They ran like cowards
The Vietnamese corporal who, on April 30 1974, drove the tank through the wrought iron gates of the American embassy in what was then Saigon, was interviewed by Suzanne Goldenberg in yesterday's Guardian. Nguyen Van Tap says: "They ran like cowards". Indeed they did, abandoning their south Vietnamese allies in the scramble for seats in the helicopters. Of Iraq, he says: "America sooner or later is going to have to withdraw troops from Iraq, and Iraq is going to have a civil war. America cannot stay there because it is going to cost a lot of money and a lot of people. .." The party leadership in Vietnam is taking a different line. Trac Duc Loi, a senior member of the "ideological wing" of the party doubts that the Iraqis will drive out the Americans. My own feeling is that the Americans will withdraw from most of Iraq, leaving behind scattered fortresses to secure the supply of oil; the rest of Iraq will collapse into civil and secessionist wars probably leading to the dismemberment of the state. The "blowback" will last for decades. But Tran Doc Loi also makes some pertinent remarks about the Iraqi resistance: "When we fought, we fought only against the ones who fought us. Civilians were never our targets". Those of us who oppose the war and the occupation should have no illusions about the nature of the Iraqi insurgents.