7. PHAM NGOC THACH

Testimony from North Vietnam

In pursuing its neo-colonialist war of aggression against Vietnam, with the complicity of the governments of Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines, the US government has employed the most modern arms and, with the exception of nuclear weapons, has made use of the most highly perfected and murderous weapons in its arsenal. The experts in their reports have described these weapons and war material and the cruel and murderous effects which are suffered by our people. It is sufficient to mention that over 10,000 sorties of the Flying Super-Fortresses, the B-52s of the US Strategic Air Command, have been carried out over South and North Vietnam, each plane capable of dropping over thirty tons of bombs; that the number of bombs dropped monthly by American planes exceeds that dropped by US planes in the European and Mediterranean theatres in the Second World War. {231}
     The total artillery shells fired by US troops in South Vietnam in 1966 exceeds those fired by the US forces during the whole of the Second World War. The Americans are employing in great profusion CBU (container bomb unit) bombs, which are exclusively anti-personnel and of which we know that one container can hold 550 to 640 pellet bombs, each bomb releasing 300 such pellets. An F-105 fighter-bomber can carry four containers, thus scattering 640 x 4 x 300, that is 768,000 pellets, capable of killing or wounding every living creature within an area of one square kilometre. I will not speak further here about the toxic chemical products, so-called defoliants that the `Ranch' operations spread over hundreds of thousands of hectares of cultivated land; the toxic, so-called `tear' gases which American troops throw into shelters and underground tunnels where women and children hide from bombs and shells. Such a quantity of bombs, shells, toxic substances used against a country of which the total area, from North to South, is less than that of France, indicates to you the odious character of these crimes.
     In South Vietnam, for years past, the American policy of `kill all, burn all, destroy all' of which the present `search and destroy' strategy and the so-called `pacification' mark the highest state, has turned the southern part of our country into a land ravaged by chemical products, scorched by napalm bombs and other types of incendiary bombs.
     [As a result] our country which, during French colonization, exported every year 1,500,000 tons of rice had to import 1,000,000 tons in 1967, to feed only those areas occupied by the enemy. According to American estimates (the Pepper Report) there have been 250,000 children killed, 750,000 wounded and invalided for life in a South Vietnam of 14,000,000 inhabitants. Senator Edward Kennedy estimated the number of civilians wounded each month in South Vietnam at 150,000 (International Rescue Committee, New York, 31 October 1967). Accounts and articles in the American press, widely diffused in the newspapers and on the television networks of many countries, suffice in themselves to prove to the whole world the horrors of the crime of genocide committed by the US for years on end in its neo-colonialist war of aggression against the people of South Vietnam. {232}
     In North Vietnam, the country's six main cities have been bombed, some of them have been partly or entirely razed to the ground, such as Haiphong, Vinh, Nam Dinh, Viet Tri and Thai Nguyen. Against Hanoi, capital of the Republic, they have dropped countless numbers of pellet bombs even in the centre of the city and the most densely populated parts of the city. Of the third provincial cities, twenty-five have been bombed of which six have been completely razed. The city of Dong Hoi, covering an area of 3.2 sq. kilometres and with 16,000 inhabitants, has been bombed 396 times, including 160 night attacks (according to figures available up to 3 1 December 1966). Of the 110 district centres, seventy-two have been bombed, twelve of them are now nothing more than a mass of brick and tile rubble, twenty-seven have been almost completely destroyed.
     The working-class town of Ha Tu in the coal mine area, covering 1.2 sq. kilometres with a population of 6,000, was attacked twenty-one times during 1965-6. Villages have been attacked in all provinces and every village in the five provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Vinh Linh, north of the 17th parallel, has been bombed. In the area immediately north of the demilitarized zone on 13 and 26 July 1967, several waves of B-52 Flying Super-Fortresses attacked the villages of Vinh Son, Vinh Thuy, and Vinh Lam, extending over an area of six kilometres long by three or four kilometres wide. Dropped in close-pattern bombing, the bombs caused craters so close to one another that not a house or tree was left standing.
     One of the important targets aimed at by the American pirate planes is the medical network - up to 31 August 1967, they have destroyed 127 hospitals and clinics. In Hanoi, during a raid on 21 August 1967, US planes fired an aerosol missile against a hospital situated in the heart of the city right alongside the city's big cathedral, and during a raid on 17 November 1967 the Bach Mai central hospital, with 1,000 beds, the biggest in the country, was hit with two 750-lb. bombs and a large quantity of pellet bombs. The centre for the treatment and study of leprosy at Quynh Lap, situated on a beach, far away from any other populated area, has been attacked thirty-nine times; the Quang Binh provincial hospital thirteen times and that of Ha Tinh, seventeen times. . . {233}
     All provinces with irrigation networks have been bombed. The seventeen provinces with dike systems have also all been bombed. During April 1967, the number of attacks against the dikes tripled in comparison with April 1966.
     In the provinces of Quang Binh and Vinh Linh, just north of the 17th parallel, all the agricultural cooperatives have been bombed; that of Quyet Thang (Vinh Linh) has been attacked 1,616 times up to 31 March 1967 either by planes or by warships of the 7th Fleet.
     In Quang Binh province, every village cooperative has been attacked, on the average, 160 times during the first six months of 1967. During these attacks against the agricultural infrastructure of our country, thousands of our peasants have been killed and wounded and thousands of buffalo and oxen, essential draught animals in our countryside, were killed.
     In the provinces bordering the coast, American planes and warships have tried to wipe out our fishing cooperatives. In Nghe An province alone, 802 attacks were made along the coast from 1965 to March 1967. In Quang Binh province, the small fishing commune of Ngu Thuy with less than 3,000 inhabitants (visited by several Japanese and French investigation teams) has been attacked over 1,150 times in two years. Every rock, the foundation stone of every house, every tree still standing bear the indelible traces of napalm dropped by these barbarians.
     American planes have tried to destroy all industrial enterprises in our country. During ten years of peace, the DRV, with the help of other socialist countries, had started to build up an industrial base. Almost all the big factories have been attacked. New industrial cities like Viet Tri and Thai Nguyen, built at the cost of great effort and sacrifice, have been razed to the ground. During 1965-6 over 11,000 bombs were dropped on the mining area of Quang Ninh, not counting innumerable CBUs and rockets.
     The network of means of communication, an infrastructure of the economy, was the first target to be attacked. Attacks have been continuously repeated against any roads and bridges of importance, such as the Ham Rong (Thanh Hoa) bridge which has been attacked hundreds of times. But even small by-ways and paths, mountain tracks and bamboo bridges in the villages which could not carry any motor vehicle, have not been spared. {234}
     The government of the US in its crime of genocide has not only tried to wipe out all human life, to destroy the country's whole economic base, but it has also tried to undermine the cultural, religious social and political superstructure of the DRV. Five hundred and sixty-one schools have been bombed, 170 of them during the first six months of this year; 230 churches, three seminaries and twenty-three pagodas have been destroyed up to 30 June 1967. On 27 September 1967 at 7.30 A.M., the day after classes reopened following the summer recess, while the children were happily bent over their first lessons, four US jets, swooping in from the sea, fired rockets and dropped four CBUS (about 2,400 pellet bombs) on the first and second degree schools of Ha Fu (Ha Trung district of Thanh Hoa province) killing thirty-three pupils from eight to twelve years and wounding thirty more, including two teachers.
     The US government has never sought to respect the Geneva Agreement of 1954. The recent interview given by General James Gavin to Newsweek reveals that the US government had already prepared a plan for the invasion of North Vietnam in 1956, with troops landing at Haiphong, in the Delta, as well as at Hanoi itself; this plan was to have been carried out by an expeditionary corps of eight divisions of commandos, thirty-five battalions of engineering and logistics. The Secretary of Defense of the time, Charles Wilson, had given his full approval, and it was only internal opposition to so ambitious a project that prevented its realization (Newsweek, 16 October 1967). But since 1957 the US has sent a steady stream of guerrilla and spy commandos into the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, all of whom have failed miserably.
     North Vietnam has held out, in spite of the destructive war: the people and the armed forces have shot down over 2,500 US planes! The building of socialism continues under war conditions; the education, the cultural life, the public health service develops despite the crimes of the enemy.
     `Nothing is more valuable than independence and liberty'; these words by our President Ho Chi Minh become more living every day in the actions and feelings of every Vietnamese. {235}
 

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