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caponester

The Vietnam Question

Recommended Posts

caponester

Well 60 years on, roughly 60,000 Americans dead and almost a million Vietnamise dead the question more or less remains unanswered, was the war a just cause or was it pointless?

 

Were the war time leaders to vain to realise the war could not be won, or did they truly believe in halting the spread of communism.

 

We all know here the outcome of the war, America withdrew, but unlike most Americans like to think the war did not end there.

 

The last Americans were evacuated from Saigon in 1975 just before the city fell to the communists but the war dragged on.

 

South Vietnam fought on but were completely overun in a matter of months without the US superior fire power.

 

Many Vietnam veterans from both sides have reflected on the war, many still believe it was a just cause, something they would be willing to die for still to this die, then there are others who felt it was a waste of time and life.

 

Time Line

 

1945

 

Ho Chi Minh Creates Provisional Government: Following the surrender of Japan to Allied forces, Ho Chi Minh and his People's Congress create the National Liberation Committee of Vietnam to form a provisional government. Japan transfers all power to Ho's Vietminh.

 

Ho Declares Independence of Vietnam

 

British Forces Land in Saigon, Return Authority to French

 

First American Dies in Vietnam: Lt. Col. A. Peter Dewey, head of American OSS mission, was killed by Vietminh troops while driving a jeep to the airport. Reports later indicated that his death was due to a case of mistaken identity -- he had been mistaken for a Frenchman.

 

1946

 

French and Vietminh Reach Accord: France recognizes Vietnam as a "free state" within the French Union. French troops replace Chinese in the North.

 

Negotiations Between French and Vietminh Breakdown

 

Indochina War Begins: Following months of steadily deteriorating relations, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam launches its first consorted attack against the French.

 

1947

 

Vietminh Move North of Hanoi

 

Valluy Fails to Defeat Vietminh: French General Etienne Valluy attempts, and fails, to wipe out the Vietminh in one stroke.

 

1949

 

Elysee Agreement Signed: Bao Dai and President Vincent Auriol of France sign the Elysee Agreement. As part of the agreement the French pledge to assist in the building of a national anti-Communist army.

 

1950

 

Chinese, Soviets Offer Weapons to Vietminh

 

US Pledges $15M to Aid French: The United States sends $15 million dollars in military aid to the French for the war in Indochina. Included in the aid package is a military mission and military advisors.

 

1953

 

France Grants Laos Full Independence

 

Vietminh Forces Push into Laos

 

1954

 

Battle of Dienbienphu Begins: A force of 40,000 heavily armed Vietminh lay seige to the French garrison at Dienbienphu. Using Chinese artillery to shell the airstrip, the Vietminh make it impossible for French supplies to arrive by air. It soon becomes clear that the French have met their match.

 

Eisenhower Cites "Domino Theory" Regarding Southeast Asia: Responding to the defeat of the French by the Vietminh at Dienbienphu, President Eisenhower outlines the Domino Theory: "You have a row of dominoes set up. You knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly."

 

French Defeated at Dien Bien Phu

 

Geneva Convention Begins: Delegates from nine nations convene in Geneva to start negotiations that will lead to the end of hostilities in Indochina. The idea of partitioning Vietnam is first explored at this forum.

 

Geneva Convention Agreements Announced: Vietminh General Ta Quang Buu and French General Henri Delteil sign the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Vietnam. As part of the agreement, a provisional demarcation line is drawn at the 17th parallel which will divide Vietnam until nationwide elections are held in 1956. The United States does not accept the agreement, neither does the government of Bao Dai.

 

1955

 

Diem Rejects Conditions of Geneva Accords, Refuses to Participate in Nationwide Elections

 

China and Soviet Union Pledge Additional Financial Support to Hanoi

 

Diem Urged to Negotiate with North: Britain, France, and United States covertly urge Diem to respect Geneva accords and conduct discussions with the North.

 

Diem Becomes President of Republic of Vietnam: Diem defeats Bao Dai in rigged election and proclaims himself President of Republic of Vietnam.

 

1956

 

French Leave Vietnam

 

US Training South Vietnamese: The US Military Assistance Advisor Group (MAAG) assumes responsibility, from French, for training South Vietnamese forces.

 

1957

 

Communist Insurgency into South Vietnam: Communist insurgent activity in South Vietnam begins. Guerrillas assassinate more than 400 South Vietnamese officials. Thirty-seven armed companies are organized along the Mekong Delta.

 

Terrorist Bombings Rock Saigon: Thirteen Americans working for MAAG and US Information Service are wounded in terrorist bombings in Saigon.

 

1959

 

Weapons Moving Along Ho Chi Minh Trail: North Vietnam forms Group 559 to begin infiltrating cadres and weapons into South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Trail will become a strategic target for future military attacks.

 

US Servicemen Killed in Guerilla Attack: Major Dale R. Buis and Master Sargeant Chester M. Ovnand become the first Americans to die in the Vietnam War when guerillas strike at Bienhoa

 

Diem Orders Crackdown on Communists, Dissidents

 

1960

 

North Vietnam Imposes Universal Military Conscription

 

Kennedy Elected President: John F. Kennedy narrowly defeats Richard Nixon for the presidency.

 

Diem Survives Coup Attempt

 

Vietcong Formed: Hanoi forms National Liberation Front for South Vietnam. Diem government dubs them "Vietcong."

 

1961

 

Battle of Kienhoa Province: 400 guerillas attack village in Kienhoa Province, and are defeated by South Vietnamese troops.

 

Vice President Johnson Tours Saigon: During a tour of Asian countries, Vice President Lyndon Johnson visits Diem in Saigon. Johnson assures Diem that he is crucial to US objectives in Vietnam and calls him "the Churchill of Asia."

 

1962

 

US Military Employs Agent Orange: US Air Force begins using Agent Orange -- a defoliant that came in metal orange containers-to expose roads and trails used by Vietcong forces.

 

Diem Palace Bombed in Coup Attempt

 

Mansfield Voices Doubt on Vietnam Policy: Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield reports back to JFK from Saigon his opinion that Diem had wasted the two billion dollars America had spent there.

 

1963

 

Battle of Ap Bac: Vietcong units defeat South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) in Battle of Ap Bac

 

President Kennedy Assassinated in Dallas: Kennedy's death meant that the problem of how to proceed in Vietnam fell squarely into the lap of his vice president, Lyndon Johnson.

 

Buddhists Protest Against Diem: Tensions between Buddhists and the Diem government are further strained as Diem, a Catholic, removes Buddhists from several key government positions and replaces them with Catholics. Buddhist monks protest Diem's intolerance for other religions and the measures he takes to silence them. In a show of protest, Buddhist monks start setting themselves on fire in public places.

 

Diem Overthrown, Murdered: With tacit approval of the United States, operatives within the South Vietnamese military overthrow Diem. He and his brother Nhu are shot and killed in the aftermath.

 

1964

 

General Nguyen Khanh Seizes Power in Saigon: In a bloodless coup, General Nguyen Khanh seizes power in Saigon. South Vietnam junta leader, Major General Duong Van Minh, is placed under house arrest, but is allowed to remain as a figurehead chief-of-state.

 

Gulf of Tonkin Incident: On August 2, three North Vietnamese PT boats allegedly fire torpedoes at the USS Maddox, a destroyer located in the international waters of the Tonkin Gulf, some thirty miles off the coast of North Vietnam. The attack comes after six months of covert US and South Vietnamese naval operations. A second, even more highly disputed attack, is alleged to have taken place on August 4.

 

Debate on Gulf of Tonkin Resolution: The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is approved by Congress on August 7 and authorizes President Lyndon Johnson to "take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." The resolution passes unanimously in the House, and by a margin of 82-2 in the Senate. The Resolution allows Johnson to wage all out war against North Vietnam without ever securing a formal Declaration of War from Congress.

 

Vietcong Attack Bienhoa Air Base

 

LBJ Defeats Goldwater: Lyndon Johnson is elected in a landslide over Republican Barry Goldwater of Arizona. During the campaign, Johnson's position on Vietnam appeared to lean toward de-escalation of US involvement, and sharply contrasted the more militant views held by Goldwater.

 

1965

 

Operation "Rolling Thunder" Deployed: Sustained American bombing raids of North Vietnam, dubbed Operation Rolling Thunder, begin in February. The nearly continuous air raids would go on for three years.

 

Marines Arrive at Danang: The first American combat troops, the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, arrive in Vietnam to defend the US airfield at Danang. Scattered Vietcong gunfire is reported, but no Marines are injured.

 

Heavy Fighting at Ia Drang Valley: The first conventional battle of the Vietnam war takes place as American forces clash with North Vietnamese units in the Ia Drang Valley. The US 1st Air Cavalry Division employs its newly enhanced technique of aerial reconnaissance to finally defeat the NVA, although heavy casualties are reported on both sides.

 

US Troop Levels Top 200,000

 

Vietnam "Teach-In" Broadcast to Nation's Universities: The practice of protesting US policy in Vietnam by holding "teach-ins" at colleges and universities becomes widespread. The first "teach-in" -- featuring seminars, rallies, and speeches -- takes place at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in March. In May, a nationally broadcast "teach-in" reaches students and faculty at over 100 campuses.

 

1966

 

B-52s Bomb North Vietnam: In an effort to disrupt movement along the Mugia Pass -- the main route used by the NVA to send personnel and supplies through Laos and into South Vietnam -- American B-52s bomb North Vietnam for the first time.

 

South Vietnam Government Troops Take Hue and Danang

 

LBJ Meets With South Vietnamese Leaders: US President Lyndon Johnson meets with South Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Cao Ky and his military advisors in Honolulu. Johnson promises to continue to help South Vietnam fend off aggression from the North, but adds that the US will be monitoring South Vietnam's efforts to expand democracy and improve economic conditions for its citizens.

 

Veterans Stage Anti-War Rally: Veterans from World Wars I and II, along with veterans from the Korean war stage a protest rally in New York City. Discharge and separation papers are burned in protest of US involvement in Vietnam.

 

CORE Cites "Burden On Minorities and Poor" in Vietnam: The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) issues a report claiming that the US military draft places "a heavy discriminatory burden on minority groups and the poor." The group also calls for a withdrawal of all US troops from Vietnam.

 

1967

 

Operation Cedar Falls Begins: In a major ground war effort dubbed Operation Cedar Falls, about 16,000 US and 14,000 South Vietnamese troops set out to destroy Vietcong operations and supply sites near Saigon. A massive system of tunnels is discovered in an area called the Iron Triangle, an apparent headquarters for Vietcong personnel.

 

Bunker Replaces Cabot Lodge as South Vietnam Ambassador

 

Martin Luther King Speaks Out Against War: Calling the US "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world," Martin Luther King publicly speaks out against US policy in Vietnam. King later encourages draft evasion and suggests a merger between antiwar and civil rights groups.

 

Dow Recruiters Driven From Wisconsin Campus: University of Wisconsin students demand that corporate recruiters for Dow Chemical -- producers of napalm -- not be allowed on campus.

 

McNamara Calls Bombing Ineffective: Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, appearing before a Senate subcommittee, testifies that US bombing raids against North Vietnam have not achieved their objectives. McNamara maintains that movement of supplies to South Vietnam has not been reduced, and neither the economy nor the morale of the North Vietnamese has been broken.

 

1968

 

January

 

Sihanouk Allows Pursuit of Vietcong into Cambodia

 

North Vietnamese Launch Tet Offensive: In a show of military might that catches the US military off guard, North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces sweep down upon several key cities and provinces in South Vietnam, including its capital, Saigon. Within days, American forces turn back the onslaught and recapture most areas. From a military point of view, Tet is a huge defeat for the Communists, but turns out to be a political and psychological victory. The US military's assessment of the war is questioned and the "end of tunnel" seems very far off.

 

February

 

Battle for Hue: The Battle for Hue wages for 26 days as US and South Vietnamese forces try to recapture the site seized by the Communists during the Tet Offensive. Previously, a religious retreat in the middle of a war zone, Hue was nearly leveled in a battle that left nearly all of its population homeless. Following the US and ARVN victory, mass graves containing the bodies of thousands of people who had been executed during the Communist occupation are discovered.

 

Westmoreland Requests 206,000 More Troops

 

My Lai Massacre: On March 16, the angry and frustrated men of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, Americal Division entered the village of My Lai. "This is what you've been waiting for -- search and destroy -- and you've got it," said their superior officers. A short time later the killing began. When news of the atrocities surfaced, it sent shockwaves through the US political establishment, the military's chain of command, and an already divided American public.

 

March

 

LBJ Announces He Won't Run: With his popularity plummeting and dismayed by Senator Eugene McCarthy's strong showing in the New Hampshire primary, President Lyndon Johnson stuns the nation and announces that he will not be a candidate for re-election.

 

April

 

MLK Slain in Memphis:

 

May

 

Paris Peace Talks Begin: Following a lengthy period of debate and discussion, North Vietnamese and American negotiators agree on a location and start date of peace talks. Talks are slated to begin in Paris on May 10 with W. Averell Harriman representing the United States, and former Foreign Minister Xuan Thuy heading the North Vietnamese delegation.

 

June

 

Robert Kennedy Assassinated

 

August

 

Upheaval at Democratic Convention in Chicago: As the frazzled Democratic party prepares to hold its nominating convention in Chicago, city officials gear up for a deluge of demonstrations. Mayor Richard Daley orders police to crackdown on antiwar protests. As the nation watched on television, the area around the convention erupts in violence.

 

November

 

Richard Nixon Elected President: Running on a platform of "law and order," Richard Nixon barely beats out Hubert Humphrey for the presidency. Nixon takes just 43.4 percent of the popular vote, compared to 42.7 percent for Humphrey. Third-party candidate George Wallace takes the remaining percentage of votes.

 

1969

 

Nixon Begins Secret Bombing of Cambodia: In an effort to destroy Communist supply routes and base camps in Cambodia, President Nixon gives the go-ahead to "Operation Breakfast." The covert bombing of Cambodia, conducted without the knowledge of Congress or the American public, will continue for fourteen months.

 

Policy of "Vietnamization" Announced: Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird describes a policy of "Vietnamization" when discussing a diminishing role for the US military in Vietnam. The objective of the policy is to shift the burden of defeating the Communists onto the South Vietnamese Army and away from the United States.

 

Ho Chi Minh Dies at Age 79

 

News of My Lai Massacre Reaches US: Through the reporting of journalist Seymour Hersh, Americans read for the first time of the atrocities committed by Lt. William Calley and his troops in the village of My Lai. At the time the reports were made public, the Army had already charged Calley with the crime of murder.

 

Massive Antiwar Demonstration in DC

 

1970

 

Sihanouk Ousted in Cambodia: Prince Sihanouk's attempt to maintain Cambodia's neutrality while war waged in neighboring Vietnam forced him to strike opportunistic alliances with China, and then the United States. Such vacillating weakened his government, leading to a coup orchestrated by his defense minister, Lon Nol.

 

Kent State Incident: National Guardsmen open fire on a crowd of student antiwar protesters at Ohio's Kent State University, resulting in the death of four students and the wounding of eight others. President Nixon publicly deplores the actions of the Guardsmen, but cautions: "...when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy." Several of the protesters had been hurling rocks and empty tear gas canisters at the Guardsmen.

 

Kissinger and Le Duc Begin Secret Talks

 

Number of US Troops Falls to 280K

 

1971

 

Lt. Calley Convicted of Murder

 

Pentagon Papers Published: A legacy of deception, concerning US policy in Vietnam, on the part of the military and the executive branch is revealed as the New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers. The Nixon administration, eager to stop leaks of what they consider sensitive information, appeals to the Supreme Court to halt the publication. The Court decides in favor the Times and allows continued publication.

 

Nixon Announces Plans to Visit China: In a move that troubles the North Vietnamese, President Nixon announces his intention to visit The People's Republic of China. Nixon's gesture toward China is seen by the North Vietnamese as an effort to create discord between themselves and their Chinese allies.

 

Thieu Re-elected in South Vietnam

 

1972

 

Nixon Cuts Troop Levels by 70K: Responding to charges by Democratic presidential candidates that he is not moving fast enough to end US involvement in Vietnam, President Nixon orders troop strength reduced by seventy thousand.

 

Secret Peace Talks Revealed

 

B-52s Bomb Hanoi and Haiphong: In an attempt to force North Vietnam to make concessions in the ongoing peace talks, the Nixon administration orders heavy bombing of supply dumps and petroleum storage sites in and around Hanoi and Haiphong. The administration makes it clear to the North Vietnamese that no section of Vietnam is off-limits to bombing raids.

 

Break-In at Watergate Hotel

 

Kissinger Says "Peace Is At Hand": Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho reach agreement in principle on several key measures leading to a cease-fire in Vietnam. Kissinger's view that "peace is at hand," is dimmed somewhat by South Vietnamese President Thieu's opposition to the agreement.

 

Nixon Wins Reelection

 

1973

 

Cease-fire Signed in Paris: A cease-fire agreement that, in the words of Richard Nixon, "brings peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia," is signed in Paris by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. The agreement is to go into effect on January 28.

 

End of Draft Announced

 

Last American Troops Leave Vietnam

 

Hearings on Secret Bombings Begin: The Senate Armed Services Committee opens hearing on the US bombing of Cambodia. Allegations are made that the Nixon administration allowed bombing raids to be carried out during what was supposed to be a time when Cambodia's neutrality was officially recognized. As a result of the hearings, Congress orders that all bombing in Cambodia cease effective at midnight, August 14.

 

Kissinger and Le Duc Tho Win Peace Prize: The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Henry Kissinger of the United States and Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam. Kissinger accepts the award, while Tho declines, saying that a true peace does not yet exist in Vietnam.

 

1974

 

Thieu Announces Renewal of War

 

Report Cites Damage to Vietnam Ecology: According to a report issued by The National Academy of Science, use of chemical herbicides during the war caused long-term damage to the ecology of Vietnam. Subsequent inquiries will focus on the connection between certain herbicides, particularly Agent Orange, and widespread reports of cancer, skin disease, and other disorders on the part of individuals exposed to them.

 

Communists Take Mekong Delta Territory

 

Nixon Resigns

 

Communists Plan Major Offensive: With North Vietnamese forces in the South believed to be at their highest levels ever, South Vietnamese leaders gird themselves for an expected Communist offensive of significant proportions.

 

1975

 

Communist Forces Capture Phuoc Long Province: The South Vietnamese Army loses twenty planes in a failed effort to defend Phuoc Long, a key province just north of Saigon. North Vietnamese leaders interpret the US's complete lack of response to the siege as an indication that they could move more aggressively in the South.

 

Hue Falls to Communists

 

Communists Take Aim at Saigon: The North Vietnamese initiate the Ho Chi Minh Campaign -- a concerted effort to "liberate" Saigon. Under the command of General Dung, the NVA sets out to capture Saigon by late April, in advance of the rainy season.

 

Ford Calls Vietnam War "Finished": Anticipating the fall of Saigon to Communist forces, US President Gerald Ford, speaking in New Orleans, announces that as far as the US is concerned, the Vietnam War is "finished."

 

Last Americans Evacuate as Saigon Falls to Communists: South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh delivers an unconditional surrender to the Communists in the early hours of April 30. North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin accepts the surrender and assures Minh that, "...Only the Americans have been beaten. If you are patriots, consider this a moment of joy." As the few remaining Americans evacuate Saigon, the last two US servicemen to die in Vietnam are killed when their helicopter crashes.

 

 

To sum up this question I present you with the sad fact that many of the so called victorius North Vietnamese were opressed under the communists and many seeked refuge in none other than the good ol USA

 

And so closes the saddest chapter in American History

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TempEcho

It was pointless , and even changed things for the worst.

The American goverment must learn that their laws have no influence in other country's. Like Iraq and Vietnam. And they must stop taking such agressive decisions with relative ease. They have the power , now they must learn how to use it for the good. Put all that money in cancer reasearch for christ sake , or in something to make all those "American Car's" a little more envoiriment friendly.

 

I know I'm turning off subject. It was a bad desicion.In this world , it's all about who you know.

 

T.E.

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jersiq

I think another underlying question to be asked is whether or not "McCarthyism" fears fed into the president's and Congress' decisions to continue in a bloodbath of a war. How often are Senate votes that close to unanimous?

 

I believe that an unfounded fear of public humiliation and the impending moniker of "Communist" (Completely unacceptable for an American President), fed into the president's decisions. Fear to be the Second President to lose in a war (North Korea and China being the first), may have led the President to make some rather ill-advised decisions.

Both my Father and Father-in-Law served in Vietnam, and neither of them even likes to discuss it with me even though I am also a veteran of the military.

Edited by jersiq

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caponester

You make an interesting point jersiq however I find it amazing how quickly public opinion changed.

 

At the start of the war America was an almost black and white country in more ways than one.The image of the American suburbs with the stars and stripes and the apple pie and the college boys was very much what the world seen of America.

 

America saw war and the world through rose tinted spectacles, having never actually lost a major battle never mind a war the Americans more or less seen the world the way they wanted.The war in Korea was something to be forgotten, no one wanted to hear about some war in a far away place when they had just beat Nazism and the empire of Japan at the same time.

 

The public at first supported the war, people joined the marines, it was a happy go lucky era.

 

By the late 60's the opinions had changed drastically, with the first ever live televised battles the average joe for lack of a better expression seen the horrors of war, the heroic image of war was long gone, the reality of war had set in. One image stood out in particular, the image of a south vietnamese girl of 4 or 5 years old running naked from her village which had just been napalmed, the image was to become famous.

 

By the withdrawl of the American troops in 1975 America had come full circle, America wanted no war, the war to the public was pretty much how I see Iraq nowadays, someone elses problem.

 

America had gone from hating communism to not giving a sh*t.

 

Before Vietnam communists were spat on on the streets

After Vietnam no one gave a sh*t, hippies, beatles and drugs were in.

 

 

Liek opinions?

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Hugef1

Vietnam was the first war America lost. They did not know when to keep out of other people's business. North Korea was another of course.

 

I cannot see what the american government was thinkig when they decided to invade. So what if they were communists? They are coping ok now as is China. N. Korea is now a dictatorship. So in a way they succeeded in getting rid of communism.

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jersiq

 

Vietnam was the first war America lost.

I have to disagree Hugef1. In the Korean War the United States was also defeated. We had intially defeated a portion of the NK forces, and with the Republic of Korea's army began to invade N. Korea when the Chinese Army offered N. Korea assitance in the form of it's "million man army". Combined, the two forces expelled the U.S, R.O.K, and U.N. forces. In the ensuing peace treaty, the DMZ was set up, separating the North from the South. So we had lost that war, as it really was an American attack on Communism, which is eeirly similar to Vietnam.

 

Caponster, I agree it is interesting how pulic opinion changed,and yet the "Cold War" continued well into the 1980's. I guess it goes to prove that it is difficult for any country and its constituents to dispel it's prejudices against another country, or another way of life. I think America, at least on a general level, was afraid that communism was diametrically opposed to "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" no matter how inaccurate this notion was. Another thing that frightened Americans about Communism was the sheer ferocity displayed by the Russia in not only repelling Hitler's attack in WWII, but rebounding to mount an offensive against Germany. This ferocity was visible once again in the Vietnam war, as the NVA aptly displayed their ability to wage war on an invading country. At some level this frightened some Americans, and was a slap in the face regarding our "superiority" of military might.

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BrassKnuckles
Vietnam was the first war America lost.

I have to disagree Hugef1. In the Korean War the United States was also defeated. We had intially defeated a portion of the NK forces, and with the Republic of Korea's army began to invade N. Korea when the Chinese Army offered N. Korea assitance in the form of it's "million man army". Combined, the two forces expelled the U.S, R.O.K, and U.N. forces. In the ensuing peace treaty, the DMZ was set up, separating the North from the South. So we had lost that war, as it really was an American attack on Communism, which is eeirly similar to Vietnam.

confused.gif

 

The Korean War was not an American attack on communism. As I'm sure you'll recall, it began as a communist dictatorship's unprovoked attack on the South Korean democracy, which qualified in the UN as a member nation and warranted multinational intervention. Certainly the Korean War was made in the spirit of the Truman Doctrine, but it wasn't an offensive war, like Vietnam. Besides, the United States really didn't lose Korea...the war was fought to a stalemate. North and South Korea's balance of territory experienced no great shift.

 

Anyway, back to the topic.

 

Vietnam was a shameful experiment in the foreign policy of patronization. IMO.

 

@caponester: I recommend you downsize your know-it-all disposition. It's not exactly conducive to debate that you intermediate each entry in the discussion with a beefy slice of your knowledge.

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jersiq

Brassy-

 

It became offensive when instead of just repelling the invaders, it was decided to invade another nation.

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BrassKnuckles
Brassy-

 

It became offensive when instead of just repelling the invaders, it was decided to invade another nation.

Right. I thought you meant it started out an offensive war. smile.gif

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caponester

I agree with BK, the Korean war much like the Vietnam war was dubbed as a tactical withdrawl.

 

The only difference is in Korea nothing changed, the communists were expelled from the South and borders were set up, borders which have held for over 50 years.

 

In Vietnam however the Americans left while the communists took over.

 

Does anyone know anything about the Cambodian incurssions?

 

They were official denied by the US government but on several occasions riverboats found there way into Cambodia to carry out raids while B52's bombed the hell out of the country 24-7, unofficialy of course.

 

 

Another Vietnam related subject I found intresting was after the war ended what the hell happened to the 1000+ American prisoners left in nam? Some off course were sent back but what about the rest? Were they left to perish in the jungles of Nam?

 

I read a story once about how American officers who were taken prisoner were sent to Moscow for interrigation, to cover there tracks the Russians would kill them after they were done and then blame it on the Vietnamese.Is there any truth to this?

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De_Spank
Brassy-

 

It became offensive when instead of just repelling the invaders, it was decided to invade another nation.

Well what other way was there to win the war?

 

I support the Vietnam war.

 

Too many people towards the end of the war sympathized the Communist North because of negative meda attention. Thats all people saw. People never saw what the Viet Cong did to South Vietnamese villages supporting the government, or positive effects US presence had on the South Vietnamese.

 

South Vietnam was a democracy and the people were being invaded. American involvement to them was a blessing. Vietnam was not liberated by the North. How many people tried to escape from Vietnam on leaky boats? 400,000 perished on the seas to escape so called 'liberation'. A million others formed a new home in the US, Australia etc.

 

Congrats to the veterans who spat on Jane Fonda.

 

 

 

 

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BrassKnuckles
Brassy-

 

It became offensive when instead of just repelling the invaders, it was decided to invade another nation.

Too many people towards the end of the war sympathized the Communist North because of negative meda attention. Thats all people saw. People never saw what the Viet Cong did to South Vietnamese villages supporting the government, or positive effects US presence had on the South Vietnamese.

 

South Vietnam was a democracy and the people were being invaded. American involvement to them was a blessing. Vietnam was not liberated by the North. How many people tried to escape from Vietnam on leaky boats? 400,000 perished on the seas to escape so called 'liberation'. A million others formed a new home in the US, Australia etc.

Wait. What positive American influence? Putting South Vietnamese villagers in strategic hamlets and away from the outside world? Supporting the Diem regime, which had zero popular support and was infatuated with brutal dictatorial policy and villified Buddhists? The only positive influence America had in South Vietnam was stiff military protection from the North--which any industrialized nation could provide, and which turned out to be useless in the end.

 

South Vietnam was not invaded on a full scale until after US withdrawal. The Vietnam War began with the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and the Rolling Thunder bombing campaign, both of which were US initiatives against North Vietnam. Efforts toward unification began after the sham of the 1956 elections, which Ho Chi Minh would have won by a landslide, but which were canceled because communism's spread would have been ensured. In fact, much of the South sympathized with unification and the North. Don't confuse Vietnam with the Gulf War, or some other defensive initiative.

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caponester

It's clear this is an issue America is split down the middle about.

 

It is true that the south vietnamese actually supported the communist north for the most part, I just wonder why the general public didn't overthrow the US occupants rather than let them fight a stalemate.

 

Did north Vietnam ever win a single major battle? The answer is no, I thought that was pretty amazing.

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De_Spank

Support Diem? The US supported an ARVN based coupe which overthrew Diem in the early days and executed him and his brother.

 

Strategic hamlets were far better than how the Viet Cong held power in 'liberated' villages. Sending away supporters of government, destroying ideals that didn't agree with Communism, isolation of the villages and maintaining fear of the Viet Cong.

 

Yes, as the war progressed many turned towards the North. Why? Fear. They had seen what happend to village chiefs and families in villages with husbands and sons serving in the ARVN or supporting the South.

 

South Vietnam supported the North for the most part? I guess you weren't there on the day Saigon fell in 75. I wasn't but my dad was an infantrymen on the day.

 

If South Vietnam supported the North then i'm assuming 400,000 shouldnt of died trying to escape on fishing boats. Ever seen tens of thousands chase an aeroplane down a runway? Some especially military officers committed suicide.

 

If we supposedly supported the North i would be living there wouldn't i? Go to any Vietnamese community in the States and you'll see what people think of the North.

 

In Orange County a Vietnamese shop owner tried to put up a picture of Ho Chi Minh, thousands of Vietnamese stormed the street and tried to burn his store down. Today in Vietnam up North people raise the North flag every morning. Down South the people either refuse to or raise the South Vietnamese flag.

 

Capone, the VC and NVA were an army of illiterate farmers up against an army supported by close quarter artillery and air suppport.

 

 

Edited by De_Spank

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caponester

You forget the VC and NVA not only had 20 years of fighting experience behind them not only fighting off the Japanese during ww2 and the French in the late 40's and early 50's but they also had the full backing of the chinese and Russian governments

 

Where do you think they got there half a million artillery pieces from?

Where do you think there air support came from?

Where do you think the Ak47 came from?

 

Illiterates? maybe, but a college education doesn't make you a great wartime thinker as we've seen many times in history.

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De_Spank
You forget the VC and NVA not only had 20 years of fighting experience behind them not only fighting off the Japanese during ww2 and the French in the late 40's and early 50's but they also had the full backing of the chinese and Russian governments

 

Where do you think they got there half a million artillery pieces from?

Where do you think there air support came from?

Where do you think the Ak47 came from?

 

Illiterates? maybe, but a college education doesn't make you a great wartime thinker as we've seen many times in history.

I don't consider wave tactics great war time thinking. An NVA general admitted himself most battle directions consisted of smashing head first into the enemy to avoid artillery. Twenty years of fighting experience gave them nothing but familiarity with the land, they had no clue how to fight an air mobile enemy.

 

Yes i think everyone knows North Vietnam had extensive Communist support.

 

Sorry but tactics didn't win North Vietnam the war, persistance and spirit did. They were there to stay, unfortunately the US weren't.

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caponester

Well it wasn't a very fair battle, but the NVA and VC still managed to win the war despite never winning a major battle.

 

I guess the US had a different idea of what acceptable losses were, afterall it wasn't like ww1 or ww2 where the government had the full backing of the people, this was a war like no other.

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Swarz

'Politically strategic' sums up the vietnam war.

 

The cold war was the most stable period in the history of the developed world. America did not go to war with Russia. There were no wars in Western Europe - there was relative peace and prosperity.

 

But while there was stability in Europe, the ideological bi-polar world created by the USSR and the USA led to the creation of 'satellite' states, where battles could be fought to stem/spread the growth of Communism and Capitalism. Whilst these were fought all over Africa and Asia (including extensive sales of arms to local militias), Vietnam has arisen as the most memorable example of these satellite wars.

 

Now, I don't know much about the Vietnam war in itself, only the fluff around it. But, regardless of the hundreds of thousands killed, at the time for the USA it was a strategically important choice to make. It was an ideological battle between the left and right, and in order to stop a full scale nuclear war between the superpowers, smaller scale wars had to be fought in third world nations.

 

 

Some may be inclined to draw similarities between Vietnam and Iraq, simply on the basis that the USA is supposedly 'bogged down' in an overseas occupation. While there are a range of similarities and differences, I feel the need to outline just one point:

 

The CNN Effect - one of the prime reasons why the USA withdrew from Vietnam and Somalia, and why they didn't intervene in Rwanda. Seeing US soldiers bodies torn to shreds on the field of battle. However, this has not been so in the Iraq war - despite huge casualties, support remains strong at home for occupation in Iraq. Come up with whatever assumptions you may as to why this is - all the same, it's intriguing how some things change so much, and others change so little.

 

Toodles. smile.gif

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Liquid Metal Face
Thousands of lives sacrificed, and nothing achieved. Pretty pointless if you ask me.

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jizzyman

Do I find the Vietnam War acceptable? Honestly I don't find any war acceptable. The Vietnam war had over two million civilian casualties, Vietnam was in the middle of a struggle between the USSR and the USA. Now the South won almost every conflict, and actually won the war, peace accords were signed and the US withdrew from South East asia, but one year later the North broke the accord and defeated the south. Now did the US have any right to interfere in the first place? No they did not this was an independent nation as said before and was supposedly a seperate issue. Vietnam was a country dragged into the war for taking soviet aide, and for maintaning a communist government. About 15% of the countries poplulation did not survive the war, and the country was left in ruin for a long time. No I do not think the US had any excuse to invade Vietnam.

 

De_Spank, the people fleeing were doing so for one reason, money. A capitalist government says that everyone is free to go to any heights to achieve money, but if you lose everything, you're f*cked, vietnam offered no such freedoms, but its population was not starving. Tell me is 4 million lives a reasonable price to pay for a population not enjoying the luxuries a capitalist society can enjoy. You talked about the viet cong raiding villages and how horrible they were yet you say nothing of the napalm bombings, the photographs of naked children burning in it. You demonize the North yet you don't mention anywhere what the other party was doing. Negotiation was possible but it was avoided.

 

Honestly all I can say about the Vietnam war is it was pure waste of human life and resources.

 

 

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De_Spank

Jizzface don't even start an issue about money.

 

We were fleeing for our lives. My parents fled because ARVN soldiers and officers were being used as human mine detectors by our so called liberators. My dad being an ARVN officer and pretty much everyone in my family being affiliated with the Government were in danger. Three of my relatives who were politicians/officers were executed. My grandparents business was burnt to the ground for providing the Government with supplies and nearly all their land was taken. Four hundred thousand drowned in foreign waters escaping their liberators over a useless currency? f*ck off.

 

Vietnam offered no Capitalist freedoms? Sorry but anyone could make a living as they pleased. Businesses in Saigon were most successful at making a killing off foreigners. My family held a chain of businesses before the North won.

 

Four million, 15% of the population, where the f*ck are you pulling all these ridiculous numbers from? Vietnam had a population of about 78 million then, 10% of that is 7.8 million. Approximately 1 million were killed. The majority were the NVA and VC for their wreckless wave tactics against automatic fire, if their going to fight a war like that they can suffer the consequences.

 

Yes i did talk about VC atrocities. What are we supposed to do to counter these measures? Let them walk all over us and hide in the mountains?

No we weren't college student protestors we had to deal with reality unlike you, so we got down to business and napalmed them. We napalmed them back to Hanoi where they belong.

 

Yes at times there were friendly casaulties like villages but that happens in EVERY war.

 

You idiots only made a big deal out of it because you could see it on TV for the first time.

 

We enjoyed Capitalist luxeries and yes our government had problems like corruption when it came to elections, much like your own glorius United States.

 

Negotiations were NOT possible. North Vietnam would not give up until Vietnam was united under one banner. We were willing to stop the War and keep the South and North as two seperate countries.

 

Oh and you mention the napalm victim photos because thats all your ever going to see in America. Come to my house and you can go through my fathers photos he took while serving in his platoon. Ever seen a man get his limbs amputated for believing in what he thought was right?

Edited by De_Spank

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StewMitch

Vietnam was just one of those things were it may or not have been the right place to be, but once you're there, you better give it your f*cking 150%. I feel sorry for any American veteran from Korean to now. My grandad was a Korean vet (signal corps), honorable early discharge a day away from being promoted, but never told anyone about what things were like down there. He also never ate turkey. I guess the Chinese and Kim Il Sung's boys did some bizarre things to turkeys. But I can guarantee that 3/4 of America's populace wouldn't even know we've had a war in Korea.

 

Vietnam veterans get the stigmata of fighting in a war that no one supported because leftist media, college professors and students felt that way.

 

The American Spec. Forces that were deployed to Somalia were dishonored because their Commander-in-Chief didn't have the balls to finish the job they had started.

 

And now soldiers in today's military are told by their own senators that they'd fit right in with Hitler's SS and operate Stalin's Gulags.

 

WW2 vets rightfully get high praise, but they fought in a war which was none of America's business at all...

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SalvatoreLeoneOG

I had 2 uncles in Vietnam. One in the Air Force, the other in in Army Infantry....Both served and did their duty. The one in the Air Force died of cancer in '99. The one thing strange about it. The NEVER talked about what they did. Never did.

 

Oh btw WW2 was a war we had every right in. Only how many deaths because the emperor over there said it was what god said to do. That's an insult to my grandfather who served in 4th Armored and my other great uncle who fought in the pacific, became a POW and lost an eye there. How? They cut it out of his head.

 

I personally think that Vietnam was part money and part showing off. As you can see now in today's events. I think Vietnam was part showing off to Russia that we can trample on communism and win, but we never took the consquences into account. But like most people know, Russia got whooped by the Afghans that had MUZZLE LOADERS! Like today in Iraq I think we are there to make money and part show off that if you screw with us on the land, sea, or air, you will be destroyed. Let me try to explain something to everyone. Iraq will end in our bitter defeat like Vietnam? Why because the people we are fighting now are finaticals and have nothing to lose. Look how long the Jews( no offense ) and Palenstians were fighting. They have been fighting for hundreds of years. No one has gained anything.

 

Oh here is a site you should go to if you want to see how fragile we are. How war really is. WARNING IT IS VERY GRUESOME!

www.ogrish.com

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