Announcer: In 1970, two words best described Indochina, Vietnamization and Cambodia. The Vietnamese have taken over virtually the entire fighting war. American combat troops still remaining have been pulled away from hot border areas into the interior and coastal regions. As a result, U.S. casualties in 1970 were less than half of the 1969 total. President Nixon vowed to bring home more American troops this year. So far that’s what's happening.
President Richard M. Nixon: “I am tonight announcing plans for the withdrawal of an additional 150,000 American troops to be completed during the spring of next year. This will bring a total reduction of 265,500 men in our armed forces in Vietnam below the level that existed when we took office 15 months ago.”
Announcer: The Vietnamization of the war is still untested, that is, the United States is still not positive how Vietnamese can fight. But more and more it’s becoming an accepted, if not proven opinion that they can.
In Cambodia, Prince Norodom Sihanouk was thrown out of office in March while on a visit to Russia. This pleased the allies, because they thought Sihanouk was helping the North Vietnamese by letting them run supply lines and bases in Cambodia. The door now seemed open for action by the United States and the South Vietnamese forces. On April 30th, President Nixon made this announcement.
President Richard M. Nixon: “Tonight, American and South Vietnamese units will attack the headquarters for the entire communist military operation in South Vietnam. This key control center has been occupied by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong for five years in blatant violation of Cambodia's neutrality.”
Announcer: The drive into Cambodia evoked surprise and considerable criticism in the Senate. The opposition spread into unlikely camps. Senator George Aiken from Vermont, usually an administration supporter, was one of the opposition.
Senator George Aiken: “I think it will have a very harmful effect on some of our domestic program, and the most harmful effect probably will come on the morale of the people of this country who had got to where they were trusting the President, believed that he was going to bring that war to an end. I know that many, many of them, that will be as disappointed as I am at a decision which he has apparently made.”
Announcer: Finally, when the operation was completed, the President announced the mission a success.
Richard M. Nixon: “As of today, I can report that all of our major military objectives have been achieved.”
Announcer: United Press International's 1970 In Review will continue after this message.
Announcer: Admittedly, the Vietnam War has been a unique one for the American soldier. One element that sets it apart from other wars in which Americans have fought has been the smoking of marijuana and the use of drugs by U.S. troops.
UPI Audio Saigon correspondent, Alan Dawson, talked to some of the young soldiers about the problem.
Unknown Speaker: “One of the reasons I guess -- one of the biggest reasons that a lot of GIs do get high over here is there is nothing to do; this place is really a drag, its a bore over here. Like right now sitting around here, we are getting loaded. Whereas, it doesn’t really get you messed up, that's I guess the main reason why we smoke it.”
Alan Dawson: “How many GIs do you think smoke Marijuana in Vietnam?”
Unknown Speaker: “I would say approximately half, two-thirds.”