The Daily Herald from Provo, Utah on April 11, 1975 · Page 13
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April 11, 1975

The Daily Herald from Provo, Utah · Page 13

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Provo, Utah
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Friday, April 11, 1975
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Page 13
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Analysis flii'eu's Decision to Evacuate Highlands Called Big Blunder By WARREN L. NELSON WASHINGTON (UPI) - The decision of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to evacuate the central highlands will go down in history as one of the classic military blunders of all time. There had been but one significant battle in the latest Communist offensive —fought at Ban Me Thout, which fell to numerically superior North Vietnamese forces on March 10 after a three day battle. Thieu called in his comm- manders to a meeting March 14 at Cam Ranh Bay. He ordered them to pull their forces out of UK far north ahd the central highlands and to retreat to more easily defended lines. The new lines were never set up. In two weeks, with hardly any fighting, North Vietnamese control grew from less than 10 per cent of the country to more than two-thirds the first issue is Thieu's decision to pull back. Pentagon military experts generally support Thieu's reasoning in ordering the pullback, although he did not consult the Americans before giving his orders. They explain that Thieu inherited the American military policy of trying to hold every bit of territory, including the lightly populated and economically useless central highlands and thousands of small villages. But that required huge numbers of troops, and Thieu no longer had 600,000 American and Korean troops to help him. Since the North Vietnamese could pick and choose among hundreds of targets, Thieu's forces also needed lots of transport planes and helicopters to move troops to whatever spot was being pressed. But 80 per cent of those aircraft were not flyable, partly due to a maintenance backlog and part- Cambodia Likely To Be First Country to Fall in Indo War PHNOM PENH (UPI) Cambodia was the last nation dragged into the Indochina war. It almost certainly will be the first to go under. This is the land of the ancient Khmer "god-kings" to whose spectacular monument at Ang- kor Wat archaeologists once trekked with almost religious fervor. Those were the days when Angkor Wat was accessible, when Cambodia was at peace and exporting rice to nations at war, when the government under a rotund, sacophone playing little prince named Norodom Sihanouk was trading a thin line of nininvolvement in the conflict going on around it. That was before 1970. Today Angkor Wat and about 90 per cent of the rest of the country are in the hands of Communist-led rebels. Siha- nouk, now 52, is in exile in Peking, and the government that replaced him is fighting for its life inside a surrounded capital. The country's economy is devastated and its lone link to the outside world is the U.S. airlift that brings in food and ammunition. That link could be cut any day, any hour. A negotiated settlement is possible, but not likely because of the rebels' overwhelming military advantage. They would gain little and could lose a lot by Viet, Cambodia Collapse Spur New Red Activity By JOSEPH W.GRIGG LONDON (UPI) - The collapse of South Vietnam and Cambodia appears to have sparked a new .outbreak of Communist activity in other parts of Southeast Asia much sooner than most Western diplomats expected. Although Western officials are reluctant to talk of a "domino" effect, they are voicing concern about these new developments. In Thailand, guerrillas of a Communist-backed so-called "Free Thailand" movement have stepped up activity for the first time in recent months. negotiating. Many analysts believe the only solution now is unconditional surrender. Its role today as a pawn on the Indochina board is a far cry from the Khmer kingdom which, under leadership of an Indian-style "god-king" reigning from a holy mountain, sent its influence sweeping over a domain ranging from southern Vietnam in the east to the Malay peninsula in the west 1,900 years ago. The Khmers developed a flourishing trade throughout southeast Asia, invented irrigated rice cultivation —and built monuments, perhaps the most spectacular of which is the galleried temple complex of Angkor Wat constructed in the 12th century under Suryavar- manll. That was at the height of the Khmer Empire which, with Angkor Wat as its symbol, ruled from what is now southern Thailand to the Red River delta of North Vietnam. But within a few short centuries, the Khmers collapsed, shorn of their lands to the west by the Thais and to the east by the Vietnamese. The country, a rump of its former self, fell into the French colonial orbit in 1863. ly because U.S. aid had been halved by Congress and there was little money available for new equipment and parts, officials say. The second issue is how Thieu's decision was carried out. He did not tell his generals to prepare for the withdrawl. Career Army men say a retreat is one of the most difficult of maneuvers. It must be carefully planned. Before the first troops begin to withdraw, covering forces should be put in place, and artillery must be sited so that it can lay down fire on the positions being abandoned to prevent the enemy from immediately pouring onto the heels of the retreating troops. Then the first part of the force should pull back behind the covering troops and set itself up as a new covering force. It protects the original covering force so it can pull back. In a succession of such moves, a large army can be extracated without falling apart. Thieu didn't allow time for such preparation. Some Americans think he feared the numerous Communist agents hidden in his government would uncover the plans, and so thought he had to move quickly. Whatever his reasoning, it didn't work. One Ranger unit, for example, had just packed up and turned its back on the North Vietnamese when the Communists attacked, apparently without foreknowledge of the retreat. The Rangers quickly became a fleeing, panicky rabble. At Da Nang there was an attempt to set up a defense. But by then the troops were demoralized and the huge flood of refugees was choking the roads and compounding the difficulties of commanders who were trying to restore some semblance of military organization. In sum, the experts say, poor preparation led to panic and panic led to defeat. "Thieu is a smart general," said one American general. "But he overlooked one point — the psychological." SAVE diagonal Friday, April 11, 1975, THE HERALD, Provo, Utah-Page 13 21" DELUXE COLOR PORTABLE FT505 features RCA XL- 100 . . . 100% solid state with no chassis tubes to burn out. Super AccuColor black matrix picture tube for rich brilliant color. 21- inch diagonal measure screen. TELEVISION SPECIALS HURRY! SALE ENDS TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 10P.M. 19" DELUXE COLOR PORTABLE Zenith F4035 features Chromacolor picture tube. 100% solid-stale chassis Synchromatic 70-position UHF channel selector Mediterranean styling Chromatic one-button tuning. 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If you are looking to get bitten by a four-legged dog, there are several things you can do: a) Make a noise like a bone. b) Dress like a cat. c) All of the above. Some people think being bitten by a dog is a pain in the leg. This is not always so. Some dogs are very tall. Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking 1$ Dangerous to Your Health. 25 INCH •IIMl •imri ., Early American SAVE Mediterranean 25" COLOR CONSOLE The deluxe new Admiral SK25L161/5/8 features twin-speaker sound. 25" diagonal measure Solar- color screen gives brilliant color pictures. AFC for drift-free reception. Hurry in today — use your good credit to buy a good television. 25" COLOR CONSOLE Admiral's SK25L151 is a deluxe Solarcolor console which features reserve chassis with 100% solid-state design. Attractive cabinet. Brilliant color reception. 25-inch diagonal measure screen. Ask about our credit terms! SAVE [Admiral 475 NORTH STATE STRUT, OREM

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