Revolutionary Violence in a Peopled War
THE VICTORY of the people's liberation armies in South Vietnam and Cambodia, which burst with shattering force upon the world in April 1975, predictably gave rise to an anguished chorus of accusations, and forecasts of "bloodbaths to come" in the newly liberated countries of Indochina. This at a time when no one is yet in a position to compile even roughly accurate statistics of the number of victims—killed, maimed, orphaned, bereaved and made homeless—of American and puppet actions in Indochina. The figure certainly runs into tens of millions, not to speak of either the havoc to property and ecological balance, or the devastation to the painstaking construction and productive achievements in North Vietnam by recurrent US bombing.1 We may, with the utmost confidence^ leave to the judgment of history the allocation of right and wrong in this bloodiest of wars. Here, for the record, I shall make some general points and observations.
The obvious starting-point must be the theory of revolutionary violence itself. Here we have evidence of a number of kinds in the writings of those who have conducted people's war and drawn theoretical conclu-» sions—notably Mao-Tse-tung, General Giap, and other leaders of the great Asian revolutions of our era: the curious is first referred to these sources.2 Next, we may examine the practice of people's war, using thcee