| FORUM | ARCHIVE |                    | TOTAL QUIZ RESULT |


  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Change of war
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login


Welcome stranger, click here to read about some of the great benefits of registering for a free account with us and joining us in our global online community.


Change of war

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1 234
Author
pinguin View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar

Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 15238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 13:44
But why Americans have to be involved in every single war? From the outside, it seem you have a lot of youth to spare.

With respect to democracy, you very well know nobody in this planet believes the motivation of the U.S. for participating in wars is to protect democracy.


Edited by pinguin - 10 Dec 2010 at 13:45
Back to Top
Sponsored Links


Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
King
King
Avatar
Plus Ultra

Joined: 02 Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 6262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 13:51
Ah! grand examples of the non sequitur and as usual avoiding response to any substantive put forth. I did not know that penguins have taken to emulating small dogs and their barking at the heels of passers-by.
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Back to Top
pinguin View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar

Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 15238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 14:04
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Ah! grand examples of the non sequitur and as usual avoiding response to any substantive put forth. I did not know that penguins have taken to emulating small dogs and their barking at the heels of passers-by.


Why you always "hide the back to the syringue"? (Spanish Saying).

Let' me deconstruct you:

Ah! grand examples of the non sequitur...

Interesting. You can't express your ideas in english alone, so you have to resort snobish Latin.
If you want to impress the public, you fail. Google translate knows more Latin that Caesar Sleepy

as usual avoiding response to any substantive put forth

What is the "substance" of this phrase? It lacks all substance... pure gas.

I did not know that penguins have taken to emulating small dogs and their barking at the heels of passers-by

You don't know many things. Actually, you know quite a little. LOL


Edited by pinguin - 10 Dec 2010 at 14:06
Back to Top
Captain Vancouver View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 30 Sep 2010
Location: Vancouver Isle
Status: Offline
Points: 2153
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 15:03

Those words describe the Republic of Vietnam to a 'tee'. Yes, two million Vietnamese supposedly died in that war, no small number of them fighting against Ho Cho Minh's armed forces., And they continued fighting more than two years after the Americans withdrew. Indeed, some continued fighting even after tanks rolled into the RVN presidential palace.Doesn't that 'hint' tell you anything

 

Certainly, with any large group of individuals, there will be a diversity of sentiment. I’m sure many in the South Vietnamese Army believed in what they were doing. But the differences between the two sides were stark. In the north, there was a small agricultural country, admittedly getting aid from China and Russia, but technologically and numerically far, far inferior to its opponent. Over the course of the war the north was bombed flat, destroying what little infrastructure there was. In the south, they had no air cover, and for the most part small arms only, at least until much later in the war. The south had all the technology the west had to offer, massive amounts of arms, intensive air cover, and help from foreign troops on the ground. Yet they could not prevail.

 

People may agree or disagree with a particular political viewpoint, but in my estimation it takes quite a bit of conviction in order to go out and dodge bullets.

 

And as to the 'reluctance of draftees in Vietnam', most were not reluctant at all. First, it was hard to tell a draftee from a regular. All served in the same units. Second, there is no evidence that the draftees performed at a lower standard than the regulars. That smacks of that old wives tale: More Blacks suffered than Whites, and other wishful disinformation of the anti-War left

 

If you are saying that the issue of the draft, and the increasing backlash against that, and the war in general was not a particularly big factor in the eventual defeat, then I strenuously disagree. This was massively controversial at the time, and it threatened to tear the country apart. Hundreds of thousands demonstrated against the draft, and the war, and many thousands pored across the border into Canada, in order to escape the draft and service in Vietnam. Nixon realized that politically, he just couldn’t have kids continue to be shipped home in black bags and survive to another term in office. “Reluctance” was one of the largest, if not the largest, factor in the eventual American concession and withdrawal, on the part of draftees, potential draftees, and the general public.

 

Yet South Korea and Taiwan transitioned into modern, multi-party democracies, while the two Asian Communist powers remain under tight single party rule. So who were the true Fascists there? 

 

True enough, these two countries did better than their equivalents. But in the context of this discussion, the example is a little limited. It took a generation for them to transition to democracy, which they did under their own steam. If the prime motivation of the US was freedom and democracy, why wouldn’t they have insisted on an earlier timetable? Certainly those countries depended on the US as they developed, so there would have been plenty of leverage. The US could have tied aid to a faster pace in democratization. The reason they didn’t is that democracy was about priority number three. The first was strategic- these countries were outposts of American military interests. A distant second was that they represented some trade and investment opportunities. After that I am sure that stable democracies would have been welcomed by the US, but the point was that this was not a prime motivator, and if they were still dictatorships today, they would still be of utility to the US. This situation has never really changed, in that the US supports whatever country that supports its national aims. If those countries are democratic, great, but if not, it doesn’t matter.

 

Back to Top
lirelou View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain
Avatar

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Location: Tampa, FL
Status: Offline
Points: 1346
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 16:09
Captain Vancouver, in re: "If you are saying that the issue of the draft, and the increasing backlash against that, and the war in general was not a particularly big factor in the eventual defeat, then I strenuously disagree. This was massively controversial at the time, and it threatened to tear the country apart."

The issue of the draft is not the same as the 'reluctance of draftees'. The former touches upon all persons subject to the draft before they are called to service, and the latter implies that the performance of draftees in service during the Vietnam War was marked by 'reluctance'.

As for "over the course of the war, the North was bombed flat."  First, the most inhabited part of the North is the Red River Delta. It is 'flat' by nature. (OK, that's snarky) Second, had it been 'bombed flat', we would have hit the Red River dikes. Nice touch of hyperbole, though. As for the North's opponent, that was the South, and it was hardly equipped with all the technology that the 'West" had to offer. The Vietnamese troops I advised were armed with M-2 carbines, BARs, M-1919A6 Light Machineguns, and 60mm mortars, all WWII systems. Our usual opponents from 95 and 18B Regiments were armed with AK-47s, RPDs, B-40 rocket launchers, and 82mm mortars. They definitely had the advantage in a firefight, unless we had artillery, which was only once in six months. The Americans, on the other hand, would not operate outside the radius of artillery fire.Ignorance is bliss!

You are correct in your assessment that democratization was a lower priority than survival, but the U.S. did insist that the forms of a multi-party system be respected. Yes, we agree that countries do what they perceive to be in their national interest, and we were there for ours, not for Vietnam's. To have done otherwise would have been foolish. The same is true of Korea and Taiwan. But that continuous needling concerning multi-party system seems to have borne fruit. And yes, it took more than a generation. Indeed, it took more than several. (Pity that Bush didn't understand that. I cringed every time he opened his mouth.)

By the way, you describe the North as a 'small agricultural country'. Compared to what, the South? From Saigon to Hanoi is a road trip of over 1,700 kilometers, and one should count the parts of Eastern Laos and Cambodia under their control as an extension of their territory . Also, the North was far more industrial than the South. Compared to the U.S.? Sure, it was small, except the U.S. wasn't engaged in an all-out (Constitutionally declared) war. It was engaged in a limited war, and Vietnam was just one of several sizable competing overseas missions. The military's eyes were locked on Europe and the Soviet threat, and a minor shooting war was still going on in Korea (in 1968, anyway). All that impacted upon U.S. capabilities in Vietnam.


Edited by lirelou - 10 Dec 2010 at 16:25
Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 21:21
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Well, Gcle, unlike my old colleague at UGA, Dean Rusk, I will entertain a discussion of supposed errors and consequences over the issue of Vietnam and any purported changes with regard to armed conflict but let us refrain from views other than those directly over Pompey's head (I know you will excuse the literary allusion). First, the United States "abandoned" the gold standard in 1933 and not in the 1970s since what you are referencing is known in historical shorthand as the Nixon Shock of 15 August 1971 that abrogated the Bretton Woods Agreements of 1944 that fashioned the structure of the IMF and set the dollar as the currency convertible to gold.
Countries hae gone off and on the gold standard for at least centuries. Britain abandoned it as long ago as the Napoleonic Wars. It went on again in 1821, came off again in 1914, went back on in 1925, came off again in 1931. The US officially went on in 1873, came off in 1933, went back on after Bretton Woods, and came off it again in 1971.             
 
So while you are correct, so was I.
Quote
The advent of "floating" currency was not a direct consequence of Vietnam and in any event the vagaries of the 70s are with us just as sharply today no matter how you put forth that old construct of the "center and the periphery" [e.g. Henry C. K. Liu, "Dollar Hegemony" see on-line http://www.henryckliu.com/page2.html ).
I was specifically talking about the floating of the dollar, which was due to excessive demand for gold as $35 an ounce, which in turn was due to the massive number of dollars accumulating in foreign hands, and distrust of the currency resulting from the trade imbalances that were resulting from Vietnam. 
Incidentally Liu's article also refers to the US coming off the gold standard in 1971. I'd disagree with Liu on some points, agree on others, and generally found the article somewhat idealistic (iin the Platonic sense of 'ideal'). Moreover the world has changed drastically sine he wrote the piece in 2002.
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
hugoestr View Drop Down
King
King

Most Glorious Leader of Muzhnopia

Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Points: 5190
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 02:22
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Captain Vancouver: In re: "<font face="Times New Roman" size="3">But
that certainly wasn’t the case- the Vietnamese held out against a
much more powerful enemy, for many years. This should have been a hint."Those words describe the Republic of Vietnam to a 'tee'. Yes, two million Vietnamese supposedly died in that war, no small number of them fighting against Ho Cho Minh's armed forces., And they continued fighting more than two years after the Americans withdrew. Indeed, some continued fighting even after tanks rolled into the RVN presidential palace.Doesn't that 'hint' tell you anything?
<p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><font face="Times New Roman"> 




Yes, and my Vietnamese brother-in-law who remembers the U.S. pull out told me how at these islands outside of Vietnam, which were a big base for the U.S., most of the population supported Ho Chi Min. They were all Vietncong. As soon as the U.S. pulled out of that area, the population rounded up the U.S. collaborators and lynched them.

That is a hint alright.


Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
King
King
Avatar
Plus Ultra

Joined: 02 Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 6262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 08:18
With reference to the use of the "gold standard" I believe, Gcle, we will have to disagree on its usage in terms of economic history and its role vis a vis the United States. The convertibility of dollars into gold bullion as a function of the U.S. Treasury ceased on 6 March 1933 and speculative investor have been inveighing against this action ever since--see this little diatribe that nevertheless gets the salient points right:
 
 
Now as to the hijinxs of the Central Bankers in the face of the international bullion market, such is another matter entirely. In a way, the US received a hoist on its own "free enterprise" petard absent the blanket regulation of gold ownership a a "privilege of state". Likewise, one of the major failures of the Johnson Administration intricately tied to Vietnam is what is known as the "guns and butter" policy that highlighted the failure of the president to mobilize the economy onto a war-footing (as was done by Truman for Korea). Personally, I do not believe that lesson was learned very well subsequently thereafter despite the novelty of conducting a "war" off the books as hit upon by Bush 43 and his now current successor.  War hasn't changed what has altered dramatically has been the illusion that military adventures can be undertaken while everything else is "business as usual". The charade of "Homeland Security" is but the iceberg of this illusion.


Edited by drgonzaga - 12 Dec 2010 at 08:10
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Back to Top
Captain Vancouver View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 30 Sep 2010
Location: Vancouver Isle
Status: Offline
Points: 2153
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 12:27

The issue of the draft is not the same as the 'reluctance of draftees'. The former touches upon all persons subject to the draft before they are called to service, and the latter implies that the performance of draftees in service during the Vietnam War was marked by 'reluctance'.

 

 

I guess I can’t comment on exactly how well draftees did. There are plenty of narratives of less than happy draftees not wanting to be where they were, and keeping their heads down as much as possible. This doesn’t sound very surprising, as certainly many didn’t have a very clear idea why they were there. Even former defense secretary Robert McNamara admitted he was pretty muddled himself, in he movie Fog of War.

 


As for "over the course of the war, the North was bombed flat."  First, the most inhabited part of the North is the Red River Delta. It is 'flat' by nature. (OK, that's snarky) Second, had it been 'bombed flat', we would have hit the Red River dikes. Nice touch of hyperbole, though. As for the North's opponent, that was the South, and it was hardly equipped with all the technology that the 'West" had to offer. The Vietnamese troops I advised were armed with M-2 carbines, BARs, M-1919A6 Light Machineguns, and 60mm mortars, all WWII systems. Our usual opponents from 95 and 18B Regiments were armed with AK-47s, RPDs, B-40 rocket launchers, and 82mm mortars. They definitely had the advantage in a firefight, unless we had artillery, which was only once in six months. The Americans, on the other hand, would not operate outside the radius of artillery fire.Ignorance is bliss!

 

 

Clearly, you were on the ground at the time, and so are offering a very informed opinion. I won’t challenge your expertise in infantry weapons or tactics.

 

But really, I think you are being just a little coy with us here mate in being vague about who the enemy was. If 500,000 foreign troops were in the US, fleets of ships offshore, and fleets of bombers overhead raining down destruction, would you classify that nation as an enemy of the US? Although it may be uncomfortable in retrospect, the US fought a war against a communist regime in Vietnam, the government for the northern part of the country at the time, and also those of like sentiment in the southern part. The division of the country was temporary and completely artificial. The US was at war with Vietnam, and by any measure it was most certainly an unequal contest. At the time, the US was by far the largest economy in the world, doing very well; and Vietnam was a poor agricultural backwater for the most part. Yes, there was some industry, but the differences are huge. The US (along with some modest support from a few hangers-on) was there on the ground and in control of the skies. The north had material aid from Russia and China, but little else, aside from perhaps a few advisors.

 

My flattening comment referred to estimates that a comparable amount of ordinance was dropped on the north as was dropped during all of WW2. If this is even vaguely accurate, it is an amazing statistic. Those B-52s were not dropping hyperbole, but something else.

 


You are correct in your assessment that democratization was a lower priority than survival, but the U.S. did insist that the forms of a multi-party system be respected. Yes, we agree that countries do what they perceive to be in their national interest, and we were there for ours, not for Vietnam's. To have done otherwise would have been foolish. The same is true of Korea and Taiwan. But that continuous needling concerning multi-party system seems to have borne fruit. And yes, it took more than a generation. Indeed, it took more than several. (Pity that Bush didn't understand that. I cringed every time he opened his mouth.)

 

 

Needling for thirty years, eh? Hmmm. It sounds like the kind of “needling” that today China is giving North Korea. In other words, little to nothing at all that doesn’t directly suit national interests.

Personally, my view is that those countries simply followed their own path. Democracy gradually become more of a desired reality as the population became better educated and more plugged in to the world. I am not saying that these developments weren’t seen in a favorable light in Washington, but that self-interest prevailed in policy making. There was never a crusade for democracy, but a utilitarian, somewhat cynical, and sadly, often somewhat misguided imperative for national interests in the post ww2 era. The point here is that the US is not alone in these types of calculations- many countries have played the great game when up at bat- but that the US is today so reluctant to fess up, admit past mistakes and transgressions, and move on to a, hopefully, better future.



By the way, you describe the North as a 'small agricultural country'. Compared to what, the South? From Saigon to Hanoi is a road trip of over 1,700 kilometers, and one should count the parts of Eastern Laos and Cambodia under their control as an extension of their territory . Also, the North was far more industrial than the South. Compared to the U.S.? Sure, it was small, except the U.S. wasn't engaged in an all-out (Constitutionally declared) war. It was engaged in a limited war, and Vietnam was just one of several sizable competing overseas missions. The military's eyes were locked on Europe and the Soviet threat, and a minor shooting war was still going on in Korea (in 1968, anyway). All that impacted upon U.S. capabilities in Vietnam.

 

 

The war was limited by several factors. There was the need to avoid confrontation with the Soviets and China, and the possibility that might escalate into some sort of nuclear unpleasantness. There was the need to avoid the condemnation of world opinion, something that was already more than a little iffy. There was of course the need to avoid collapse of domestic support, which I think was eventually a critical factor. And as you say, there were strategic considerations.

 

But this was certainly no small event. Massive pressure was brought to bear. Nixon himself railed in frustration about not being able to get the north to negotiate in a favorable manner towards the end, and instigated a huge bombing campaign in an impotent rage. If a half a million troops, and all that air and sea power couldn’t do it, then what could?

 

If the argument here is that defeat was the result of not bringing to bear sufficient military resources, I think it is a thin one. Massive forces were brought to bear against a relatively small and backward country. Much of what wasn’t used was because of its complete impracticality, such as nuclear weapons, or shifting armored divisions from Europe, for example.

 

If the argument here is that the US pulled out because it was really just small potatoes in the end, not worth it, didn’t really care anyway, then again I think that is a very weak argument. After all that loss, and all that death, the stakes were huge. The US position in the world, both from a position of prestige and self-respect, and also from a pragmatic position holding on to strategic interests and alliances, was at stake. So were the rear ends of a number of politicians. Nixon pulled every trick out of the hat he could to give history books some sort of version of victory, or at least a close facsimile. But he failed.

Back to Top
lirelou View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain
Avatar

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Location: Tampa, FL
Status: Offline
Points: 1346
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 15:52
Captain Vancouver, Well that is certainly a well reasoned reply. Frankly, the U.S. should never had sent conventional forces into Vietnam. But they did so because the North had started introducing Regulars. Once we did so, draftees became more than incidentally involved, and that impacted upon the war protests. By the way, much of that tonnage of aerial bombing was directed at the Ho Chi Minh trail. The Air Force proved no more effective at interdicting Asian lines of supply in Vietnam that they had in Korea, probably because their target paradigm, that of a developed western nation's lines of communication, did not match the Asian model. Mere tonnage numbers say nothing. Target interdiction is what counts.

I don't mean to be coy. The simple fact is that we were only in Vietnam because our ally in a Vietnamese civil war between two legally recognized Vietnamese states was under attack. The Politburo in Hanoi knew that. They also knew that all they had to do to make us withdraw was to get their regulars out of the South, and order their subordinate National Liberation Front to cease operations. But, of course, they had no intention of doing so. And because they had the superior form of government for a war, they triumphed, much to the sorrow of many Southern Vietnamese who had supported the North. Ask any Northerner my age what the worst years of their lives were, and they'll tell you the war years. Ask any native Southern Vietnamese (as opposed to the Northerners who were resettled there after reunification), and they will tell you that their worst years were the ones from 1975 to 85. Within my wife's family, most of whom served in the Viet Cong, there is only one real Communist, and even she says that she regrets her decision. But then, I paid for her son's wedding, so she could merely be saying that to be gracious. But then, she also claims that the provincial district and hamlet Party Committees ripped off some of the money she had been promised as a veterans benefit to build a house. I travel to Vietnam fairly often, usually for several months. And I talk to a fair number of Vietnamese veterans when I am there, some of whom would have gladly killed me in 1968, and others of whom might even do so today, except that now it is a crime to do so. (Bad for tourism). I do have some feelings of rancor towards me fellow Americans for having sold out the Vietnamese after they had finally got their act together. But in the end, the only people whom providence and history had charged with defending that country were the Vietnamese nationalists themselves. They also failed, and their is the blame. Yet I meet no small number of Vietnamese veterans there who now hate the U.S. for selling them out. And my response is: What were you doing in April 1975. Were you prepared to fight to the last round, or had you deserted your unit. In a just world, the entire Vietnamese High Command would have been told by the senior American general: "Gentlemen, we'll help evacuate your families, but your oath to defend your country must be fulfilled. Either fight, or die, but don't show up looking for our help. Strangely enough, Nguyen Cao Ky reportedly spends a lot of time in Vietnam these days.

Sorry, this post is more than a bit off subject. That's the last I'll say on it and we'll agree to amicably disagree on some of your well made points.
Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1 234
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 12.01
Copyright ©2001-2018 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.140 seconds.