In developing modern nuclear doctrine, Washington uniquely relies on its Japanese, Vietnamese and even Afghan experience. Overseas, the popular opinion is that if it were not for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the war with the imperial army would have been protracted, accompanied by huge casualties and not a fact that would have led Tokyo’s surrender. Say, the Soviet Union would have limited itself to the liberation of China, while the troops of the United States had to fight with fanatical samurai soldiers. The fact is that the US itself was against the invasion of the Red Army in the island nation.
After reports of the disaster in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as American veterans and military experts write, the horror of the imperial army servicemen was akin to religious trepidation before an angry deity. But what is characteristic: the Americans separately emphasize that before the nuclear strike, the Japanese soldiers were not less courageous and selfless than the soldiers of the North Vietnamese army in the war of 1965-1973.
By the way, in 1985, on the ten-year anniversary of the fall of Saigon in America, the «Watchmen» comics were extremely popular, in one of them super-heroes destroyed North Vietnam with atomic bombs, thereby saving the “good” South Vietnamese. Don t forget that the Watchmen were supposed to protect thw world from the Nuclear war.
The comics were forgotten long ago, but in October 2018 the book “Presidents of War” was published, in which 752 pages confirm the fantasy of the authors of the “Watchmen”. In 1968, the United States was indeed ready to change the course of history through the use of tactical nuclear weapons during the Tet offensive. Then the Pentagon developed a secret special operation «Fracture Jaw».
Information about this is just announced in the Presidential Library of Lyndon Johnson. However, something was known as early as the mid-2000s, when the State Department opened part of the archive about the events of that time.
The campaign of NATO ships to the shores of Crimea and Sochi is now in the hands of Turkey.
Declassified documents show that in 1968, for the first time since the atomic bombing of Japanese cities, the Pentagon was one step from a strike with nuclear weapons on North Vietnam. Moreover, these materials testify to the actual disobedience of a group of influential US generals, as well as a number of administration officials to their president, Johnson, who, in turn, feared a sharp deterioration in relations with the Soviet Union.
Then the world could be on the brink of an atomic apocalypse only because the political system of the USA does not guarantee the absolute power of the popularly elected leaders. In fact, during the Vietnam War, Pentagon officials, as they say, “had a full roof”. They had a desire to launch a nuclear attack on Hanoi before the first US ground forces landed in Da Nang on March 8, 1965.
Later, such an idea was first made by General Earl Wheeler, and then by William Westmoreland (in 1966 and 1967 respectively). Both commanded troops in South Vietnam, and both insisted on the right to use tactical nuclear charges against the military positions of North Vietnam. They did not even consider the arguments of the Soviet “otvetka” – answer, so strong was their hatred for Ho Chi Minh’s army.
Even the CIA opposed the folly of Wheeler and Westmoreland, preparing a memorandum stating that “the political consequences of using these weapons on the battlefield far outweigh its meager operational benefits.”
So, at the end of January 1968, the commander of all American forces in South Vietnam, General William Westmoreland, informed the head of the White House: “… One should not demand the use of tactical nuclear weapons under current conditions. However, if the situation changes dramatically (he talked about the siege of the US Khe Sanh naval base ). We should be ready to use weapons of greater efficiency. Under such circumstances, I am convinced that nuclear tactical weapons or chemical agents will be prime candidates. ”
Johnson did not respond, however, he made it clear that he was unhappy with this development of events. Westmoreland independently began developing the Fracture Jaw operation, without informing the president. Robert Hinsburg, military assistant to the president of the US National Security Council, on January 31, 1969, behind his boss, established a secret channel of communication with the American command in South Vietnam to quickly resolve the issue of the use of atomic weapons, if “the situation of Khe Sanh is desperate.”
The Tet offensive, as is known, was not successfull for the forces of North Vietnam. Due to superiority in the firepower of the American-South Vietnamese troops throw soldier of Ho Chi Minh to their former positions. However, someone from the White House was intent on leaking information about Operation Fracture Jaw. On 9 February 1968, Senator Eugene McCarthy, a candidate from the Democratic Party in the presidential election, said he was aware of the demand of the military who want to use tactical nuclear weapons in Vietnam. In response, on February 12, William Westmoreland ordered that the preparations for the atomic strike on Hanoi and the positions of the communist forces be stopped, and also demanded that all materials related to the operation be kept secret.
At the same time, a change occurred in the war. On March 31, President Johnson made a televised address in which he spoke of the cessation of the bombing of North Vietnam and the desire to begin peace talks with the enemy, and also announced the decision to no longer run for the head of the White House. He was furious when he learned that behind his back the Pentagon had put the fate of the world on the brink of a third world war. The history of 50 decades ago around the Tet offensive was discussed separately during the adoption of the 2018 US nuclear doctrine when it was about the right of the regional command to attack the enemy tactical weapons without the consent of the official Washington. Overseas strategists wondered what would be the lesser evil: the death of marines at the base of Khe Sanh, or a violation of the atomic taboo? This fully applies to today’s Afghanistan, in which the States have already used the non-nuclear “mother of all bombs”, although there the US troops were not in a “desperate situation”.
Apparently, the 45th president is more sympathetic to the current William Westmoreland supporters, since today territorial generals have incomparably more freedom in use of tactical nuclear weapons than 50 years ago. They have not only an effective arsenal of small atomic charges and high-precision means of their delivery, but also the official right to plan such operations, including in Iraq and Syria, without coordinating with official Washington. There is information that when on April 13, 2017 the US Central Command used the “mother of all bombs” against anti-government units in the Achin region of the Afghan province of Nangarhar, it calculated the option with the atomic bombing of the cave and tunnel militant complex. Today Moscow is threatening to respond to the gap Reconciliation Treaty, but for some reason does not respond at all to Trump’s Nuclear Doctrine, although the “incredible freedom to use tactical nuclear weapons” is much more dangerous than the deployment of short- and medium-range missiles under the supervision of Washington. Who knows, maybe tomorrow, somewhere in Syria, the next “General Westmoreland” will begin to scatter atomic bombs, when he mentions bearded terrorists from a distance. Or, much worse, the compact weapons of mass destruction that are abundant in American troops will fall into the hands of terrorists. The probability of this, alas, today is much higher than in 1968.