Go, America... And finish the job
this time around... Just don't you dare touch Laos otherwise you have us to answer for
and that means serious business!!!
America's Secret Plan To Nuke Vietnam & Laos Wednesday, 16 April 2008, 10:34 am
Column: Richard S. Ehrlich
America's Secret Plan To Nuke Vietnam &Laos
by Richard S. Ehrlich BANGKOK, Thailand -- The U.S. Air Forcewanted to use "nuclear weapons" against Vietnam in 1959 and1968, and Laos in 1961, to obliterate communist guerrillas,according to newly declassified secret U.S. Air Forcedocuments.
In 1959, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen.Thomas D. White chose several targets in northern Vietnam,but other military officials blocked his demand to nuke theSoutheast Asian nation.
"White wanted to cripple theinsurgents and their supply lines by attacking selectedtargets in North Vietnam, either with conventional ornuclear weapons," one declassified Air Force document said. "Although White's paper called for giving the NorthVietnamese a pre-attack warning, the other chiefs tabledit, possibly due to the inclusion of nuclear weapons. Sevenmonths later, the proposal was withdrawn," it said.
The400-page document, titled, "The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia: The War in Northern Laos 1954-1973," waswritten in 1993 by the Center for Air Force History inWashington and "classified by multiple sources."
It wasmade public -- along with several other previously secret, war-era Air Force documents -- on April 9 by the NationalSecurity Archive in Washington, after extensive Freedom ofInformation Act litigation.
The Archive is anindependent, non-governmental research institute in GeorgeWashington University.
Gen. White "asked the Joint Chiefsof Staff for the green light to send a squadron ofStrategic Air Command (SAC) B-47 jet bombers to Clark AirBase in the Philippines," to prepare for an assault on nearby Vietnam, the declassified report said.
Gen.White's quest to unleash America's nuclear arsenal may have been inspired by an Air Force study titled, "Atomic Weaponsin Limited Wars in Southeast Asia," it said.
That study"focused on the use of atomic weapons for 'situation control' in jungles, valley supply routes, karst areas, andmountain defiles to block enemy movement and to clear awaycover," the declassified report said in a footnoteelaborating on Gen. White's strategy.
That terrain formsmuch of northern Vietnam and Laos. One year later, duringDecember 1960 and January 1961, a Soviet airlift wassupplying "food, fuel and military hardware" to local pro- Moscow forces in Laos, via Hanoi, the declassified Air Forcedocument said.
In March 1961, the U.S. Joint Chiefs"countered with a plan calling for up to 60,000 men,complete with air cover and nuclear weapons.
"Thisinclusion of nuclear weapons by the military was a legacy of the Korean War. To the chiefs, it was unthinkable for theUnited States to embark on another conventional,strength-sapping war," the document said.
In 1968, justbefore their Tet Offensive, communist North Vietnamesetroops and their southern Viet Cong allies attacked American forces in the center of the country, where the U.S.kept Vietnam divided.
In response, Gen. WilliamWestmoreland, commander of American forces in Vietnam,reached for the nuclear button.
"In late January, GeneralWestmoreland had warned that if the situation near the DMZ[Demilitarized Zone] and at Khe Sanh worsened drastically,nuclear or chemical weapons might have to be used," said aseparate 106-page declassified, "top secret" report titled,"The Air Force in Southeast Asia: Toward a Bombing Halt,1968," written by the Office of Air Force History in1970.
"This prompted [Air Force Chief of Staff] General[John P.] McConnell to press, although unsuccessfully, forJCS [Joint Chiefs of Staff] authority to request PacificCommand to prepare a plan for using low-yield nuclearweapons to prevent a catastrophic loss of the [U.S.] MarineBase," it said.
Throughout much of America's failed war,the U.S. relied on massive aerial bombardments, plusnapalm, in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia but did not drop anynuclear bombs, despite the U.S. Air Force's threeattempts.
After the U.S. lost, communists achieved powerin 1975 in all three countries.
With hindsight, theauthors of the 1993 declassified Air Force document said itwould not have been a good idea "to employ nuclear weaponsto destroy insurgents and their supply sources" in Vietnamor Laos.
"It is doubtful whether any suitable targetsfor such weapons existed in the jungles of northern Laos orNorth Vietnam," it said.
"More important, such an attackwould have given the communists a tremendous propagandavictory and possibly spread the war to China and thewestern Pacific," it said.
Communist China supported theguerrillas in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia against U.S.assaults.
The document's mention of the U.S. spreadingits would-be nuclear war to "the western Pacific"apparently refers to involving the Philippines, Taiwan,Japan, South Korea and nearby islands, where the U.S.enjoyed militaryfacilities.