Vietnam: The right thing to do

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    I feel today the legacy of the Vietnam War has been hijacked by the media, and in effect, people view the war as a tragedy and a waste of human life.
    At the time the French were trying to hold onto their colony, we in the U.S. and Europe were fighting The Cold War. We engaged an enemy dead set on the collapse of our free society and the imposition of their tyrannical socialist theory.

    The Vietnam War was not wrong nor a waste throughout much of its prosecution. I am incensed when I hear otherwise. The 58,000 men and women who died are insulted by such dimwitted remarks. What was wrong was the way the Pentagon bowed to the White House, both Johnson and Nixon, in withholding from us, the combat troops, the ability to end the war quickly, and that could have been done at any time right up to the day we "declared victory" and left.

    So here is my premise in this writing. Why did we just give up? I believe it is a multifaceted reason that is too difficult to adequately dissect here on the forum, but would offer two primary reasons.

    One: Johnson failed to realize the racial nightmare that American involvement in Vietnam would create. Vietnam coincided with the protests of the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of Black Power during 1960s America. African-Americans felt discriminated against at home and within the U.S.military. This was going on while the impact of the Civil Rights struggle and the resurgence of black sub-cultural style, expressed through dress, language and gesture, was being felt. The result was that LBJ's administration was distracted by domestic events and influenced to mitigate valid claims by blacks that they were poorly treated throughout U.S. society. Unfortunately, that mitigation meant curbing U.S. forces' ability to fight, because he feared casualties, and particularly black casualites, as there were more blacks than whites in Vietnam. Why? Simple: Like today, with poor economic conditions, the military was the best option for minorities.

    Two: The reason LBJ feared casualties was because they were being brought into American's living rooms every evening on the network news programs. The media influence was negative, counterproductive, and at times bordered on treasonous. Television was the difference for the Vietnam War. All Americans got their World War II news, and even Korean War dispatches, from newspapers and radio. Even though Movie Tone News provided combat footage in the theaters around the nation, patrons weren't "there" the way the television news crews took them to the Vietnam War zone. For the first time, people saw the reality of war, and to this day, that reality shocks and disgusts them. The culmination was when the revered newsman Walter Cronkite solemnly intoned that the war was "mired in stalemate" and perhaps peace negotiations would offer a solution. Cronkite utterly ignored -- perhaps even failed to understand -- that his network, and the other two, were the very reason the war was being "stalemated," not by North Vietnamese effectiveness, but by the undue influence of the media on opinion, and that opinion's expression in the form of race riots, antiwar riots, clashes between protestors and police, bombings by radicals, and occupation of university buildings by demonstators -- all under the direct influence of communist sympathizers.

    Civilians shouldn't be involved in war. That's what soldiers are for. By the same token, civilians shouldn't have a say in war. Again, that's what soldiers are for. The media "sold" outrage, seeing the reaction of its viewers to war, and became a mouthpiece advocating sedition and civil unrest without really understanding what they were doing. Leftists praise the 60s media for "exposing" Vietnam. All the media was actually doing was selling soap. Any story will do if potential customers of the programs' advertisers will watch. The media changed public opinion on war. Public opinion is irrelevant in war. Otherwise, we won't ever be able to defend ourselves, because war is one of the few actions undertaken by democratic governments that cannot be subject to debate and discussion. To allow it is to cripple the ability of a nation to fight the wars that are necessary. The irony is that we have now reached this point because of what television was allowed to do in Vietnam.

    Comments?

    Before you offer them, if you wish, let me give you some facts that have been obscured by the 45-year discussion about Vietnam.

    Why was Indochina important? One, it was fighting to be a democratic nation, but the communist leanings of the notorious Ho Chi Minh were dead-set against the reality that the Vietnamese people wanted to be free. It is documented that Ho sent Viet Cong death squads from his northern stronghold into the south, and those squads assassinated at least 37,000 civilians in South Vietnam. The real figure was far higher since the data mostly cover 1967-72. He wanted to eliminate his opposition, local tribal and village leaders who favored the election of a democratic government. He actually undertook the assassinations beginning in the early 1950s, and may have ordered the murder of nearly 90,000 men and women. Leftists accuse Eisenhower of scotching "free elections" in 1956 that they allege would have allowed us to avoid Vietnam. The reality is, Ho had so frightened peace- and democracy-loving people in the South that they either weren't going to show up at the polls, or they would vote the way the communists wanted them to vote. That is why the elections were cancelled by the Vietnamese government, with Eisenhower's input.

    The Viet Cong, Ho's personal terrorist guerrilla army, also waged a mass murder campaign against civilian hamlets and refugee camps. The irony of that is that this took place in the peak war years of America's involvement, and the media never reported Viet Cong atrocities, but made a mountain out of a mole hill -- and lied about it as well -- when the village of My Lai was destroyed by U.S. forces seeking a communist activist. Nearly two-thirds of all civilian deaths were the result of Viet Cong atrocities.

    From 1965 to 1973, U.S. military personnel fought and died in order to stop the Communists from advancing. We fought honorably. We did our duty, and 85% of the combat veterans today believe we did the right thing, contrary to what the media would have you believe. We proved to the enemy that we were prepared to sacrifice our lives for a strategic country in the Asian chain. Up to that point in the cold war, with the exception of Korea, we had our proxy and surrogates fight our battles. Sooner or later we had to fight them ourselves.

    We did. We set them back on their heels. We should have been allowed to win the war. The world would be far different today if we hadn't thrown in the towel in Vietnam when we could have had victory in hand at any time.
     
    #1 thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2014
  2. OldRegular

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    The major media outlets were dominated by leftists during Viet Nam and still are. Howard K. Smith was the only network anchor who reported anything bordering on objectivity during the war, possibly because his son was in Viet Nam. He was followed by Frank Reynolds who, if memory is correct, temporarily lost his job because of his irrational behavior when Nixon sent troops into Cambodia.
     
  3. JohnDeereFan

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    When I was young, I had similar feelings.

    Now, if I could go back in time, I'd gladly help smuggle young men evading the draft into Canada.
     
  4. Salty

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    Vietnam was fought only because of slavery
     
  5. plain_n_simple

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    It started on a lie by our government. The gov has admitted that the gulf of Tonkin incident was a fabrication, which justified us to war. The draft was geared to target the poor. God bless America.
     
  6. JohnDeereFan

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    As the kids say, "LOL".
     
  7. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I agree, the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a questionable basis for the retaliatory strikes that LBJ launched the next day against North Vietnamese ports and PT boat pens along the coast. However, "fabrication" is too strong a word, but I'm sure you bought into the revisionist history the media has written in cover what it believes was a failure in reportage of the situation off the Vietnamese coast.

    You might want to check out this website and this one to clarify your concept of the Tonkin Gulf incident.

    What is condemned is the U.S. Navy's alleged report of a "second attack" of the USS Maddox on 4 August 64. The fact there was a real, nearly pitched "first attack" on 2 August goes totally unreported. There were remarkably no casualties on the U.S. side in that attack, leading Capt. John J. Herrick to decide against a retaliatory strike. What happened on the night of 4 August was, according to Capt. Herrick, "freak weather effects," "difficult-to-read sonar echoes," "almost total darkness" and an "overeager sonarman" who "was hearing ship's own propeller beat." Future vice-presidential candidate James Stockdale was a fighter pilot assigned to the USS Ticonderoga that night, and said, ""I had the best seat in the house to watch that event, and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets — there were no PT boats visible.... There didn't seem to be anything there but black water and American fire power."

    People have jumped on that statement by Stockdale to deny there was a second attack. It is likely there wasn't, but not because there were no PT boats out there. That fidgety sonarman triggered a premature response that drove off the attack before it started. These facts have become obscured over the years by the unreasonable and futile rhetoric from both sides trying to prove their points. If, because there were no casualties in the first incident there was no retaliation, there certainly shouldn't have been retaliation after the second non-event, even if the intent among the North Vietnamese vessels on the night of 4 August was to attack. That doesn't make the event a "lie," or "fraud." It makes it overblown, anticipatory, and a badly conceived excuse to go to war that really did need to be fought.
     
    #7 thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2014
  8. agedman

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    First, it is important that any discussion about the wars involving US and enemy combatants be honoring to those who sacrificed, both at home and abroad. Many wounded homes and hearts are still raw with the wars, and will continue to be until the grave.

    Second, the right and wrongness of a war is rarely what the public is feed. The last century's wars were much like all historical conflicts, a matter of greed and religion.

    Because the US is supposed to be a Republic and not a democracy, the minority view is supposed to be heard, and to be recognized.

    Because human interest drives the public interest side of the popular media. The single most influential and trusted media figure from the time of the JFK assassination was Walter Cronkite.

    When Walter Cronkite moved from pro-war and supportive of American stated policy to a decidedly left agenda (following his visit to Vietnam) the public also became disenfranchised with the war. This took place early in LBJ's first elected term and by the end of the term was the single reason he refused to run for a second term (remember he had already spent almost 6 years in office having served out JFK's second year). LBJ lost public support, and the war in Vietnam was at best going to end in a split decision (like Korea).

    I would like to suggest that God used the Vietnam war as a distraction to what was actually happening in our own hemisphere. He allowed the satanic influence to puff up the US into thinking that God was (is) on their (our) side; all the the believer's adversary was laying the foundations of decay in the near neighbors.

    It would have been far better that we spent more time cleaning our own neighborhood than worrying about the rats across town.

    The turmoil of the 60's was because the WWII generation had failed in areas including:
    They had taught respect is earned, and not given.
    They allowed excess, yet expected their sons and daughters not to run to unrighteousness.
    They did not hold their own living accountable and embraced racism, inequity, and injustice.
    They chased after idols of things rather than Holiness.
    They relished in the pleasures of this world and embraced in all manner of deceitfulness and coverup, yet clothing themselves as Godly.
    Frankly, the last "righteous" war the US engaged was WWII.

    The rest have been largely for self interest, greed, and failed policy.
     
  9. OldRegular

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    The left in this country has always been against any confrontation of Communism!
     
  10. OldRegular

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    Just why is that so? I don't know that WWII was any more righteous than recent wars.

    The Pacific Fleet being tied up at Pearl Harbor at a time when tensions with Japan were very high is suspicious! If the Soviet Union had been aligned with Germany, as they were earlier, the left in this country would have opposed that war also.

    But, we did win that one, a novelty it seems.
     
  11. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    A/M, while I agree with a great deal of your analysis, I disagree with the following:
    Korea and Vietnam were two totally different wars. We were not ready -- and still aren't -- to engage in direct conflict with China. While we have the ultimate weapon in far superior numbers that would end such a conflict, what was left wouldn't be worth having, and might not even be livable. A conventional war is unthinkable with China, given they could mobilize a quarter of their population as soldiers and outnumber with that army the entire population of any probably opponent.

    Vietnam offered no such dilemma, as the Soviets and the Chinese weren't interested in Vietnam for any reason other than propaganda purposes, nor were they entirely secure in the notion that the U.S. wouldn't go nuclear if it was deemed reasonably necessary. Therefore, Vietnam was not inevitably a "split decision," and could have been won at any time had either Johnson or Nixon allowed for a conventional sweep operation in the manner the European Theater in World War II was won. It was the media's unconscionable intervention that prevented either from making such a decision, as casualties would have been heavy, and they weren't ready to bear the responsibility.
    Korea and Vietnam may not have had the strongest of moral and sociopolitical motivations behind them that would establish their righteousness, but nonetheless had them. As for Grenada, U.S. citizens were taken hostage, and action was necessary. In keeping the Suez open in 1986, we were protecting international trade through the canal, and allowing Iran to seize control of it would have led to worldwide economic disaster. In Panama, we were keeping another canal open that was int he hands of a drug-dealing dictator who "went rogue" and threatened to bring down the economy in Central America. In Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, we are responding to direct threats to civilians, our own interests, or a combination of both. By "greed" I assume you refer to oil interests. Many Bush supporters such as myself would vehemently argue that, but I don't. Of course the wars there are about oil, but not it's acquisition. It is about the supply. Without it, the world economy grinds to a halt. Allow the Islamists to control the oil, and you surrender the world to them.
     
  12. Salty

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    What do you base that on - or is it just opinion?

    I agree with the above - and in addition - those who went thur WW II also went thur the Great Depression -
    Many of them said that their kids would never experience what they had to go thur - and thus started the cycle of giving your kids everthing they wanted.
    My dad was not one of them.
     
  13. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Neither was mine. We'd been farmers for nine generations, since we set foot on colonial soil -- three brothers deported from England for horse thieving, given a choice of hanging or making it in a new world. They evidently knew a good opportunity when they saw one and made the most of it. Dad sweat for everything he ever got, and he intended me to do the same, and I learned it as well as he did, and his father before him, and his before him, etc.

    The most disappointing day of his life was when I came home from my freshman year at Mizzou and told him I'd enlisted so I could at least have a choice of service, something I didn't feel I'd get with #44 as a lottery number. He was angry with me, told me I didn't use my head, it was a stupid, boneheaded move and he was going to try to help me get out of it and I first asked, then begged, then flat out yelled at him, "Leave it alone! I didn't have a choice!"

    When I got home from Vietnam 23 months later, a field-commissioned lieutenant with a salad bar that was beginning to look like his old one, I wasn't sure how he was going to take it -- take me. We talked, wrote, etc., during my tour, but I was never certain if he was happy with me, concerned for me, or still angry at me. That first night, a couple friends came by and wanted to take me out and get ripped, but I told 'em I'd only go out for a couple drinks and needed some sleep.

    When I got home, Mom was already in bed, early for them both. The dining room light was on, a bottle of Austin Nichols Wild Turkey and two glasses sitting on the table. Dad came out of the kitchen and said, "When I came home [from WWII], your granddad told me I was going to need to talk, [Granddad was in WWI with Harry Truman's artillery unit] and when I was ready, he'd listen until I was talked out. I never took advantage of that. You will. We sit, we talk, we drink, until you're out of words. We won't run out of Turkey, so sit and start, OK?"

    It was OK. Definitely.
     
    #13 thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 16, 2014
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  14. Van

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    The first two questions that need to be answered concerning the Viet Nam war, are whether we (America) should have engaged, and (two) whether we prosecuted the war soundly. The answer to the first question is debatable, with TND view being held by a significant number of people.

    However, we did not bomb the Russian and Chinese supply mechanisms, nor destroy the dams and urban centers, but instead bombed the jungle. Good luck with that.

    We fought a war of attrition, which is immoral, evil and wrong, sacrificing the sons of others for political purpose.
     
  15. ktn4eg

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    I did manage to evade the draft during the Vietnam War!

    I enlisted in the USAF in 1964!

    But, just in case I would not have enlisted in the USAF back then, my so-called "friends and neighbors" (i.e., the "local draft board" [None of which were actually any of my "friends and neighbors"!]) was looking out for me.

    The reason that I know this is because the MEPS where my USAF entry was processed already had the medical records from my draft physical that I had taken less than three weeks prior to my incoming process to become a member of the USAF.

    One good thing about this was that at least I didn't have to be "probed" a second time in less than a month!! :thumbs:
     
  16. carpro

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    False premise.

    There were not more blacks than whites in Vietnam. Ever.

    There were not more black casualties than whites in Vietnam. Ever.
     
  17. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Wow, thanks for catching that. Didn't mean to write that at all. What I meant to say was that there were proportionately more blacks than whites in Vietnam. That makes a big difference in what I was trying to say. Musta got a phone call about then. :laugh:

    That fact (and I should have included that in my OP) is borne out in the book Black Soldiers, White Wars: Black Warriors from Antiquity to the Present, by William Alt and Betty Sowers. They confirmed a 1969 New York Times piece that made that same claim. It turned out that blacks represented 14.6% of the fatalities in Vietnam, while representing only 12% of the population, and in 1965-66, one in four fatalities were black. That led to a Pentagon order reducing front-line participation by black soldiers. Blacks actually represented a significantly smaller portion of the service population -- 10.6% -- than did blacks in the general population, which makes the proportion of fatalities even more out of line with what would have been expected.

    Sorry for the confusion.
     
    #17 thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 31, 2014
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  18. Crabtownboy

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    We were in Vietnam a number of years before the Gulf of Tonkin incident. When I shipped to Germany in 1960 the Army was asking for volunteers to go to Vietnam. My future wife knew a fellow who was already there. in 1959. I am not sure exactly when the first volunteers went there, but it was while Eisenhower was president.
     
  19. carpro

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    Your figures may be right, as far as they go, but they change when you only consider males of military age. Using that approach, they actually died at a slightly lower rate than was proportinate in the general population.

     
    #19 carpro, Jan 31, 2014
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  20. Van

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    It is one thing to prevent the military from engaging in a winning strategy, because of fear of escalation to a nuclear exchange, and quite another to continue to send in boys to die, rather than withdraw. How many lives would we have saved if we had withdrawn in 1966, rather than 1973?
     

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