The Vietnam War Would Have Been Won Had Morale Not Been Destroyed
I heard someone actually say this a couple of years ago, and I thought it was just a random isolated comment. What I didn't realize is that there's tons of people who actually share this idea, even so-called scholars (probably conservative).
What's your take on this?
Vietnam War defenders can hardly expected to be unbiased.
Now THAT's freepertalk, old school style.
Won what, and how?
What was the prize in that morass?
Yep. The "morale" thing (blame the liberals!) and the "we only lost because we didn't spend enough, bomb enough, kill enough, try hard enough to win" (blame the liberals!) argument are popular with neo-cons.
Everyone else knows it's complete bullshit and that the people who say it are idiots.
What R3 said.
What, exactly, was going to be won?
Does anybody really doubt that if the US had committed WWII style to winning that war that it wouldn't have happened?
That was my coming of age issue...there was no way to win that war...it was jungle guerilla style combat our forces had no way to combat. The only way to have won that was total destruction of the country...
The US failed to see the Vietnam conflict as part of a nationalist movement; it saw it is a communist movement only. The US would never have won the war in SE Asia unless it resorted to WMDs to "shock" an American victory. Since 1945, the US has pursued one failed foreign policy after another - containment, etc. After WWII, we were briefly the admiration of the world -- thanks to the Marshall Plan and other benevolent programs. The Cold War struggle hurt America's reputation in most of the developing world.
[quote]Does anybody really doubt that if the US had committed WWII style to winning that war that it wouldn't have happened?
Oh, honey. What a sad, pathetic life you must lead.
Go read a book and get 1/10th of a clue about what actually happened in Vietnam in the 50's and 60's, then get back to us. Until then you're just embarrassing yourself.
Typical ad hominem bullshit from r9 while not addressing the point that upset her so much. The US could have easily prevailed in Vietnam, but they were not committed to it. The lack of a declaration of war is good evidence of that. Vietnam was just an ill-advised intervention due to cold war hysteria. But none of that says anything about whether the US could have won. With a real commitment, it would have been easy.
What I find insane are the people who claim that the soldiers who fought that war did so to protect our freedoms. Every time I hear that I want to ask them, "seeing how we lost that war, what freedoms do we not have now as a result?"
Who is the troll that posts this crap?
Define "won". It's not like we lost. It's just that it wasn't worth the fight. What were we going to do, turn the entire country into a mine-laden, chemical defoliant-soaked, bombed out wasteland? For what?
The problem was that from the start the mission made no strategic sense. Not as bad as the Iraq War by a long shot, but still stupid as hell.
No we could not have "won" by fighting a stupid war. How much simpler for us just to work with Ho Chi Minh. It worked for us in World War II, right?
"Freedom" is how they sell these "wars" to the public. My country got it's freedom in 1776, when it no longer belonged to England. We've all been free ever since.
[quote]My country got it's freedom in 1776...We've all been free ever since.
Ask the French about how total commitment and WWII style tactics worked for them at Dien Bien Phu.
It's weird how these modern-day freeper shitstains keep time-traveling back to Vietnam.
They'll never get over the fact that we fucked up going in and that we were never going to "win" no matter what we did.
Throughout history, invading/occupying forces almost always end up losing to a determined and resistant population.
Vietnam was a terrible, terrible mistake.
My mo has self-described right-wing nut friend who thinks we "snatche defeat from the jaws of victory" and his brother was killed over ther but I think the government sold oiut military out and another pro-Vietnam crippled vet told me it was fought for import-export reasons!!That's what he was crippled for?!And he calls the hippies bleeding hearts?!I wonder if he ahd a head-injury over there too!
It was all that Jane Fonda's fault!
The U.S. didn't try to "conquer" North Vietnam, which was what was required to "win" the war, because when we did that to North Korea, China went to war with us, and we didn't want to go to war with China (and the USSR) in the 1960s and 1970s.
In short, to control South Vietnam in such a way as to make it impregnable, we would have had to control its borders, which would have required a much larger troop commitment than half a million.
And the GVN was never popular.
So I don't see how we could have ever "won" the war since we had to leave the North free, the South was a failed state, and we didn't have any particular success in border management, not being able to secure our own.
How much of a threat was communism to the United States in reality? Was it really communism, the concept that was a threat, or really just the USSR? If the USSR was "communist," would it have been narrowed down to just an area of the world that was threatening the US? The Cold War era in America almost made "communism" a person, a boogyman, not really just Russians. The Red Scare was despicable. Just because someone was a communist, didn't mean they were siding with the Russians. I mean, the Russians weren't after us because of communism, right? Bits and pieces of the Cold War era confuse me. There was so much propaganda.
There was a fear of the spread of Communism at the time in America, referred to as the domino effect. Many claimed that we needed to rescue the poor, helpless people of Viet Nam. Most Viet Nam families stayed out of politics and were focused on their local communities and survival. Changing loyalties and general mistrust of all foreigners meant that whatever ground was conquered by either side wouldn't necessarily stay that way. How could America convince the South Viet Namese that their lives would be significantly better under Western rule, or far worse under Communist authority?
You have to go all the way back to Vietnam for a troll thread? Is this what it's come to for you?
How about the 49th parallel, eh? Pussies! They should have nuked Pyongyang!
And what about those Opium Wars? Chinese might have won... If they hadn't all been cleverly addicted to opium by the British.
"With a real commitment, it would have been easy."
Ha! I'll say!
Alexander the Great
I'm surprised the US didn't outlaw communism. What would happen if an openly communist politician had been elected back in the 1950s? What on Earth was the definition the Cold War days gave to the term "communist" anyway? Was the left maligned with the term back in the 50s? You can still see today that Cold War propaganda lingering. A lot of people that throw it around don't know what the term means.
Was America afraid of communist ideology, or were they just against it because their enemies embraced it?
r24, I know you don't mean to sound unhinged, but you do. Stop with the knee-jerk reactions. You sound like a harpie.
R26, Communism to the average American meant total loss of freedom, abolishing the judicial system, the right to acquire private property and wealth. Since Lenin was famous for saying that "Religion is the opiate of the people," you can understand how Houses of Worship rallied against the possibility of communism's spread.
It depends on whose morale you are talking about. The troops were getting fed up with the war, and the young people who expected to go there,
It wasn't so much that they thought the people in the U.S. were not supporting them, although that message was sent out all the time. They knew what an awful farce the war was. They were dying for what?
When they started fragging their officers, the jig was up. No regime survives if it loses support of its armed forces, and that is where things were headed. Of course there were other causes, putting hundreds of thousands of protestors in the streets helped.
Hasn't the military always done it's best to destroy morale?
Looking at the polls in r31, how the hell did Nixon get reelected in 1972?
If the U.S. had successfully occupied North Vietnam, then what? It would have been an endless cycle of insurrection and guerilla uprisings (see the current situation in Iraq). The French and Chinese had failed to occupy Vietnam over a period of decades. Why would the U.S. have been any different?
R32, The Dems went with a very, very liberal candidate rather than a centrist. While most of the activists are at either end of the political spectrum, the majority of the voting public is not. That means that many can easily be frightened by ridiculous claims of extremism and radicalism by the opposing party.
Westmoreland and McNamara would beg, posthumously, to disagree with this NITWITTY and ASININE REVISIONISM.
It's absurd. Period.
"Bring the Boys Home" by Freda Payne was a hit song. It should still be playing today.
We lost in Vietnam in that era, we lost in Iraq, and we will lose in Afghanistan.
Bring the Boys Home!
r32 He committed treason and the Dems lost the southern states after the voting rights act.
I can not believe this news did not go big. I kept asking people if they heard the story and nobody who doesn't watch Rachel has heard about it.
The war would have ended at the end of LBJ's term had Nixon not committed treason. Bigger than Watergate but it couldn't be told because the info was discovered by their own illegal wiretaps.
Watch this! it's crazy.
[quote] Stop with the knee-jerk reactions.
You use that word knee-jerk, but that word doesn't mean what you think it means.
Its almost forgotten that China invaded Vietnam in1979, in response to the Vietnamese attack on the maniac Pol Pot in Cambodia.
Chinese troops flooded over the border, using the same human wave tactics that drove the US out of North Korea.
The Vietnamese were heavily outnumbered. They stopped the Chinese and drove them out. To this day the Vietnamese worry that China wants to claim their country, like it did Tibet. Which is why Vietnam is building a relationship with the US. It needs a big brother.
R41, WTF??? No Viet Nam and USA against China???
that was an obscene pointless war that should never have been fought
Wars aren't won any more. They end when we give up trying.
George McGovern was an idiot, and that's what sank him, not his liberalism. The US was closer to a liberal consensus in 1972 than ever before or since.
[quote]Typical ad hominem bullshit from [R9] while not addressing the point that upset her so much.
What part of [bold]GET A FUCKING CLUE[/bold] don't you understand, bitch?
R45, What did McGovern do that was so idiotic?
Hello sputtering lying sack of shit at r46. LOL. Still can't actually explain your resentments, can you?
r9 - Why is r46 so angry? I have a clue. No, the Vietnam war would NOT have been won, regardless of morale. We failed to see the conflict as a nationalist movement. What is your problem? Did you only get history in high school?
And almost 40 years later, they're our trading partner....
Sometimes you just have to let a country resolve its own problems. The legacy of Vietnam is still being felt today. I do believe that the liberal/conservative divide began during this ear.
ear = era
People like r46 receive their "anti-war" and anti-US programming, and like religious fundamentalists, believe that's all they need to know. No reason to actually THINK about anything. So when confronted with a challenge, they're left with nothing but name-calling and shrieking.
 Yup. Vietnam was historically part of China - for at least 1 000 years. But in the 19th century it became independent, although only briefly, before the French colonised it. China today is pursuing the same kind policy as Israel; using ancient history and maps to justify its reestablishment of historical borders.
The Vietnamese know this very well.
"Since Lenin was famous for saying that "Religion is the opiate of the people,""
It was Marx, but we get your point...
R10, did you know that more bombs (tonnage) was dropped on Vietnam than in all Europe in WW2. To the Vietnamese it was a war if independence to expell Western power- first the French, then the US. Communism was their vehicle and the South Vietnamese govt was the Western puppet. Once they got rid of our half million troops by attrition really they then proceeded to break from their Chinese and Russian "allies". Millions killed. Horrible Anerican mistake perhaps rivaled by Iraq but far worse if you compare lives lost and ruined. McNamera resigned after a visit realizing the magnitude of the American bungle and the refusal of his President to admit it. LBJ left his Presidency and drank himself to death a broken man.
And Hitler would have ruled England if he had just smiled more.
So this is what it's like to grow old. To watch young people willingly toss away all the freedoms you fought for. To watch them revise history so that things are sooooo much easier, and every decision just automatically happens. While you sit on your asses and can't even be bothered to protest a war unless it's on your fucking phone.
We could have "won" Vietnam? Go. Fuck. Yourself. And. Never. Stop.
We don't know where the public would like to be, left, right or center, because all we get, allegedly to the left of center, are Democrats.
That party will always shift to the right, never the left, to try to pick voters. Because the Republicans always are shifting only to the right, the Democrats get pulled to the right.
There is no grouping on the left to counteract this drift. When there is one, the Democratic Party strangles it.
The party co-opts it, see the Rainbow Coalition.
It absorbs and neuters left action, see the Iraq anti-war movement.
It withdraws support or tames it by refusing to support it or by bringing it back into electoral politics, see Wisconsin.
[quote]What would happen if an openly communist politician had been elected back in the 1950s?
It never would have happened. We had a better chance of electing a Whig than a Communist in the 50s.
R26? Have you ever cracked open a history book? Research "red scare". There were several in the US, before and after WW2.
The N Vietnamese made blunders (such as Tet offensive) which made the military balance a lot less favorable for them but ultimately they won their goal.
Sixty posts and no mention of beloved DL villainess Madame Nhu?
[quote]Still can't actually explain your resentments, can you?
Oh, but I did darling. You're dumber than a box of hammers.
You don't understand a damn thing about what happened in Vietnam. If you did, you wouldn't make such aggressively ignorant statements.
Go read a book. Hell, read several. Find out what actually happened in WWII, and what actually happened in Vietnam, and then PERHAPS you'll understand why your statements are so insanely stupid.
Is that clear enough for you, cupcake? Or would you like pictograms?
The same people who bitch about this line up to buy cheap goods made in Communist China.
[quote]To watch young people willingly toss away all the freedoms you fought for
R57, you must be really old having fought in the Revolutionary War.
R62 Its clear you dont know what you're talking about. If you did you would explain exactly what your point is. But you dont. You just call names and act like a baby having a tantrum.
Now go ahead, call me names and try to insult me. It sure beats you actually having to make a rational argument. You're just that predictable.
[quote]Its clear you dont know what you're talking about. If you did you would explain exactly what your point is. But you dont. You just call names and act like a baby having a tantrum.
Jesus, I'm debating George W. Bush here.
There is no "rational argument" to whether Vietnam could have been "won". It was a fool's errand. Period. Second-worst military decision only to the invasion of Iraq.
We dumped a shit-ton of ordinance on that country, and it still went to the NVA. The only way we would have "won" Vietnam was if we had nuked Saigon, which would have triggered a massive nuclear war with China.
And my assertion still stands - go read a fucking book, dumbshit.
I have no patience for children who don't begin to understand history.
And while we're at it, R66...care to defend your pathetic position? Or do you just want to whine that I won't join your debate club?
Thank you R67. You finally made a point. Bravo. But as I predicted, you resort to name calling and hurling insults. So my "pathetic position" actually turned out to be accurate. I could not have done it with out you.
Trolling trolling trolling...
R64: people who are mad we didn't make a bigger effort to snuff out Communism in Vietnam now buy cheap goods made in China. China is a communist country. What do you not get?
[quote]So my "pathetic position" actually turned out to be accurate. I could not have done it with out you.
Which means you can't begin to defend your idiotic opinions about Vietnam. Fair enough.
My original assertions stand.
And child, please go read a book or two. That much ignorance of history is dangerous.
[quote]you can't begin to defend your idiotic opinions about Vietnam. Fair enough.
Actually, I have not expressed any opinions about Vietnam.
Ladies, we have the technology, we have the resources, we have the power....Let's use it! Let's win this thing!
We now have thousands of Vietnamese donut shops. I call that a win!
R75, nearly every manicurist where I live is Vietnamese.
[quote]Actually, I have not expressed any opinions about Vietnam.
Then what a sad, pathetic little troll you are. Begone. Shoo.
R77 Calling me names because you have made yourself look foolish really doesn't work. You keep proving me right with every post.
Trolling, trolling, trolling...
R53, Again, the facts that I learn on DL. I had no idea of the historical relations between China and Viet Nam. There was a time when many Americans saw China, USSR, Cuba, et al as one and the same, a spreading Communist takeover. Was it the Soviet Union or China that was believed to be aiding North Viet Nam, directly or indirectly, and therefore Americans would rather be fighting in Viet Nam than another country closer to home.
R54, You're right (word choice intended, ironically) it was Marx; I slipped up.
Speaking of Marx & Engels, it's remarkable that, although living and dying in the 19th century, they still became the most influential persons of the 20th Century.
Since the early 1900s nations have been reacting to each other based upon what came out of his and Engels head, or more accurately, based upon distorted version of what came out of thier heads.
[quote]Calling me names because you have made yourself look foolish really doesn't work. You keep proving me right with every post.
So you're like what, twelve? Does your mother know you're using her internet to hang out with homosexuals?
The people who say this are the sort who can never admit they made a mistake, so instead they lash out and blame others. Deep down inside, they know they are wrong, but they will never admit it. Sadly, it happens a lot. In fact we don't have to look any further than this thread to see it in action.
My eldest sister roomed with South Viet Namese when they all attended SDSU. All of their highly ranked fathers had been killed during the conflict. They looked forward to teaching English after the war in exchange for their scholarships. Still they admitted that their countrymen would have preferred to have been completely left alone by everyone. They viewed US interference as resulting in an escalation of death and destruction to all. While opposed to communism, obviously they were all from the more educated and privileged class, they didn't see the corrupt South Vietnamese government as better for the people.
R81, There have always been debates about who best copies Marx's theories. I propose that it's the Kibbutz coops in Israel of communal living. No they're not political, and I haven't been there, or observed their self-governing body. Still I've been told that the elderly and disabled are given their choice of jobs that are truly needed by the community. They are also cared for and made to feel valuable.
I state this because I wonder what would have happened if the US had completely stayed out of Viet Nam. Would the No Viet Namese have still slaughtered the intellectuals of South Viet Nam? For those who held to their Bhuddist or Catholic beliefs, would they have been arrested? How about land, held by families for generations, would that be taken away over dead bodies?
Eugene Debs won a higher percentage of votes than Ron Paul for president.
The U.S. did outlaw communism, but it was overtunred in the courts.
[quote][R64]: people who are mad we didn't make a bigger effort to snuff out Communism in Vietnam now buy cheap goods made in China. China is a communist country. What do you not get?
Actually, it's not. We had a debate about this months ago.
The US could have won the war if they used WMDs on Saigon but it would have quickly escalated into WW3.
The US was on form to use nukes but I don't think China or the Russkies had the stuff to press the big red button.
So what are the best books to read about why we went into the Vietnam War, and why it was a bad idea?
It's amazing that Johnson and Nixon are only mentioned once so far & Eisenhower and Kennedy
not at all.
I agree that China is not communist but the reason people don't really care is that the Cold War is over. Communism is not seen as even a small threat. It's just a political label applied to liberal to scare older voters who never really knew what it was, but were taught to fear it.
A close relative who was in the Army was sent to Vietnam during the Kennedy administration. Back then U.S. troops in Vietnam were referred to as "advisers." When he got home, he said the U.S. was going to get their tail feathers singed by being in that country and that no good would come of it.
Like Afghanistan, a thousand years of experience have proven that it is impossible to wage, much less win, a war in Vietnam. Ask the French and the Russians. Our arrogance in attempting to prove ourselves better than those nations led to our downfall.
[quote]The US could have won the war if they used WMDs on Saigon
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) was the capitol of South Vietnam. You're referring to Hanoi.
[quote]George McGovern was an idiot, and that's what sank him, not his liberalism. The US was closer to a liberal consensus in 1972 than ever before or since.
That is an extremely reductive (and I would say incorrect) summarization of the '72 election. The electorate was not nearly as ready to embrace liberalism as you suggest. Yes, there was a very vocal group of activists on the left, and, due to the changes in party rules selecting delegates, they were very visible, especially at the convention.
But the '72 Democratic primaries were extremely schizophrenic, highlighting the paranoia and uncertainty in the electorate. And in times like that, the voters swing right. George Wallace, after all, received around 25% of all primary votes cast. On top of that, the old party bosses and old-style union leaders (like Daley and Meany) were pissed about losing their party. So much so that many of them made the conscious decision to sit back and let Nixon win, retake the party, purge the McGovernites, and focus on '76.
And, that said, Nixon was a brilliant campaigner in his way. He stayed out of sight mostly and let his hatchet men do the work. He also saved up a lot of his big hits to coincide with the campaign (China trip, Kissinger's 'peace is at hand' comment, etc).
McGovern made some big mistakes that cost him (Eagleton, Salinger's trip to Paris), but the pendelum was moving to the right, not the left. The Silent Majority was tired of the '60s unrest, and they were happy that Nixon was giving them peace and quiet. They wouldn't have cared if he nuked Vietnam and put all the peaceniks in concentration camps. Before the election, people thought that any Democrat could have beaten Nixon. After the election, it was shown that probably none of them could have (save a resurrected Bobby Kennedy).
The liberal consensus you mention perhaps was ripe to form in '68. By '72 it had pretty much scattered in a million directions. If you want to blame someone, blame Humphrey, not McGovern.
Some good books on the subject are Theodore White's 'The Making of the President 1972' and, actually, Hunter S. Thompson's 'Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.'
Sorry for the threadjack.
The French certainly warned the U.S. about the impossibility of fighting a guerrilla war. Kennedy would have done well not to despise DeGaulle so much that he ignored his advice.
Back when Bill Cosby was funny, a long time ago, he did a bit about the two sides in the Revolutionary War deciding what the rules were going to be, as if it were a sporting event. Okay, you guys will wear bright red and white uniforms, line up out in the open in straight lines, and only fire when your commander gives you orders. We'll wear buckskins and colors that blend in, hide behind trees and fire whenever we see a good target.
That's how guerrilla warfare works.
For the USA to win a war, it could not be seen by the majority of the populace as foreign intruders backing up a questionably competent government. Also most would have to firmly believe that their very lives and property were at stake; ie wholesale slaughter or at least imprisonment was inevitable. It is hubris to assume that people in general care about who really rules their country. Basic survival and continuation of family traditions is a priority to most.
We have never understood that Communism (or now radical fundamentalism) only takes root where the existing government is corrupted to the point it no longer meets the needs of the people.
And without that local government there is nothing in the world that troops and tanks and bullets can do.
We made that mistake in China,Vietnam, Cuba, Iran, and dozens of other countries. We back the wrong guy every single time.
R100, Do you think that the USA backs a government just because it claims to be anti-Communist or anti-fundamentalist? Or is it because the current administration of a country has financial ties with corporate power houses? I thought America was only supposed to lend aid in the case of supporting our allies with which we have treaty agreements. Did we belong in Yugoslavia? Afghanistan against the Soviets?
I think it taught us that we need to "support our troops" with car magnets, Facebook poems and stories, and thanks when we see a soldier.
I do not believe the US should have a presence in the middle east, but I don't hold it against the troops. They're just doing their jobs. Another difference is that they chose to be in the military and the majority of soldiers who went to Vietnam were forced to. It's a big difference, and it's unfortunate that in the US, military duty is the key to economic success for millions.
When I was in second grade, my teacher adopted a girl from Vietnam during the war. Vietnamese babies were quite the status symbol back then.
In third grade, my teacher's husband was fighting in Vietnam. They were newlyweds and in their early 20s. This was in 1973. She got the message he was coming home during class and she started crying. Ugly, sobbing crying that I will never forget. Now I realize that it was about 2 years of terror and stress being released. When he got home, he came into class to meet us all and brought things for the class, it was cool. Later that year, they had a baby who was severely deformed and retarded from the father's exposure to Agent Orange. So sad.
nice try but more soldiers died under democrat presidents than they did republican-
I love it when Jim Robinson posts here (from his Medicaid provided wheelchair.)
"nice try but more soldiers died under democrat presidents than they did republican"
Yeah, that whole pesky WWII/Fascist/Japan thing...
Obviously the bomb makers wanted a war, so that they could sell out tax payers, their weapons. It really is as simple as that. A little stir in Viet Nam...why the hell should we care? We would not have cared...except the right wingers got everyone all worried about Communist. Why the fuck should we have cared about a little country on the other side of the world? We wouldn't have except for the propaganda that the right wing spreads around. They throw in religion and now they throw in women being persecuted by Muslims. And it's all for the money, our tax dollars. American's, always blind to the real truth.