Essay on Peace
May 27, 2009
The Vietnam Conflict is a dark shadow in America’s glorious history. By the end of the conflict 57,605 Americans had been killed, over 300,000 thousand U.S. military officials had been wounded, and America had spent approximately $165 billion (“Vietnam War” 4). The majority of Americans sought after peace indispensably. “Washington’s struggle to bring the fighting to a close inevitably shifted the U.S. role in the conflict from ally and combatant to mediator between Hanoi and Saigon” (“The Shape of Peace” 15). The struggle would payoff on “January 27, 1973; various representatives signed the Paris Accords. America’s war in Vietnam was over” (Detzer 137). The Paris Accords encompassed “Four main points to the pact: withdrawal of all U.S. forces from South Vietnam; release of all prisoners of war; an international 1,160-man peace keeping force; and recognition of the right of the South Vietnamese people to determine their own future (“Vietnam War” 4).
The first provision of the Paris Accord delineated a swift halt to the slaughtering in Vietnam, it read: A cease-fire will take effect in South Vietnam 24 hours after the signing of the agreement, and the U.S. will stop the bombing and mining of the north. U.S. and allied force will withdraw from the south within 60 days. There will be no introduction of foreign troops or arms for eihter side in the south, although each may replace damaged equipment. The U.S. will not intervene in South Vietnam’s internal affairs ( “Peace is at Hand” 34).
In addition the U.S. was allowed to provide economic help to Saigon and to replenish its military equipment.
America had felt the loss of its’ sons and daughters through the outcry by citizens. The second provision enabled the prisoners of war to return home safely. The second provision stated: All captured military and foreign civilian personnel-including the U.S. POW’s-will be released within 60 days. The Viet Cong and Saigon will negotiate the release of South Vietnamese civilians detained in the south, among them thousands of Communist officials (“Peace is at Hand” 34).
The third provision gave power back to the Vietnamese people to decide how and whom they wanted to be ruled by. The provision setup a complex plan to help the Vietnamese people have total freedom to chose their way of life, without foreign pressures. Accordingly, the provision narrates: The Vietnamese people will decide their political future based in free and internationally supervised elections. The U.S. is not committed to any personality or political tendency. The Viet Cong and Saigon will negotiate the nature of the elections and a three-part National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord, operating on the basis of unanimity, will be established to organize them. The Viet Cong and Saigon will also negotiate the future disposition of their military forces and will try to reach agreement on all internal matters within three months (“Peace is at Hand” 34).
A provision would also be needed to settle military disagreements, hence the fourth provision read: Two military commissions will be formed- a four party commission of the U.S., Hanoi, Saigon and the Viet Cong, and a two-party commission of Saigon and the VC- to deal with disagreements over military affairs. An international supervisory commission will also be formed, and an international conference convened within 30 days (“Peace is at Hand” 34).
U.S. wanted a provision, which would keep the conflict from away from Cambodia and Laos. The fourth provision stated that the four parties would respect the neutral state of Cambodia and Laos, and would not use the Cambodia or LaosТs land to approach the sovereignty of other countries. All foreign nations would also be forced to retrieve their forces from Cambodia and Laos, leaving them to solve their internal matters on their own (“Peace is at Hand” 34).
The Provisions of the Paris Accord were instilled to bring about peace to a war torn country serenely. The provisions gave all sides an equal meeting ground where they were content with, and where they could voice their concerns peacefully. Vietnam with the help of the peace provisions would be able to rebuild its torn interior and bring Vietnamese people together.
At long last the U.S. could really count on the end of the conflict. That prospect makes it appropriate for the U.S. once again to assess the terrible cost of its longest, psychically most debilitating war-the cost not only in lost lives and disabled bodies but in the country’s troubled conscience, its shaken self-image and its uncertainty over its world role (“The Shape of Peace” 14).
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