20 JANUARY 1967, Page 13

Bombing in Vietnam

SIR,—As viewed from Vietnam several conclusions which Mr Lawson has drawn on the bombings of North Vietnam ('Spectator's Notebook,' December 30), appear in a different light. I fail to sec how he can maintain that the bombing is totally unjustified. Without assessing the damage imposed upon the North, whatever hindrance is forced on the North Vietnamese war effort would be fully justified in diverting efforts that would otherwise be employed against to in the South. Once a nation is at war— limited or not—it assumes an obligation to its troops to ensure a minimum employment of the enemy. As for damaging her cause outside Vietnam, America has received so little support outside the south-western Pacific arta, it would seem almost criminal to solicit world opinion at the expense of higher Americas

casualties which would result as an end of the bombing of the North.

On a different subject I will take this opportunity

to say bow much pleasure the SPECTATOR brings me weekly. In spite of a sometimes haphazard mail it

has fairly consistently arrived in a week or so after posting. I believe I have failed to receive only one issue since June.


3d Marine Division, Quang Nam Province. Vietnam

[Nigel Lawson writes: While America indeed has an obligation to minimise casualties among its troops, this is not an overriding objective. After all, casualties could be reduced to zero by a policy of total withdrawal. In any case, it is very doubtful whether the bombing of the North has reduced Com- munist infiltration into the South at all.]