Viet Nam: Quiet No More

When the 1954 Geneva Conference divided Viet Nam in two, it established a demilitarized buffer zone between the Communist North and anti-Communist South. The zone is six miles wide. It roughly follows the 17th parallel from the mountainous Laotian border in the west through thickly jungled foothills to the fertile paddies along the coast. For twelve years, it was the quietest place in all of Viet Nam.

Last week the peace was broken. On four separate days, American warplanes swooped in to bomb the demilitarized zone—and the antiaircraft barrage that greeted them did not come from Communist carbines and pistols. The...

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