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.