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Tuesday, February 15. 2011
It's a good piece, but minimizes what I think the war was really about: geopolitical maneuvering. Both North and South were proxies, if not pawns.
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--to further a debate around a table in a cafe near the Sorbonne?
The Viet Nam war was a battle in the larger Cold War. The USA may have lost the battle but won the war. Blick
Our "pawns" fought, suffered and continue to suffer, while we move on. Little wonder that others elsewhere are more hesitant to be treated as our disposable "pawns."
Consistency and US resolve are seen as undependable.
Dennis ain't Vietnamese.
Therefore, his answer to his own qustion is but another futile American act not dissimilar to the egomaniacal and illegal acts of Kennedy and Johnson in Vietnam.
Probably 2 million Vietnamese died IN the war but have we forgotten that probably 3-5 million Vietnamese died in the victory celebration by the Marxist-Leninist North.
THAT!!!! Is what the fight was about!!!!
Should Kennedy have started the war and should Johnson have expanded it?? Probably not, we had no good reason to try to save a few million lives. But make no mistake Kennedy saw that South Vietnam was doomed and millions would die when the repressive Ho Chi Minh regime invaded.
Don't forget Cambodia. The Pol Pot regime killed an estimated 25% of the population. When the Democrats cut funding to our allies in SE Asia in 1975, Chris Dodd said on the floor of the congress that the people of Cambodia would be better off under Pol Pot.
The south Viets were not pawns. They were the victims of greedy and power mad north Viets masquerading as communists.
Well meaning leftists are always taken over by brutes. And they never learn. And never will.
The "domino theory" was prevalent and, on the surface at least, defensible. Taking that theory as fact makes the Vietnam war justifiable on national security grounds. Maybe the spread of Communism would have stopped there - I don't believe that, do you? Then the question is at what point do you draw the line? I'm not aware of any countries where Communism was ushered in on a vote. I'm also not aware of any countries where masses of people were not killed in its implementation. So there is a movement that forces itself on a country and kills large sections of its populations. I don't know about you, but that is a movement that is worthy of being stopped.
I find it very interesting that the "no justice no peace" crowd are the most vocal when denouncing US's efforts to end regimes that have no justice. Certainly North Vietnam's Communist regime fits that definition, but more recently, so did Saddam Hussein's Iraq. My question: exactly how was justice going to be implemented in Iraq or Vietnam? By negotiation? Ha!
The shame of our involvement in Vietnam is that we didn't win and we could/should have. Just like in Korea.
Shame is yall's ignorance of who established two Vietnams by Geneva Accords after France lost Indochina.
It was a temporary armistce till elctions to unify or not were held.
USA usurped the South and violated the Accords fearing commies would win such election.
Dumbass South Vietnamese would have, if they could have, if they should have succeeded but they didn't succeed even with USA's assistance and overwhelming military superiorty.
This post puts a blind eye on all of the oppressive and murderous regimes the US has backed through the years. To even attempt to bring in some sort of political justice concept in here is unacceptable. The question of Justice should never be put in the hands of capitalistic powers for it does not become justice but business
The question of Justice should never be put in the hands of capitalistic powers for it does not become justice but business.
Yes indeedee, put justice in the hands of the Socialists powers. After all the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the PRC, the National Socialists in Germany, Pol Pot in Cambodia et al , all knew how to administer justice. Very just.
So there are only two sides? Of course you quote the most disasterous socialist situations around. I'm not saying I'm for one or the other, just saying that when money is behind it justice follows dollars.
The war was a folly of political micromanagement. In the end, they fell because the North had external funding and the South did not after the Democrats cut them off.
Serendipity. I'm about 1/3 into the first volume (1954-1965) of a monumental re-examination of the Vietnam war by historian Mark Moyar entitled Triumph Forsaken. So far the depth of research from all primary sources - U.S. and North Vietnamese - backs up a solid case for concluding that the entire enterprise (not just the part involving U.S. ground troops) was very much a case of "geopolitical maneuvering" as you put it. The story is much too complex for a quick summary, but here is the final sentence in this volume: "The war in Vietnam that America's young men were about to fight, therefore, was not to be a foolish war fought under wise constraints, but a wise war fought under foolish constraints." I'm impressed with the 1954-1961 portion (plus an overview of Vietnamese political history beginning in 1000 AD) I have read. I expect the rest will be equally as compelling.
Interesting! I think constraints in war end up being foolish (but some are required of civilized nations even if they are fighting uncivilized gangs). There is an argument that unconstrained war is much shorter and in the end more efficient in terms of casualties and cost than drawn out carefully constrained ones.
The same is argued often about economic pain - it is better to take the intense pain for a shorter period of time than to try to prop up industries and companies that generally tend to just forestall the unavoidable and incurring pain over a longer period of time. The theory is that the quantity of pain can not be decreased by making it take longer and can make it worse.
I've read Moyar's book and it was great. You might try Lewis Sorley's "A Better War", it's another great book based on newly released documents and overlooked sources and focusing on the post-Tet years. Leftist historians have either downplayed or ignored this period because it doesn't fit their narrative.
"What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi . You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battle of TET. You defeated us!"
"We knew it, and we thought you knew it."
"But we were elated to notice your media was helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!"
-- General Vo Nguyen Giap, leader of the North Vietnam military. Quote is from his memoirs.
That was Yuri Andropov --a genius, with plenty of helpers stateside. John Kerry, prominently.
It is very doubtful that Giap ever said that. He did (evidently) say:
"We paid a high price [during the Tet offensive] but so did you [Americans]... not only in lives and materiel.... Do not forget the war was brought into the living rooms of the American people. ... The most important result of the Tet offensive was it made you de-escalate the bombing, and it brought you to the negotiation table. It was, therefore, a victory.... "
So, we can accurately blame Cronkite alsong with Dan Rather and his ilk for their reports from the bars in Saigon.
If Giap did say such-it's not accurate. There were no negotiations as a result of Tet. They came later after the mood of the country shifted somewhat toward anti-war.
Anyone who actually took part in Tet, especially in the boonies, knew just from body counts (real ones) that the VC were gone for good and the NVA had been badly hurt.
I always thought that the purpose of the war was to give Kennedy and Johnson a foreign policy victory for the sake of boosting their respective political capital.
As time blurs I think history tends to become more cynical and pragmatic. At the time there was a more general feeling of support for the ideal of helping the Vietnamese fight off the yoke of Communism. Yes, the politicians and a good many senior military leaders botched the job. But, bottom line, if the US had found the fortitude to see it through to the end millions of lives would have been saved.
One thing that didn't help is that the intellectual and media framing of the war became less about Communism and its inherent dictatorial abuse but morphed into a dialog of the engagement that was more nationalistic in nature. The brute US against the gentle peace loving farmers of North Vietnam. Righteous in their 'People's Victory'.
XRay, Vietnamese were pretty solidly commies while they dispatched the French.
Had elections been held as agreed commies were going to take Vietnam by ballot.
Dumbass Demonrats Kennedy ad then Johnson screwed that pooch.
The bloodletting that followed their egomanical designs rests with them.
I see you're not really concerned with lives lost and misery gained. Seems you are more interested in placing blame, here, and/or stroking your smarts. Probably you would have been one to have voted for abandoning the South Vietnamese to their forthcoming horribleness.
XRay, what yall claim to see is but your own and/or fantasies.
Try to deal with the topic.
Prager blames the commies.
There is plenty other parties to the Vietnam War disaster.
Meself never voted for any of it.
Of course, I'd expect no less from you, in disavowing any responsibility, even in hindsight. You seem to speak of relativism, though, that we're all equally evil, and the US more so, somehow. I call BS there and end of conversation, no value gained henceforth.
Yall ain't conversatin, sweetheart, except maybe in your own small noggin.
How is it girls presume to control anything despite the facts.
Post 1956, Vietnam War was an American invention and so blame be half USA's.
Don't follow leaders and watch those parkin' meters, sissy.
There is a lot of misinformation floating around about the Vietnam war. Our media used the Tet offensive to turn the American public against the war and thus they feel that to this day they must continue to misinform about that event. In truth is was a terrible mistake by the North. In an attempt to win the media war they sacrificed over 100,000 of their own men. They took a shellacking almost unprecedented in the history of war. They played into our strength and lead with their weakness. But diplomatically it was a success thanks to the American press most Americans would have believed that the Tet offensive was a victory for the North and the beginning of the end. Thanks to our left leaning press millions of South Vietnamese were cruelly murdered when we abandoned them. I honestly do not know if the press remained stupidly naive of what they did or if they realized their terrible crime and afterward endeavored to cover it up. But either way they stand shoulder to shoulder denying their involvement in those millions of deaths...
Yes, agree completely. Though, no, I do not believe it sprang from naiveté. And you're correct I think, the press continues the tactic today of not only misinforming about that war, but I would add, present ones as well. Whatever it takes to thwart the idea/ideal of American Exceptionalism. That is their goal.
we had a treaty --we were treaty bound to defend the sovereign nation of South Vietnam
Seems Ambassador at Large for Johnson and chief US negotiator at the Paris peace talks on Vietnam, Averell Harriman didn't think so, Boo.
He said in June of 1968 in Paris concerning peace talks, "We
want to re-establish peace on the basis of the 1954 Geneva Accords,"
You have to look at things in the time that they happened, leag. We may have found a flaw in SEATO later, but no one had found it going in.
Certainly, lookin' at things in the time they happened would have helped even with flaws goin' in but very few availed themselves.
Prager didn't set that template, either.
The truth is always out there, and not every American was hell bent for Empire even back then nor think SEATO was justification to destroy the peace of Vietnam.
SEATO was to be undertaken under the Charter of the United Nations.
No action was approved by UN Security Council.