The North Vietnamese launched a massive attack on South Vietnam in March of ’72. It was just before the presidential election. They knew the President could not politically afford to re-enter American troops into the very old and costly fray after beginning the withdrawal. It was a political move to put egg of Nixon’s face just before the peace talks. The attack was also backed up by Soviet tanks, muddying the water for peace there as well. It was a war between the Soviets and Americans on Vietnamese soil. In the end, everyone lost.
This was the time that Hanoi bombing began. Nixon brought his thoughts of the mater to verbal discourse stating that the American president would lose credibility if he had force and didn’t use it. By that time, the American people were more than fed up with the abuse of their soldiers on both land and sea, so had half the world. To save face, Richard Nixon pulled out all the stops. It was a case of American might throwing a last punch at Soviet might.
This was a war that should have ended before it started. Even in the late fifties the writing was on the wall. Decisions were made greatly to save face, make money, and gain huge advantages in global positioning against China and the Soviet Union. But in the end, as Nixon stated, it was a matter of credibility. Put more bluntly, it escalated from Kennedy, to LBJ, to Nixon in an effort to keep from being embarrassed.
No one behaves themselves during war, especially wars being fought with so many contradictory reasons for being there.
Credibility gap: a perceived discrepancy between statements and actual performance or behavior. There were many statements in a twenty-five year period of time that were never backed up by successful action. One must remember that in wars, no one wins. Not really. Credibility never existed in the first place, except in the hands of the ones doing the fighting.
The vets are credible for the most part. Government leaders tend to miss that mark.