Ben Tre

Ben Tre was the capital city of the Kien Hoa Province in IV Corps. South of Saigon, Kien Hoa Province borders the Vietnamese coast along the South China Sea. Ben Tre became momentarily famous in 1968 when Vietcong forces captured the city during the Tet Offensive. Overwhelming American and South Vietnamese forces, bolstered by vast air strikes, recaptured Ben Tre, but the artillery and air strikes all but destroyed the town, killing an estimated 550 people and wounding 1,200 more. The battle for Ben Tre was not much different from numerous other struggles during the Vietnam War, except for the famous quote of an American major when asked by journalist Peter Arnett to justify the indiscriminate use of explosives. His comment, "It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it," was widely quoted in the world press and became a symbol to antiwar activists of the bankruptcy of U.S. policy in Southeast Asia.

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