On the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, LtCol Oliver North takes a look back at how it came about and how it would later be mischaracterized. Veteran U.S. Marines Colonel Myron C. Harrington, Jr, Captain Bob Laramy and Colonel David F. Wall share their recollections of the surprise attack that occurred in January 1968 during what was supposed to be a cease fire honoring Tet, the Vietnamese New Year.
North says that, to this day, most Americans don't know what the war in Vietnam was about. In fact, the United States' goal was to support a Democratic country that was being attacked by a Communist neighbor. It was Capitalism versus Communism, and Democracy versus a socialist system that was expanding all over the planet. The North Vietnamese had a singular goal: Unite their country under a Communist flag.
The resulting portrayal of Tet as a disaster for the U.S. military was completely off base notes North. The offensive undertaking shocked Americans because it countered what President Lyndon Johnson's administration had been saying at the time. By March, the president decided he couldn't take the pressure any longer and decided not to run again.
At the end of the day, Tet was a tactical victory for U.S. and Allied Forces and for the South Vietnamese. But North claims it became a strategic victory for the North Vietnamese because of the propaganda that portrayed the Tet Offensive as being a disaster for the United States and for their South Vietnamese allies.