Operation Linebacker had the communists running for their lives

By Election Day 1972, most U.S. troops were out of Vietnam.  The election results had confirmed that most Americans were supportive of the Nixon approach.

President Nixon had two objectives: first, get North Vietnam to agree to ending the conflict, and then arrange for the release of POWs.

Like good communists, North Vietnam decided to play games with secretary of state Henry Kissinger.  The North Vietnamese decided to delay the accords and play games with international opinion.

President Nixon had enough and decided to send a Christmas greeting to North Vietnam.  It was called Operation Linebacker II.  We call it the Christmas bombing of 1972:

President Nixon initiated the full-scale bombing campaign against North Vietnam on December 18, when the North Vietnamese – who walked out of the peace talks in Paris – refused an ultimatum from Nixon to return to the negotiating table. 

During the 11 days of the operation, 700 B-52 sorties and more than 1,000 fighter-bomber sorties dropped an estimated 20,000 tons of bombs, mostly over the densely populated area between Hanoi and Haiphong. 

President Nixon was vilified at home and abroad for ordering the "Christmas bombing," but on December 28, the North Vietnamese did agree to return to the talks in Paris.  When the negotiators met again in early January, they quickly arrived at a settlement. 

The Paris Peace Accords were signed on January 23[,] and a ceasefire went into effect five days later.

Naturally, President Nixon was called every name in the book, from war criminal to Hitler to whatever else the left could come up with.

However, the bombing worked, and the accord was signed, ending the war and recognizing South Vietnam.

Also, a timetable for releasing POWs was accepted.  They started coming home in March.  That was also awesome – to watch those men get out of the planes and greet their families.

Operation Linebacker was a great name, and it clearly stymied the communists' offense.  It was fun to watch a U.S. president exercise power and get results.  Unfortunately, Vietnam was lost later, when the Democrats pulled the plug.

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