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Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Myth of Vietnam.
    Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 15:30
Two years after all American combat troops were out of South Vietnam, the NVA invaded the South. This was in direct violation of the Paris Peace Accords. With the fall of Saigon on TV it was thought by many that this was the US losing the war. Those helicopters rescuing Vietnamese were in fact CIA choppers. Those US Marines were in fact embassy guards that are found in every US Embassy all over the world.

The United States military has never been beaten in the field to the point of losing a war. We remain in that respect undefeated. In fact during the Vietnam war the NVA never won a battle to speak of. After the Tet offensive, the Viet Cong were all but neutralized as a fighting force. The American people stopped the Vietnam war, not the Vietnamese. I hope this touch of reality does not upset too many of the gloaters that were enjoying themselves with false assumptions.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 15:37
Bottom Line: the viets took a big enough toll on the soldiers and public support for the war , Nixon decided that the war was unwinnble anyway and wanted to secure his 1972 reelection.

So the United States Withdrew

And while we all know about the election scandals associated with Nixon this did win him alot of genuine votes. That was the only time my uncle ever voted for a republican

And by the way this should probably be moved to east asia, South Asia outside the subcontinent usually contains Bangladeshi a little bit of Burma and thats it. Vietnam is considered part of east asia


Edited by fusong - 23 Mar 2012 at 15:38
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 15:54
For some reason tha sounds just like the German military's argument that they didn't lose world war 1. (Or, slightly changed, ww2.) And of course the Armada didn't really lose in 1588, Germany didn't lose in 1966, and the English didn't win in Australia in 1932-3[1].
 
If two sides set out to gain something, the one that gets what it wants wins. The other loses. It doesn't matter who cheats, or what might have been if this or that had been different, or whether one side was let down by some of its people.
 
The US set out to stop Vietnam going Communist. It was assumed that would be easy. It wasn't. It was difficult and expensive in men and materials. So the US cut its losses and moved out. That is losing.
 
If you lose because you gave up trying, that is still losing.  
 
[1] To risk raising an issue that should better be in the minefield. Beer
 
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 23 Mar 2012 at 15:57
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 16:01
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

Two years after all American combat troops were out of South Vietnam, the NVA invaded the South. This was in direct violation of the Paris Peace Accords. With the fall of Saigon on TV it was thought by many that this was the US losing the war. Those helicopters rescuing Vietnamese were in fact CIA choppers. Those US Marines were in fact embassy guards that are found in every US Embassy all over the world.

The United States military has never been beaten in the field to the point of losing a war. We remain in that respect undefeated. In fact during the Vietnam war the NVA never won a battle to speak of. After the Tet offensive, the Viet Cong were all but neutralized as a fighting force. The American people stopped the Vietnam war, not the Vietnamese. I hope this touch of reality does not upset too many of the gloaters that were enjoying themselves with false assumptions.



Someone sounds like Col. Harry Summers. In the 1990s he returned to Vietnam to talk to a NVA general. He told the NVA general that the United States never lost a single battle in the entire course of the war. The NVA general smiled and said "Yes, that is true, but it is also irrelevant."

Battles don't win wars. Achieving longstanding geopolitical objectives do. The United States failed to achieve those objectives, despite winning every major battle, and therefore by definition lost the war.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 16:23
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

Two years after all American combat troops were out of South Vietnam, the NVA invaded the South. This was in direct violation of the Paris Peace Accords. With the fall of Saigon on TV it was thought by many that this was the US losing the war. Those helicopters rescuing Vietnamese were in fact CIA choppers. Those US Marines were in fact embassy guards that are found in every US Embassy all over the world.

The United States military has never been beaten in the field to the point of losing a war. We remain in that respect undefeated. In fact during the Vietnam war the NVA never won a battle to speak of. After the Tet offensive, the Viet Cong were all but neutralized as a fighting force. The American people stopped the Vietnam war, not the Vietnamese. I hope this touch of reality does not upset too many of the gloaters that were enjoying themselves with false assumptions.



Someone sounds like Col. Harry Summers. In the 1990s he returned to Vietnam to talk to a NVA general. He told the NVA general that the United States never lost a single battle in the entire course of the war. The NVA general smiled and said "Yes, that is true, but it is also irrelevant."

Battles don't win wars. Achieving longstanding geopolitical objectives do. The United States failed to achieve those objectives, despite winning every major battle, and therefore by definition lost the war.

I agree with most of your post. I never claimed we won the Vietnam war, but we sure didn't lose it militarily. We did lose it politically.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 16:39
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

For some reason tha sounds just like the German military's argument that they didn't lose world war 1.

 

It could be argued they didn't. They came home to a hero's welcome, and marched through the streets of Germany with their weapons, and cheering crowds. They did not have the mentality of having lost or being losers.
 
Quote
If two sides set out to gain something, the one that gets what it wants wins. The other loses. It doesn't matter who cheats, or what might have been if this or that had been different, or whether one side was let down by some of its people.
 

My argument is, that it wasn't lost due to military action. It was an unjust war and was never popular to start with. We sent in combat soldiers based on an engineered incident.

Quote
The US set out to stop Vietnam going Communist. It was assumed that would be easy. It wasn't. It was difficult and expensive in men and materials. So the US cut its losses and moved out. That is losing.
 
If you lose because you gave up trying, that is still losing.  
 

I don't agree. We Vietnamesed  the war and had the South Vietnamese fight their war with our logistics. And fight they did after our combat troops were gone.

Quote
[1] To risk raising an issue that should better be in the minefield. Beer
 

Why the minefield? We can discuss this. No minefields on this side of the discussion.Saint


Edited by Buckskins - 23 Mar 2012 at 16:44
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 16:43
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

Two years after all American combat troops were out of South Vietnam, the NVA invaded the South. This was in direct violation of the Paris Peace Accords. With the fall of Saigon on TV it was thought by many that this was the US losing the war. Those helicopters rescuing Vietnamese were in fact CIA choppers. Those US Marines were in fact embassy guards that are found in every US Embassy all over the world.
 
The US navy, army and air force all participated in the evacuation not just the CIA. As for the Paris agreements, they were violated by all sides the moment they were signed. The NVA were wise enough to prepare for all out war.

 
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

The United States military has never been beaten in the field to the point of losing a war. We remain in that respect undefeated. In fact during the Vietnam war the NVA never won a battle to speak of. After the Tet offensive, the Viet Cong were all but neutralized as a fighting force. The American people stopped the Vietnam war, not the Vietnamese. I hope this touch of reality does not upset too many of the gloaters that were enjoying themselves with false assumptions.
 
They might have not been defeated militarily but they could never sustain their gains either. The Mekong was never really "liberated" from VC at all and the VC were never fully destroyed though they were less active after Tet than before (some 15k American troops died between 69 and 73 if I am not mistaken). The cost alone was simply too much especially with Laos and Cambodia falling to communists which was exactly the opposite of what the US claimed would happen if they continued their presence in Vietnam. Only an out right offensive against the North (which would have been quite successfull) would have guaranteed final victory but the Russians put a veto on that.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 16:58

Quote
 
The US navy, army and air force all participated in the evacuation not just the CIA. As for the Paris agreements, they were violated by all sides the moment they were signed. The NVA were wise enough to prepare for all out war.


The USN participated in the evacuation. There were many South Vietnamese that needed out of there due to their various affiliations with the US. Not all of them made it. Any US aircraft left in country belonged to the CIA.
 
Quote
 
They might have not been defeated militarily but they could never sustain their gains either. The Mekong was never really "liberated" from VC at all and the VC were never fully destroyed though they were less active after Tet than before (some 15k American troops died between 69 and 73 if I am not mistaken). The cost alone was simply too much especially with Laos and Cambodia falling to communists which was exactly the opposite of what the US claimed would happen if they continued their presence in Vietnam. Only an out right offensive against the North (which would have been quite successfull) would have guaranteed final victory but the Russians put a veto on that.
 
Al-Jassas

There never was any intention so secure our gains in battle. It was a war of attrition in Westmoreland's mind. An offensive against the North by the US was out of the question. We could have nuked them and been done with it. That would have done what? Left it unfit for man or beast. Not to mention the reaction of China. The Russians had no say in the matter. The Vietnam war was instrumental in bringing the Soviet Union to it's financial knees.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 18:24
The United States failed to achieve its objectives in Vietnam, unless you call the slaughter of millions of civilians an objective.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 20:00
The reason the US wasn't in Vietnam in force in '75 is because they had no choice but to cut and run, and make the best they could of it. The war was unwinnable, and continuing it would have led to outright rebellion in the US. The north understood this, and that is why they pushed hard at the Paris peace talks. The talks were nothing but a sham, essential to the US, in order to save face and not admit to the world that they simpy could not endure in the face of a peasant army. They were of less value to the north, which could see which way the wind was blowing.
 
The communists fought an asymetrical war, against a stronger military advisary. Battles, in the conventional sense, did not have the same weight as in, say, WW2. The fact is that the US could not prevail, even in the face of the massive eleventh hour bombing campaign against the north in '72, mounted in impotent rage in order to get a face-saving withdrawal from Vietnam.
 
There is no myth around the US experience in Vietnam, other than that perpetrated by chest-thumping nationalists, and those gaining their history of the world through the equivalent of Tom Clancy novels and assorted comic books.
 
These are important points, as they have caused no end of tragedy in the world. It is this lack of clear undestanding of history and culture that has led to repeat experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, for which spin doctors are probably already working overtime to apply the term victory in some abstract form.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 21:42
I'm sorry to have bust your bubble vanc, but such is life.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2012 at 01:56
Topic moved to East Asia
Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

and the English didn't win in Australia in 1932-3[1].
 
If two sides set out to gain something, the one that gets what it wants wins. The other loses. It doesn't matter who cheats, or what might have been if this or that had been different, or whether one side was let down by some of its people.
First reason I note, Freudian slip perhaps?


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 24 Mar 2012 at 01:57
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2012 at 03:26
The U.S. was defeated by a people with a lot more courage and strength, that could survive to the rage of a superpower.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2012 at 04:46
Just back from Vietnam, and I am happy to report that it is not a myth. It's really there. The Vietnamese are as hardworking and friendly as they always were, and foreigners are made to feel welcome. The food is great, the coffee very good, the girls still pretty, and everything reasonably priced, though inflation keeps creeping upwards. Also many of the temples, churches, and mosques that the present government once closed are mostly open. It is a very safe country to travel in, though being out at night in crowds can get a pocket picked. Indeed, it is not much different that Chile under Pinochet, or Paraguay under Stroessner. The locals complain about corruption in government, much worse they say that under the old Republic, but voicing complaints is allowed. Getting together to organize and do anything about those complaints is not. Publishing anything uncomplimentary about the Party can land you in jail.  So it pays to remember that the Security Police come under the Party, and not the government. To be fair, the government is aware that they have a constituency they will sooner or later answer to. Ergo, much of the money earned is put into public works. Electricity exists in most remote populated areas, the government pays attention to health and welfare and public works. One companion quipped that the government will do anything to keep its people happy and healthy, except let them vote, because of the mental stress that wrestling with such issues would cause the citizenry. For this reason, the citizens are grateful that the Party has lifted that heavy burden from them. 

Vietnam's cities are changing rapidly, and money is the almighty king. The young care nothing for recent history, and are more concerned with earning enough to buy a quality motorcycle, and land a job that will allow them to get married, establish a home and start families. Old people complain about the breakdown in the traditional family structure. Despite gleaming new skyscrapers and houses, Vietnam remains a primarily agricultural country. You won't see the third world around Saigon's Binh Thanh market, or in the backpacker areas running along Bui Vien street in Pham Bgu Lao ward, but drive along the canal running from Chau Doc to Ha Tien, and you'll be in the third world. Some pockets of Vietnam are developing, while others are being left behind. No pretty girl wants to grow up and marry a farmer.

No Vietnamese sits around discussing the war. That is left to foreign tourists (mostly left leaning) clinging to hoary old cliches. To be sure, the regime's propaganda mill is still in order, but far more muted now. Visit the War Remnants Museum, and you'll discover how a few carefully chosen truths can be used to reinforce old lies. The open spaces outside the building contain tanks, planes, etc, all painted in U.S. colors, though the M-41 tanks were only issued to the ARVNs. The crowd outside is a bit more boisterous than that within, and during my visit seemed to be mostly American or Australian. Inside, things are a bit more subdued. The first floor contains the Agent Orange display, manned by alleged victims who may indeed be so. But in a country where peasants wander through fields barefoot and shirtless, spraying out pesticides and herbicides from tanks strapped to their backs, one had to wonder. All these factories upstream from agricultural areas; who checks their emissions? On the second floor, John Kerry gets his photo, along with his quote that he and his men "murdered" some civilians, whose photos and life histories are minutely detailed, except for any possible link to the Viet Cong. I am left wondering: were they truly just innocent peasants? Or were they members of the infrastructure which taxed their fellow peasants, issued draft orders, and disciplined those who disagreed with death sentences. I was on an ambush that wounded and captured such an old man one night. He was the local VC tax collector, and he was armed and dangerous. I spent one night this trip with a cousin of my wife's. She too was in the infrastructure. THe Diem government 'murdered' (actually, executed) her husband (a Communist) in the early '60s. She continued to serve the Party and received $16,000 from the new government about ten years ago to build a house. The provincial committee took $4,000, and the district another $4,000, then provided the work crews to build her house for the remaining $8,000. She shows me the tile floor of her home, which has a small sink hole eating away about a quarter of the floor under her bed. That, she tells me, is the workmanship she got for all her loyalty and sacrifices. Not all family members feel her pain. My wife's brothers served in the military arm of the VC militia, but not being Party members, all they got for their pains and suffering were certificates attesting to their patriotism. The last, Anh Ba, died just last year. His survival from a battle with the ARVNs down near Phu Quoc island was the stuff of family legend and never told without many tears from his sisters. Yet in his old age, he always had a smile, and I missed not seeing him this year, though a daughter accompanied us on our trip to Nha Trang.

Back to the War Remnants Museum, there was also a good presentation on My Lai on the second floor. Totally factual, but reinforced with statements from pundits alleging it was planned. And stirring; two young blond girls sat on a nearby granite block chair and cried real tears. I wondered if they had ever heard of the Hue massacres, where six times as many as at My Lai were systematically executed by VC troops at Hue in 1968 with entire families being buried alive. There, the perpetrators who survived the war are walking around not only free, but rewarded. Heroes of Hue.

In any event, the War Remnants Museum is hardly worth the $1.50 they charged me to get in. The Saigon Fine Arts Museum, however, is well worth the visit. You will find war art there too, but much more tastefully done. And, you will even find real honest to goodness art on timeless Vietnamese themes. My favorite was a large set of lacquer panels showing an obvious French Impressionist influence, but even many of the war art had much to offer. Perhaps you need to have been in the jungles of the Central Highlands, which were as mysterious and alien to the Vietnamese as they were to us. I was fascinated how well their art captured the cathedral darks and green lights of the forest, and the body language of the tribes people. An afternoon should do, but if you go to Saigon, see the Fine Arts Museum. you won't be disappointed. 

Vietnam was not a war, it was a country. Or, to be more precise, it was two countries united in a single vision of nationhood and divided by contrary visions of governance. As such it was not myth, but its own reality. It was not a lost cause ab initio, but it did become one. War is an extension of politics, and when your political goals are rendered nul and void by the actions of others, or hampered by inactions and mis-steps of your own, you have lost.

Vietnam was another testing of the limited war doctrine which had prevailed in Korea. It failed because when you put a man with nothing to lose and everything to gain in the ring with a man who has everything to lose and nothing to gain, that is usually what happens.  And that is what happened in Vietnam. The RVN had some very fine fighting formations, but the political body behind them was divided and fractious. The PAVN was a well oiled machine with real victories in the field in the French War, and a single-minded political body behind it. It was this latter force that enjoyed the necessary unity of effort upon which military success is founded.    
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2012 at 05:01
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Just back from Vietnam, and I am happy to report that it is not a myth. It's really there. The Vietnamese are as hardworking and friendly as they always were, and foreigners are made to feel welcome. The food is great, the coffee very good, the girls still pretty, and everything reasonably priced, though inflation keeps creeping upwards. Also many of the temples, churches, and mosques that the present government once closed are mostly open. It is a very safe country to travel in, though being out at night in crowds can get a pocket picked. Indeed, it is not much different that Chile under Pinochet, or Paraguay under Stroessner. The locals complain about corruption in government, much worse they say that under the old Republic, but voicing complaints is allowed. Getting together to organize and do anything about those complaints is not. Publishing anything uncomplimentary about the Party can land you in jail.  So it pays to remember that the Security Police come under the Party, and not the government. To be fair, the government is aware that they have a constituency they will sooner or later answer to. Ergo, much of the money earned is put into public works. Electricity exists in most remote populated areas, the government pays attention to health and welfare and public works. One companion quipped that the government will do anything to keep its people happy and healthy, except let them vote, because of the mental stress that wrestling with such issues would cause the citizenry. For this reason, the citizens are grateful that the Party has lifted that heavy burden from them. 

Vietnam's cities are changing rapidly, and money is the almighty king. The young care nothing for recent history, and are more concerned with earning enough to buy a quality motorcycle, and land a job that will allow them to get married, establish a home and start families. Old people complain about the breakdown in the traditional family structure. Despite gleaming new skyscrapers and houses, Vietnam remains a primarily agricultural country. You won't see the third world around Saigon's Binh Thanh market, or in the backpacker areas running along Bui Vien street in Pham Bgu Lao ward, but drive along the canal running from Chau Doc to Ha Tien, and you'll be in the third world. Some pockets of Vietnam are developing, while others are being left behind. No pretty girl wants to grow up and marry a farmer.

No Vietnamese sits around discussing the war. That is left to foreign tourists (mostly left leaning) clinging to hoary old cliches. To be sure, the regime's propaganda mill is still in order, but far more muted now. Visit the War Remnants Museum, and you'll discover how a few carefully chosen truths can be used to reinforce old lies. The open spaces outside the building contain tanks, planes, etc, all painted in U.S. colors, though the M-41 tanks were only issued to the ARVNs. The crowd outside is a bit more boisterous than that within, and during my visit seemed to be mostly American or Australian. Inside, things are a bit more subdued. The first floor contains the Agent Orange display, manned by alleged victims who may indeed be so. But in a country where peasants wander through fields barefoot and shirtless, spraying out pesticides and herbicides from tanks strapped to their backs, one had to wonder. All these factories upstream from agricultural areas; who checks their emissions? On the second floor, John Kerry gets his photo, along with his quote that he and his men "murdered" some civilians, whose photos and life histories are minutely detailed, except for any possible link to the Viet Cong. I am left wondering: were they truly just innocent peasants? Or were they members of the infrastructure which taxed their fellow peasants, issued draft orders, and disciplined those who disagreed with death sentences. I was on an ambush that wounded and captured such an old man one night. He was the local VC tax collector, and he was armed and dangerous. I spent one night this trip with a cousin of my wife's. She too was in the infrastructure. THe Diem government 'murdered' (actually, executed) her husband (a Communist) in the early '60s. She continued to serve the Party and received $16,000 from the new government about ten years ago to build a house. The provincial committee took $4,000, and the district another $4,000, then provided the work crews to build her house for the remaining $8,000. She shows me the tile floor of her home, which has a small sink hole eating away about a quarter of the floor under her bed. That, she tells me, is the workmanship she got for all her loyalty and sacrifices. Not all family members feel her pain. My wife's brothers served in the military arm of the VC militia, but not being Party members, all they got for their pains and suffering were certificates attesting to their patriotism. The last, Anh Ba, died just last year. His survival from a battle with the ARVNs down near Phu Quoc island was the stuff of family legend and never told without many tears from his sisters. Yet in his old age, he always had a smile, and I missed not seeing him this year, though a daughter accompanied us on our trip to Nha Trang.

Back to the War Remnants Museum, there was also a good presentation on My Lai on the second floor. Totally factual, but reinforced with statements from pundits alleging it was planned. And stirring; two young blond girls sat on a nearby granite block chair and cried real tears. I wondered if they had ever heard of the Hue massacres, where six times as many as at My Lai were systematically executed by VC troops at Hue in 1968 with entire families being buried alive. There, the perpetrators who survived the war are walking around not only free, but rewarded. Heroes of Hue.

In any event, the War Remnants Museum is hardly worth the $1.50 they charged me to get in. The Saigon Fine Arts Museum, however, is well worth the visit. You will find war art there too, but much more tastefully done. And, you will even find real honest to goodness art on timeless Vietnamese themes. My favorite was a large set of lacquer panels showing an obvious French Impressionist influence, but even many of the war art had much to offer. Perhaps you need to have been in the jungles of the Central Highlands, which were as mysterious and alien to the Vietnamese as they were to us. I was fascinated how well their art captured the cathedral darks and green lights of the forest, and the body language of the tribes people. An afternoon should do, but if you go to Saigon, see the Fine Arts Museum. you won't be disappointed. 

Vietnam was not a war, it was a country. Or, to be more precise, it was two countries united in a single vision of nationhood and divided by contrary visions of governance. As such it was not myth, but its own reality. It was not a lost cause ab initio, but it did become one. War is an extension of politics, and when your political goals are rendered nul and void by the actions of others, or hampered by inactions and mis-steps of your own, you have lost.

Vietnam was another testing of the limited war doctrine which had prevailed in Korea. It failed because when you put a man with nothing to lose and everything to gain in the ring with a man who has everything to lose and nothing to gain, that is usually what happens.  And that is what happened in Vietnam. The RVN had some very fine fighting formations, but the political body behind them was divided and fractious. The PAVN was a well oiled machine with real victories in the field in the French War, and a single-minded political body behind it. It was this latter force that enjoyed the necessary unity of effort upon which military success is founded.    


I do love reading these sorts of accounts from someone with a stake in the issue and some useful experience to back it up. Do keep them coming lirelou.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2012 at 05:01
Excellent post lirelou. Just excellent! 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2012 at 08:24
Remember to click "Thanks" in the upper right corner of the post when you read a great post like the one above from lirelou.
 
 
 
   
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2012 at 11:52
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

For some reason tha sounds just like the German military's argument that they didn't lose world war 1.

 

It could be argued they didn't. They came home to a hero's welcome, and marched through the streets of Germany with their weapons, and cheering crowds. They did not have the mentality of having lost or being losers.
Granted they didn't have the mentality (though have you read the Good Soldier Schweik lately?) but they stll lost.
 
On October 2 1918, with the Allies advancing, Ludendorff admitted the army could not win. That was followed by mutinies more in the navy but also in the army. By 4 November the Austrians and the Ottomans had asked for armistice and given up fighting. Revolution was spreading across most of the country and Hindenburg was forced to tell Wilhelm that the army wouldn't support him, and he abdicated. The day before both a Socialist German Republic and an opposing Free German Republic were declared. Prinz von Baden, the previous Chancellor, nominated Ebert as Chancellor, leaving the Free German Republic in somewhat shaky control.
 
Those 'cheering crowds' weren't cheering because of the war, but because of the revolution.
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If you lose because you gave up trying, that is still losing.  
 

I don't agree. We Vietnamesed  the war and had the South Vietnamese fight their war with our logistics. And fight they did after our combat troops were gone.
Call it 'Vietnamisation' or whatever you like. What it was was losing.
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[1] To risk raising an issue that should better be in the minefield. Beer
 
Why the minefield? We can discuss this. No minefields on this side of the discussion.Saint
 
I don't think you got the message. Omar did, and I assumed other Australians also would.


Edited by gcle2003 - 24 Mar 2012 at 11:54
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Mar 2012 at 19:53
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

The U.S. was defeated by a people with a lot more courage and strength, that could survive to the rage of a superpower.

The U.S. was defeated once. Next time will be the last.

That's the last boatload of bananas we're buying from you.Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Mar 2012 at 20:03
"Those 'cheering crowds' weren't cheering because of the war, but because of the revolution."

When you have battalions of troopers marching down the high street, with their Mausers at right shoulder arms. The crowds are not cheering for anything but their returning fighting men.

"Call it 'Vietnamisation' or whatever you like. What it was was losing."

 I agree, the South Vietnamese were beaten in the field.

"I don't think you got the message. Omar did, and I assumed other Australians also would."

Oh yes...cricket. I didn't get it.



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2012 at 17:42
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

"Those 'cheering crowds' weren't cheering because of the war, but because of the revolution."

When you have battalions of troopers marching down the high street, with their Mausers at right shoulder arms. The crowds are not cheering for anything but their returning fighting men.

"Call it 'Vietnamisation' or whatever you like. What it was was losing."

 I agree, the South Vietnamese were beaten in the field.

"I don't think you got the message. Omar did, and I assumed other Australians also would."

Oh yes...cricket. I didn't get it.




Trying to save your self again Bucky Wink

America lost the war and you didnt get to create a right wing utopia get over it..


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2012 at 18:14
Fusong, while I can readily agree that America "lost" the war, I take you comment on creating a right-wing utopia as somewhat simplistic.

Perhaps a full discussion of that issue would require another thread, but suffice it to say if the great majority of Vietnamese alive today had a choice between a Taiwanese style government and economy, or a South Korean style government and economy, they would in their great majority choose either one of the latter over their present form of government and economy. 

There is a currently expressed hope among many observers that the Vietnamese economy will improve to the point of approaching those two national economies, and at that point the Vietnamese government might take steps to democratize itself. I am more pessimistic. In the case of South Korea and Taiwan, in the worst years of their right wing governments, the U.S. still insisted on the forms of a multi-party democracy being respected. Ergo, the nucleus of opposition parties took root and blossomed. In time, they were able to enter government to the point that they could take power.

At least one part of Vietnam would have been far better off today had the South survived as an independent state. Perhaps by now, they would have peacefully reunified. But given the current government's attitude to any opposition, that is highly unlikely. The best we would be able to say is: At least they're not as bad off as North Korea.

Say what you will about Taiwan, South Korea, and Chile, but all are politically and economically better off today than they would have been under Mao, the Kimsl, or Allende.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2012 at 19:27
I don't disagree about Vietnam, but how you class Allende in there with Mao and the Kims puzzles me. Allende was not perfect, but at least he was democratically elected, unlike the ditator Pinochet who overthrew him. I've pointed out before that Stafford Beer, his econmic advisor, was an ex-colleague of mine with whom I disagreed, but nowhere near as fundamentally as I would have with Pinochet.
 
And the practical record of the Friedmanesque Chicago economists that supplanted him was disastrous in many parts of the world, not least in the US. Unless of course you measure an economy by the short term profitability of big business.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2012 at 19:44
Originally posted by fusong fusong wrote:

Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

"Those 'cheering crowds' weren't cheering because of the war, but because of the revolution."

When you have battalions of troopers marching down the high street, with their Mausers at right shoulder arms. The crowds are not cheering for anything but their returning fighting men.

"Call it 'Vietnamisation' or whatever you like. What it was was losing."

 I agree, the South Vietnamese were beaten in the field.

"I don't think you got the message. Omar did, and I assumed other Australians also would."

Oh yes...cricket. I didn't get it.




Trying to save your self again Bucky Wink

America lost the war and you didnt get to create a right wing utopia get over it..



I said we lost it politically. My point has been we never lost it militarily. It's not that difficult to understand my friend.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2012 at 21:02
Lirelou- Did any in US adminstrations in the '60s know for sure how the Vietnamese economy would turn out in the future? It is easy to look back and say they made a mess, but the path of many socialist countries has been volatile. Would we have predicted China's position in the world 30 or 40 years ago? They did not know, and anyway it was of secondary importance. In fact the US has backed many countries with disasterous economies, the primary yardstick for support being the strategic interests of the US.
 
The war was less about economy than it was about geopolitical posturing. The US thought (incorrectly) that whatever states in SE Asia labelled themselves communist would line up with Peking and Moscow, in a seemless anti-American front. By 1960, a split was already evident in the communist world. The long standing history of Vietnam and China suggested something other than a brotherly bond. This suggestion was soon confirmed.
 
The US hoped for (1) an administration in Vietnam compliant with US interests, and (2) -a distant number two- a government that would be reasonable and not run roughshod over human rights in a wholesale fashion. The US failed in Vietnam for a number of reasons, including the inability to carry off a military campaign that forced US desires onto Vietnam. Short of using nuclear weapons or invading the north, either of which would have quickly escalated into a much broader conflict, with potentially disasterous results, the US tried everything- and it was not enough. You can put lipstick on pigs, designer shades, or trendy running shoes, but- they are still pigs.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2012 at 00:22
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Lirelou- Did any in US adminstrations in the '60s know for sure how the Vietnamese economy would turn out in the future? It is easy to look back and say they made a mess, but the path of many socialist countries has been volatile. Would we have predicted China's position in the world 30 or 40 years ago? They did not know, and anyway it was of secondary importance. In fact the US has backed many countries with disasterous economies, the primary yardstick for support being the strategic interests of the US.
 
The war was less about economy than it was about geopolitical posturing. The US thought (incorrectly) that whatever states in SE Asia labelled themselves communist would line up with Peking and Moscow, in a seemless anti-American front. By 1960, a split was already evident in the communist world. The long standing history of Vietnam and China suggested something other than a brotherly bond. This suggestion was soon confirmed.
 
The US hoped for (1) an administration in Vietnam compliant with US interests, and (2) -a distant number two- a government that would be reasonable and not run roughshod over human rights in a wholesale fashion. The US failed in Vietnam for a number of reasons, including the inability to carry off a military campaign that forced US desires onto Vietnam. Short of using nuclear weapons or invading the north, either of which would have quickly escalated into a much broader conflict, with potentially disasterous results, the US tried everything- and it was not enough. You can put lipstick on pigs, designer shades, or trendy running shoes, but- they are still pigs.

Do you ever wonder why so few people respond to your ...I almost said posts...Your opinions ?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2012 at 05:50
Capt V:  "By 1960, a split was already evident in the communist world." 

Certainly by 1969, when reports of fighting between the USSR and China along their common border surfaced.  But again, we were already in the war. It's like trying to stop a large ship, or a train. You can't do it on a dime. But then, why should a split between the USSR and China make us drop the Vietnam War? We had lost lives, and were committed to the RVN's survival, which was not an unreasonable policy. Again, it seemed to be working in Korea, and to remain in our interest to see through what we had committed ourselves to. Again, retrospect is always 20/20.

Capt V: "The long standing history of Vietnam and China suggested something other than a brotherly bond. This suggestion was soon confirmed." 

Yes, confirmed in 1979, four years after the war ended, when the Chinese launched a punitive operation into North Vietnam to punish the Viets for Cambodia. The long standing history of Vietnam reveals more years of cooperation and co-existence with China than conflict. Though modern nationalism certainly emphasized the conflict ovedr cooperation, the Vietnamese owe their very culture to the Chinese, not to mention their presence in the Mekong Delta. Despite its high literacy, it is a nation that puts a high premium on verbal communications. The crowds that show up in the streets today to denounce China, can as easily show up there tomorrow to praise it. Much depends upon how the government slants both official histories and the news.

By the way, had Mao lost the Civil War, and the Nationalists reasserted their control over all of China, the French would have still found themselves facing Vietnamese nationalists strongly supported by the Chinese. Ho Chi Minh had spent much of his time building relations with Nationalist Chinese leaders in Guangxi and Guandong. (Which is why CKS sent down troops fro Yunnan to disarm the Japanese.) French Colonialism's day was over in either case. Simply put, it was in China's interest to winkle the French out. 

Capt V: "The US hoped for (1) an administration in Vietnam compliant with US interests,"  

And what interests would this Vietnamese administration have complied with? Would we have cornered the market on Sea Swallow nests? (one of the RVN's major exports in 1954) Or in goose and duck down?  Again, the U.S. was looking at South Vietnam from a balance of power perspective. They were only in there because of a Cold War vision which, however erroneous in retrospect, still had a lot of policy makers' interest and support in the 1950s and 60s. Obviously, changes were in the air when Nixon went to China. Yet we could still muddle on with Cold War caution when cracks were appearing in the Soviet Union. We are not the most responsive and prescient government in the world, simply the most powerful (for the immediate future, anyway).


Edited by lirelou - 28 Mar 2012 at 05:56
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2012 at 11:06
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

I said we lost it politically. My point has been we never lost it militarily. It's not that difficult to understand my friend.
It's not difficult either to recognise a standard copout for a military determined to retain its opinion of itself. It's not far off the Westmoreland formula of 'Let's declare victory and leave'.
 
An army that is driven off the field has lost the battle, no matter that it leaves its former allies behind.  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2012 at 13:18
GCLE:  In re: " but how you class Allende in there with Mao and the Kims puzzles me."

Yes, Allende was democratically elected. Wiki says with 36% of the vote, but my memory is 32,something. Nonetheless, he was recognized by the Electoral Court as the victor, and in the following years the parties in his coalition attained close to 50%, which given Chile's deep divisions, proved a formula for civil war.

Perhaps overstatement on my part. While I'm convinced that Allende would have led Chile down the path of Cuba, i.e. to a single party state, he had not done so by the time of his death. He certainly more of a Edvard Benes than a Klement Gottwald. Perhaps I should have classed Pinochet in with Mao, Uncle Ho, and the Kims in his stead. Still, Allende's admiration for Fidel troubled me. The irony is that some of my closest friends from those days still have MIR posters up on their walls.

Point taken.

As to your point to Bucks above: American policy and goals were soundly defeated in Vietnam, of that there can be no doubt. But "driven from the field" is overstatement. U.S. conventional forces were introduced into Vietnam to provide a bulwark behind which the ARVN could attain the capability to defeat the Viet Cong. It was always foreseen that they would be withdrawn. Vietnamization, by any other name, was the goal. What was it that Johnson about Asian boys fighting Asian wars? Needless to say, much of the American public and body politic grew tired of a seemingly endless war, and to be fair, even within Vietnam one could find Vietnamese military leaders who were content to 'let the Americans do it." These failed to understand that internal U.S. politics (and here I must include the Watergate Scandal) would limit the term for American support to Vietnam. The Vietnamese nationalists had the same human material as the NVA and Viet Cong, and ample time to develop it. Instead, they spent their time fighting among themselves and fracturing even further. 


Edited by lirelou - 28 Mar 2012 at 13:36
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2012 at 15:46
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

I said we lost it politically. My point has been we never lost it militarily. It's not that difficult to understand my friend.
It's not difficult either to recognise a standard copout for a military determined to retain its opinion of itself. It's not far off the Westmoreland formula of 'Let's declare victory and leave'.
 
An army that is driven off the field has lost the battle, no matter that it leaves its former allies behind.  

I don't get pissed at you anymore, because I know you just can't help yourself. You know darn good and well The United States military was not driven from the field. We never declared victory and left. That is typically a British formula for your expert spinmeisters. 

When your troopships departed Malaysia, it was to the Australian SAS that the Brits waved goodbye to. It was the stalwart Aussies that ended your war for you. Were ya'al driven from the field? 
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