Skip to comments.Prevailing myths of the Vietnam War
Posted on 01/31/2004 11:41:34 AM PST by William McKinley
THE VIETNAM WAR marked the first time in American history that we waged war not only against a foreign enemy, but against ourselves.
Truth was the first casualty of that internecine fight, which means that now, on the 25th anniversary of our departure from Vietnam, many younger Americans know little about the war other than the grim idiocies passed on by the professors and the press.
Let's refute some of those popular myths. [snip]
Most protesters got involved not because they had lofty feelings about war and peace. They joined in because they were bored, because disobedience was exciting, because the movement provided the next best thing to a dating service and because they wanted a high-minded way to dodge the draft.
In retrospect, the tactics were wonderfully stupid. The Moratorium, which Bill Clinton helped organize in England, was built on the premise that college students could put an end to global conflict merely by standing around in the street and chanting slogans. Instead of inspiring peace, the young scholars goaded communists into waging a broader war on human liberties. The Soviets and their proxy armies concluded that Americans lacked the spirit or will to fight back.
Even worse, anti-war organizations proved to be every bit as delusional as the Pentagon's bean-counters. The boat people proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the Vietcong were peddling death and misery -- and yet, left-wing commentators refused to acknowledge the fact. Many still do. Only communism could have turned the Vietnamese people into paupers. Here in America, Vietnamese immigrants have demonstrated their entrepreneurial and economic genius.
Although Ronald Reagan and subsequent presidents have lavished Vietnam vets with praise, we can never give them what they deserve, which is their youth.
We lost nearly 60,000 Americans in a war plagued by shabby planning on one side and a narcissistic anti-war movement on the other. Young people were instructed to fight, but not given the means to win. And when they stumbled home from the hell of jungle warfare, they had to endure taunts from a protest movement that viewed its cowardice as a form of nobility.
This sorry legacy does, however, permit us to formulate a pithy summary of the "lessons of Vietnam." First, if you enter a war, declare war and build popular support. Second, fight to win. Third, honor those who serve. And fourth, remember: A strong military is necessary not just to fight wars, but to prevent them. No sane outfit will mess with a superpower that not only has the means to fight, but the will to punish aggressors.
(Excerpt) Read more at jewishworldreview.com ...
Perhaps you should rephrase that. :~)
If you want to read a few good books on that part of your life, I would suggest "Vietnam: The Necessary War" by Michael Lind which goes into the whys behind the war as seen from the perspective of decades later, and "Stolen Valor" by B.G. Burkett which goes into how certain politically motivated groups worked to turn the public against the soldiers.
Exactly, of what 'value' is a 'Worldview'...?
(NEA public education)
I might agree with your point if I had any idea what it was. Care to explain it?
Sure,....and....'Diem' would still be alive if he had been a socialist-Buddhist!
You obviously disagree with something for some reason. Beyond that, you are coming through clear as mud.
By looking forward.
LOL......read William McKinley's 'Home Page'......
Worldviews of 'value' do count!
Being a democracy, America is was never monolithic in any of its wars. Anyone here remember the Civil War (Ooops, the 'War Between the States' for my southern in-laws).
He also got wrong that domino theory bit. If the theory worked, than after Burma we'd have lost the Phillipines, Japan, then hopefully California (well, maybe one out of three was true). But it didn't happen because the theory was bogus. In conflicts you pick defensive positions and Vietnam was not one of the best places to defend.
But we did defend there for the better part of two decades and Snow overlooks the biggest myth-- the idea that our efforts were wasted. They weren't because our goal was (or was supposed to have been) containment, not conquest. We contained communism (or at least slowed it down a lot) enough for Reagan to finish it off in the '80's. I'd call it a successful Fabian defense.
So your point is that you are incapable of communicating a point?
Enjoy reading post# 18,........18 is a 'Great Post'....!!
And I still have no clue as to what you are talking about in any of your posts on this thread, nor do I have any clue what you are going off about "McKinely's daughter" about, nor do I have any idea why you were insulting a vet earlier on this thread.
Is it your intention to come across as an ass?
You are kind. But a truly great post is one that you print out and tape on the wall-- like I am doing with your post #20. ;-)
.....I went to Vietnam when I was 18. I only wish I knew at the time why I was there. It would have given some meaning to it all. Exactly, of what 'value' is a 'Worldview'...?
(NEA public education)
Sorry,......lunch is served,.....see ya,....'later'.
Thanks for posting this thread!
Who needs the old Sears Catalog!
I've tried to make this point to people for decades. All the men we lost were lost in a cause just as important as WWII. Communism made the Nazis look like amateurs when it came to slaughtering people. They saved us from decades of a new Dark Ages.
Prozik...............is the 'high' of the 21st Century?
Americas last great burst of altruism.
You and me and a bunch here know that but it's amazing how most people don't -- especially the dems and the press. Stalin killed so many more people than Hitler did, and when the last Stalinist- Gorby - called it quits, they gave HIM the friggin' Nobel prize. Maybe Carter is in good company, but if Nobel was alive today he'd be spinning in his grave.
Most of them came back no worse for weare and sit at the end of the bar at the VFW swapping lies along with the rest of the old guys as my Grandfathers generation did.
You know, I'm finding that to be partially untrue, in my opinion the liberal hart is too shriveled by all it's bleeding.
Kennedy's assassination of Diem was THE disastrous turning point in the war, THE major instance of our failure to fight the war as if we intended to win it.
The real 'value' of Worldviews......?
(What is 'total-war'....?)
(What is a true 'cultural-revolution'?)
In his most recent syndicated piece, Victor Davis Hansen writes:
"Our efforts in Iraq to remove a genocidal murderer and inaugurate democracy are not a "quagmire," but one of the brightest moments in recent American history and we need not be ashamed to say that, again and again and again."
Then, despite all those who undermined, and undermine today, our fight againt evil and to save our civilization...as a function of how that country changes today, this is how we will have in fact won the Vietnam War.
Hey, I was going to bone up on my Vietnam history, considering how I think that it is likely to be rehashed ad nauseum throughout the campaign.
Do you have any recommendations?
(PBS television series)
Shalom ev Jesus Christ.
Reviewer: Scott Carpenter (see more about me) from Irvine, CA United StatesLooks like a short read, and my library carries it, so I'll check it out the next time I go, thanks. I doubt I'll find it as praiseworthy as you, because I tend to find books that have "a real bias against American involvement and the American establishment" tend to not be my cup of tea.
This book has many merits: It is comprehensive, it attempts to explain Vietnamese history, and it is full of on the spot interviews and remembrances. This remains the basic history text of record on American involvement in Vietnam. There is a breadth of perspective here that is lacking in many accounts of this most up-close and personal of wars.
Despite these advantages, the book has some real limitations. The writing is pedestrian, the characterizations (if one can say that about history) tend to be thin, and Karnow fails to convey a sense of wholeness in many chapters. The book at times feels more like a collection of dispatches from a reporter in the field (which Karnow was in Vietnam) rather than the work of a historian who has integrated fact and theory based on deep understanding and research. As comprehensive as the book tries to be, Karow's reach may have exeeded his grasp with his project.
The book also suffers from a real bias against American involvement and the American establishment, Republican and Democratic. When "Uncle Ho" commits murders in the thousands the book makes one feel like this is a natural outpouring of exuburant nationalism rather than good old fashioned absolutism. But when the admittedly corrupt and inept Diem regime or confused ARVN or American soldiers commit atrocities, the condemnation is acid and biting. Communists are presented as "golden," or "tough," while Southerners or Amercians are usually charactured as "greedy," or "arrogant."
There is also an irony in the book's approach. Karnow should be complemented for attempting to fit American involvement in Vietnam into the wider context of Vietnam's history. However, Vietnam's history is presented mostly through lense of Western or Colonial contact. There is little sense of Vietnam as a nation, and its people, religion and history are merely players on the stage of American Imperialism. In suggesting that the policy of containment as expressed in the Vietnam war was a misjudgment of Vietnamese Nationalism (which is now common wisdom), Karnow ironically describes that nation as through an American TV camera, rather than a Vietnamese watercolor.
Now, almost 20 years after it was written, the Vietnam: A History still has valuable perspective and information. But be forewarned: This is still a myopic document of American liberal self-analysis.