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Old July 1st, 2017, 08:40 AM   #1

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The Vietnam War- WHAT really happened?


I have long been intrigued the apocryphal story of the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) officer who after being approached by his US counterpart a few years after the conflict ended in April 1975 and being told by the American- "You know, you never defeated us in the field!" simply chuckled/smiled and replied "That's true, but it's also irrelevant!"
So HOW could the most technologically sophisticated and militarily powerful nation(the US) be defeated by what the then US President Lyndon Johnson crudely if aptly termed a "third rate, raggedy ass country!"?
Some argue that the US military was "stabbed in the back- we won on the ground but were let down by the antiwar movement, TV and the newspapers".
To his credit, Major H. R.McMaster(now Donald Trump's National Security Advisor) in his magisterial "Dereliction Of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, The Joint Chiefs Of Staff And The Lies That Led To Vietnam"
Harper Perennial, 1997) exposes the real reason for the debacle in Southeast Asia- and the usual suspects of the "we wuz robbed" school asre conspicuous by their absence.
In military terms, "dereliction of duty" means not doing what you are supposed to do and is an offence punishable by court martial with everything from jail time or dishonorable discharge and at least in circumstances in wartime, by the firing squad or gallows.
Bad strategy(such as trying to have both guns and butter for LBJ, as was centralizing the war in the White House/Pentagon- not for nothing bidhe joke that not even an outhouse could be bombed without his personal approval- compare that to FDR who appointed commanders in WWII such as Eisenhower in the ETO and McArthur /Nimitz in the Pacific but wisely let them run the show as they saw fit), interservice rivalry and Robert McNamara's "Whiz Kids" were what caused the US defeat by North Vietnam!
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Old September 11th, 2017, 06:14 PM   #2

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The war turned on one simple fact- the North had the greater will.

The moral is to the physical as three to one. In this case I'd suggest it was even larger.

This is not to discount the strategic flaws, however, you can't win a war with short term goals, one year tours, and a divided country, against an enemy who will go to any length in time and privation to unify their country.


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Old September 11th, 2017, 11:03 PM   #3

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That's true- the North DID have the stronger will" As the late Ho Chi Minh chillingly told a French visitor during the first Indochina War- "You can kill ten of my people for every one you kill of mine, but even at those odds I will win and you will lose!"

Whereas the US had to worry about a confrontation with China( or maybe even the USSR as well) a la Korea!
Blaming the American defeat in'Nam on the "usual suspects"- the media, the antiwar movement on American campuses, misses as H.R.McMaster notes, the wider point!
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Old September 12th, 2017, 12:08 AM   #4

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a reported story from the siege of Khe Sanh , a Marines position was being sniped from a trench further out , with the Viet hurling abuse now and again
grenades were fired , then mortar rounds , with not much success ,
the captain got serious an demanded an artillery strike , but the guy was still there .
finally a Napalm saturation bombing was requested , it came , the whole ground for hundred of yards was just glowing , calcined to a crisp .
as the shimmering air started to fade , the sound of insults rose from the trench
....all the Marines cheered for the small guy


P.S. the Australian diggers thought the US Army was pretty bad , too soft , too much stuff , not enough brains
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Old September 12th, 2017, 01:35 AM   #5

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Yeah, the old stab-in-the-back legend. Where have I heard that before?
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Old September 12th, 2017, 02:14 AM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by artistauthor View Post
That's true- the North DID have the stronger will" As the late Ho Chi Minh chillingly told a French visitor during the first Indochina War- "You can kill ten of my people for every one you kill of mine, but even at those odds I will win and you will lose!"

Whereas the US had to worry about a confrontation with China( or maybe even the USSR as well) a la Korea!
Blaming the American defeat in'Nam on the "usual suspects"- the media, the antiwar movement on American campuses, misses as H.R.McMaster notes, the wider point!
The United States did not lose the war in Vietnam. They abandoned the war.
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Old September 12th, 2017, 02:21 AM   #7

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Quote:
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The United States did not lose the war in Vietnam. They abandoned the war.
That is a euphemism.

The USA had a main political objective in the area: maintain South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia out of the Soviet/Chinese area of influence. To that they decided to go to war involving directly US military personal. Some years later retreated the USA military personal. South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia felt on the Soviet area of influence.

Balance: The USA went to war to accomplish some objectives. The objectives weren’t accomplished. The USA lost the war.


EDIT:

Probably H. R.McMaster’s book is selling now again, due his new position. I still didn’t read it, I hope to read it soon, due the new emergent crisis.

Last edited by Tulius; September 12th, 2017 at 02:26 AM.
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Old September 12th, 2017, 03:21 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulius View Post
That is a euphemism.

The USA had a main political objective in the area: maintain South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia out of the Soviet/Chinese area of influence. To that they decided to go to war involving directly US military personal. Some years later retreated the USA military personal. South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia felt on the Soviet area of influence.

Balance: The USA went to war to accomplish some objectives. The objectives weren’t accomplished. The USA lost the war.


EDIT:

Probably H. R.McMaster’s book is selling now again, due his new position. I still didn’t read it, I hope to read it soon, due the new emergent crisis.
NO, the United States did not lose the war. To say that the Americans lost the war is pure stupititify.
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Old September 12th, 2017, 04:17 AM   #9

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Wenge ....the US lost ,big time , in the most public manner ,
to get into denial is exactly what made them loose it .
do you remember the picture of those helicopters on the embassy roof ?

body count fiddled to get good statistics numbers ,
the use of heli borne assault infantry , subsequently abandoned ,
support for despicable locals who had no popular base ,
very dubious association with drug lords ( a common situation across other theaters )
grandiloquent pronouncement on heart ,minds when everybody could see it was about guts and missing limbs.
Saigon turned into a drug ridden brothel



Vietnam was the first live war brought to the family lounge
the public just couldn't stomach it and the budget could not afford it
the point of recognizing it as a loss is to learn not to do it again in other wars
else 60.000 young men died for stupid generals vanity
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Old September 12th, 2017, 01:47 PM   #10

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When the US first went in, they were really cleaning house. They were killing huge numbers of Vietnamese and taking few casualties. As the war progressed, however, the Vietnamese adapted more and more, and the US moral faded. By the end of the war, the Vietnamese had lost about 1.1 million soldiers, but they seemed more determined than ever, while the public support for the war in America was very low, and the horror stories from guys returning kept getting a lot of attention. It really didn't make sense for the Americans to continue fighting.
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