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VIETNAM ?

  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. Did the U.S. lose Vietnam ?

    • Yes
      15
    • No
      7
  2. 2. Did those who died in Vietnam do so in vain ?

    • Yes
      12
    • No
      10
  3. 3. Should the U.S. have even entered Vietnam ?

    • Yes
      7
    • No
      15
  4. 4. Should Ho Chi Minh be considered a military genius ?

    • Yes
      5
    • No
      7
    • partially
      10
  5. 5. Would you have served in Vietnam if drafted ?

    • Yes
      15
    • No
      7
  6. 6. Did you serve in Vietnam ?

    • Yes
      2
    • No
      20
  7. 7. What was the primary cause of US withdrawal in your opinion ?

    • Unwinnable war to begin with
      3
    • Bad tactics ... should have used more force
      5
    • Loss of support for the war at home
      2
    • We just loss ... that simple
      0
    • The enemie was committed to fight us for a hundred years if they needed to
      3
    • The whole thing was a Clusterfuck !
      5
    • Hippies & Commie bastards at home !
      0
    • Another answer ___________
      4
  8. 8. Should Vietnam draft dodgers be seen as unpatriotic ?

    • Yes
      9
    • No
      13
  9. 9. Best Vietnam Movie ?

    • Apocalypse Now
      3
    • Full Metal Jacket
      8
    • Born on the Fourth of July
      0
    • Platoon
      2
    • The Green Berets
      0
    • Casualties of War
      0
    • The Deer Hunter
      1
    • Good Morning, Vietnam
      1
    • We Were Soldiers
      5
    • Other ______
      2
  10. 10. Did you personally know anyone on the Memorial Wall ?

    • Yes
      5
    • No
      17
  11. 11. Did you take part in any Anti War protests during Vietnam ?

    • Yes
      1
    • No
      21
  12. 12. Jane Fonda ?

    • Traitor
      13
    • Hero
      0
    • Neither
      9


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[center][img]http://www.vietnamwar.com/memorywall.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j318/Tredcrow/Illusion/rab10.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j318/Tredcrow/Illusion/ds7.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j318/Tredcrow/Illusion/ds12.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j318/Tredcrow/Illusion/ds11.jpg[/img]
[img]http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j318/Tredcrow/Illusion/ds1.jpg[/img][/center]

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[center][img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c1/Long_khanh_fallen.jpg[/img][/center]




[size=4][u][color="#0000FF"][size=3][b][center][img]http://www.nec.co.jp/community/en/tennis/images/usa_flag.gif[/img] US Armed Forces in Vietnam[/color][/u][/size]

[font="Arial Narrow"]Served: 8,744,000

Killed: 58,217

Wounded: 153,452

Still missing: 1,947 [/font]






[img]http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/WEB-GIFs/flags/NVietnam.jpg[/img] [u][size=4][color="#FF0000"]North Vietnamese Army[/color][/size][/u]

[font="Arial Narrow"]Killed: 800,000

Wounded: 600,000

MIA: 300,000[/font]






[size=4][u][img]http://www.lib.chattanooga.gov:8080/kcweb-icons/history_wars/war_vietnam.gif[/img] [color="#556B2F"]Vietnamese civilians[/color][/u][/size]

[font="Arial Narrow"]Killed: 900,000 - 4,000,000

Affected by Agent Orange: 3,000,000[/center][/b][/size][/font]





[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War_casualties"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War_casualties[/url]

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It is a war I don't think we should have ever been involved with. We lost because we didn't fight all out to win. And, if I remember my history from college correctly, the people we were "fighting for" didn't really want us there to begin with.

Unlike Iraq.

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[color="#2F4F4F"][font="Arial Narrow"][size=3][b]The US fucked up in many ways long before Vietnam.

~ From 1944-1947: [u]Ho Chi Minh Reached out to the US and FDR[/u] and at this time he had No Direct Ties to Soviet Union. Ho Chi Minh was fighting for the liberation of Vietnam from the French ... and the US should have simply backed him and told the French the writing was on the wall. Ho Chi Minh when contacting FDR even mentioned that Indochina could be a “fertile field for American capital and enterprise”, and offered allowing a US base in Camranh Bay for US support. Instead, the US helped the French, even offering them two atomic bombs. [img]http://forum.go-bengals.com/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/30.gif[/img]

[color="#FF0000"]= Ho Chi Minh was eventually forced in 1950 to look to the USSR and China for support. [/color]



~ Then the US failed to recognize the 1954 Geneva Accords which temporarily divided Vietnam in half at the 17th parallel, with Ho Chi Minh’s forces in the north and Bao Dai’s regime in the south but called for elections to be held in all of Vietnam within two years to reunify the country. However the US opposed the unifying elections, fearing a likely victory by Ho Chi Minh, and refused to sign the Geneva accords.


[center][i]“If the scheduled national elections are held in July 1956, and if the Viet Minh does not prejudice its political prospects, the Viet Minh will almost certainly win.” [/i]

~ CIA [/center]



= US President Dwight Eisenhower even admitted:

[center][i]“I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, a possible 80 per cent of the population would have voted for the communist Ho Chi Minh as their leader.”[/i]

~ [Eisenhower, 1994, pp. 372][/center] [/b][/size][/font][/color]

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[quote name='Jason' post='596962' date='Nov 20 2007, 03:57 PM']It is a war I don't think we should have ever been involved with.[/quote]
[b]Agreed. Ho Chi Minh was wildly popular in both South and North Vietnam ... and had a rightful claim to unify Vietnam and liberate the country from the French and then us. The US had no business getting involved and the "Domino" theory was bullshit. [/b]






[quote name='Jason' post='596962' date='Nov 20 2007, 03:57 PM']We lost because we didn't fight all out to win.[/quote]
[b]I would disagree here. The US carpet bombed Vietnam for a decade ... sent in 8 million men ... dropped enough agent orange to last a few centuries, took out several million civilians as collateral, and still the VC and North were stronger the day we left than the day we went in. Short of Nuking Hanoi and half of North Vietnam ... there wasn't much more the US could have done and still accomplished anything resembling their strategic objective ... which was a seperate country in the South. [/b]






[quote name='Jason' post='596962' date='Nov 20 2007, 03:57 PM']the people we were "fighting for" didn't really want us there to begin with.[/quote]
[b]Agreed. People don't usually react well to invading armies who claim that they are their to liberate them from a ruler that 80 % of them support. [/b]






[quote name='Jason' post='596962' date='Nov 20 2007, 03:57 PM']Unlike Iraq.[/quote]
[b]Rather than pointing out how 47 percent of Iraqis approved of attacks on American forces in 2006 [color="#FF0000"]*[/color] [url="http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brmiddleeastnafricara/165.php?nid=&id=&pnt=165"]LINK[/url] I'll just leave Iraq for another thread ... as I want to solely focus on Vietnam in this one. [/b]

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[url="http://www.coonts.com/Books/flight_of_the_intruder.htm"]FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER[/url]

I recommend to read the book first then watch the movie; a must for William Dafoe fans.

[quote]"Grafton's humanity separates him from both the image of Rambo and 'war criminal' epithets. His hands shake and he occasionally succumbs to the panic lurking just beneath his "Cool Hand" facade..." --Philadelphia Inquirer[/quote]

[quote]"Extraordinary! No book has ever opened the world of naval aviators like this. Once you start reading you won't want to stop." --Tom Clancy, author, The Hunt for Red October[/quote]

[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c1/Flight_of_the_intruder.jpg[/img]

[quote]Plot:
Flight of the Intruder centers on U.S. Navy Lieutenant Grafton who becomes increasingly disillusioned with political controls imposed on his bombing missions of North Vietnam after his bombardier/navigator is killed during a night-time raid. Other planes from Grafton's aircraft carrier are being shot down by surface-to-air missiles which are stockpiled in the city of Hanoi, off-limits to retaliatory bombing raids. With Cole as bombardier/navigator, Grafton plans a renegade attack on "SAM City", a park in the center of Hanoi where the missiles are stored.[/quote]

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[url="http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1551081/posts"]Vietnam...Facts vs. Fiction[/url]
Capt USNR, (Ret) Marshal Hanson

Posted on 01/03/2006 7:53:08 AM PST by RVN Airplane Driver

[quote]For over 30 years I -- like many Vietnam veterans -- seldom spoke of Vietnam, except with other veterans, when training soldiers, and in public speeches. These past five years I have joined the hundreds of thousands who believe it is high time the truth be told about the Vietnam War and the people who served there. It's time the American people learn that the United States military did not lose the War, and that a surprisingly high number of people who claim to have served there, in fact [b]DID NOT[/b].

As Americans support the men and women involved in the War on Terrorism, the mainstream media are once again working tirelessly to undermine their efforts and force a psychological loss or stalemate for the United States. We cannot stand by and let the media do to today's warriors what they did to us 35 years a go.....[/quote]

[quote]Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam. Fact: The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. General Westmoreland quoting Douglas Pike, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley a major military defeat for the VC and NVA.

THE UNITED STATES DID NOT LOSE THE WAR IN VIETNAM, THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE DID. Read on........

The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam. The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973. How could we lose a war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. [u]The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973[/u]. [b]It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S. forces, limitation of both sides' forces inside South Vietnam and a commitment to peaceful reunification[/b].

The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives. There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 then there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in Vietnam.

Thanks for the perceived loss and the countless assassinations and torture visited upon Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians goes mainly to the[b] American media [/b]and their undying support-by-misrepresentation of the anti-War movement in the United States. As with much of the Vietnam War, [u]the news media misreported and misinterpreted the 1968 Tet Offensive[/u]. It was reported as an overwhelming success for the Communist forces and a decided defeat for the U.S. forces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite initial victories by the Communists forces, the Tet Offensive resulted in a major defeat of those forces. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the designer of the Tet Offensive, is considered by some as ranking with Wellington, Grant, Lee and MacArthur as a great commander. Still, militarily, the Tet Offensive was a total defeat of the Communist forces on all fronts. It resulted in the death of some 45,000 NVA troops and the complete, if not total destruction of the Viet Cong elements in South Vietnam. The Organization of the Viet Cong Units in the South never recovered. The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one front and that was the [b]News front [/b]and the political arena. This was another example in the Vietnam War of an inaccuracy becoming the perceived truth. However, inaccurately reported, the [b]News Media [/b]made the Tet Offensive famous.[/quote]

[quote][b]Myth[/b]: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972.....shown a million times on American television....was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang.

[b]Fact[/b]: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on the ground. [u]The Vietnamese pilot who dropped the napalm in error is currently living in the United States. Even the AP photographer, Nick Ut, who took the picture, was Vietnamese.[/u] The incident in the photo took place on the second day of a three day battle between the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) who occupied the village of Trang Bang and the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) who were trying to force the NVA out of the village. [b]Recent reports in the news media that an American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are incorrect[/b]. There were no Americans involved in any capacity. "We (Americans) had nothing to do with controlling VNAF," according to Lieutenant General (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth, the Commanding General of TRAC at that time. Also, it has been incorrectly reported that two of Kim Phuc's brothers were killed in this incident. They were Kim's cousins not her brothers.[/quote]

Next: Sleeping with the Enemy; by James Webb

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What a load of bullshit. The media did not lose the Vietnam War. The media then was much, much better at reporting than it is now, for example. But, true then and now, is the fact that the mass media is generally a reflection of the mood of the population more than it is the cause of anything. (I'm specifically referring to what we might call news reportage, and not to other aspects of mass media such as entertainment.)

Now, if you ask whether the media played a role in turning the tide of American sentiment against the Vietnam War, I would agree. Imo, specific anti-war sentiment grew out of three home-grown impulses, only one of which was related to the mass media: guys returning home after having served, anti-draft activity, and the [i]cumulative[/i] impact of war reporting over time.

But, back then, there were two other social impulses which indirectly contributed greatly to sentiment about the war. First, there was a heightened awareness and dialogue about justice/injustice in general--kind of an overflow from specific questions about justice/injustice regarding race relations and the Civil Rights Movement. Second, and this was a bad dynamic, imo, was the increasing mood of entitlement, selfishness, and self-centeredness associated with the counter-culture, which was then still "counter." (As opposed to now, when major elements of the counter-culture are part of our mainstream culture. For proof, witness the manner in which my generation has destroyed our economy over the past 40 years.)

In April 75 I was an E-2 serving in the Navy on the East Coast. I distinctly remember the fall of Saigon and the reactions of some of my fellow sailors who had done tours in Vietnam. Here's a newsflash--many of them were glad the end had come, as their experience in Vietnam had been less than pleasant. There were mixed emotions, true, but in general, Vietnam was a bad taste in everyone's mouth in 75. It seemed to break down this way: regret tended to be related to the micro level: about specific individuals who had died or been wounded and circumstances related to "fun" had during tours in Vietnam (i.e. the band of brothers meme.) But on the macro level, that is, as a matter of policy, almost everyone was sour by that point, they understood it to be Johnson's folly, and not too happy with Nixon for dragging it out as long as he did.

Yes, the media reported on these issues, but they did not cause them. In some respects, they gave them weight, such as Cronkite's assessment of Tet, which could be characterized as a Phyrric victory.

But, put the blame where it belongs: bad policy choices in the context of bad geopolitics, initiated and prosecuted by a bad segment of the elite.

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The war should have never been fought, as wars like these over ideology are less purposeful than wars like WWII, in which there was a direct threat to the USA and it's allies.
Now, BJ mentions 8,000,000 served, and while that may be true, that is a cumulative figure. If we [i]really[/i] had wanted to win that war, we could have. We started off too small, escalated too late and dropped a lot of munitions on innocents and empty jungle.
We didn't understand our enemy, their tactics, the terrain, their culture, language etc until it was far, far too late, due to the public souring on the war, which was never really a popular one in the first place. Kinda sounds familiar, except I'd say that Saddam Hussein was a more real boogeyman than Ho Chi Minh when viewed through the lens of 9/11.

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[quote name='Bunghole' post='597200' date='Nov 21 2007, 12:00 AM']The war should have never been fought, as wars like these over ideology are less purposeful than wars like WWII, in which there was a direct threat to the USA and it's allies.
Now, BJ mentions 8,000,000 served, and while that may be true, that is a cumulative figure. If we [i]really[/i] had wanted to win that war, we could have. We started off too small, escalated too late and dropped a lot of munitions on innocents and empty jungle.
We didn't understand our enemy, their tactics, the terrain, their culture, language etc until it was far, far too late, due to the public souring on the war, which was never really a popular one in the first place. Kinda sounds familiar, except I'd say that Saddam Hussein was a more real boogeyman than Ho Chi Minh when viewed through the lens of 9/11.[/quote]
I agree with everything you say, Bung, except that I'd suggest that in geopolitical context, Vietnam was more of a proxy war (in Cold War fashion) and our current venture is more an example of outright imperialism. So, I'd say that Ho was more "dangerous" than Saddam, simply because Ho was more of a real leader and that he had more powerful backing. The irony is, of course, that Ho solicited USA backing early on and was turned down.

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[quote]Homer_Rice
The media then was much, much better at reporting than it is now, for example. But, true then and now, is the fact that [b]the mass media is generally a reflection of the mood of the population more [/b]than it is the cause of anything[/quote]

Media should be an objective medium; answering the five W's. The media crosses the line when it becomes objective-driven on any specific issue and injecting speculation. (We see more of the later in today's media).

[quote]The media did not lose the Vietnam War[/quote]

So, you are of the mindset that the Vietnam war was actually lost and not a settled peace agreement
as prescribed with the Paris Peace Accord?

Actually, I agree with you, Vietnam was lost (after we left) not by the media in whole, but by the North Vietnamese reneging on the agreement; encouraged by the actions (inactions) of the Congress at the time.

[quote]The irony is, of course, that Ho solicited USA backing early on and was turned down.[/quote]

And why was that?

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[quote name='Lawman' post='597224' date='Nov 21 2007, 06:14 AM']And why was that?[/quote]
Mostly because we were stupid. Instead of following through on Roosevelt's commitment to destroy colonialism, the folks who co-opted Truman (who, in fact, helped put him in place) took the "empire" view, helping both the French and the Brits regain some of their imperial legacy.

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[quote name='Homer_Rice' post='597195' date='Nov 20 2007, 11:30 PM']What a load of bullshit. The media did not lose the Vietnam War. The media then was much, much better at reporting than it is now, for example. But, true then and now, is the fact that the mass media is generally a reflection of the mood of the population more than it is the cause of anything. (I'm specifically referring to what we might call news reportage, and not to other aspects of mass media such as entertainment.)

Now, if you ask whether the media played a role in turning the tide of American sentiment against the Vietnam War, I would agree. Imo, specific anti-war sentiment grew out of three home-grown impulses, only one of which was related to the mass media: guys returning home after having served, anti-draft activity, and the [i]cumulative[/i] impact of war reporting over time.

But, back then, there were two other social impulses which indirectly contributed greatly to sentiment about the war. First, there was a heightened awareness and dialogue about justice/injustice in general--kind of an overflow from specific questions about justice/injustice regarding race relations and the Civil Rights Movement. Second, and this was a bad dynamic, imo, was the increasing mood of entitlement, selfishness, and self-centeredness associated with the counter-culture, which was then still "counter." (As opposed to now, when major elements of the counter-culture are part of our mainstream culture. For proof, witness the manner in which my generation has destroyed our economy over the past 40 years.)

In [color="#FF0000"]April 75[/color] I was an E-2 serving in the Navy on the East Coast. I distinctly remember the fall of Saigon and the reactions of some of my fellow sailors who had done tours in Vietnam. Here's a newsflash--many of them were glad the end had come, as their experience in Vietnam had been less than pleasant. There were mixed emotions, true, but in general, Vietnam was a bad taste in everyone's mouth in 75. It seemed to break down this way: regret tended to be related to the micro level: about specific individuals who had died or been wounded and circumstances related to "fun" had during tours in Vietnam (i.e. the band of brothers meme.) But on the macro level, that is, as a matter of policy, almost everyone was sour by that point, they understood it to be Johnson's folly, and not too happy with Nixon for dragging it out as long as he did.

Yes, the media reported on these issues, but they did not cause them. In some respects, they gave them weight, such as Cronkite's assessment of Tet, which could be characterized as a Phyrric victory.

But, put the blame where it belongs: bad policy choices in the context of bad geopolitics, initiated and prosecuted by a bad segment of the elite.[/quote]


Just to make you feel old, that's the year and month of my birth. :P

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[quote name='Jamie_B' post='597280' date='Nov 21 2007, 09:39 AM']Just to make you feel old, that's the year and month of my birth. :P[/quote]
Fucker! :D

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[quote name='Homer_Rice' post='597232' date='Nov 21 2007, 07:36 AM']Mostly because we were stupid. Instead of following through on Roosevelt's commitment to destroy colonialism, the folks who co-opted Truman (who, in fact, helped put him in place) took the "empire" view, helping both the French and the Brits regain some of their imperial legacy.[/quote]

So, Nguyễn Sinh Cung's (Ho ChiMinh) embracement of communism had nothing to do with it?

From Wiki:

[quote][b]Political education in France[/b]

Leaving the French Indochina where he had a French education, Nguyễn Ái Quốc (later called Ho Chi Minh) followed his studies in London and Paris during the 1910s. He came to communism in France through his friend Marcel Cachin (SFIO) who was sent to Russia in 1917 during World War I. Cachin was a pro-bolshevism politician, a fierce supporter of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and became the director of the popular communist newspaper L'Humanité ("The Humanity").

[b]From 1919-1923, while living in France, Hồ Chí Minh embraced communism[/b]. Ho claimed to have arrived in Paris from London in 1917 but French police only have documents of his arrival in June 1919.[2] Following World War I, under the name of Nguyễn Ái Quốc (Nguyen the Patriot), he petitioned for equal rights in French Indochina on behalf of the Group of Vietnamese Patriots to the Western powers at the Versailles peace talks, but was ignored. Citing the language and the spirit of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Ho petitioned U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for help to remove the French from Vietnam and replace it with a new, [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism"]nationalist[/url] government. His request was ignored.[/quote]

Now, I would have no problem supporting Nguyễn Sinh Cung's idea of a [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism"]nationalist government[/url] for Vietnam, but it begs the question that with us knowing his involvement with communism; could he be trusted?

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I know,I know... I had promised Sleeping With The Enemy by James Webb

but, I believe this piece should be presented first.

[url="http://www.jameswebb.com/articles/variouspubs/amlegionwhywefought.htm"]Why We Fought & Why We Would Do it Again[/url] by James Webb

[quote][i]Against a backdrop of political mismanagement and social angst, history has failed to respect those who gave their all to the war in Vietnam.[/i]


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Forty years ago, Asia was at a vital crossroads, moving into an uncertain future dominated by three different historical trends. The first involved the aftermath of the carnage and destruction of World War II, which left scars on every country in the region and dramatically changed Japan’s role in East Asian affairs. The second was the sudden, regionwide end of European colonialism, which created governmental vacuums in every second-tier country except Thailand and, to a lesser extent, the Philippines. The third was the emergence of communism as a powerful tool of expansionism by military force, its doctrine and strategies emanating principally from the birthplace of the Communist International: the Soviet Union.

Europe’s withdrawal from the region dramatically played into the hands of communist revolutionary movements, especially in the wake of the communist takeover of China in 1949. Unlike in Europe, these countries had never known Western-style democracy. In 1950, the partitioned country of Korea exploded into war when the communist North invaded South Korea, with the Chinese Army joining the effort six months later. Communist insurgencies erupted throughout Indochina. In Malaysia, the British led a 10-year anti-guerrilla campaign against China-backed revolutionaries. A similar insurgency in Indonesia brought about a communist coup attempt, also sponsored by the Chinese, which was put down in 1965.

The situation inside Vietnam was the most complicated. First, for a variety of reasons the French had not withdrawn from their long-term colony after World War II, making it easy for insurgents to rally the nationalistic Vietnamese to their side. Second, the charismatic, Soviet-trained communist leader Ho Chi Minh had quickly consolidated his anti-French power base just after the war by assassinating the leadership of competing political groups that were both anti-French and anti-communist. Third, once the Korean War armistice was signed in 1953, the Chinese had shifted large amounts of sophisticated weaponry to Ho Chi Minh’s army. The Viet Minh’s sudden acquisition of larger-caliber weapons and field artillery such as the 105-millimeter Howitzer abruptly changed the nature of the war and contributed heavily to the French humiliation at Dien Bien Phu.

Fourth, further war became inevitable when U.S.-led backers of the incipient South Vietnamese democracy called off a 1956 election agreed upon after Vietnam was divided in 1954. In geopolitical terms, this failure to go forward with elections was prudent, since it was clear a totalitarian state had emerged in the north. President Eisenhower’s frequently quoted admonition that Ho Chi Minh would get 75 percent of the vote was not predicated on the communist leader’s popularity but on the impossibility of getting a fair vote in communist-controlled North Vietnam. But in propaganda terms, it solidified Ho Chi Minh’s standing and in many eyes justified the renewed warfare he would begin in the south two years later.

In 1958, the communists unleashed a terrorist campaign in the south. Within two years, their northern-trained squads were assassinating an average of 11 government officials a day. President Kennedy referred to this campaign in 1961 when he decided to increase the number of American soldiers operating inside South Vietnam. “We have talked about and read stories of 7,000 to 15,000 guerrillas operating in Vietnam, killing 2,000 civil officers a year and 2,000 police officers a year – 4,000 total,” Kennedy said. “How we fight that kind of problem, which is going to be with us all through this decade, seems to me to be one of the great problems now before the United States.”

Among the local populace, the communist assassination squads were the “stick,” threatening to kill anyone who officially affiliated with the South Vietnamese government. Along with the assassination squads came the “carrot,” a highly trained political cadre that also infiltrated South Vietnam from the north. The cadre helped the people prepare defenses in their villages, took rice from farmers as taxes and recruited Viet Cong soldiers from the local young population. Spreading out into key areas – such as those provinces just below the demilitarized zone, those bordering Laos and Cambodia, and those with future access routes to key cities – the communists gained strong footholds.

The communists began spreading out from their enclaves, fighting on three levels simultaneously. First, they continued their terror campaign, assassinating local leaders, police officers, teachers and others who declared support for the South Vietnamese government. Second, they waged an effective small-unit guerrilla war that was designed to disrupt commerce, destroy morale and clasp local communities to their cause. And finally, beginning in late 1964, they introduced conventional forces from the north, capable of facing, if not defeating, main force infantry units – including the Americans – on the battlefield. Their gamble was that once the United States began fighting on a larger scale – as it did in March 1965 – its people would not support a long war of attrition. As Ho Chi Minh famously put it, “For every one of yours we kill, you will kill 10 of ours. But in the end it is you who will grow tired.”

[b]Ho Chi Minh was right[/b]. The infamous “body counts” were continuously disparaged by the media and the antiwar movement. Hanoi removed the doubt in 1995, when on the 20th anniversary of the fall of Saigon officials admitted having lost 1.1 million combat soldiers dead, with another 300,000 “still missing.”

Communist losses of 1.4 million dead compared to America’s losses of 58,000 and South Vietnam’s 245,000 stand as stark evidence that eliminates many myths about the war. The communists, and particularly the North Vietnamese, were excellent and determined soldiers. But the “wily, elusive guerrillas” that the media loved to portray were not exclusively wily, elusive or even guerrillas when one considers that their combat deaths were four times those of their enemies, combined. [b]And an American military that located itself halfway around the world to take on a determined enemy on the terrain of the enemy’s choosing was hardly the incompetent, demoralized and confused force that so many antiwar professors, journalists and filmmakers love to portray.[/b] <_<

[b]Why Did We Fight?[/b] The United States recognized South Vietnam as a political entity separate from North Vietnam, just as it recognized West Germany as separate from communist-controlled East Germany and just as it continues to recognize South Korea from communist-controlled North Korea. As signatories of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization, we pledged to defend South Vietnam from external aggression. South Vietnam was invaded by the north, just as certainly, although with more sophistication, as South Korea was invaded by North Korea. The extent to which the North Vietnamese, as well as antiwar Americans, went to deny this reality by pretending the war was fought only by Viet Cong soldiers from the south is, historically, one of the clearest examples of their disingenuous conduct. At one point during the war, 15 of North Vietnam’s 16 combat divisions were in the south.


[b]How Did We Fight? [/b]The Vietnam War varied year by year and region by region, our military’s posture unavoidably mirroring political events in the United States. Too often in today’s America we are left with the images burned into a weary nation’s consciousness at the very end of the war, when massive social problems had been visited on an army that was demoralized, sitting in defensive cantonments and simply waiting to be withdrawn. While reflecting America’s final months in Vietnam, they hardly tell the story of the years of effort and battlefield success that preceded them.

Little recognition has been given in this country of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground and how well our military performed. Dropped onto the enemy’s terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America’s citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompetently on a tactical level should consider the enormous casualties to which the communists now admit. And those who believe that it was a “dirty little war” where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that it was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has ever fought. Five times as many Marines died in Vietnam as in World War I, three times as many as in Korea. And the Marines suffered more total casualties, killed and wounded, in Vietnam than in all of World War II.

Another allegation was that our soldiers were over-decorated during the Vietnam War. James Fallows says in his book “National Defense” that by 1971, we had given out almost 1.3 million medals for bravery in Vietnam, as opposed to some 1.7 million for all of World War II. Others have repeated the figure, including the British historian Richard Holmes in his book “Acts of War.” This comparison is incorrect for a number of reasons. First, these totals included air medals, rarely awarded for bravery. We awarded more than 1 million air medals to Army soldiers during Vietnam. Air medals were almost always given on a points basis for missions flown, and it was not unusual to see a helicopter pilot with 40 air medals because of the nature of his job.

If we compare the top three actual gallantry awards, the Army awarded:

* 289 Medals of Honor in World War II and 155 in Vietnam.

* 4,434 Distinguished Service Crosses in World War II and 846 in
Vietnam.

* 73,651 Silver Stars in World War II against 21,630 in Vietnam.

* The Marine Corps, which lost 103,000 killed or wounded out of some
400,000 sent to Vietnam, awarded 47 Medals of Honor (34
posthumously), 362 Navy Crosses (139 posthumously) and 2,592
Silver Stars.

Second, although the Army awarded another 1.3 million “meritorious” Bronze Stars and Army Commendation Medals in Vietnam, this was hardly unique. After World War II, Army Regulation 600-45 authorized every soldier who had received either a Combat Infantryman’s Badge or a Combat Medical Badge to also be awarded a meritorious Bronze Star. The Army has no data regarding how many soldiers received Bronze Stars through this blanket procedure.

[b]Atrocities?[/b] We made errors, although nowhere on the scale alleged by those who have a stake in disparaging our effort. Fighting a well-trained enemy who seeks cover in highly contested populated areas where civilians often assist the other side is the most difficult form of warfare. The most important distinction is that the deliberate killing of innocent civilians was a crime in the U.S. military. We held ourselves accountable for My Lai. And yet we are still waiting for the communists to take responsibility for the thousands of civilians deliberately killed by their political cadre as a matter of policy. A good place for them to start holding their own forces accountable would be Hue, where during the 1968 Tet Offensive more than 2,000 locals were systematically executed during the brief communist takeover of the city.

[b]What Went Wrong? Beyond the battlefield, just about everything one might imagine.[/b]

The war was begun, and fought, without clear political goals. Its battlefield complexities were never fully understood by those who were judging, and commenting upon, American performance. As a rifle platoon and company commander in the infamous An Hoa Basin west of Da Nang, on any given day my Marines could be fighting three different wars: one against terrorism, one against guerrillas and one against conventional forces. The implications of these challenges, as well as our successes in dealing with them, never seemed to penetrate an American populace inundated by negative press stories filed by reporters, particularly television journalists, who had no clue about the real tempo of the war. And one of the most under-reported revelations after the war ended was that several top reporters were compromised while in Vietnam, by communist agents who had managed to gain employment as their assistants, thus shaping in a large way their reporting.

Most importantly, Vietnam became an undeclared war fought against the background of a highly organized dissent movement at home. Few Americans who grew up after the war know that a large part of this dissent movement was already in place before the Vietnam War began. Many who wished for revolutionary changes in America had pushed for them through the vehicles of groups such as the ban-the-bomb movement in the 1950s and the civil-rights movement of the early and mid-1960s. In this regard, it is interesting to note that the infamous antiwar group Students for a Democratic Society was created at the University of Michigan through the Port Huron Statement in 1962 – three full years before American ground troops landed at Da Nang. The SDS hoped to bring revolution to America through the issue of race. They and other extremist groups soon found more fertile soil on the issue of the war.

[u]Former communist colonel Bui Tin, a highly placed propaganda officer during the war, recently published a memoir in which he specifically admitted a truth that was assumed by American fighting men for years.[/u] [b]The Hanoi government assumed from the beginning that the United States would never prevail in Vietnam so long as the dissent movement, which they called “the Rear Front,” was successful at home. Many top leaders of this movement coordinated efforts directly with Vietnamese communist officials in Hanoi. Such coordination often included visiting the North Vietnamese capital – for instance, during the planning stages for the October 1967 march on the Pentagon – a few weeks before the siege of Khe Sanh kicked into high gear and a few months before the Tet Offensive.[/b]

The majority of the American people never truly bought the antiwar movement’s logic. While it is correct to say many wearied of an ineffective national strategy as the war dragged on, they never stopped supporting the actual goals for which the United States and South Vietnam fought. [b]As late as September 1972, a Harris survey indicated overwhelming support for continued bombing of North Vietnam – 55 percent to 32 percent – and for mining North Vietnamese harbors – 64 percent to 22 percent. By a margin of 74 percent to 11 percent, those polled also agreed that “it is important that South Vietnam not fall into the control of the communists.”[/b]

[b]Was It Worth It? [/b]On a human level, the war brought tragedy to hundreds of thousands of American homes through death, disabling wounds and psychological scars. Many other Vietnam veterans were stigmatized by their own peers as a classic Greek tragedy played out before the nation’s eyes. Those who did not go, particularly among the nation’s elites, were often threatened by the acts of those who did and as a consequence inverted the usual syllogism of service. If I did not go to a war because I believed it was immoral, what does it say about someone who did? If someone who fought is perceived as having been honorable, what does that say about someone who was asked to and could have but did not?

Vietnam veterans, most of whom entered the military just after leaving high school, had their educational and professional lives interrupted during their most formative years. [b]In many parts of the country and in many professional arenas, their having served their country was a negative when it came to admission into universities or being hired for jobs. [/b]The fact that the overwhelming majority of those who served were able to persist and make successful lives for themselves and their families is strong testament to the quality of Americans who actually did step forward and serve.

On a national level, and in the eyes of history, the answer is easier. One can gain an appreciation for what we attempted to achieve in Vietnam by examining the aftermath of the communist victory in 1975. A gruesome holocaust took place in Cambodia, the likes of which had not been seen since World War II. Two million Vietnamese fled their country – mostly by boat. Thousands lost their lives in the process. This was the first such diaspora in Vietnam’s long and frequently tragic history. Inside Vietnam, a million of the south’s best young leaders were sent to re-education camps; more than 50,000 perished while imprisoned, and others remained captives for as long as 18 years. An apartheid system was put into place that punished those who had been loyal to the United States, as well as their families, in matters of education, employment and housing. [u]The Soviet Union made Vietnam a client state until its own demise, pumping billions of dollars into the country and keeping extensive naval and air bases at Cam Ranh Bay. In fact, communist Vietnam did not truly start opening up to the outside world until the Soviet Union ceased to exist.[/u]

[b]Would I Do It Again?[/b] Others are welcome to disagree, but on this I have no doubt. Like almost every Marine I have ever met, my strongest regret is that perhaps I could have done more. But no other experience in my life has been more important than the challenge of leading Marines during those extraordinarily difficult times. Nor am I alone in this feeling. The most accurate poll of the attitudes of those who served in Vietnam – Harris, 1980 – showed that 91 percent were glad they’d served their country, and 74 percent enjoyed their time in the service. Additionally, 89 percent agreed that “our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win.”

On that final question, history will surely be kinder to those who fought than to those who directed – or opposed – the war.[/quote]

[i]Personally, I am a fence-sitterwhen itcomes to Senator Webb, but maybe over time, he could prove to be the "Blue-dog" Democrat I have been waiting for.[/i]

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Read the Webb piece, Lawman. Then ask yourself if the issue of colonialism had been decisively settled in the late 40's, in the wake of WWII, with the US as the major proponent of national self-determination, would communism have become the "problem" it did?

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[quote name='BlackJesus' timestamp='1195597324' post='597012']
The US had no business getting involved and[b] the "Domino" theory was bullshit. [/b]
[/quote]

The resulting fate of Laos and Cambodia would seem to indicate otherwise, wouldn't it? Or do you think US involvement radicalized an otherwise docile population?

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[quote name='Homer_Rice' timestamp='1195648593' post='597232']
Mostly because we were stupid. Instead of following through on Roosevelt's commitment to destroy colonialism, the folks who co-opted Truman (who, in fact, helped put him in place) took the "empire" view, helping both the French and the Brits regain some of their imperial legacy.
[/quote]

Ho even contacted the US in 1919. Although I believe the US position would have been much different had it not been for the forming of NATO. The US needed the support of France against the Soviets and as a result turned its back on Uncle Ho. The US position under Roosevelt was to not "give" France back Vietnam but to turn it into an international trusteeship which would have eventually (it is supposed) to independence.

[url="http://rationalrevolution.net/war/collection_of_letters_by_ho_chi_.htm"]http://rationalrevol..._by_ho_chi_.htm[/url]

[quote] Letter to President Harry Truman, February 16, 1945. The letter was never answered and was not declassified until 1972
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:
Our VIETNAM people, as early as 1941, stood by the Allies' side and fought against the Japanese and their associates, the French colonialists.
From 1941 to 1945 we fought bitterly, sustained by the patriotism, of our fellow-countrymen and by the promises made by the Allies at YALTA, SAN FRANCISCO and POTSDAM.
When the Japanese were defeated in August 1945, the whole Vietnam territory was united under a Provisional Republican Government, which immediately set out to work. In five months, peace and order were restored, a democratic republic was established on legal bases, and adequate help was given to the Allies in the carrying out of their disarmament mission.
But the French Colonialists, who betrayed in wartime both the Allies and the Vietnamese, have come back, and are waging on us a murderous and pitiless war in order reestablish their domination. Their invasion has extended to South Vietnam and is menacing us in North Vietnam. It would take volumes to give even an abbreviated report of the crisis and assassinations they are committing everyday in this fighting area.
This aggression is contrary to all principles of international law and the pledge made by the Allies during World War II. It is a challenge to the noble attitude shown before, during, and after the war by the United States Government and People. It violently contrasts with the firm stand you have taken in your twelve point declaration, and with the idealistic loftiness and generosity expressed by your delegates to the United Nations Assembly, MM. BYRNES, STETTINIUS, AND J.F. DULLES.
The French aggression on a peace-loving people is a direct menace to world security. It implies the complicity, or at least the connivance of the Great Democracies. The United Nations ought to keep their words. They ought to interfere to stop this unjust war, and to show that they mean to carry out in peacetime the principles for which they fought in wartime.
Our Vietnamese people, after so many years of spoliation and devastation, is just beginning its building-up work. It needs security and freedom, first to achieve internal prosperity and welfare, and later to bring its small contribution to world-reconstruction.
These security and freedom can only be guaranteed by our independence from any colonial power, and our free cooperation with all other powers. It is with this firm conviction that we request of the United Sates as guardians and champions of World Justice to take a decisive step in support of our independence.
What we ask has been graciously granted to the Philippines. Like the Philippines our goal is full independence and full cooperation with the UNITED STATES. We will do our best to make this independence and cooperation profitable to the whole world.
I am Dear Mr. PRESIDENT,
Respectfully Yours,
(Signed) Ho Chi Minh[/quote]

[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States%E2%80%93Vietnam_relations"]http://en.wikipedia....etnam_relations[/url]

[quote]In the closing months of World War II, the United States had supported the idea of an international trusteeship for all of Indochina. Subsequently, in spite of misgivings in Washington about French intentions to reimpose colonial rule in Indochina, the United States was reluctantly forced to support French colonialism in order to assure it as an ally against a potential Soviet threat. Anticolonial sentiment in the United States after World War II thus failed to outweigh policy priorities in Europe, such as the evolving North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) relationship. The formal creation of NATO and the communist victory in China, both of which occurred in 1949, led the United States to support materially the French war effort in Indochina. The perception that communism was global and monolithic led the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to support the idea of a noncommunist state in southern Vietnam, after the French withdrawal under the Geneva Agreements of 1954.[/quote]

In addition what is typically forgotten is that a letter was also wrote by Ho Chi Minh in [b]1919[/b] and sent to the US Secretary of State. Here is the letter and a few other things.

[url="http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/projects/casemethod/beamish.html"]http://www.soc.ucsb....od/beamish.html[/url]

[quote] To his Excellency, the Secretary of State of the Republic of the United States, Delegate to the Peace Conference (Mr. Robert Lansing) 7
Excellency,
We take the liberty of submitting to you the accompanying memorandum setting forth the claims of the Annamite people on the occasion of the Allied victory. We count on your kindness to honor our appeal by your support whenever the opportunity arises. We beg your Excellency graciously to accept the expression of our profound respect.
Since the victory of the allies, all subject peoples are frantic with hope at the prospect of an era of right and justice which should begin for them by virtue of the formal and solemn engagements, made before the whole world by the various powers and the entente8 in the struggle of civilization against barbarism. While waiting for the principle of national self-determination to pass from ideal to reality through the effective recognition of the sacred right of all peoples to decide their own destiny, the inhabitants of the ancient Empire of Annam, at the present time French Indochina, present to the noble Governments of the entente in general and the honorable French Government the following humble claims:
1) General amnesty for all native people who have been condemned for political activity.
2) Reform of the Indochinese justice system by granting to the native population the same judicial guarantees as the Europeans have and the total suppression of the special courts which are the instruments of terrorization and oppression against the most responsible elements of the Annamite people.
3) Freedom of Press.
4) Freedom to associate freely.
5) Freedom to emigrate and to travel abroad.
6) Freedom of education, and creation in every province of technical and professional schools for the native population.
7) Replacement of the regime of arbitrary decrees by a regime of law.

For the Group of Annamite Patriots
[Signed] Nguyen Ai Quoc
56, rue Monsieur le Prince-Paris

However, President Roosevelt, when asked in which direction US policy should lean, replied it was "perfectly clear" that Indo-China should not go back to France, but that it should be administered by an international trusteeship. France has had the country--thirty million inhabitants for nearly one hundred years, and the people are worse off than they were in the beginning.
As a matter of interest, I am wholeheartedly [b]supported in this view by Generalismo Chiang Kia-Shek and by Marshal Stalin. [/b]I see no reason to play in with the British Foreign office in this matter. The only reason they seem to oppose it is they fear the effect it would have on their possessions and those of the Dutch. They never liked the idea of trusteeship because it is, in some instances, aimed at future independence. This is true in the case of Indo-China.
Each case must, of course, stand on its own feet, but the case of Indo-China is perfectly clear. France has milked it for one hundred years. The people of Indo-China are entitled to something better that that.
Signed,
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
[/quote]

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[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d2ml82lc7s"]Hearts and Minds.[/url] Follow the link, make some popcorn, go full screen, and in two hours you'll have something to think about. Produced in 1974.

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[quote name='Homer_Rice' timestamp='1358991119' post='1210507']
[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d2ml82lc7s"]Hearts and Minds.[/url] Follow the link, make some popcorn, go full screen, and in two hours you'll have something to think about. Produced in 1974.
[/quote]

Interesting production. Patton III was an idiot. Dulles, Truman, Eisenhower, and countless others were also idiots. I will continue to blame the French for our initial involvement in Vietnam if thats ok. Yes, I agree we have minds of our own and should have exercised that option to ignore the French but could we have still had a viable defense treaty in Europe without them ?. While I'm at it I'd like to blame the British for getting us involved in Iran along with others (K. Roosevelt, Norman Schwarzkopf (senior), Dulles (again), which eventually led to the current ONGOING conflct in Iraq.

Would we have been involved in any of those conflicts mentioned above had it not been for foreign entanglements created by the British and the French ? I don't know but I suspect we'd have fewer American lives lost along with a bunch of other foreign civilians lives as well.

Interesting facts while looking up info in movie: One of the first Americans to die in Vietnam was a James McGovern who flew for the CIA (Civil Air Transport) and was assisting the French Forces at Dien Bien Phu when he was shot down and killed (May 6th, 1954). Siegfried Freytag was on the ground fighting with the French Foreign Legion. Siegfried had been a Luftwaffe fighter Ace with over 102 kills but was fighting with the FFL as a private.

[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_Freytag"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_Freytag[/url]

[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_B._McGovern,_Jr"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_B._McGovern,_Jr[/url].

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I believe the video said Patton III but I think they meant Patton IV. THE 3RD was right for his time imo but the 4th was a generation late.

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