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Why America lost the War in Vietnam - Facts and Issues

Vietnam War - More than 58 thousand American soldiers have died not to mention those who are missing and wounded. The US waged a war that winning is something hard to obtain unless they would use their entire might and blow the entire Vietnam to pieces. The war of attrition, which what the US had put unto the Vietcong and the NVA to convince them to give up their struggle, but seems the communist Vietnam is dedicated to fight till the last man standing.
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A war of attrition is when an army has to fight with the men and supplies it has at hand until it runs out. If one nation has more than the other, the outcome of the war will be in his favor. But the US later anticipated that the NVA had always something to new to meet their fire power from booby traps to political education to the civilian population.
Did the US lose the War in Vietnam?
Before the US intervene the conflict in Vietnam, there is already a vague chance for the French government to reclaim Vietnam after World War II. The North Vietnamese had push the French soldiers to the south, so desperately that in a documentary of the Vietnam War conflict the US had advice the French to drop atom bomb in North Vietnam. The French prefer the more diplomatic actions than blow their rich colony to pieces. Thus dividing the country to two North and South, but why the War did not stop there? The whole Vietnam preferred the leadership of Ho Chi Minh and he is a Marxist, a communist. The US had done everything from blocking its election to convincing the UN from withdrawing support to Ho Chi Minh, so that it minimizes the power of Ho Chi Minh in southeast Asia. But Ho Chi Minh was supported by China and Russia. The south then occupied by US and other westerners, but in reality the native southerners wanted a true independence as being fought and promise by Ho Chi Minh long before World War II. So basically the US entered the War to halt the spread of Communism, while Vietnamese (NVA, Vietcong) fought for their independence. And these NVa and Vietcong dedicated to die for that goal. The US had underestimated the dedication of these communist Vietnamese to fight for their country.
Here are some various opinions on why (and whether) the US lost the war in Vietnam:
  1. The United States pulled out of the Vietnam war. The US did not lose it. Technically, US was not at war, but advisors but the Congressional approval to fight in Vietnam was not given. If anyone lost it was the people of Laos and Cambodia who came under Communist rule after the war.
  2. Lack of interest. No one was that interested in stopping the Communists aggression in the Far East. And as the war went on, the cost in blood and treasure seemed extreme and fruitless. So the US didn't lose, but just withdrawn the troops. When the draft was ended, it made the war more tolerable, but then high profile stories of war crimes and napalming made the war unpopular.
  3. The only reason the US lost was because of the withdrawal from there. The US won every battle but the North Vietnamese were willing to sacrifice many more lives than the US.
  4. They lost because the politicians did not let the military do their job. They made decisions that should have been made by generals. Politicians should not make tactical decisions.
  5. The people of South Vietnam did not want to fight that war and the US didn't want to fight the war for them without their help.
  6. Failures by the US - 1) The US troops completely underestimated the VC, who were skilled jungle fighters, and also had mass peasant support. 2) The American tactic 'search and destroy' increased VC support. As one soldier said "If they weren't VC before we got there, they sure as hell were by the time we left." 3) The supply line (Ho Chi Minh Trail) was never shut down by the Americans thus allowing the VC to send and receive supplies. 4) American public support waned after the atrocities of 'My Lai' and disasters of the 'Tet offensive' came to light, and American body bags continued to arrive home. Protesting became rife and the public voice became hard for the government to ignore. 5) Guerrilla warfare was brutal, and morale became increasingly low from about 1969. 6) The VC's great defensive system the 'Cu Chi' tunnel was not shut down , allowing the VC to take cover during the 'Air War' which could potentially have been very successful for the Americans. 7) The Media played a massive role in the war, before media intervention many Americans had felt alienated from a war that was so far from home. The media changed this, changing at the same time the general public's view on war.
  7. There are several reasons as to why the US didn't win the war. There is truth in most of the answers given. True, The US alienated a lot of the Vietnamese because of atrocities, but the US soldiers weren't the ones that were going into villages and disemboweling the leaders or raping their women or taking a machete to babies. The VC did that. Yes, there were some unfortunate incidents like My Lai, but that is one incident compared to thousands of atrocities that the enemy soldiers did. Second, the US military was extremely handicapped by both the war planners and the US media. In order to make bombing runs, the soldiers had to contact a war planner back in the States to get permission to make a bombing run. Then the military were not allowed to bomb anything close to a civilian area no matter how strategically important it was, because the US soldiers were humane enough to not want to injure more North Vietnamese civilians. Were the North Vietnamese that concerned about not hurting anyone? Absolutely not. They had no compassion whatsoever. They placed no value whatsoever on human life. Sometimes when they would attack to try to overrun our bases, the first wave of soldiers' purpose was to die on top the barbed wire perimeter so that their fellow comrades could walk over their bodies and enter the compound. They were so fanatical they would fight until the last man was dead. As far as the Vietcong being a skilled fighting force that is a crock. They were poor, not very well trained, deluded people who were virtually eliminated after they made a massive attempt in 1968 to take over the country. They were temporarily successful but once the US military got to work, end of story. The US military literally slaughtered them. Then there is the US media who were probably the biggest traitors to the US cause and have a lot of our young men and women's blood on their hands. It seems so strange that when the Military would announce to the media that the soldiers were going to make a bombing run to a certain location that when the bombers would get there that the enemy soldiers would be gone. And the media also helped to stir up the anti-war movement back home thus being an ally of our own enemy. Right before we decided to pull out of the war we had the North close to surrendering. But you won't hear that from the news media. The military had killed close to a million enemy soldiers.
  8. The US did not lose the war. The Paris accords were signed and all but 1,500 U.S troops were still in Vietnam when Saigon fell. The reason Saigon fell was also the fact that the South Vietnamese Army was not willing to stand and fight for their own country.
  9. America didn't lose the war in terms of politics. The Paris Agreement states that the US won as troops were still in Vietnam at the time. In terms of casualties and deaths, however, it was pretty equal going.
  10. Nixon had been elected on a promise to Vietnamize the war, meaning more fighting would be turned over to the South Vietnamese army, and to start bringing home American troops. When the President ordered US troops into Cambodia and ordered more bombings, the result was a tremendous uproar at home with more marches and demonstrations. Congress reacted to the antiwar feeling and repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gave the President the authority to send troops and fight the war in Vietnam. The United States did not lose the Vietnam War, although some may argue that by pulling out of South Vietnam we did just that. In 1972, North Vietnam finally realized that the war was a stalemate. The two sides met and arranged a cease fire. In January of 1973, the Paris Accords went into effect. The US agreed to withdraw all its troops from Vietnam in 60 days. Congress had stopped funding the war effort. The North Vietnamese government agreed to release all prisoners, which they never did. Free elections were to be held in Vietnam. The President of South Vietnam considered the agreement between North Vietnam and the US as a sell-out. But it allowed President Nixon to save face and bring the soldiers home. By 1975, after US troops had been pulled out of South Vietnam, the ARVN (Army of the Republic of South Vietnam) collapsed and the North Vietnamese moved into Saigon, ending the war and finalizing the takeover of the South by the North. Our purpose in the war is debated to this day.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

The author makes several good points in this article especially concerning the shameful US media,the US never being able to eradicate the VC tunnel systems, and the S. Vietnamese lack of interest in the outcome of THEIR war. However, I do respectfully disagree concerning the fighting skill of the Vietcong. It has been my personal experience from talking and working with many Vietnam war veterans, that before the tet offensive (1968) the Vietcong were well trained jungle fighters with enviable discipline. Thank you for taking the time to educate younger people who have no idea what Vietnam was. May God bless all Vietnam Veterans.