Peace is at Hand- January 23, 1973
As he entered office in 1969, Richard Nixon began to slowly end the Vietnam War. He inherited over 550,000 troops in Vietnam. The slow withdrawal of troops began almost immediately as the policy of Vietnamization took hold.
Nixon had three choices in Vietnam:
A. Double down and put another 500,000 troops in Vietnam. This – of course – would not be tolerated by the nation. Cities were on fire and over 16,000 troops were killed in 1968 during the last year of the Johnson Presidency.
B. Cut and run right away. This would put our POWS at risk and give nations pause to ever trust us again. Throwing President Thieu to the VC and Russians was not an option.
C. Vietnamization. A slow withdrawal of US troops while training the SVA to defend themselves.
The President opted for C.
Knowing there would be protests and violence at home over his decision, Nixon called on a “silent majority” to support his policy and they gave him a 49 state landslide reelection win in 1972- still the biggest win in GOP history.
Five days before being sworn in for a second term, Nixon ordered a halt to all offensive actions against North Vietnam. On January 23rd – just three days after being sworn in- President Nixon went on national TV to announce a peace deal was at hand and was about to be signed. The deal was signed on the 27th.
Every regional capital was in the hands of the SVA. It was not a loss for the US or SVA despite what the court historians might say.
We all know that V-E Day refers to Victory in Europe Day at the end of World War Two and V-J Day refers to Victory over Japan Day. In January of 1973- many White House staff members proclaimed V-V Day for Victory in Vietnam Day.
After twelve years our men and women were coming home.
After President Nixon left office the NVA broke the peace deal and attacked the South. Our feckless congress refused to help and the South fell to the communists. Congress refused to keep our promise to help President Thieu defend himself with military supplies.
Dominoes in the region fell while millions were murdered by the communists. When asked what he would have done if this happened under his watch- President Nixon remarked that he would have bombed the hell out of the North- risking impeachment due to congressional restrictions on the use of air power.
On the 44th anniversary of this event I say thank you President Nixon. I thank all those who came home and those who did not.
Our brave troops won the war and congress lost the peace.