The Most Shameful Act of Betrayal in American History

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The Most Shameful Act of Betrayal in American History

John LeBoutillier
Friday Jan. 26, 2001

Tomorrow, January 27, is the 28th anniversary of the single worst act of betrayal in American history.

Tomorrow is the 28th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords – the agreement that supposedly was going to end the Vietnam War.

On January 27, 1973, in an ornate conference center on Avenue Kleber in wintry Paris, then-Secretary of State William P. Rogers signed the agreement. America let out a collective sigh of exhausted air; the dreadful war was finally over.

But, of course, it was not over.

Two more years of agony would ensue. On April 30, 1975, with a new president, Gerald Ford, in the Oval Office, the North Vietnamese officially won the Vietnam War when their tanks rolled into Saigon.

The Paris Peace Accords soon faded from memory for most Americans, who just wanted to put this horrible episode in our history behind them once and for all.

But that agreement contained two interrelated clauses: numbers 21 and 8b. They were – and have been ever since – linked in one of the most heinous betrayals in American political history.

In order to get out of Vietnam, as Henry Kissinger, the Peace Accords’ architect, so desperately wanted, he and President Nixon had to secretly – in a private letter – promise to pay the communist North Vietnamese $4.75 billion, ostensibly to "heal the wounds of war," as Clause 21 said.

All Nixon wanted – besides putting the war in our rearview mirror – was the return of all remaining U.S. POWs in SE Asia. Clause 8b promised that Hanoi would help round up these men. The two clauses were then – and have been since – linked together by Hanoi. The Vietnamese have said a thousand times, "You pay us the money and we will ‘go look’ (ha ha) for your missing POWs."

It has since been learned that Hanoi kept behind about 1,200 U.S. POWs as a hedge against Nixon-Kissinger’s $4.75 billion promise.

Well, guess what?

It is now 28 years later and we have yet to pay one cent to Hanoi.

And guess what else?

Not one of those POWs has ever been released.

Kissinger was so desperate to keep secret the $4.75 billion promise to Hanoi that he and his sidekick, General Brent Scowcroft, kept that letter classified for four years! Even members of Congress were told that no such letter existed and no such financial promise had ever been made to Hanoi.

OK, fine. You may now want to say, "To hell with the Commies in Vietnam. We shouldn’t pay them a penny!"

Normally I would share your sentiment.

But please explain to the 1,200 U.S. POWs why their lives have been relegated to serving as slaves to Hanoi and sacrificial lambs for the preservation of political careers back here in Washington.

The answer is simple: We Americans like to think we are "a shining city on a hill serving as a beacon for all the world to follow." Well, in the case of our extrication from the Vietnam War we behaved exactly like our enemies: We broke agreements, lied about it and betrayed our national character.

America as a nation and as a people will not be whole until we go back to Vietnam and bring each and every surviving POW home – no matter the financial cost.

Only then can we put January 27, 1973 – the most shameful day of betrayal in American history – behind u



When the way comes to an end, then change - having changed, you pass through.

       I. Ching


Bruce "Doc". Melson

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