In response to Soviet accusations that the United States had conducted a two-month bombing campaign intentionally to destroy the dikes and dams of the Tonkin Delta in North Vietnam, a CIA report is made public by the Nixon administration. The report revealed that U.S. bombing at 12 locations had in fact caused accidental minor damage to North Vietnam’s dikes, but the damage was unintentional and the dikes were not the intended targets of the bombings. The nearly 2,000 miles of dikes on the Tonkin plain, and more than 2,000 along the sea, made civilized life possible in the Red River Delta. Had the dikes been intentionally targeted, their destruction would have destroyed centuries of patient work and caused the drowning or starvation of hundreds of thousands of peasants. Bombing the dikes had been advocated by some U.S. strategists since the beginning of U.S. involvement in the war, but had been rejected outright by U.S. presidents sitting during the war as an act of terrorism.
Posted in Vietnam War.