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Topic ClosedThe Myth of Vietnam.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2012 at 15:52
" how you class Allende in there with Mao and the Kims puzzles me. "

 South America is our backyard. We were up to our necks in the cold war. To stick the boot to a communist government by the US, was fair game. Allende was as much of a threat as Castro.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2012 at 17:11
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

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.
 
There were many indications of a split, and it was well developed before the Gulf of Tonkin incident. I agree with your statement though to the degree that a major issue was simply turning things around once so many lives had been lost, and so much invested in the project, rhetorically and financially. With thousands dead, and billons of dollars spent, what politician or general would have had the courage to say: Oops! This was all a big mistake. We're on the wrong track here. Let's start over from the top. Shame is a great motivator of human behavior, especially when in the limelight of power in Washington.
 
 
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


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. 
 
Of course, the Vietnamese wanted the French out, they had lost patience with being a colony. They were looking for support in their mission, and indeed even solicited the US. But as ever, US administrations were blinded by the spector of communism, with blotted out all other factors.
 
 
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


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).
 
What exports from the Philippines or Guam are essential to the US? Or from Turkey? In a real pinch, would the products from countries like Italy or France even be essential? Those in power at the time were not dreaming of bird's nests, they were playing the Great Game, the ultimate poker game for geopolitical supremacy, the same as Britain and France had done before, and Spain and Portugal long before that. It was a game in which players looked at a globe and said: Hmm, if they advance here, we might be vulnerable there. Or visa-versa. Let's head them off at the pass. The pass at that time just happened to be SE Asia. The tragic part was that not only was it a game, but the players were not very well informed. And in addition those in power were reluctant to admit career wrecking mistakes, which added up to an unsavory episode in history.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2012 at 20:24


Capt V:  In re: " Of course, the Vietnamese wanted the French out, they had lost patience with being a colony. They were looking for support in their mission, and indeed even solicited the US. But as ever, US administrations were blinded by the spector of communism, with blotted out all other factors.

You keep conflating Ho Chi Minh with "the Vietnamese".  In July 1945, no one outside a very small handful of Communist Party intimates of Nguyen Ai Quoc even knew who Ho Chi Minh was. That changed on September 2nd, and for a short while, everyone was solidly behind Ho Cho Minh, whoever he was. But that changed again as older nationalist parties began reasserting themselves. And it went up and down throughout the French and French-VNA War.

More importantly, Vietnam was fast slipping outside the cone of American interest. Ho Chi Minh had as much chance for American recognition at that time as the FLQ had of Nixon recognizing an independent Quebec under their leadership in 1970. To the Americans he was a nobody, and to the French he was a well known Comintern agent despite the new moniker. By 1950, there was a sizable number of Vietnamese who wanted their independence without HCM and the Party. And that was what the rest of the war was really about: Whether it would be a single party communist state, or a multi-party parliamentary or Republican state, or two states occupying different sectors of the peninsula. Unfortunately, by that time the events of 1946 thru 25 June 1950 had convinced the Americans that there were indeed remote places of vital interest.

Oh, the Philippines: Newly independent former American colony. A no-brainer. Guam? An unincorporated American territory. Also a no-brainer. Both in an Ocean that had just witnessed history's pre-eminent maritime war. What was it Churchill said: Never again!




Edited by lirelou - 28 Mar 2012 at 20:29
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2012 at 20:48
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

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.
It's not just that the US army left, it's that the other side ended up in control. The US army leaving was the event that ensured American aims would not be met. Now you can argue all you like about why the US withdrew, but the fact is they left the field for their opponents to mop up. A boxer who leaves between rounds loses the fight, no matter what excuse he may have from his private life back home.
Quote
We never declared victory and left. That is typically a British formula for your expert spinmeisters. 
Check out the phrase on google and see how many of the hits are from Americans. Anyway I didn't say the US declated vicory and left, merely that you are making the same kind of excuse. Most Americans I know and have met from all walk of life agree the Vietnam war was lost by the US.
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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? 
 
It doesn't surprise me that you think the British were fighting the Australians in Malaysia, it's about par for your usual state of knowledge. The British and the Australians mainly reserve their fighting each other to the cricket pitch and the rugby field.
 
However, just to illuminate you, the British, Australian, Malaysian armies and navies were fighting on the same side (along with New Zealanders and maybe some other Commonwealh countries, against a Communist, largely Chinese, insurrection. They succeeded in putting it down, at which point everybody left, leaving the Malaysians (whom everyone was helping) in control of their country, which they have been ever since.
 
That is in direct conrast to Vietnam, where the Communist north ended up in control. (Though I'd be the first to agree that the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese were a much, much tougher set of opponents than the MINLA.)
 
@lirelou,
Just to make my position clear, I'm not - and wasn't at the time - particularly opposed to the US intervention in Vietnam in general, though I felt that Britain should stay out, and there are a few other minor complaints. But I do think that the cry of 'we didn't lose' has the same sort of ring as the same claims of the German military post ww1. (We don't hear it so much about ww2 probably because Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin insisted on unconditional surrender.)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2012 at 23:30
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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.
Quote
It's not just that the US army left, it's that the other side ended up in control. The US army leaving was the event that ensured American aims would not be met. Now you can argue all you like about why the US withdrew, but the fact is they left the field for their opponents to mop up. A boxer who leaves between rounds loses the fight, no matter what excuse he may have from his private life back home.
They ended up in control 2 years after our departure. What is it about our military has never been defeated to the point of losing a war that you are having a problem with. The IRA fought the British army to the negotiating table. Did you lose that war also? If a wrestler tags his partner and sits down, has the opposition won?
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We never declared victory and left. That is typically a British formula for your expert spinmeisters. 
Quote
Check out the phrase on google and see how many of the hits are from Americans. Anyway I didn't say the US declated vicory and left, merely that you are making the same kind of excuse. Most Americans I know and have met from all walk of life agree the Vietnam war was lost by the US.
 Given your political convictions, I don't doubt the Americans you associate with would agree with every word you say.
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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? 
 
Quote
It doesn't surprise me that you think the British were fighting the Australians in Malaysia, it's about par for your usual state of knowledge. The British and the Australians mainly reserve their fighting each other to the cricket pitch and the rugby field.
 
However, just to illuminate you, the British, Australian, Malaysian armies and navies were fighting on the same side (along with New Zealanders and maybe some other Commonwealh countries, against a Communist, largely Chinese, insurrection. They succeeded in putting it down, at which point everybody left, leaving the Malaysians (whom everyone was helping) in control of their country, which they have been ever since.
 
That is in direct conrast to Vietnam, where the Communist north ended up in control. (Though I'd be the first to agree that the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese were a much, much tougher set of opponents than the MINLA.)
I'm not about bite your red herring. The Australians were doing the fighting two years after the British army left. It was The Australian SAS that won that war after the Brits hauled ass.

As you well know what I said was " It was the stalwart Aussies that ended your war for you." I'm on to you Graham. Your smoke and mirrors no longer work, not on me.
 
Quote
@lirelou,
Just to make my position clear, I'm not - and wasn't at the time - particularly opposed to the US intervention in Vietnam in general, though I felt that Britain should stay out, and there are a few other minor complaints. But I do think that the cry of 'we didn't lose' has the same sort of ring as the same claims of the German military post ww1. (We don't hear it so much about ww2 probably because Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin insisted on unconditional surrender.)

Stop twisting what the topic is. The United States Military has never been beaten in the field to the point of losing the a war. That's where it starts and stops.


Edited by Buckskins - 28 Mar 2012 at 23:33
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2012 at 00:30
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:



Capt V:  In re: " Of course, the Vietnamese wanted the French out, they had lost patience with being a colony. They were looking for support in their mission, and indeed even solicited the US. But as ever, US administrations were blinded by the spector of communism, with blotted out all other factors.

You keep conflating Ho Chi Minh with "the Vietnamese".  In July 1945, no one outside a very small handful of Communist Party intimates of Nguyen Ai Quoc even knew who Ho Chi Minh was. That changed on September 2nd, and for a short while, everyone was solidly behind Ho Cho Minh, whoever he was. But that changed again as older nationalist parties began reasserting themselves. And it went up and down throughout the French and French-VNA War.
 
My point is not to support Ho Chi Minh, or the Vietnamese communist party, or its policies. The US does business, and has always done business, in all sense of the word, with the most reprehensible regimes imaginable, if the strategic situation called for it. Vietnam is still communist today, in name anyway, and peaceful relations exist. Ditto with China, now the US's largest trading partner. Given this flexible approach to global relations, whoever was in Hanoi at the time could have been dealt with, but of course, for the preoccupation with the idea of communism at the time.
 
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


More importantly, Vietnam was fast slipping outside the cone of American interest. Ho Chi Minh had as much chance for American recognition at that time as the FLQ had of Nixon recognizing an independent Quebec under their leadership in 1970. To the Americans he was a nobody, and to the French he was a well known Comintern agent despite the new moniker. By 1950, there was a sizable number of Vietnamese who wanted their independence without HCM and the Party. And that was what the rest of the war was really about: Whether it would be a single party communist state, or a multi-party parliamentary or Republican state, or two states occupying different sectors of the peninsula. Unfortunately, by that time the events of 1946 thru 25 June 1950 had convinced the Americans that there were indeed remote places of vital interest.
 
The two states were merely a face-saving measure to help extract the French from the country. How many really took this seriously?
 
As for multi-party democracies, Mr L  ....... I hope you are not going to tell this forum that Washington spun the globe on the president's desk,  picked a spot that was rather benighted, and said: Let's initiate the largest military effort since WW2, in order to bring western, liberal, Westminster style parliamentary democracy to the rice fields of.......eh, what was the name of the place? Vietnam. Yes, let's do that. What's for lunch?
 
South Vietnam did not have such government during the '60s. I'm sure the adminstration would have happily nodded if it did, but the priority was that whoever was in power was online with US interests, which at that time had nightmares about a sea of red flowing into the western Pacific. Anyone would have done, as long as they were not executing people willy-nilly, and professed their belief in capitalism and the American way.
 
 
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Oh, the Philippines: Newly independent former American colony. A no-brainer. Guam? An unincorporated American territory. Also a no-brainer. Both in an Ocean that had just witnessed history's pre-eminent maritime war. What was it Churchill said: Never again!


Yes, this is what I meant. It's not about exports but the position of said territories within the Great Game. If they are seen as indispensable, then in go the marines. Indispensable may mean geography (Guam), or having a sizable enough economy that one doesn't want it going over to the other side (Western Europe).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2012 at 00:32
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

It's not just that the US army left, it's that the other side ended up in control. The US army leaving was the event that ensured American aims would not be met. Now you can argue all you like about why the US withdrew, but the fact is they left the field for their opponents to mop up. A boxer who leaves between rounds loses the fight, no matter what excuse he may have from his private life back home.


Graham, i know you and several other of our members have lived through the era and i greatly respect that. But what i can't agree with is the left over rhetoric that still predominates this discussion to this day. Old ideas need a fresh interpretations, to that end...

My interpretation is that the US military had left as a decision by the politicians who conducted the war with the appearance in conducting it with much less than half a heart, having thrown our boy's into the war in the first place with both eyes wide open. A war that the US military brass tried to warn them about, tried to tell our politicians that it was not in our interest to intervene any further than we already had. The US military was and is a finely tuned organized  fighting force prior to it's involvement. But, jmo... war has no interest in organization, except in organized chaos through threats and actions of violence. The US military was very good at it's job, did everything that was asked of it, carried out it's orders. The problem with the war was the American politicians, not just the Johnson administration, had no clear cut idea what they were doing between Kennedy's death and the Nixon administration. I believe it has been referred to as policy drift?

From everything i've read on the subject, no intelligence expert with any degree of self respect could understand American policy in Vietnam. To them, it was either corny or down right stupid the way the US was approaching it! What they never took into account was the communist hysteria sweeping most Western countries, the deep Chinese involvement in Vietnam, the little understood lack of a Russian involvement in same and the US fears of the policing action expanding into a much more bloodier affair than what was already occurring in the region. We should have been asking ourselves if our involvement was worth the cost, but we didn't. We should have been asking ourselves this, how do you stabilize a country without plunging the entire region into a full scale war. Instead, it seems our policy makers were more nervous in explaining to their electorate why more countries were given up to a dreamed up monolithic entity that we thought was communism at the time.

Also, i disagree with "leaving the field to the opponents" comment. Both sides were expected to honor the arrangements of the peace accord, by honoring the neutrality of that field. The US lived up to their end of the arrangement to the dismay of the South Vietnamese, the North Vietnamese leadership most obviously did not and have never since been held accountable for all the treaties they had broken and all the countries they had invaded. Regional escalation was not their concern, it was ours, it was the very millstone that hung around our necks til the very end.

To be clear. I can agree, that the involvement of the US has always been questionable, and at certain times, the actions of some military units down right atrocious. However, what about the VC and NVA atrocities? Are their to be constantly dismissed just for the heroics of the sad drama that played out in their country? That is one of the main battle the US military ultimately lost, the battle within the media. Too understand why the South Vietnamese fought against their northern counterparts with such ferocity at the very end when there was no one left to protect them. Perhaps that should be it's epitaph? The ultimate realization of "too little, too late".
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2012 at 01:13
@Panther- I agree with some of what you are saying here, but I have to make the observation that there is a familiar thread that runs though parts of it. Many in the US just can't seem to put this episode to rest, even 40 years later. It's water under the bridge now, so why not move on? There are inaccurate narratives that still seem to be floating around:
 
No one expected the Paris peace accords to be honoured. Not the US, or the North Vietnamese, or their southern counterparts. It was a piece of paper that served the purpose of allowing the US to withdraw in a fashion that would have otherwise looked undeniably like defeat. It was a face-saving measure. That's why it dragged on for years- the north new time was on their side, and wanted to be in the best position they could at the end. If the US was leaving in a position of power, why not demand a resolution in a reasonable time-frame? Because they could not.
 
The US did not loose the war because of the news media. In fact, the media then was much more professional and independent than they are now. They reported what they saw, and the American public didn't like it. This is not surprising, considering that the war was conceived on a faulty basis, did not really have any strategic value for the US, and was unwinnable under any realistic scenerio. The fault lay not in the media, but in Washington.


Edited by Captain Vancouver - 29 Mar 2012 at 01:15
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2012 at 13:48
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

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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.
Quote
It's not just that the US army left, it's that the other side ended up in control. The US army leaving was the event that ensured American aims would not be met. Now you can argue all you like about why the US withdrew, but the fact is they left the field for their opponents to mop up. A boxer who leaves between rounds loses the fight, no matter what excuse he may have from his private life back home.
They ended up in control 2 years after our departure. What is it about our military has never been defeated to the point of losing a war that you are having a problem with. The IRA fought the British army to the negotiating table. Did you lose that war also? If a wrestler tags his partner and sits down, has the opposition won?
With regard  to the IRA, Northern Ireland is still British. In that particular case it was the IRA's various segments that gave up.
With regard to the wrestlers, if one tags his partner and sits down, and the partner is beaten before he can do the same, both partners lose.
With regard to the generality, the US has never fought a serious opponent unassisted.
 
Back in the '80s I remember switching on the TV and watching a film about the US Marines, who were getting ready to start a campaign. Oone of the veterans, referring to Communists, comments "So far we've had one draw and one loss: this time we'll even it up." Since I  had just switched on I didn't know what the references were to. Turned out they were Korea (drawn), Vietnam (lost) and the evening up was supposed to be....
Grenada.
The film was Heartbreak Ridge, starring Clint Eastwood and directed by him.
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I'm not about bite your red herring. The Australians were doing the fighting two years after the British army left. It was The Australian SAS that won that war after the Brits hauled ass.
Crap. Give me one authoritative reference. 
 
In fact there were no Australian SAS involved at all, though there was a unit of New Zealand SAS, and there may have been individual Australians, as there certanly were Rhodesians, in the Malay SAS (The 'Malay Scouts'), which was specially recruited and established and trained by men from the British SAS. Moreover there was only one battalion of Australian ground forces involved (at any one time), Australian involvement seeminig to have been more with naval and air forces.
 
You won't be interested, since it's factual not fantasy, but there is an account of SAS activity in Malaya at   http://www.britains-smallwars.com/malaya/SAS.htm that other people may find interesting.
Quote
As you well know what I said was " It was the stalwart Aussies that ended your war for you." I'm on to you Graham. Your smoke and mirrors no longer work, not on me.
You mean you've managed to find a way of avoiding facts?
 
Quote Stop twisting what the topic is. The United States Military has never been beaten in the field to the point of losing the a war. That's where it starts and stops.
The topic is the Myth of Vietnam. You're the one introduced Malaysia and all the idiocy about the British army.

Edited by gcle2003 - 29 Mar 2012 at 13:55
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2012 at 14:04
@Panther,
I still have to point out that your argument sounds very like that of German nationalists explaining away 1918. In fact I even remember years ago watching a flm about Napoleon (with Rod Steiger?) on French TV, that was just coming up to a satisfactory (for a Briton in France) conclusion with Waterloo, when, just as rthe artillery was beng placed and the cavalry was assembling on both sides, the film was cut off and the TV cameras went to a studio discussion of why Napoleon would have won - if only....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2012 at 17:31
Captain V, In re your:

     "The two states were merely a face-saving measure to help extract the French from the country. How many really took this seriously?
 
"As for multi-party democracies, Mr L  ....... I hope you are not going to tell this forum that Washington spun the globe on the president's desk,  picked a spot that was rather benighted, and said: Let's initiate the largest military effort since WW2, in order to bring western, liberal, Westminster style parliamentary democracy to the rice fields of.......eh, what was the name of the place? Vietnam. Yes, let's do that. What's for lunch?
 
"South Vietnam did not have such government during the '60s. I'm sure the adminstration would have happily nodded if it did, but the priority was that whoever was in power was online with US interests, which at that time had nightmares about a sea of red flowing into the western Pacific. Anyone would have done, as long as they were not executing people willy-nilly, and professed their belief in capitalism and the American way."


If you keep setting up strawmen, it's pretty easy to win your own arguments. Reference point one: Obviously the French defense establishment took the two states seriously, and expected to be in the South for some time, training up the ARVN. It was the U.S. who winkled the French advisory and training mission out, much to the disgust of many French observers, though some exemplary cooperation between USMC Capt. Victor Croizat and French Col. Inf Captain Jean-Louis Delayen resulted in what became the RVN Marine Corps.

As for South Vietnam's government: It did recognize various political parties other than Diem's. So did Ky and Thieu. Something that the North doesn't do to this day. If you are alleging that Diem's government executed people 'willy nilly', I know of only one instance from the Diem era personally, and he was not "willy nilly" if his widow (and fellow Party Member) is to be believed. The 28,000 or so South Vietnamese 'lackeys' executed by the Viet Minh during that period were likewise, hardly willy-nilly, though a great many were non-combatants.

Since we seem to be screaming past each other, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I heartily agree that the Vietnam War, as it was fought, was not in America's interest. I also heartily disagree with the implications that the RVN government was no better, and probably worse, than that of the north. That does not equal heartwarming praise. It might surprise you to know that many older people in the South I speak to, and here I do not include resettled Northerners, miss those years and resent the Americans for having 'sold them to the Communists'.


Edited by lirelou - 29 Mar 2012 at 17:32
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2012 at 18:27
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

@Panther,
I still have to point out that your argument sounds very like that of German nationalists explaining away 1918. In fact I even remember years ago watching a flm about Napoleon (with Rod Steiger?) on French TV, that was just coming up to a satisfactory (for a Briton in France) conclusion with Waterloo, when, just as rthe artillery was beng placed and the cavalry was assembling on both sides, the film was cut off and the TV cameras went to a studio discussion of why Napoleon would have won - if only....

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2012 at 18:44
"Crap. Give me one authoritative reference. 
 
In fact there were no Australian SAS involved at all"


Between 1962 and 1966 Indonesia and Malaysia fought a small undeclared war involving troops from Australia and Britain.

A total of 23 Australians were killed during the Confrontation - seven of them on operations - but because of the sensitivity of the cross-border operations, little publicity was given to the conflict at the time.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/remains-of-sas-diggers-ken-hudson-and-bob-moncrieff-found-in-borneo/story-e6frg8yo-1225841387696


You were saying Graham?




Edited by Buckskins - 29 Mar 2012 at 19:37
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2012 at 18:55
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With regard  to the IRA, Northern Ireland is still British. In that particular case it was the IRA's various segments that gave up.
With regard to the wrestlers, if one tags his partner and sits down, and the partner is beaten before he can do the same, both partners lose.
With regard to the generality, the US has never fought a serious opponent unassisted.
 
So you have no problem with your government sitting down at the table, and negotiating with terrorists that had killed British civilians and Mountbatten? When was the last time the UK accomplished anything without riding on our coattails.
Quote
Back in the '80s I remember switching on the TV and watching a film about the US Marines, who were getting ready to start a campaign. Oone of the veterans, referring to Communists, comments "So far we've had one draw and one loss: this time we'll even it up." Since I  had just switched on I didn't know what the references were to. Turned out they were Korea (drawn), Vietnam (lost) and the evening up was supposed to be....
Grenada.
The film was Heartbreak Ridge, starring Clint Eastwood and directed by him.

  Movies & Hollywood = Entertainment.
 History = Decent books, Original sources, Education.
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I'm not about bite your red herring. The Australians were doing the fighting two years after the British army left. It was The Australian SAS that won that war after the Brits hauled ass.
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Crap. Give me one authoritative reference. 
 

 Why? you would only attempt to discredit it as you always do. You are in denial Graham.

Quote
In fact there were no Australian SAS involved at all, though there was a unit of New Zealand SAS, and there may have been individual Australians, as there certanly were Rhodesians, in the Malay SAS (The 'Malay Scouts'), which was specially recruited and established and trained by men from the British SAS. Moreover there was only one battalion of Australian ground forces involved (at any one time), Australian involvement seeminig to have been more with naval and air forces.
 
You won't be interested, since it's factual not fantasy, but there is an account of SAS activity in Malaya at   http://www.britains-smallwars.com/malaya/SAS.htm that other people may find interesting.
Thank you, but I have the book.
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As you well know what I said was " It was the stalwart Aussies that ended your war for you." I'm on to you Graham. Your smoke and mirrors no longer work, not on me.
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You mean you've managed to find a way of avoiding facts?
I leave that sort of thing to the spinmeisters .....
 
Quote Stop twisting what the topic is. The United States Military has never been beaten in the field to the point of losing the a war. That's where it starts and stops.
Quote
The topic is the Myth of Vietnam. You're the one introduced Malaysia and all the idiocy about the British army.
 

The Myth of Vietnam (for those a tad slow on the uptake) refers to the myth that the United States military was beaten by the NVA/VC'
Regards Malaya, I drew a parallel between the British leaving prior to the end of the war. My question was " Where you driven from the field " as you have been attempting to imply with our forces that kicked ass in Vietnam.



Edited by Buckskins - 29 Mar 2012 at 19:12
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2012 at 23:49
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

 
If you keep setting up strawmen, it's pretty easy to win your own arguments. Reference point one: Obviously the French defense establishment took the two states seriously, and expected to be in the South for some time, training up the ARVN. It was the U.S. who winkled the French advisory and training mission out, much to the disgust of many French observers, though some exemplary cooperation between USMC Capt. Victor Croizat and French Col. Inf Captain Jean-Louis Delayen resulted in what became the RVN Marine Corps.

As for South Vietnam's government: It did recognize various political parties other than Diem's. So did Ky and Thieu. Something that the North doesn't do to this day. If you are alleging that Diem's government executed people 'willy nilly', I know of only one instance from the Diem era personally, and he was not "willy nilly" if his widow (and fellow Party Member) is to be believed. The 28,000 or so South Vietnamese 'lackeys' executed by the Viet Minh during that period were likewise, hardly willy-nilly, though a great many were non-combatants.

Since we seem to be screaming past each other, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I heartily agree that the Vietnam War, as it was fought, was not in America's interest. I also heartily disagree with the implications that the RVN government was no better, and probably worse, than that of the north. That does not equal heartwarming praise. It might surprise you to know that many older people in the South I speak to, and here I do not include resettled Northerners, miss those years and resent the Americans for having 'sold them to the Communists'.
 
 
I think there is some misunderstanding here Mr L. I am not screaming, or angry, nor am I attempting rhetorical game playing. My intent here is to answer the original posting here, because I think it is a significant one. There is at least a whiff of historical revisionism in the air when this topic is raised. I have to wonder why it seems to be such a raw nerve after so many years, but whatever the reason, I don't think it is healthy to maintain a view of history that is skewed towards the comfortable, at the expense of hoping to learn from past mistakes, and hence hope to have a better future.
 
To explore the idea of a myth about Vietnam, I think we have to try and understand the intentions and original goals of the US in this event. Surely this is central to the question. You have made the point that the communist government was not shy about brutality, and later made a mess of the economy; in hindsight, they probably would have been better off with a non-communist regime. I don't think too many would disagree here, but it is really side-stepping the queston at hand. At that time (and up to today) there were fine examples of brutal government, and economic basket cases. Some of these were of little interests to Pentagon planners, some were supported to varying degrees, despite some good sized dollops of brutality and incompetence. To say that America simply picked a place, out of a number of grave situations then at hand, and said let's fix this place up- no matter what it costs- rather defies logic, and also the historical record.
 
There are abundant answers to this, from the contemporary statements of the Secretary of Defense at the time, Robert MacNamara, and on down, that laid out the motivations of the US in terms of the Great Game against communism, and ill-informed game as it turns out. They thought they were heading off a massive wall of red hoards, even though there was lot's of evidence around that this was an inaccurate picture of events. This directly contributed to the dilemma Johnson found himself by '68, fighting a large scale war, and wondering (along with millions of other Americans) why the heck they got started, and why they were still there. It was a mistake, compounded by further mistakes, rather than a crusade against a brutal and incompetent government.
 
Mr Diem: I'm not alledging he killed willy-nilly. I am saying that if this is what you are holding up as an example of liberal democracy, worth a few hundred thousand deaths, then I think you are off track. Perhaps he was pistol whipped into making some democratic gestures, but this was also the guy that rigged his election, and imprisioned his vocal opponents. Would you have sent your son off in an infantry unit to fight for his brand of democracy? Many decided they wouldn't- another crucial aspect of the war.
 
The French: The French military may have had some ideas of staying on, Algeria fashion, but the intent of the Geneva accords took a different view. They stated explicitly that the division of Vietnam was temporary, a transition until elections could be held (the one's Diem felt he couldn't risk), and the country unified. After the elections (if they had been allowed), and after a decade of bitter war against what the Vietnamese saw as colonial oppressers, what do you think are the odds the French would have been asked to stay on?
 
Anyway, it's water under the bridge. You can agree to disagree. My only point is that if we miss the mistakes of history, there is a greater chance of repeating them. When we take a look at Afghanistan or Iraq today, I don't think that is far fetched.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2012 at 01:13
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

@Panther- I agree with some of what you are saying here, but I have to make the observation that there is a familiar thread that runs though parts of it. Many in the US just can't seem to put this episode to rest, even 40 years later. It's water under the bridge now, so why not move on?


Because the topic isn't even close to being settled. I know there is no reason to cry over spilled milk, but it doesn't hurt to still try and clean up this narrative of a mess.

Quote
No one expected the Paris peace accords to be honoured. Not the US, or the North Vietnamese, or their southern counterparts. It was a piece of paper that served the purpose of allowing the US to withdraw in a fashion that would have otherwise looked undeniably like defeat. It was a face-saving measure. That's why it dragged on for years- the north new time was on their side, and wanted to be in the best position they could at the end. If the US was leaving in a position of power, why not demand a resolution in a reasonable time-frame? Because they could not.
 


Yes, i know and this has always interested me. But this is my point, no one expected the piece of paper to be honored, but they did expect the US to uphold it's end of the bargain and not the VC/NVA? What were they, incompetent animals who didn't know any better so they got a free pass only because they were viewed as fighting for their country? Well, they weren't fighting for their country, they were fighting for a vision of what they wanted to do with their country regardless of those who disagreed with them, hence many southerners went to reeducation camps, those who wouldn't reform were simply murdered. So, they had free reign to do as they pleased and the "so called international community concerned with humanity" never even bothered to call them on all the atrocities they had committed. And still the US was blasted internationally as the major aggressor in this conflict! Don't you see the perverted imbalance here?

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The US did not loose the war because of the news media. In fact, the media then was much more professional and independent than they are now. They reported what they saw, and the American public didn't like it. This is not surprising, considering that the war was conceived on a faulty basis, did not really have any strategic value for the US, and was unwinnable under any realistic scenerio. The fault lay not in the media, but in Washington.


I beg to differ CV. Up til the very tragic end of the Kennedy administration, our news media was so enthralled with the Kennedy administration, the idea of Camelot and the government at large that they never even bothered to take much of the time to question Kennedy's policies regarding Vietnam, there was no questioning the man, no need to expose his many warts to an unaware public. The media were in fact too dependent, too blind to his aura that they didn't see what was coming like most of the est of us. Even now, they can't begin too criticize many of Kennedy's policy initiatives. Only after the Tet offensive did they wake up to what was going on and then it was too late, but still no blame to Kennedy, just the Johnson administration. By the Nixon administration, the pendulum swung to the extreme end of a independent media where every conspiracy  by the US government was nefarious in nature, and yet even with this newly adopted position, the public wasn't about to be any better served then they were a decade prior.  While i'm sure many thought it was refreshing at the time to see this new critical eye being focused on the government, the fundamental question had never been addressed in how we got to that point... wasn't due to the ignorance of the American populace, but the horrendously shoddy service supplied by the US media.  They have allowed themselves to be tools, even up to the present day. They are as service that is still as shi**y now as it was then!

And now we seem to be right back to where we were about fifty years ago. We have a interesting  President sitting in the office that the media is so enthralled with, that they come across as being too dependent on a administration once again. Doing everything in their power too prop their man up at the expense of his opponents, even covering stories that favor his administration while ignoring his many faults or addressing them only to play them down as faults of his predecessor/opponents, blaming them for tripping him up.

Say what you will about the Bush administration, but i'd still rather be served by a Republican administration rather than a democratic one. At least the interests of the US public would be better served by a media more critical of a Republican administration then the media we have now in being subservient to a democratic one.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2012 at 02:10
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

@Panther,
I still have to point out that your argument sounds very like that of German nationalists explaining away 1918.


The stabbed in the back legend. I can appreciate how you can come to that conclusion regarding my position. However, your view of my position is very tenuous at best. i am not advocating a return to some mythological time when the US was at the height of some storied golden age. All i would like to see is a sensible understanding in what had occurred, rather than relying on either political extremes to tell their ridiculous tale.

I am not blaming minorities groups who shared the burden equally with the rest of the country. I am not calling for a pogrom to root out the dissenters that still live amongst us.  While i do greatly blame the politicians for the f*** up in taking us into Vietnam without them having a clear picture for what was about to occur and still decided to step into the pile of s**t anyways. I also blame our media for being so d@mned star struck that they forgot in whom they served. I don't however, believe they deserved anything worse then losing their jobs and having their egos cosigned to the trash bins of obscurity for the failures of sleeping on the job, so to speak. (I've found that they hate nothing worse than becoming obscure like the rest of us. That is when cries of repression seems to be heard the loudest)

No reeducation/concentration camps, no gulags, no execution for our "November criminals". Just a little acknowledged accountability on their part (Government and media) may go a long way in bringing about some growth in responsibility and trust that has been sorely lacking for over forty years now. Who knows... maybe some sort of rationality may finally come out of all of this?

Quote
In fact I even remember years ago watching a flm about Napoleon (with Rod Steiger?) on French TV, that was just coming up to a satisfactory (for a Briton in France) conclusion with Waterloo, when, just as rthe artillery was beng placed and the cavalry was assembling on both sides, the film was cut off and the TV cameras went to a studio discussion of why Napoleon would have won - if only....


I remember watching this video clip of a student (? Don't remember whether he was in High school or college?), who was a very vocal critic who had a very unpopular contrary view of our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, as compared to his surroundings.

I remember thinking before viewing that i was going to be very disgusted with what ever he said, but i was still going to listen to what he had too say anyways. I was not pleased with the spectacle that i saw. The student was treated in a most ugly fashion. Didn't have much of a chance to voice his views by the ugly mood of the crowd surrounding him, even though my views were reflected in the crowd, their reactions too him were still highly uncalled for. In effect, causing me too sympathize with him, admiring his courage for standing up and being opposed to the prevailing mood of the crowd.

 It was, perhaps the most distressing video i have ever watched regarding free speech in the US. What had also enhanced the distressing nature of the video was that of a younger brother still dealing with the loss his older brother to the conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan (I can't remember which). The rawness of his emotions were evident in his voice. His reaction left me concluding that the loss was very recent, obviously too soon for him to have been able to deal with it. Screaming at this student that "his brother died for him, so he could be free. Why is he dishonorably betraying him in such a way."

Not noting the irony of the situation like an outsider can, i appreciated the student was trying too honor this kid's brother's memory in this most appropriate way by giving voice to his opinions, rather than dishonor the brother's sacrifice by clamming up against the prevailing mood, which would have been contrary to the sacrifice the brother had made, in effect... making his sacrifice in vain, a mockery... perhaps even more pointless then the wars he viewed as wrong.

Why am i recounting this? I don't know. Just always stuck with me. Your quote above somehow compelled me too share the experience i viewed.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2012 at 10:03
Australia deployed the 1st, 2nd and third battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) to Malaya during the emergency from 1955 onwards. At that stage they were mostly mopping up, however 15 Australian soldiers were killed on operations.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2012 at 17:55
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:


Mr Diem: I'm not alledging he killed willy-nilly. I am saying that if this is what you are holding up as an example of liberal democracy, worth a few hundred thousand deaths, then I think you are off track. Perhaps he was pistol whipped into making some democratic gestures, but this was also the guy that rigged his election, and imprisioned his vocal opponents. Would you have sent your son off in an infantry unit to fight for his brand of democracy? Many decided they wouldn't- another crucial aspect of the war.
 
The French: The French military may have had some ideas of staying on, Algeria fashion, but the intent of the Geneva accords took a different view. They stated explicitly that the division of Vietnam was temporary, a transition until elections could be held (the one's Diem felt he couldn't risk), and the country unified. After the elections (if they had been allowed), and after a decade of bitter war against what the Vietnamese saw as colonial oppressers, what do you think are the odds the French would have been asked to stay on?
 
Anyway, it's water under the bridge. You can agree to disagree. My only point is that if we miss the mistakes of history, there is a greater chance of repeating them. When we take a look at Afghanistan or Iraq today, I don't think that is far fetched.

As for your question, which I've bolded: Knowing what I know about Vietnam today, yes.  My avatar is me, the uniform I'm wearing is that of the ARVN Special Forces, taken prior to a training jump with them at Dien Khanh. Diem was no different than Syngman Rhee or Chiang Kai-shek, yet those governments evolved into democracies. All represented a better alternative for the people of their countries. Again, I was a professional. My son served in Germany in the 90s, also voluntarily. One nephew has served three tours in Iraq as a combat medic (a career soldier) and another a tour in Afghanistan (as a volunteer enlistee), So a counter-question is fair: Would you have sent your son to fight for HCM's brand of Socialism? I presume not. Nor should any draftees been sent to Vietnam, but we've already agreed on that. 

There is simply no way that any free and fair elections could have been held in Vietnam in 1956. Gerald C. Hickey's Window on a War paints a pretty accurate picture of the fear in the air on the day it was supposed to take place. That fear was not attributed to the Diem government. It seems unfair to demand of Diem that which could not be demanded of ho Chi Minh, but American intellectuals happily turned a blind eye to the nature of his regime. 

As for the French remaining in the South, remember that they would have remained as a small training and advisory element, not as an expeditionary corps (the CEFEO). And the South contained a fair amount of people who did not view the French as 'oppressors', but rather as people who had brought the South "relative ... peace, ...convenient communications and ... prosperous trading" (from a 2011 flyer outlining the history of the Ong Temple in Can Tho). Now, given that Algerian war requirements shot up in 1956, any French advisory and training effort would likely have been terminated or seriously scaled down. Algeria, by the way, was an internal department of France, and not a colony or protectorate as the Indochinese Federation had been.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2012 at 20:59
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

@Panther- I agree with some of what you are saying here, but I have to make the observation that there is a familiar thread that runs though parts of it. Many in the US just can't seem to put this episode to rest, even 40 years later. It's water under the bridge now, so why not move on?


Because the topic isn't even close to being settled. I know there is no reason to cry over spilled milk, but it doesn't hurt to still try and clean up this narrative of a mess.

Quote
No one expected the Paris peace accords to be honoured. Not the US, or the North Vietnamese, or their southern counterparts. It was a piece of paper that served the purpose of allowing the US to withdraw in a fashion that would have otherwise looked undeniably like defeat. It was a face-saving measure. That's why it dragged on for years- the north new time was on their side, and wanted to be in the best position they could at the end. If the US was leaving in a position of power, why not demand a resolution in a reasonable time-frame? Because they could not.
 


Yes, i know and this has always interested me. But this is my point, no one expected the piece of paper to be honored, but they did expect the US to uphold it's end of the bargain and not the VC/NVA?
 
The North, along with a number of other informed observers, expected the US to withdraw. They expected this because the US had found no other way to stay and pursue its goals. They were already on their way out. The accords provided tactical assistance to the north, and political cover for the US. That was the whole point. The war was not over.
 
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

What were they, incompetent animals who didn't know any better so they got a free pass only because they were viewed as fighting for their country? Well, they weren't fighting for their country, they were fighting for a vision of what they wanted to do with their country regardless of those who disagreed with them, hence many southerners went to reeducation camps, those who wouldn't reform were simply murdered. So, they had free reign to do as they pleased and the "so called international community concerned with humanity" never even bothered to call them on all the atrocities they had committed. And still the US was blasted internationally as the major aggressor in this conflict! Don't you see the perverted imbalance here?
 
Yes, there was some imbalance. But whatever you our I think, there were in fact many, many Vietnamese who shared that vision at the time. There are many today in the world who do not share the vision for the US expounded by some very powerful groups, such as the Republican Party. Is that a license for military intervention by said groups?
 
 
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:


Quote
The US did not loose the war because of the news media. In fact, the media then was much more professional and independent than they are now. They reported what they saw, and the American public didn't like it. This is not surprising, considering that the war was conceived on a faulty basis, did not really have any strategic value for the US, and was unwinnable under any realistic scenerio. The fault lay not in the media, but in Washington.


I beg to differ CV. Up til the very tragic end of the Kennedy administration, our news media was so enthralled with the Kennedy administration, the idea of Camelot and the government at large that they never even bothered to take much of the time to question Kennedy's policies regarding Vietnam, there was no questioning the man, no need to expose his many warts to an unaware public. The media were in fact too dependent, too blind to his aura that they didn't see what was coming like most of the est of us. Even now, they can't begin too criticize many of Kennedy's policy initiatives. Only after the Tet offensive did they wake up to what was going on and then it was too late, but still no blame to Kennedy, just the Johnson administration. By the Nixon administration, the pendulum swung to the extreme end of a independent media where every conspiracy  by the US government was nefarious in nature, and yet even with this newly adopted position, the public wasn't about to be any better served then they were a decade prior.  While i'm sure many thought it was refreshing at the time to see this new critical eye being focused on the government, the fundamental question had never been addressed in how we got to that point... wasn't due to the ignorance of the American populace, but the horrendously shoddy service supplied by the US media.  They have allowed themselves to be tools, even up to the present day. They are as service that is still as shi**y now as it was then!
 
Yes, there was a lot of hubris at the time around the Kennedy administration, much of it not warranted, IMO. To be fair though there was a general hubris, and rather unquestioning approach to policies at that time. Things had been good in the post war boom of the '50's and early '60s, and rebellion wasn't in the cards. It wasn't until the counter-culture movement of the mid-sixties on that things really shifted. The war was a big part of the phenomena, exactly because it represented some of the worst of mainstream values. I can recall critical voices in the media before '68, but yes, Tet was a big turning point. It's not a big surprise that the media was becoming a little shrill by then. After three years of all out war against a peasant army, with victory just around the bend, the US found that victory may be a long way down the track, and in fact may not even be possible in realistic terms.
 
As for blame, I don't think we can just settle on Kennedy and leave it at that. US involvement was pretty modest in Nov '63, and some historians have stated that Kennedy was having some second thoughts about even that level of committment.
 
As for the quality of the media then versus now, just take a look at organizations such as FOX News, or even CNN, and compare it with a Walter Cronkite newcast. There was professionalism then; today the news is either straight entertainment, or an outlet for political or personal viewpoints.
 
 
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:


And now we seem to be right back to where we were about fifty years ago. We have a interesting  President sitting in the office that the media is so enthralled with, that they come across as being too dependent on a administration once again. Doing everything in their power too prop their man up at the expense of his opponents, even covering stories that favor his administration while ignoring his many faults or addressing them only to play them down as faults of his predecessor/opponents, blaming them for tripping him up.

Say what you will about the Bush administration, but i'd still rather be served by a Republican administration rather than a democratic one. At least the interests of the US public would be better served by a media more critical of a Republican administration then the media we have now in being subservient to a democratic one.
 
This is of course getting into a different thread, so I will just offer that many outside the US are baffled at the rage against Obama. So far- despite the suggestions of his campaign- he has carried out a right-wing administration, one that is indeed very close to historic Republican values. The present day Republican hopefuls, in contrast, seem to be competing for the post of Court Jester, a job they must want very badly, as they are debasing themselves to the extreme in order to get it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2012 at 21:53
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:


Mr Diem: I'm not alledging he killed willy-nilly. I am saying that if this is what you are holding up as an example of liberal democracy, worth a few hundred thousand deaths, then I think you are off track. Perhaps he was pistol whipped into making some democratic gestures, but this was also the guy that rigged his election, and imprisioned his vocal opponents. Would you have sent your son off in an infantry unit to fight for his brand of democracy? Many decided they wouldn't- another crucial aspect of the war.
 
The French: The French military may have had some ideas of staying on, Algeria fashion, but the intent of the Geneva accords took a different view. They stated explicitly that the division of Vietnam was temporary, a transition until elections could be held (the one's Diem felt he couldn't risk), and the country unified. After the elections (if they had been allowed), and after a decade of bitter war against what the Vietnamese saw as colonial oppressers, what do you think are the odds the French would have been asked to stay on?
 
Anyway, it's water under the bridge. You can agree to disagree. My only point is that if we miss the mistakes of history, there is a greater chance of repeating them. When we take a look at Afghanistan or Iraq today, I don't think that is far fetched.

As for your question, which I've bolded: Knowing what I know about Vietnam today, yes.  My avatar is me, the uniform I'm wearing is that of the ARVN Special Forces, taken prior to a training jump with them at Dien Khanh. Diem was no different than Syngman Rhee or Chiang Kai-shek, yet those governments evolved into democracies. All represented a better alternative for the people of their countries. Again, I was a professional. My son served in Germany in the 90s, also voluntarily. One nephew has served three tours in Iraq as a combat medic (a career soldier) and another a tour in Afghanistan (as a volunteer enlistee), So a counter-question is fair: Would you have sent your son to fight for HCM's brand of Socialism? I presume not. Nor should any draftees been sent to Vietnam, but we've already agreed on that. 
 
Taiwan and Korea eventually did better. But to say that the US state department could see decades into the future, and hence decided to back the best strongman, is just a little bit disingeneous. It took those countries a long time to change, and they may not have. Indeed, they may have gone in the opposite direction, becoming more authoritarian and anti-democratic. There were no guarantees. Conversely, we could muse that perhaps Ho Chi Minh would have softened in his declining years, and tried to move Vietnam closer to a Swedish style social democracy after a couple of decades. Indeed, if he had made a deal with the US back in '46, and was now eager for aid, he may have shifted somewhat. The point is what was known then. What was known was that the US backed some pretty unsavory characters, as long as they professed one thing: anti-communism.
 
As for my son, or anyone for that matter, going off to fight, I would counsel them to be absolutely sure of what they were doing, and not take the view that if their government embarked on a course of action, it must be right, and no further analysis was needed. This is what eventually happened in the  US, and it was central to ending the war. 
 
 
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

There is simply no way that any free and fair elections could have been held in Vietnam in 1956. Gerald C. Hickey's Window on a War paints a pretty accurate picture of the fear in the air on the day it was supposed to take place. That fear was not attributed to the Diem government. It seems unfair to demand of Diem that which could not be demanded of ho Chi Minh, but American intellectuals happily turned a blind eye to the nature of his regime. 
 
We are again moving in crab-like fashion. Are you suggesting that the only reason the US made a titanic military effort, and sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives, was because it simply decided on a crusade to bring democracy and good government to an obscure part of the world, one picked at random? Correct me if my memory is faulty, but at that time weren't the majority of countries in the world non-democratic, and a good number of them rather brutal in the treatment of their citizens? Why Vietnam?
 
Democracy was secondary to geopolitical advantage, as it was seen then- rather foolishly as it turns out.
 
 
 
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


As for the French remaining in the South, remember that they would have remained as a small training and advisory element, not as an expeditionary corps (the CEFEO). And the South contained a fair amount of people who did not view the French as 'oppressors', but rather as people who had brought the South "relative ... peace, ...convenient communications and ... prosperous trading" (from a 2011 flyer outlining the history of the Ong Temple in Can Tho). Now, given that Algerian war requirements shot up in 1956, any French advisory and training effort would likely have been terminated or seriously scaled down. Algeria, by the way, was an internal department of France, and not a colony or protectorate as the Indochinese Federation had been.
 
 
If an accurate poll could have been taken in the late '40s or early '50s, do you think the Vietnamese would have voted the French in, or out?
 
"Internal department"- yes, I've always been amused by that term, which seems to me a bit of flippant humour on the part of the French. A country with a different history, culture, ethicity, language, religion, and economic status, that has been seized by colonists some decades previous, is considered an "internal" department of France. Needless to say, many there didn't agree with the internalization process.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2012 at 04:45
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:



My avatar is me, the uniform I'm wearing is that of the ARVN Special Forces, taken prior to a training jump with them at Dien Khanh.


i didn't know you had a avatar? I don't see anything underneath your name.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2012 at 06:22
Likewise lirelou, I have always believed you elected not to include an avatar, as I have never seen you with one.

Edited by Constantine XI - 31 Mar 2012 at 06:22
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2012 at 14:40
Constantine: My apologies, I presumed my avatar was included. I'll have to load it up later.

Capt. V, Again, you keep reading into what I've said. I believe I have noted that the events of 1945-50, added to French recognition of the rights of the Indochinese states to independence, are what led to U.S. support for the "French" much of which was destined for the indochinese national armies, with the VNA/ARVN being the largest. As for the 'titanic military effort' (a very nice simile by the way), that didn't come until 1965. As for the 'general elections', in 1944 a majority of Vietnamese would have voted for Marshal Petain. On 2 Sep '45 an overwhelming majority would have voted for the near totally unknown Ho Chi Minh. In 1954, over half a million North Vietnamese voted against him with their feet, and here had already been an uprising in HCM's home province against his 'land reform' (collectivization) that purportedly cost 10-15,000 lives to put down. If free elctions were possible, Ho CHi Minh could well have lost. 

As for Uncle Ho, I though it might be instructive to provide some pages from his 'bible', Lenin's theses on the colonial question, for those who might still see Uncle Ho as a nationalist:

…a policy must be pursued that will achieve the closest alliance, with Soviet Russia, of all the national and colonial liberation movements. The form of this alliance should be determined by the degree of development of the communist movement in the proletariat of each country, or of the bourgeois-democratic liberation movement of the workers and peasants in backward countries or among backward nationalities.

Recognition of internationalism in word, and its replacement in deed by petty-bourgeois nationalism and pacifism, …is very common…. The urgency of the struggle against… the most deep-rooted petty-bourgeois national prejudices, looms ever larger with the mounting exigency of the task of converting the dictatorship of the proletariat from a national dictatorship (i.e., existing in a single country and incapable of determining world politics) into an international one (i.e., a dictatorship of the proletariat involving at least several advanced countries, and capable of exercising a decisive influence upon world politics as a whole). Petty-bourgeois nationalism proclaims as internationalism the mere recognition of the equality of nations, and nothing more. Quite apart from the fact that this recognition is purely verbal, petty-bourgeois nationalism preserves national self-interest intact, whereas proletarian internationalism demands, first, that the interests of the proletarian struggle in any one country should be subordinated to the interests of that struggle on a world-wide scale, and, second, that a nation which is achieving victory over the bourgeoisie should be able and willing to make the greatest national sacrifices for the overthrow of international capital.

 With regard to the more backward states and nations, in which feudal or patriarchal and patriarchal-peasant relations predominate, it is particularly important to bear in mind:

first, that all Communist parties must assist the bourgeois-democratic liberation movement in these countries, and that the duty of rendering the most active assistance rests primarily with the workers of the country the backward nation is colonially or financially dependent on;

second, the need for a struggle against the clergy and other influential reactionary and medieval elements in backward countries;

third, the need to combat Pan-Islamism and similar trends…

fourth, the need, in backward countries, to give special support to the peasant movement against the landowners, against landed proprietorship, and against all manifestations or survivals of feudalism…

fifth, the need for a determined struggle against attempts to give a communist colouring to bourgeois-democratic liberation trends in the backward countries; the Communist International should support bourgeois-democratic national movements in colonial and backward countries only on condition that, in these countries, the elements of future proletarian parties, which will be communist not only in name, are brought together and trained to understand their special tasks, i.e., those of the struggle against the bourgeois-democratic movements within their own nations. The Communist International must enter into a temporary alliance with bourgeois democracy in the colonial and backward countries, but should not merge with it, and should under all circumstances uphold the independence of the proletarian movement even if it is in its most embryonic form;

sixth, the need constantly to explain and expose among the broadest working masses of all countries, and particularly of the backward countries, the deception systematically practised by the imperialist powers, which, under the guise of politically independent states, set up states that are wholly dependent upon them economically, financially and militarily. Under present-day international conditions there is no salvation for dependent and weak nations except in a union of Soviet republics.

The age-old oppression of colonial and weak nationalities by the imperialist powers has not only filled the working masses of the oppressed countries with animosity towards the oppressor nations, but has also aroused distrust in these nations in general, even in their proletariat. …

On the other hand, the more backward the country, the stronger is the hold of small-scale agricultural production, patriarchalism and isolation, which inevitably lend particular strength and tenacity to the deepest of petty-bourgeois prejudices, i.e., to national egoism and national narrow-mindedness. These prejudices are bound to die out very slowly, for they can disappear only after imperialism and capitalism have disappeared in the advanced countries, and after the entire foundation of the backward countries’ economic life has radically changed. It is therefore the duty of the class-conscious communist proletariat of all countries to regard with particular caution and attention the survivals of national sentiments in the countries and among nationalities which have been oppressed the longest; it is equally necessary to make certain concessions with a view to more rapidly overcoming this distrust and these prejudices. Complete victory over capitalism cannot be won unless the proletariat and, following it, the mass of working people in all countries and nations throughout the world voluntarily strive for alliance and unity.

Per Sophie Quinn Judge: “Although (this) program was not a precise set of guidelines for action, it was the source of the theory of the united front which was successfully put into practice by both Chinese and Vietnamese communists at the start of the Second World War. It was after reading the Theses in the summer of 1920 in l’Humanite that Ho Chi Minh claims to have become a convinced Leninist. When they were published in their amended form … they left plenty of room for differing interpretations.

“A second key aspectof the Theses was the idea that during a first national bourgeois stage of the colonial revolution, communists would have to work with and even within the national parties, as there was not a large enough colonialporoletariat to bring about revolution on its own.”

Sophie Quinn-Judge, Ho Chi Minh: The Missing Years (U.C. Berkley Press, 2002), p. 48




Edited by lirelou - 31 Mar 2012 at 14:58
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2012 at 18:02
@lirelou- I'm not sure of the point of your posting. We all know Ho Chi Minh identified himself as a communist. We all know he was a very naughty boy. If we were to put all such leaders in a room together, he likely would not stand out as being at one end of the spectrum or another.
 
Again, the question is: why Vietnam? Why  choose to make a stand in  (from a western point of view anyway) such an obscure part of the world? There were plenty of other opportunities to take on murderous, authoritarian dicatators, but they were given a pass.
 
It's a question that doesn't really need an answer, as it has been answered already, but many analysts since, including some at the center of the action at the time. There was a misguided, overly simplistic analysis of world events that lead to intervention, after which all would have looked stupid if error was admitted, and so on it went. As I believe you yourself have stated, it is hard to turn around a ship at sea.
 
There was plenty of evidence before the Gulf of Tonkin that the Soviets and Chinese had a significant split. In just a few years they would be shooting at each other. As for China-Vietnam, let's do a little hypothetical exercise. Let's say China has invaded Mexico, and is in control of the southern half. They now threaten the northern bit, and may even invade. Would America's response be:
 
1) Wait to meet them at El Paso with some cold drinks? Or,
 
2) Supply arms and material support, and prepare to move into Mexico if the US looks threatened to an unacceptable degree?
 
If (2), we can assume the reason for intervention would not be because of an idealization of Mexican government, with its efficient capitalist system, lack of corruption, drug marketing organizations altruistically waiting to offer an alternative government, or other attributes, but purely because of US strategic interests.
 
Other countries have played the game in the past, and won some (ie: Britain's construction of the railway system in India), lost some (Britain and France's ill-concieved invasion of Suez). But today, for the most part, all those historical events can be discussed without agonizing over lost face.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2012 at 22:37
Not all my postings are directed solely to you, my dear Capt. V. More than one has seen HCM as a nationalist.

Your Mexico example doesn't fit the Vietnam scenario. The United States did not invade Vietnam, and they were never in control of the southern half. The Korean War scenario is a far better example, and the Chinese proved themselves able to live with the results of that. After all, they had the DPRK as a buffer zone.



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Apr 2012 at 02:16
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 Yes, there was some imbalance. But whatever you our I think, there were in fact many, many Vietnamese who shared that vision at the time. There are many today in the world who do not share the vision for the US expounded by some very powerful groups, such as the Republican Party. Is that a license for military intervention by said groups?
 


Some? There were many in the north who shared the vision, but not all of Vietnam. There was a reason the South went independent from the North for a reason. Also, i think it is quite obvious that there is a resistance to the US solely because it is currently upsetting a group of nations apple carts. What better way to take the heat of them and their contributions to questionable regimes than to shift the blame unto the US for all that is wrong in the world. Let me be clear about this, there was already a group of nations in opposition towards the US before 9-11 for the simple reason, as i have reviewed our policies, in "trying too balance" our ideals with our self interests in the world. Those that oppose US policy are motivated simply by self interest alone and view the US ideals as an impediment to their own goals.
 
Quote
As for the quality of the media then versus now, just take a look at organizations such as FOX News, or even CNN, and compare it with a Walter Cronkite newcast. There was professionalism then; today the news is either straight entertainment, or an outlet for political or personal viewpoints.
 


Actually, i would have pegged the decline of their professionalism before Tet with Cronkite's announcement that the war was lost to be the highlight of the news decline to preposterous silliness and a feature ever since of our news broadcasts. I am not saying this because i i disagree with Cronkite's view then, i say this because i think it may have been the first time news organizations had influenced the country to such a level never seen before, surpassing  the influence of the news paper barons of old. They had by appearance alone, become a member of the estate and for better or for worse have slowly been viewed by the public as the American king makers of today. This is not healthy for our republic.

Furthermore.... I do realize you are making an effort in being balanced and i commend you for the effort. However, by focusing on only the sins of one party over the sins of the other is also another part of the process that has gotten us into such the back and forth mess we are in today. If you think the Republicans are so bad, then remove the blindfold to realize that they could not have done it alone.
 
Quote
This is of course getting into a different thread, so I will just offer that many outside the US are baffled at the rage against Obama. So far- despite the suggestions of his campaign- he has carried out a right-wing administration, one that is indeed very close to historic Republican values. The present day Republican hopefuls, in contrast, seem to be competing for the post of Court Jester, a job they must want very badly, as they are debasing themselves to the extreme in order to get it.


Yes, it is. I can't remember what prompted me to bring this up. My apologies. Just a quick comment. People raged against Bush  and now people rage against Obama. I always said i was going to feel sympathy for the next President regardless of his party and i do feel some sympathy for Obama's position as POTUS and also because of who he is, just like Bush.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Apr 2012 at 03:39
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Not all my postings are directed solely to you, my dear Capt. V. More than one has seen HCM as a nationalist.

Your Mexico example doesn't fit the Vietnam scenario. The United States did not invade Vietnam, and they were never in control of the southern half. The Korean War scenario is a far better example, and the Chinese proved themselves able to live with the results of that. After all, they had the DPRK as a buffer zone.



 
My thought experiment was merely trying to illustrate the idea that communism was not the only issue afoot; there were other pragmatic geopolitical considerations, which the US seemed to overlook, or not fully understand. China found itself with a stronger power (that they had been in a shooting war with only 12 years previously) that had an army and air force only a few hundred miles from their border. Their concern was to keep them at least a few hundred miles away. If Ron Paul was in charge in Hanoi, China would probably still have been providing arms and support.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Apr 2012 at 11:04
Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

Australia deployed the 1st, 2nd and third battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) to Malaya during the emergency from 1955 onwards. At that stage they were mostly mopping up, however 15 Australian soldiers were killed on operations.
 
Yes, but the three battalions weren't deployed at the same time. Both the Australian navy and airforce made significant contributions to the operation, too.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Apr 2012 at 11:11
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

The Korean War scenario is a far better example, and the Chinese proved themselves able to live with the results of that. After all, they had the DPRK as a buffer zone.
Isn't it morre germane that the USA proved themselves able to live with the results? The US and China in Korea could both accept a draw without losing face, externally or internally: it's different for a major power to admit stalemate or worse with an apparently relative minnow.
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