Skip to comments.Why did the US Lose the Vietnam War?
Posted on 07/22/2008 4:25:19 PM PDT by shrinkermd
The truth is often overlooked in a sea of lies and mischaracterizations. The truth is not someones opinion or away of looking at something, it is simply the truth.
Gen. Giap planned and directed military operations against the French and defeated them in 1954 in the battle of Dien Bien Phu. The NVA under the command of Gen, Giap planned the now famed and offten lied about Tet Offensive against the United States in 1968. In his book Gen. Giap plainly shows that the NVA had few supplies and had been defeated in battle time and time again. The NVA moral was so low by 1968 that the Tet Offensive was the last hope of victory. Gen. Giap and the NVA saw the Tet offensive as a failure and were on their knees ready to surrender. At that time their were fewer than 10,000 U.S. casuaties and the war was about to end and the NVA were prepared to accept defeat when CBS news Anchor Walter Cronkite came on tv and proclaimed the NVA had won the Tet Offensive. The NVA were totaly suprised by this and the news that the U.S. embassy has been overrun. In reality, the NVA did'nt gain access to the embassy, there were some VC shot dead nearby. Futher reports told of riots and protests in the streets of America. According the the Gen. Giap, these distortions and lies inspired the NVA to fight on with the knowledge the protester in the U.S. would help hand them a victory they knew they could'nt win on the field of battle. Remember, at that time fewer than 10,000 U.S. casualties. we lost because of lies and distortion of the plain truth by our media and those who use it for their own political gain. The lies and protesters actually prolonged the war and killed thousands more on both sides. Kinda sounds like The protest and media agenda for Irag does'nt it?
Here are some various opinion on why (and whether) the US lost the war in Vietnam:
Then there is the US media who were probably the biggest traitors to the US causeI have never trusted the media since then. To hear that Krankheit ("sickness", to give the German spelling of Walter's name) was in the forefront just angers me the more.
We think we lost the war In Vietnam? It was after all only one half of a former french slave colony. But in 1945 we think we won yet we lost to russia central and eastern europe, and China.
We lost the Viet Nam conflict only because of public opinion that was manipulated by Walter Cronkite and the rest of the media. Period.
Jon Carry’s treasonous pals in the Demagogue Party forced a cut-off of funding and supplies which did the work for the communist scum.
Your question asks how. There are a lot of different parts of the answer to that question. As a veteran of the war, I have my own opinions. But for a summary of the basic facts concerning the end of the Vietnam War, the wikipedia article is not bad:
At bottom, it is very difficult to defeat an opponent with effectively limitless material resources in critical war materials and a determination to win so strong that it will sacrifice substantial portions of its own population to secure victory. It is doubly difficult for the defender when he loses the material support needed to fight such an onslaught through the perfidy of its main ally.
Since the US Congress controlled the purse strings at the time, it must bear the lion's share of the responsibility for “losing” the war.
At the end, the South Vietnamese were poorly led militarily and politically. But this is just to say people can become confused and can panic in the midst of a existential crisis. Where they were properly equipped and lead (such as the 18th ARVN Divison defense at Xuan Loc), the South Vietnamese fought with skill and determination.
WE lost the war because we for whatever reasons abandoned the battle field.
My take, it was that the American psyche could not cope with how far the Viet Cong would take it.
They endured 1.5 million lost, and they were willing to strap bombs on their children (4 years old) and send them out into a firefight.
If a man has a consciousness, and he took children down, that has to do something to him.
I was not there, I am a US Army Air Cav Viet Nam Era Vet and I served with a lot of those guys.
Yes, we had it won militarily.
But the MEDIA and the DEMONRATS snatched defeat from the mouth of victory - because BOTH are fellow traveling communists who could not stand to see their comrades defeated.
other good source materials (IMHO)
Three Big Lies About the Vietnam War
by Michael Medved (2-AUDIO CD DISC SET)
(VOA saw this documentary a couple of years ago. One of the interviewees was
a young history prof from one of the California State Univ. campi.
I was shocked that he didn’t just parrot the liberal line about
Vietnam. While the summary below says Tet cost the USA the war...
it was a good documentary and a fairer view of those crisis days of
The Tet Offensive than found in 99% of the MSM. I was sort of suprised
that the complacency of the US command before Tet sounds about like
the calm before The Battle of The Bulge.)
Declassified - Tet Offensive (History Channel)
It began with a suicide attack on the U.S. Embassy Compound.
It ended with some 80,000 casualties, and though technically
the Americans won the battle, it essentially cost them the war—
and claimed President Johnson’s political career. The year was 1968
and this decisive military action came to be known as the Tet Offensive.
Newly uncovered materials, including long-ignored CIA warnings of
a sneak attack, help reveal the story of the battle that broke the
stalemate in Southeast Asia.
Cronkite is a German word meaning “disease.” How appropriate. Cronkite and the left are a virus attacking America.
As a veteran of the Vietnam War from August of 1969 to January of 1971, serving as an infantry squad leader in a mechanized infantry company, and with another unit as a tank commander on an M48A3 tank; I am keenly interested in the distortions, lies, and half truths perpetuated about the Vietnam war by many of those who helped to undermine the US effort there. Much of the conventional understanding of the US involvement in the South East Asian conflict indicates a general disapproval of the United States war effort, and an acceptance of the oft regurgitated leftist conventional wisdom as to it’s historical course and outcome. That is painting the American war effort in Vietnam as misguided at best and an imperialistic effort to establish SE Asian capitalistic hegemony at worst. The antiwar left is portrayed as being noble and idealistic rather than populated by a hard core that actively hoped and worked for a US defeat, the US government as destructive of basic civil liberties in its attempt to monitor their activities, and the North Vietnamese and Vietcong as nationalists who wished to preserve their unique culture against an imperialistic onslaught. The South Vietnamese government’s struggle to survive a ruthless Communist assault while engaging in an unwarranted assault on human rights .while ignoring the numerous genocidal atrocities of the Vietcong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) is also part of this narrative. The deceptive reporting of the Tet Offensive, the Communist’s worse defeat among numberless hundreds of others was probably the most grievous deceit perpetuated by the Press .
The reason that the United States opposed nationwide elections that were to be held in accordance with the 1954 Geneva accords was due to the murder and intimidation campaigns carried out by Ho Chi Minh. This fact is in Professor R. J. Runnel’s book Death by Government, in which he cites a low estimate of 15,000 and a high figure of 500,000 people in the murder by quota campaign directed by the North Vietnamese Communist Party Politburo that would have made the election a corrupt mockery. This campaign stipulated that 5% of the people living in each village and hamlet had to be liquidated, preferably those identified as members of the “ruling class.” All told says Runnel, between 1953 and 1956 it is likely that the Communists killed 195,000 to 865,000 North Vietnamese. These were non combatant men, women, and children, and hardly represent evidence of the moral high ground claimed by many in the antiwar movement. In 1956, high Communist official Nguyen Manh Tuong admitted that “while destroying the landowning class, we condemned numberless old people and children to a horrible death.” The same genocidal pattern became the Communists standard operating procedure in the South too. This was unequivocally demonstrated by the Hue Massacre, which the press did a great deal to downplay in its reporting of the Tet Offensive of 1968.
The National Liberation Front was the creation of the North Vietnamese Third Party Congress of September 1960, completely directed from North Vietnam. The Tet Offensive of 1968 was a disastrous military defeat for the North Vietnamese and that the VC were almost wiped out by the fighting, and that it took the NVA until 1971 to reestablish a presence using North Vietnamese troops as local guerrillas. The North Vietnam military senior commanders repeatedly said that they counted on the U.S. antiwar movement to give them the confidence to persevere in the face of their staggering battlefield personnel losses and defeats. The antiwar movement prevented the feckless President Lyndon Johnson from granting General Westmoreland’s request to enter Laos and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail or end his policies of publicly announced gradualist escalation. The North Vietnamese knew cutting this trail would severely damage their ability to prosecute the war. Since the North Vietnamese could continue to use the Ho Chi Minh Trail lifeline, the war was needlessly prolonged for the U.S. and contributed significantly to the collapse of South Vietnam. The casualties sustained by the NVA and VC were horrendous, (1.5 million dead) and accorded well with Gen. Ngyuen Giaps publicly professed disdain for the lives of individuals sacrificed for the greater cause of Communist victory. They were as thoroughly beaten as a military force can be given the absence of an invasion and occupation of their nation. The Soviets and Chinese recognized this, and they put pressure on their North Vietnamese allies to accept this reality and settle up at the Paris peace talks. Hanoi’s party newspaper Nhan Dan angrily denounced the Chinese and Soviets for “throwing a life bouy to a drowning pirate” and for being “mired on the dark and muddy road of unprincipled compromise.” The North Viets intransigent attitude toward negotiation was reversed after their air defenses were badly shattered in the wake of the devastating B-52 Linebacker II assault on North Vietnam, after which they were totally defenseless against American air attack.
To this day the anti-war movement as a whole refuses to acknowledge its part in the deaths of millions in Laos and Cambodia and in the subsequent exodus from South East Asia as people fled Communism, nor the imprisonment of thousands in Communist re-education camps and gulags.
South Vietnam was NOT defeated by a local popular insurgency. The final victorious North Vietnamese offensive was a multidivisional, combined arms effort lavishly equipped with Soviet and Chinese supplied tanks, self-propelled artillery, and aircraft. It was the type of blitzkrieg that Panzer General Heinz Guederian would have easily recognized. I didn’t recall seeing any barefoot, pajama-clad guerrillas jumping out of those tanks in the newsreel footage that showed them crashing through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon. This spectacle was prompted by the pusillanimous withdrawal of Congressional support for the South Vietnamese government in the wake of the Watergate scandal, which particularly undermined this aspect of President Nixons foreign policy. It should be noted that a similar Communist offensive in the spring of 1972 was smashed, largely by US air power; with relatively few US ground troops in place. At the Paris Accords in 1973, the Soviet Union had agreed to reduce aid in offensive arms to North Vietnam in exchange for trade concessions from the US, effectively ending North Vietnams hopes for a military victory in the south. With the return of cold war hostilities in the wake of the Yom Kippur war after Congress revoked the Soviet’s MFN trading status, the Reds poured money and offensive military equipment into North Vietnam. South Vietnam would still be a viable nation today were it not for this nation’s refusal to live up to it’s treaty obligations to the South Vietnamese, most important to reintervene should they invade South Vietnam.
There is one primary similarity to Vietnam. A seditious near traitorous core of anti-war protesters is trying to undermine U.S. efforts there with half-truths, lies, and distortions. In that respect, the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam are very similar. A significant difference is that thus far the current anti-war movement has not succeeded in manifesting contempt for the American military on the part of the general U.S. public as it did in the Vietnam era.
When I was in Vietnam, I recall many discussions with my fellow soldiers about the course of the war in Vietnam and their feelings about it. Many, if not most felt that “We Gotta Get Outta this Place,” to cite a popular song of the time by Eric Burden and the Animals, but for the most part they felt we should do it by fighting the war in a manner calculated to win it. I do not recall anyone ever saying that they felt the North Vietnamese could possibly defeat us on the battlefield, but to a man they were mystified by the U.S. Governments refusal to fight in a manner that would assure military victory. Even though there was much resentment for the antiwar movement, and some (resentment) toward career professional soldiers, I never saw anyone who did not do his basic duty and many did FAR MORE THAN THAT as a soldier. Nineteen of my friends have their names on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington DC. They deserve to have the full truth told about the effort for which they gave their young lives. The U.S. public is not well served by half-truths and lies by omission about such a significant period in our history, particularly with their relevance toward our present fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Thoughtful, well-written and informative post. Thank you. I could find nothing to disagree with.
I think the attitude to the Vietnam conflict divides this country still. I also think it is time to make a concerted effort to pull all the information together and go out and tell the public the truth. The MSM has a vested interest in assuming the war was lost militarily. Such an effort will not be easy.
I met a person, that I worked with, quite a while ago now, who worked with the South Vietnam soldiers. He said that in the beginning, no one wanted them around, their cowardice, led to their lines collapsing, leaving a lot of our people exposed which got quite a few of them killed.
After that, they put the South Vietnamese soldiers in the front and told them if they turned around, they would be killed.
He said, after a while they became good fighters and good assets.
I forget which push it was, but, just before the transfer for the South Vietnamese Army to take control of their own defences, Word came to the Americans that the North Viet Cong were on their way. The Americans were ordered to leave immediately and not tell the south Vietnamese soldiers about what was coming their way.
My friend said that the North Viet Cong surprise really hit the South Vietnamese hard. They took really big loses. But, then they started to recover and make a stand, but without American aid or support they collapsed which is not a surprising outcome considering the circumstances.
This is story from one person I knew. I have never heard it repeated by anyone. All I hear about is that the South Vietnamese were no good. Nothing else as to why they might have failed.
Has any Vietnam Vet, or anyone else, heard of any similar stories?
Pretty much the same case in Iraq. We would have lost the Iraq War if it wasn't for David Petraeus, a savior General.