigned to blasting holes in the vietnamese jungle. they move too fast for the pilots to see what they're doing.
the pilot just aims at the spot of smoke rocket. too often, from the pilot's point of view, the target is elusive or uncertain. what the pilots call just another tree buster. it must be frustrating as pilots, when you fly so much you do not know what you're doing. it seems impersonal to me. is it that to you? >> it definitely is from our standpoint. also frustrating when you cannot see what you are doing, what the damage you are doing. to me, the good missions are those where you are supporting the troops in combat. when you have troops that are pinned down and you're doing them good, you also feel good. those are the best.
>> it seems to be an impersonal war. you're dumping lethal weapons on people. are you conscience of this or is it just finding your target and pressing the button? are you aware you are fighting people? in the air is a different? >> >> when you first start out you might have a feeling that it is personal. after a while, it becomes so routine and becomes so impersonal that it is just a matter of putting ordinance where you are directed to put it. >> an arsenal of specialized destruction is being developed for the air assault on the vietcong. 10 types of bombs, rockets, and shells. a weapons officer of the third tactical fighter wing -- >> here you see a mighty mouse rocket that are used primarily as an anti-personnel weapon. when the war head explodes on impact on the ground.
we can carry 42 of these in the aircraft. here you see what we call the cbu dispenser. itself -- this large dispenser fills with approximately 400 smaller bombs that way three pounds each. this particular item is not dispensed from the aircraft like a bomb does. it distributes the smaller bomblettes that are contained inside of it behind the aircraft. .his is a 1000 pound bomb this bomb, the general-purpose high explosive, is very effective. especially if we use a delayed fuse. it penetrates about eight to 10 feet in the ground and makes a tremendous crater. this particular bomb, about 50 feet across that time. it will obliterate any of the enemy bunkers or heavily defended areas. this is the napalm bomb we use
effectively because it does get down into some of the bunkers. it is a firebomb. >> on any given day, the command post for the air war, the tactical air control center near saigon, dispatches an average of 450 planes on bombing runs in south vietnam. the marine corps flies another 200. every plane that flies is controlled from this one room. the general who directs the daily air war in south vietnam -- >> we are using sophisticated jet airplanes capable of carrying nuclear weapons. are these the right kind of weapons for these kinds of counterinsurgency war? >> oh yes. i do not think there's any question about this. we have planes we use, the f-100, the f-4. a1s around and some other aircraft.
an airplane that you must have is an airplane that can survive. we cannot afford to take an airplane and procure them in large numbers that cannot survive across the border. although it may seem like sometimes we are taking a ball bat to kill a mosquito, we have to be prepared to use the ball bat if we need to destroy a target that requires a ball bat. >> there has been criticism of using baseball bats to kill mosquitoes in south vietnam. criticism and shock at the killing of civilians and damage to nonmilitary property that results in highly lethal ordinances delivered from supersonic planes against a practically invisible enemy. nevertheless, few critics have proposed that u.s. troops be denied the close air support that has meant the difference
between success and slaughter. the evidence is that even aerial bombing, indiscriminate as it is, has hit the enemy's jungle hideouts. thus with all their aspects of overkill, our air operations in the south have never been as controversial as the american bombing of north vietnam. bombing the north was controversial before it began, debated in the inner circles as far back as 1961. it was not a decision the johnson administration reached easily. the president himself set forth the case against it in the campaign of 1964. >> when i start throwing bombs around and involving american boys in a war in asia with the chinese. yes, for the moment, i have not thought that we were ready, our american boys, to do the fighting for the asian boys.
what i've been trying to do was to get the boys in vietnam to do their own fighting with our advice and our equipment. that is the course we are following. we are not going north to drop bombs at this stage of the game. charles: that stage of the game was soon passed. the first american bombs to fall on north vietnam were dropped as isolated reprisals, first after the tonkin gulf incident. by 1965, we had announced a policy of continuous bombing of the north. it has increased in intensity and in the range of targets selected. they have been getting closer to the center of hanoi and the border with red china.
the north vietnamese have met our bombing with the most powerful ground to air defense ever encountered in warfare, greater even than world war ii. based on soviet and chinese weapons and devices and now with soviet built migs in the air, the defenses have cost the united states more than 700 aircraft, a heavy loss. u.s. pilots have flown more than 600,000 sorties against the north, about half from carriers offshore, the other half mainly from thailand and some from south vietnam. the rate of loss in this war is less than in either world war ii or korea. what is most controversial about the bombing of north vietnam is not the cost in pilots and planes, but whether the bombing has achieved or ever could achieve its purposes. the reason for the bombing,
besides the morale of the south, was originally two fold. to interdict the enemy supply routes to the south, thus impairing his ability to sustain his operations. this kind of bombing has certainly made it more difficult for him, but we have him on no less authority than that of secretary of defense robert mcnamara that it has not significantly diminished his efforts to resupply. the second purpose was to strike so hard at the basic economy of north vietnam to make the price of continuing the war so high that their will to continue would be weekend -- weakend. they would be compelled to the conference table. the north vietnamese do not like to be bombed, as is shown by their propaganda effort to get us to stop, but they have shown no increased willingness to come to the conference table as a result of the bombing, quite the
contrary. american airmen are proud of the accuracy of their bombing, but in the nature of things not all bombs hit only their targets. the north vietnamese and their friends regularly supply pictures of damage done to nonmilitary installations. this adds fuel to the controversy over the bombing of the north. a less controversial reason for some of the bombing has recently been added -- to support the u.s. marines in their struggle south of the demilitarized zone. 90% of our b-52 strikes are directed against against the three north vietnamese divisions ranged against the marines. a giant b-52 was never designed for close support operations. when it strikes, it chews up the landscape in what must be a terrifying way. few americans would wish to deny the marines the benefit of air support.
the wider controversy over the bombing deep in north vietnam continues. however, that bombing, like so many other things in vietnam, was a great deal easier to start than it is to stop. in a recent news conference, the secretary of state put the case for not stopping the bombing now. >> for us to say it will stop, you go right ahead with your war, you live there safely and comfortably without being disturbed while using your men at arms in the south vietnam for the next 50 years. where would be the incentive for peace? we are interested in peace, not a sanctuary which will let them carry on these operations against south vietnam and laos for eternity while they sit there in a sanctuary, taking
their own time, paying no price, trying to seize our neighbors by force. >> such vehemence has not silenced the critics, who say it would be mature statesmanship to abandon a tactic that has not been demonstrably successful and alienated opinion in the u.s. and abroad. still, the dilemma of bombing the north is a real one. one suggestion to avoid the horns of the dilemma in the absence of any signal from hanoi that it is willing to negotiate is to suspend the deep bombing of the heartland of north vietnam while continuing to attack enemy supply lines and routes in the panhandle and the concentrations against the marines. secretary mcnamara has testified that idea is not dead. meanwhile, the inconclusive results of the bombing of north vietnam parallels the inconclusive nests -- the
inconclusive this of the war itself. it raises the most perplexing questions about the war. it is our efforts commensurate with the results we achieve? are we equipped to wage this kind of war? where do we stand in vietnam? we will try to answer those questions in a moment. in the last hour, we have quoted a number of authorities whose optimistic prophecies about vietnam have been confounded by events. we might have quoted an equal number of pessimists whose forecast of the imminent collapse of south vietnam will of been just as mistaken. an advocate can prove any point he wants to make, from the contradictory evidence generated by this contradictory war. this is not an advocate's report. these are the conclusions of this reporter -- the united states has begun to make military progress on the ground in south vietnam although the end is not yet in sight. we are more successful in large
unit actions against organized formations that we are against the viet cong guerrilla and terrorist. the enemy, although hurt, is still very much in the field and increasingly well armed by his soviet and chinese allies. our use of air power in south vietnam has been militarily of effective when employed directly in battle, less so when used against the enemy bases and hideouts, where besides hitting them it also causes civilian destruction. the bombing of north vietnam has not done what the u.s. hoped it would do. it must have hurt the enemy, it has not decisively influenced his ability to infiltrate and fight or his ability to resist our invitations to negotiate. in vietnam, we are trapped by our own power. the american way of war is most successful when pitted against something like itself. in vietnam it is not.
this is not to say it does not produce results -- it does, though at a heavy cost to us and to the south vietnamese we seek to help. it has become a race between the success of our rescue operation and the damage it does to those we wish to rescue. a minimum objective has already been achieved. if we stay in vietnam, the war cannot be lost. what is still not clear whether it will be won. that is not entirely in the hands of the american military. even if those hands were more sure than they are. it is not even depending on the willingness of the american public at home, a willingness a reporter who works abroad cannot really assess. winning the war, if we continue military progress, still depends on the south vietnamese. in that context, the words of john f. kennedy with which we began this broadcast are as true now as they were then. >> i do not think that unless a greater effort is made to the government to win popular support the war can be won.
in the final analysis, it is their war. they are the ones that have to win it or lose it. we can help them, we can give them equipment, we can send our men out there as advisors, but they have to win it, the people of vietnam against the communist. charles: four years after kennedy said that, it remains clear it is still a war for the south vietnamese to win if victory is to have any meaning. we can destroy the enemy if we go at it long enough, but only the south vietnamese can build a society that will survive our departure. four years and eight saigon governments later, there has been little progress toward that goal. in our next broadcast, we will look at the progress and the problems that south vietnam faces as it and we go about the process of trying to build a nation in the middle of a war. this is charles collingwood, cbs news. good night.
>> this has been a cbs news special report. "where we stand in vietnam," with charles collingwood. this program has been brought to you by western electric, the manufacturing and supply unit of the bell system, the people who provide telephones and the equipment that connects them. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> the american war in vietnam raged 50 years ago. was lbj's war, but i consumed presidents from kennedy to gerald ford. tvs weekend american history looks back at this war with 48 hours of live coverage, archival footage, and first-person accounts from vietnam war veterans and antiwar protesters. this is american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. "q&a," we look at the lives of the eight jewish justices who served on the supreme court. our guest is the author of "jewish justices of the supreme court." the themes of my book
is the declining anti-semitism of the american legal profession. mcreynolds was notorious anti-semitic. i was going to mention the famous portrait he did not sit for. from his pet -- from his vantage point, hoover had the audacity to dominate a judge, he wrote a letter on stationary to hoover, saying how dare you afflict the court with another hebrew? >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> this weekend on american artifacts we tour the exhibit, remembering vietnam. the first comprehensive examination of the vietnam war at the national archives in washington, d.c. here's a preview. the archivist of the united
states, what was the reason for the vietnam exhibit? >> it is a commemoration of the anniversary of the war itself. the national archives, the record keeper of the country, it commemorates a high point, low point in our history. it is important to me because i'm a vietnam veteran. i wanted to make sure that a war that is still so controversial -- >> prior to and during world war ii, france was rolling vietnam, they had colonized it and divided it into three different areas. during world war ii the japanese came in and pushed the french out. fdr is talking to secretary of he believe what should happen to vietnam after world war ii. he opposes a french returned to vietnam.
he is quite clear in this memo because he says france has milked it for 100 years and the people of indochina deserve better than that. in, he doescomes not feel as strongly about a french returned to vietnam. visitors before we plant the exhibits and we asked them what do they want to know about the vietnam war. they said why was the united states involved? we still have basic questions and i hope by going through these critical episodes, they will have a better understanding of what happened and why. >> watch the entire tour of the atibit, remembering vietnam, the national archives at 6:00 and 10:00 eastern sunday on american artifacts.
this is american history tv, only on c-span3. night on "the we will discuss legislation opposing online sex trafficking. a missouri republican congresswoman talks about her bill. the counsel for netchoice discusses why his group prefers a different approach than the house and senate bills. >> many actors can be influenced by the communications decency act. what we are doing is to make sure we are narrowly going in and amending section 230 to make sure the congressional intent is clear when it comes to the issue of sex trafficking. right now a lot of these online internet actors and providers like back page -- like backpage.com and a whole host
to makebeen blossoming, sure they cannot hide behind the communications decency act. >> when it comes to sex trafficking, we have been told a lot is encoded language. we suggested something of a clearinghouse. if a website or society identifies certain types of code , certain language, certain you know it dresses or phone numbers that are known with sex traffickers, to put that in a central repository so online services can stand against that and better identify these coded languages. the communicators, monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. >> all we can american history tv is looking back.