Skip to comments.Our War
Posted on 05/01/2015 10:05:07 AM PDT by Oldpuppymax
I read through the New York Times this morning and since today is the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, they had several opinion pieces discussing the fallacy of Americas involvement in Vietnam, the terrible lessons of the misuse of American power, the atrocities committed routinely by us, etc.,etc..
May I throw the BS flag onto the field? We had an ally in trouble, we had the entire Communist Bloc supplying the Vietcong insurgents, we had the North Vietnamese Army in the south and whole world was watching to see what wed do. If you peruse a map of the area, youll see that it was part of the world the Communists really wanted to control. The Straits of Malacca are close by and anyone controlling the ports in Vietnam would have the ability to choke off oil and other supplies to our other allies; Japan, South Korea, the Philippines. It wasnt an insignificant area in geopolitics.
The young men who answered the call or just served honorably when they were drafted were some of the best young men we have ever fielded. We were well acquainted with the savagery of the enemy to the local villagers and it was emphasized to us over and over that the villagers were the focus of our war, the reason we were there. I distinctly remember what it was like to approach a new village that hadnt dealt with Marines before. At first, nobody was visible and if we stopped there, eventually some kids would come out of hiding. Wed give them some of the hard tropical chocolate discs from our C-rations and maybe some other treats. Then the old people would come out and theyd see that we were playing with the kids and...
(Excerpt) Read more at coachisright.com ...
God bless all who served, but if you want a one-sentence analysis of why we lost, there it is.
“..God bless all who served, but if you want a one-sentence analysis of why we lost, there it is.”
And it was a war “fought” by politicians who were not interesting in WINNING the war and ending it. Our brave men were NEVER allowed to fight the war to WIN it. So many lives and much treasure could have been saved, on both sides, if we had been allowed to fight it to win it in the shortest time possible. A sad tragedy.
Ahhhhh.....nuclear weapons and Grand Strategy.
Once the war in Korea came to a halt, the communists (Soviet Union, China) could focus on Vietnam. They ran France out.
The problem was always the stupidity of the Vietnamese people. They believed the communists. They suffered horribly so the communists can ride in limousines and the people can work for $100 a month.
I remember how sad I was on May 1, 1975. Thought about my Vietnamese friends (they were able to escape) and all those lives lost in vain.
Veteran in Viet Nam Cong Hoa 1971-72
I have often wondered why the South lost. Todays environment provides a partial answer. We joked that the average Vietnamese only worried about his water buffalo and his rice patty not the politics of the war. We supported a corrupt regime in South Vietnam, the people saw corrupt politicians and the war was lost. We seem to be recognizing our own corruption today - look at our own politicians. Our troops didn’t lose the war and in general I believe the Vietnamese respected our troops. Corrupt governments don’t generate nor deserve loyalty.
President Johnson campaigned in the 1964 election with the promise not to escalate the war. “We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”
One reason why I NEVER trust a Democrat.
Private conversation between Goldwater and Johnson (related by John Wayne in a Playboy interview)...
Goldwater: “Lyndon, you know we will HAVE to send troops to South Vietnam!”
Johnson: “I know that, but I am trying to win an election.”
I took my wife with me to Vietnam in 2000 to visit the places I patrolled back then and I was struck by how most of the people were happy to see me and a couple even remembered me.
At one of the villages - An Trach - a local Catholic church had been rebuilt since the war. The priest asked me if I could help him buy a tractor for that village complex so the kids could attend school instead of tend buffaloes. The government wasn’t going to help them Since they had a Catholic school.
I went home and raised the money from the Marine Corps Base Quantico chapel (both Catholic and Protestant congregations) on one Sunday and we wired it to that priest. I cherish the photo he sent me of their new tractor.
I’m curious about your response: why do you think that? In any counterinsurgency, you’re fighting for the people who live there. If you aren’t you haven’t a chance of winning.
Recall that the “insurgents” were almost all killed off in the Tet Offensive. From then on, it was a pure invasion of South Vietnam from North Vietnam.
When the Democrats passed a law to remove all US troops from SV, NV invaded SV with tanks. The US Navy stopped that invasion in its tracks with air strikes from aircraft carriers.
After the Soviet Union replaced all the tanks, NV tried again. They had more trucks supporting the mechanized invasion than the US had in the “Red Ball Express” supporting US forces in France exploiting the Normandie Invasion.
In WWII we firebombed cities to destroy the enemy and win the war. Post WWII we became “civilized”.
One flight of B-52s could have carpet bombed the dikes around Hanoi and destroyed the infrastructure that supplied materiel to the NV invasion force, stopping it in its tracks. It would have also displaced and killed hundreds of thousands of North Vietnamese people ... and we were too “civilized” to do that.
The cold hard facts are that the Democrats valued being “civilized” more than honoring US commitments to an Ally, They valued the lives of 100,000 NV more than the lives of more than 1 million SV citizens.
The grunts of that war were right - they won every battle, but the politicians gave it away so they could think of themselves as “civilized”.
They started doing business in the black market- regularizing it and bringing business savvy. They also formed consulting companies that government agencies contracted with at far higher expense than just hiring them. The Catholics became the business class and the tech experts.
Also- in the area south of Nha Trang which is a designated Catholic zone the government determined to build a string of plush resorts along the coast to capture foreign tourist money, principally Russian and Australian. They couldn't get enough labor for it.
In 2003 in Cam Đức there were young men sitting around tables drinking at midday- no work. In I believe, 05, the government solved its labor problem and tech expense problems by making the Catholics legal. In 2007 there were no young men hanging out drinking in Cam Đức.
In the meantime the Buddhists, being more rational than, say Moslems, saw how things worked with Catholics and imitated business practices- mainly they began to trust each other in business the way Christians do. Viets are naturally business oriented like Koreans.
Did you visit Cam Ranh? You should see it now. You would not it from what it was in 1970. If you peer around you will recognize the shape of Monkey Mountain but now Cam Ranh is a well laid out fairly prosperous town and the southern anchor of the divided 4 lane coast road that services those resorts all the way up to Nha Trang.
I wish all of them the best.
I wish we had had the political will to stay with it and win. The South Vietnamese were a fine bunch of people and they deserved freedom.
I have a travelogue of that 2003 trip on my profile page if you are interested.
I miss Vietnam very much. Like many others who fought there, we grew attached to the country and the people.
When I went back there in 2000, I was looking for one specific guy but couldn't find him. He was a VC prisoner of mine who I captured on May 13th 1967. He was an older man, about 40 who was scouting for an enemy company when we spotted him. He took off running and I had the clear shot and hit him. When I got up to him, I saw that my shot had ripped the side of his hand and his little finger off. After I took his weapon, I saw that he was in a lot of pain and bleeding badly, so I bandaged his hand and handed him a cigarette to show him that we weren't going to kill him.
About a kilometer further and we ran into his company and a big fight started which lasted about 30 minutes. During that fight, I spotted some Marines who were badly wounded in an open, dry rice paddy about 100m from me. I ran to get one of them and when I got him back to cover, I was shot through my upper right leg.
My prisoner helped me get my tourniquet on my leg and when the helicopter arrived, he helped carry me to the plane. I still remember him waving at me with his bandaged hand when I lifted off.
I had hoped to find him and maybe buy him dinner but nobody around Xuan Diem knew who he was.
These are the kinds of memories Vietnam has for me.
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