Vietnam War: 50 years on, rulers still spreading myths | Green Left Weekly: From the outset, the Republic of South Vietnam was an artificial construct that existed only to serve US interests in south-east Asia.
It was well understood both in Saigon and Washington that most of the south Vietnamese population desired reunification with the Viet Minh-led north. This is why the US reneged on its earlier promise to hold free elections in the south in 1956.
Having stifled the democracy it claimed to represent on the world stage, the US was soon faced with a popularly backed insurgency in its proxy-ruled South Vietnamese domains. In 1965, the Johnson administration sent combat troops. By 1968 there would be half-a-million US soldiers “in-country”.
After the National Liberation Front’s Tet Offensive, in which all of South Vietnam rose up against the US occupier, an official policy of de-escalation was implemented. US combat troops were withdrawn in 1972.
Three years later, Vietnamese re-unifcation was achieved, but at such cost that Vietnamese society has never fully recovered. An ongoing campaign of US harassment has ensured that successful Vietnamese development has been greatly hindered.