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View Full Version : Did US Soldiers that Died in Vietnam "Die in Vain?"



Nickdfresh
07-24-2007, 06:17 PM
This question came up last night in the US Democratic Presidential debate...

What do you think?

Nickdfresh
07-24-2007, 06:29 PM
The video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtSrmfBHkZQ).

Panzerknacker
07-24-2007, 06:55 PM
I dont think so, they hold the comunist forces, not for many time but I dont think it could be called "in vain" , is very disrispectful with the heroes of that war.

The big issue would be to define the deaths of the todays conflict.

32Bravo
07-25-2007, 02:51 AM
My belief is that the US could never have won in Vietnam, and it was folly to have become involved. However, the poltics of the time dictated the course and pace of events.

Strategically, one could argue that US troops died in vain (as did the Vietnamese of both sides), but the same could be said of troops fighting in many a lost cause. Tactically, many US soldiers gave their lives to support their comrades, and, in my opinion, they can only be judged by those that served with them.

Gen. Sandworm
07-25-2007, 05:23 AM
Strategically, one could argue that US troops died in vain (as did the Vietnamese of both sides), but the same could be said of troops fighting in many a lost cause. Tactically, many US soldiers gave their lives to support their comrades, and, in my opinion, they can only be judged by those that served with them.

I agree here. This is a tough question. Personally I dont think they died in vain........more like a really bad misunderstanding that got alot of people killed. The people from both sides died in an important part of history. You have to remember is was not the job of the soldiers to question the validity of the conflict. They were sent there to fight. Even if they didnt believe in the cause they were at least fighting to save their friends.

Rising Sun*
07-25-2007, 06:45 AM
First we need to define what we mean by 'in vain'

Some idiot candidate on the video, trying to be all things to all men and thus to himself was not true (the natural state of all politicians), said that they didn't die in vain because they followed the orders of their Commander in Chief (blah blah blah try to keep Middle America on side without upsetting anyone a bit further left blah blah blah because I want everyone to vote for me because in the end, like all politicians, I stand for nothing but me).

Following the commander in chief's orders wasn't a great defence at Nuremberg. All the Germans who did so, like the Japanese, died in vain. On my definition.


vain(vn)
adj. vain·er, vain·est
1. Not yielding the desired outcome; fruitless: a vain attempt.

Idiom:

in vain
1. To no avail; without success: Our labor was in vain.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/in+vain

The American deaths in Vietnam were, on that definition, in vain.

Doesn't matter what view you take, the least the American involvement in Vietnam was ever intended to do was ensure the survival of an anti-communist SVN government for various reasons.

It didn't.

Every one of the poor bastards who died and was wounded, on both sides and from various countries, was some mother's son.

The only side whose casualties, on the definition I've put up, weren't in vain were on the side opposed to the Americans.

32Bravo
07-25-2007, 07:08 AM
First we need to define what we mean by 'in vain'

The only side whose casualties, on the definition I've put up, weren't in vain were on the side opposed to the Americans.

They didn't die in vain from the point of view that they were fighting, and succeeded in, their cause. However, having already demonstrated their ability to win, against the French, it was an unnecessary waste of lives which they had no option but to offer in order to further succeed against the US.

If anything was vain and futile, it was the anti-communist cause.

Gen. Sandworm
07-25-2007, 07:08 AM
Would you say all those in that died in the cold war died in vain? The losing side in this case being the soviets. All those soviets died in vain? I dont think so and im sure the people that served with them didnt think so either. In both cases they died doing their duty.

32Bravo
07-25-2007, 08:21 AM
Would you say all those in that died in the cold war died in vain? The losing side in this case being the soviets. All those soviets died in vain? I dont think so and im sure the people that served with them didnt think so either. In both cases they died doing their duty.

My comments were focussed entirely on French Indo-China/Vietnam. Could you please elaborate?

Gen. Sandworm
07-25-2007, 08:23 AM
My comments were focussed entirely on French Indo-China/Vietnam. Could you please elaborate?

Actually that was directed at RS.........didnt see that you responded 1st.

Rising Sun*
07-25-2007, 09:03 AM
In both cases they died doing their duty.

I think that's the same point that I derided when made by the candidate in the video.

If dying while doing one's duty means that one's life is not lost in vain, then it's about time that the Japanese stopped moaning about being nuked. It was their duty, military and civilians, to die for the Emperor. The people who were vaporised and who died of wounds and radiation sickness should be bloody proud that they didnít die in vain, as should their current descendants, to bring to an end to a war they lost.

I may be out of step with you and others, because at heart I'm a pacifist.

I can't think of any war that made it worth the death of anyone in the long run.

Sure, we can argue that WWII was the good war to fight against Nazism and fascism and the brutal Japanese etc, and I'm not saying it wasn't at the time, but what was the result?

All sorts of corrupt geo-political and international trade shit that desecrates the memory of even one soldier who died in that war.

By 1960 Japan, run by a war criminal Prime Minister conveniently let off by the Allies, was exporting transistor radios and stereos and cars and a range of other goods to America which was secretly funding the war criminalís election campaigns to prevent communists gaining control in Japan in democratic elections forced upon Japan by Macarthur / America / Allies after the war.

Was that worth John Doe from Wisconsin or Dakota or wherever dying for, so that his fatherless son could have a cheap Japanese transistor?

By 1960 the Germans were exporting Volkswagens around the world. They were the vehicle of choice for the anti-war, anti-Vietnam crew in the 1960ís and early 1970ís.

Meanwhile there were Jews, a few of whom I knew at the time, who would never have anything made in Germany. Many, perhaps most, well-off Jews here now drive Mercedes, BMW and Audis. It means theyíve arrived. Their parents and grandparents must be spinning in their graves.

As for Vietnam, what is it now?

A cheap holiday destination with interesting trips for the brave through the tunnels that housed soldiers who shot and mined and knifed the Americans who didnít die in vain?

A country like China trying to combine the astonishing wealth of 19th century laissez faire capitalism with preservation of the ruling communist elite?

...

I would never deride the actions of individual soldiers, but one has to go beyond that to look at whether their actions were in a worthwhile cause.

So far as the individual soldiers, American or otherwise, in Vietnam were concerned, I donít think their actions were in a worthwhile cause, primarily because SVN wasnít worth the trouble to anyone except the corrupt crew who ran it and steadily destroyed it for years while sucking in external support to bolster their corrupt and doomed regime.

Cut through all the crap and Vietnam was just WWII China all over again with a different set of crooks to Chiang and his motley crew, as is Iraq now.

Same shit, different arseholes.

None of it worth one American, or any other external, soldier dying for.

Rising Sun*
07-25-2007, 09:17 AM
Would you say all those in that died in the cold war died in vain? The losing side in this case being the soviets. All those soviets died in vain? I dont think so and im sure the people that served with them didnt think so either. In both cases they died doing their duty.

Not a lot of soldier deaths in the cold war and, leaving aside some accidents like Gary Powers, very few related to uniformed or acknowledged national enterprises.

Granada was probably hotter, although not as hot as Clint Eastwood tried to make it in the embarrassing "Heartbreak Ridge", which, although it seems impossible, was even more embarrassing that John Wayne pretenting to be a soldier on celluloid. :D

Rising Sun*
07-25-2007, 09:30 AM
They didn't die in vain from the point of view that they were fighting, and succeeded in, their cause. However, having already demonstrated their ability to win, against the French, it was an unnecessary waste of lives which they had no option but to offer in order to further succeed against the US.

This is where it gets awkward.

After flogging the French, were they aggressors or defenders?

This gets into the whole border and election things that drift into SVN, not to mention Buddhist / Catholic and various other issues, including American support (or interference, depending upon one's view) for internal groups.

Sort of Ulster on the Mekong, but without the Apprentice Boys March.

32Bravo
07-25-2007, 09:50 AM
This is where it gets awkward.

After flogging the French, were they aggressors or defenders?




It does, but to the Vietnamese, it's all a part of the same campaign.

After the defeat of the French, it could be foreseen that conventional forces and tactics would not succeed against them.

Firefly
07-25-2007, 01:20 PM
The short answer is NO they didnt, their cause may have been in vain, but I dont think they thought they were giving their lives for a vain cause. Not in the beginning anyway.

It would take much too long and too much detail to cover the ins and outs of this conflict in anything other than the volumes of books that have been written about it.

32Bravo
07-26-2007, 02:53 AM
The perception was that the Vietnamese were fighting a communist war, to spread the good word. In effect they were fighting an anti-colonialist war. The US ought to have empathised with them, but were tied up in the doctrine of the domino.

We can all apreciate that the majority of the US troops were doing their duty, and one can argue, therefore, that they did not die in vain.

As far as the mission is concerned, and whether that was in any way successful, and not a forlorn hope, one could ask: what would have happened if the US had not become involved after the departure of the French?

For example: the politics of China were somewhat different in 1954 as compared with 1974.

Gen. Sandworm
07-27-2007, 01:01 PM
I think if someone is going to make the assertion that people died in vain that this must imply that those that didnt die fought in vain. I only know a couple of Vietnam vets and I know they dont think that. On the otherhand.....let say the US and her allies won. Do you think the Vietnamese would say all their ppl died in vain. I dont think so. They died a rather honorable death in their eyes.

32Bravo
07-30-2007, 03:13 PM
When it comes to perspective, the Vietnam War is like looking through a kaleidoscope.

'In the midnineties Vo Nguyen Giap participated in discussions held in Hanoi between an American delegation led by wartime U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara and a group of Vietnamese historians, retired generals, and former diplomats. McNamara hoped to examine wartime "misunderstandings" between the two countries and identify possible "missed oportunites" for negotiating an earlier end to the war. An initial exchange between McNamara and Giap revealed a fundamental difference in their historical views of the war:

MacNamara: "We need to draw lessons which will allow us to avoid such tragedies in the future."

Giap: " Lessons are important. I agree. However, you are wrong to call the war a 'tragedy'. Maybe it was a tragedy for you, but for us the war was a noble sacrifice. We did not want to fight the United States, but you gave is no choice."

SS-Master
07-31-2007, 02:52 AM
I don't think they died in vain, however the Vietnam war was a disaster.
They lost the war and many Americans died that's the only thing that counts.

32Bravo
07-31-2007, 06:16 AM
I was watching 'Good Morning Vietnam'. I found the scene were he is among truckloads of GI's who are going to the war, particularly moving.

Nickdfresh
08-01-2007, 08:10 PM
You know I was watching "Forrest Gump" the other night, and I think the scene of the ambush in which Forrest's platoon is wiped out is as powerful a war scene as any in cinema. I kept thinking about this thread. But I have a problem with these sorts of questions that seek to impose an absolutionist, black-and-white explanation for what is a massively complex, and painful, era.

I think one has to look at this question on two levels, the macro and the micro. Taking on the "micro" level first, I should have to say that yes, 58,000+ and several hundred thousand (if not millions) of Vietnamese perished in this conflict that was in many ways mutually destructive and has been described as the "war everybody won, and (paradoxically) everybody lost," died in vain. They were ultimately undermined by a cynical political establishment in Washington, DC (the Pentagon Papers clearly show that the war was unwinnable in any conventional sense), as we were undermined by a corrupt, unpopular Saigon regime(s) and a series of politicians that had been essentially the 'collaborators' with the French with little credibility. However, on the macro level, I think one can draw some silver linings out of the dark clouds of US war dead, along with the billions$ tossed away.

The United States would ultimately win the Cold War, or at least avoid a global nuclear exchange. Did Vietnam ultimately play a role in this? Perhaps. While many conservative US politicians seek to refight the war, and frame it as a national shame in which is almost characterized as a sports contest that we lost, Vietnam showed, the USSR & China, that the US was willing to sacrifice a good deal of its blood and treasure on even fruitless, lost causes. It showed that the US would never abandon more fertile allies such as the ones Europe and south Asia. I think the Soviet perspective, contrary to what many would believe, is that the US also had the genesis of combat hardened army (despite the enormous damage wrought on it by the war) and an experienced officer corp. The US also developed a new age of high tech. weaponry such as laser guided bombs, attack helicopters, and revised, more realistic tactics, which would again serve a a deterrent to potential aggression. So it's all a mixed bag I suppose. But that being said --the US should have extricated itself far sooner that it did...

Chevan
08-02-2007, 01:04 AM
The US also developed a new age of high tech. weaponry such as laser guided bombs, attack helicopters, and revised, more realistic tactics, which would again serve a a deterrent to potential aggression. ..
i have to say this the developing of weaponry by the such way is irrational;)
In fact the USSR also developed its AAA-systems. In Vietnam were firstly succesfully appicated the Strela-1 - the soviet analog of the Stingers.
So the from the military sence this bloody war ( there were 2 millions of perished Nick , not one;)) was a deadline.You could modernize the wearpon as much as could but the political price were a very hight.
US loses was a great but not war sence- it was a political loses.

32Bravo
08-02-2007, 05:18 AM
Off topic here, chaps, but surely the causes of the collapse of the former Soviet Union are at least as complex as the issues raised over Vietnam. To say that the US won the cold war, is a sweeping over simplification. Perhaps, an example of post-cold war propaganda? :D

Rising Sun*
08-02-2007, 07:50 AM
the US should have extricated itself far sooner that it did...

If it had, the benefits you see in its engagement would have been reduced in proportion to however early it got out.

Anyway, when should the US (and Korea and Australia) have got out?

The best time to have got out was before any of us got in. 20/20 hindsight is a marvellous thing.

With hindsight, the worst time to get out was anywhere before Tet in '68, when it would have left strong VC and NVA forces to attack the SVN forces. As it was, the US, SVN and allied forces mauled the VC and blunted the NVA in and soon after Tet.

After Tet, the reasons for getting out were political rather than military.

Paradoxically, if the US etc had got serious after Tet they might have won. Assuming they rejected militarily suicidal ideas like not crossing the DMZ.

But they couldn't win, because they were fighting for a bunch of corrupt arseholes, just like supporting Chiang and the Nationalists in China in WWII was doomed to suck the guts out of the external forces in support of people not worth supporting who were playing their own internal games with their own and other peoples' lives and money.

I still think that the Americans who died in Vietnam died in vain.

This can be argued any number of ways, but here's a clear and simple argument.

The original and maintained American strategic aim was to maintain the status quo in SVN.

It, and the crooks and thugs who ran SVN, weren't a status quo worth maintaining.

To put it in different terms, a cop who dies stopping a crook to protect the community hasn't died in vain.

A cop who dies protecting a crook because his corrupt superiors have deceived him into doing it has died in vain.

The Americans who died in Vietnam were like the latter cop.

Rising Sun*
08-02-2007, 08:09 AM
To put it in different terms, a cop who dies stopping a crook to protect the community hasn't died in vain.

A cop who dies protecting a crook because his corrupt superiors have deceived him into doing it has died in vain.

The Americans who died in Vietnam were like the latter cop.

Just to clarify that point.

I'm not trying to diminish the individual commitment to duty, the courage, or the sacrifice of the people who died in either case.

It's just that I think only one of those cases can be regarded as the loss of a life in defence of something good or worthwhile, which qualifies as not dying in vain.

Nickdfresh
08-02-2007, 08:55 AM
i have to say this the developing of weaponry by the such way is irrational;)

Yes. But sometimes also inevitiable...


In fact the USSR also developed its AAA-systems. In Vietnam were firstly succesfully appicated the Strela-1 -...

True, there is little question that the USSR benefited from analysis to tactics and weapons systems on both sides...

However, the USAF finally discovered that making high-speed nuclear delivery aircraft that lacked maneuverability and versatility was a serious mistake (AKA The F-105 "Thud" Thunderchief). The F-15, F-16, F-14, & F-18 are all direct results of the realization of this sort of inflexibility and simplicity...

And in a real war, the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces would not have benefit of a worldwide air-traffic control net that would inform them of inbound B-52 flights...;)

Nickdfresh
08-02-2007, 09:03 AM
If it had, the benefits you see in its engagement would have been reduced in proportion to however early it got out.

Anyway, when should the US (and Korea and Australia) have got out?

The best time to have got out was before any of us got in. 20/20 hindsight is a marvellous thing.

With hindsight, the worst time to get out was anywhere before Tet in '68, when it would have left strong VC and NVA forces to attack the SVN forces. As it was, the US, SVN and allied forces mauled the VC and blunted the NVA in and soon after Tet.

After Tet, the reasons for getting out were political rather than military.

Paradoxically, if the US etc had got serious after Tet they might have won. Assuming they rejected militarily suicidal ideas like not crossing the DMZ.

But they couldn't win, because they were fighting for a bunch of corrupt arseholes, just like supporting Chiang and the Nationalists in China in WWII was doomed to suck the guts out of the external forces in support of people not worth supporting who were playing their own internal games with their own and other peoples' lives and money.

I still think that the Americans who died in Vietnam died in vain.

This can be argued any number of ways, but here's a clear and simple argument.

The original and maintained American strategic aim was to maintain the status quo in SVN.

It, and the crooks and thugs who ran SVN, weren't a status quo worth maintaining.

To put it in different terms, a cop who dies stopping a crook to protect the community hasn't died in vain.

A cop who dies protecting a crook because his corrupt superiors have deceived him into doing it has died in vain.

The Americans who died in Vietnam were like the latter cop.

You know, there is a theory (which plays into Garrison's JFK Assassination conspiracy theory) that John F. Kennedy was considering withdrawing any significant US support for the Saigon regime after "Pres." Ngo Diem was assassinated in the first of many coups. And that Johnson intensified the conflict only in order to push through his "Great Society" liberal reforms. This was so he couldn't be labeled a "pinko" or soft on communism effectively removing any real domestic political opposition which had been otherwise discredited as latently racist...

When should we have gotten out? I'd say about 1944-45, when we enabled a (reluctant) French command to reenter Indochina. Because you know, Ho Chi Minh worked for the OSS (CIA forerunner) and was first and foremost a nationalist...

Or Eisenhower could have just allowed free elections in 1958...

It is not hindsight, it was lack of foresight...

Nickdfresh
08-02-2007, 09:05 AM
Off topic here, chaps, but surely the causes of the collapse of the former Soviet Union are at least as complex as the issues raised over Vietnam. To say that the US won the cold war, is a sweeping over simplification. Perhaps, an example of post-cold war propaganda? :D

I agree. But didn't the Soviet system really begin to feel its endemic failures by the mid-sixties?

And aggression was not an option in solving these problems...

Rising Sun*
08-02-2007, 09:29 AM
You know, there is a theory (which plays into Garrison's JFK Assassination conspiracy theory) that John F. Kennedy was considering withdrawing any significant US support for the Saigon regime after "Pres." Ngo Diem was assassinated in the first of many coups.

Kennedy is usually presented as not understanding that he'd approved the assassination.

We'll never know.

We'll also never know how the Diem Catholic suppression of the Buddhists and the Catholic Kennedy's thoughts combined before JFK decided to cut them loose.


When should we have gotten out? I'd say about 1944-45, when we enabled a (reluctant) French command to reenter Indochina. Because you know, Ho Chi Minh worked for the OSS (CIA forerunner) and was first and foremost a nationalist...

Or the other Allies should have just treated the defeated Vichy French (as distinct from elements of the French people) from 1940 as the selfish frogs they were, trying to hang on to their navy and colonies while keeping a foot in both the Allied and Axis camps in the hope of coming out of the war intact.

The French surrender of Indo China to Japan was critical to the Japanese invasion of Malaya and, in turn, to the Japanese conquests of the Philippines etc.

I think the French have the distinction of being the only Allied nation to collaborate with the enemy; regain a colony they'd surrendered to the enemy; and then promptly lose it to the indigenous people who went on to defeat the most powerful nation on earth.

ww2admin
08-02-2007, 09:33 AM
I didn't read all the respones here, so hope I'm not repeating something that was mentioned.

I think they did not die in vain because you have to look at Vietnam today and see that it's a very successful and prosperous country. The Vietnam war spurred globalization to that region and at the end of the day you have people more interested in their economy and business, not civil wars and war lords.

Maybe Iraq will be the same some day and the current war is just a catalyst.

Rising Sun*
08-02-2007, 09:51 AM
I think they did not die in vain because you have to look at Vietnam today and see that it's a very successful and prosperous country. The Vietnam war spurred globalization to that region and at the end of the day you have people more interested in their economy and business, not civil wars and war lords.

That may be true, but it's not what America was fighting for and not what its men died for.

If anything, it's what the NVA and VC died for, not that that was what they were fighting and dying for in an earlier era of rigid communist theory and practice.

As usual, lots of little men die in droves so a few big men can profit. On both sides.

Nickdfresh
08-02-2007, 09:56 AM
I would also like to that the communists never really stamped out American culture, nor the distinct South Vietnamese way of life...

Ho Chi Minh City? Who were they kidding?

Nickdfresh
08-02-2007, 10:16 AM
Kennedy is usually presented as not understanding that he'd approved the assassination.

We'll never know.

We'll also never know how the Diem Catholic suppression of the Buddhists and the Catholic Kennedy's thoughts combined before JFK decided to cut them loose.


I think the overall perception was that Kennedy and Diem had some personal ties that belied politics and genuinely liked each other. I think what Kennedy hated his Imperious "court" of advisers such as the "Dragon Lady," Madame Nhu...

He wanted Diem out, alive. But the cold blooded, needless, murder only perhaps reinforced his notions that Diem wasn't the real problem in Saigon and that the whole system was rotten.

We'll never know for sure if this is just a romantic JFK-apologists take --since he was murdered not long after...

And make no mistake, JFK's Catholicism was purely symbolic. He was as horrified as anybody at the anti-Buddhist pogrom.


Or the other Allies should have just treated the defeated Vichy French (as distinct from elements of the French people) from 1940 as the selfish frogs they were, trying to hang on to their navy and colonies while keeping a foot in both the Allied and Axis camps in the hope of coming out of the war intact.

The French surrender of Indo China to Japan was critical to the Japanese invasion of Malaya and, in turn, to the Japanese conquests of the Philippines etc.

I think the French have the distinction of being the only Allied nation to collaborate with the enemy; regain a colony they'd surrendered to the enemy; and then promptly lose it to the indigenous people who went on to defeat the most powerful nation on earth.

The Vichy French actually attempted to resist Japanese demands, but they didn't have much choice...

I'm not going to solely blame the French for this. Even the French commander that 'retook' Vietnam in 1946, Gen. LeClerc, expressed serious reservations about reestablishing a colonial outpost, and his mandate also had the intent of negotiating with the Viet Minh after securing Vietnam rather than just reimposing French colonialism.

What happened after was a comedy of errors that the Viet Minh are not absolved from, and one that led to 30-years of bloodshed.

In any case, it was Washington, DC and London that allowed the French to attempt to feebly recapture the pre-War greater glory of France...

32Bravo
08-02-2007, 12:03 PM
I agree. But didn't the Soviet system really begin to feel its endemic failures by the mid-sixties?

And aggression was not an option in solving these problems...


Tell me more, Nick.

32Bravo
08-02-2007, 12:38 PM
I didn't read all the respones here, so hope I'm not repeating something that was mentioned.

I think they did not die in vain because you have to look at Vietnam today and see that it's a very successful and prosperous country. The Vietnam war spurred globalization to that region and at the end of the day you have people more interested in their economy and business, not civil wars and war lords.

Maybe Iraq will be the same some day and the current war is just a catalyst.


Ho Chi Minh had the same thoughts regarding warlords and mandarins.

What the war did promote in the south, was corruption on a huge scale - and about ten varients of syphlus.

As for justifying Iraq, that's absurd. If Iraq does emerge from the current quagmire in any form that is considered civilised, I doubt that it will be as a direct result of what we in the West are doing today. More likely it will be in spite of what is happening.

Globalisation, is ruining the natural habitats of most of the countries of South East Asia which have embraced it. It is also doing a pretty good job of destroying the planets ecosystems.

Nickdfresh
08-02-2007, 02:49 PM
Tell me more, Nick.

I thought you already knew...


Off topic here, chaps, but surely the causes of the collapse of the former Soviet Union are at least as complex as the issues raised over Vietnam. To say that the US won the cold war, is a sweeping over simplification. Perhaps, an example of post-cold war propaganda? :D

Perhaps. but the US didn't lose the Cold War, either. Did they? Despite being tied up in major land combat for almost eight years (1965-1973)...

32Bravo
08-03-2007, 02:54 AM
I thought you already knew...

Maybe, maybe not - would be interested in hearing your your opinions.



Perhaps. but the US didn't lose the Cold War, either. Did they? Despite being tied up in major land combat for almost eight years (1965-1973)...


No, they didn't lose the cold war, neither did they win it, in the usual sense of the term. More to the point, the Soviet Union lost it.

Egorka once accused me of habit. At first I misundertood his point, then I came to realize that he was speaking of cultural habit. Again, that is something that I rebel against, but I still find myself, at times, of being guilty of it. it's really about stepping back and taking a broader view.

Chevan
08-03-2007, 04:55 AM
I agree. But didn't the Soviet system really begin to feel its endemic failures by the mid-sixties?

...
No Nick , may be it hard believe for you but the most progrees of USSR was in the 1970-yy. In this period the Soviets had a great political world influence.
The crisis come to the surface in beginning of the 1980 when the Soviets were tied with the unpopular war in Afganistan.
I personally think that there were no REAL crisis in USSR. It was simply political and informational provocation.
I think the market reforms that could get out the soviet economic from the hole - could be much effective if the ComParty could saved the power at least till the end of 1990-yy.

Chevan
08-03-2007, 05:00 AM
However, the USAF finally discovered that making high-speed nuclear delivery aircraft that lacked maneuverability and versatility was a serious mistake (AKA The F-105 "Thud" Thunderchief). The F-15, F-16, F-14, & F-18 are all direct results of the realization of this sort of inflexibility and simplicity...

True he Vietnam obviously showed the unreability of such aircrafts like F-104 and Mig-21 , and later generation of fighters goes another way.


And in a real war, the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces would not have benefit of a worldwide air-traffic control net that would inform them of inbound B-52 flights...;)
I've read in the mid of 1970 the Soviat Strategic Rocket Forces were rise to the giant sizes- the more then 1000 of strategical rockets.
This is mean the absolut paritet with USA ( who had the air quantity superiority a that time).
So B-52 really would not play any significant role in possible nuclear conflict.

32Bravo
08-03-2007, 05:15 AM
The point is, chaps, the Soviet collapse was due to economic factors induced by over-extended foreign and domestic policy, which was exacerbated by the arms race.

Nickdfresh
08-03-2007, 08:43 AM
No Nick , may be it hard believe for you but the most progrees of USSR was in the 1970-yy. In this period the Soviets had a great political world influence.
The crisis come to the surface in beginning of the 1980 when the Soviets were tied with the unpopular war in Afganistan.
I personally think that there were no REAL crisis in USSR. It was simply political and informational provocation.
I think the market reforms that could get out the soviet economic from the hole - could be much effective if the ComParty could saved the power at least till the end of 1990-yy.


I agree. Especially if the Communist Party had become The Socialist Party, and gradually allowed the privatization of property from the bottom up, as opposed to the top down. I think unfortunately, the Oligarchs were chosen over the "mom & pop stores" (small businesses) causing a shock from which my basic understanding is that Russia is only just recovering from...

Nickdfresh
08-03-2007, 09:25 AM
Maybe, maybe not - would be interested in hearing your your opinions.

No, they didn't lose the cold war, neither did they win it, in the usual sense of the term. More to the point, the Soviet Union lost it.

Okay, I'll admit saying that "we won the cold war! USA! USA!" is a bit simplistic. But the West did withstand a serious threat from communism in the form of third world liberation movements and the like.

There is substantial evidence that the Soviet system was really beginning to gradually implode as early as Kruschev's tenure. It is known that those, even amongst the most ardently ideological in the Kremlin, were beginning to realize that the command economy simply did not work well in peace time, and that economic crisis was becoming endemic and perpetual. Perhaps there were some that thought the only way out was a direct military confrontation with the West?

Just speculation, that's all...


Egorka once accused me of habit. At first I misundertood his point, then I came to realize that he was speaking of cultural habit. Again, that is something that I rebel against, but I still find myself, at times, of being guilty of it. it's really about stepping back and taking a broader view.

You know, it's funny. I mod another board, where right wing conservative bush-loving assholes have accused me of being a "communist," or a "jihadist."

Then I read some of my statements on this board which perhaps put me as a "nationalist," more in line with Reagan. :shock: Oooof!

I certainly do not buy the crock that 'Reagan won the Cold War' or that the West was militarily weak and 'defenseless' until 1981. Both assertions are patently false as the US build-up was in a sense continual, but interfered with by Vietnam. And intelligence factions continually exaggerated Soviet military power and sustainability. Nixon, Ford, and Carter all funded new weapons systems that were themselves a direct result of the experience of the Vietnam War. While Vietnam did irreparable damage to the US Army, which may have had its 'golden age' between the mid-point of Korea (about 1952) and about 1968.

I think my comments also have to do with the fact that many in America, and in the West in general, view Vietnam as merely a humiliating defeat that made America look a weak paper tiger. My alternative view is grown out of a realization that to our potential enemies, even our military 'quagmires' can be interpreted as a sign of strength. (I've even heard speculation that the US, and even the Japanese, involvement in Iraq has disconcerted the Chinese gov't.) The US still demonstrated enormous firepower in Vietnam. Something that was of only limited use against an agrarian society, but still a huge problem, as the fact is that the Soviets would have to contend with if they ever struck into West Germany, where artillery and air strikes would have been far more effective against a mechanized army advancing on an open plain. Then, there is the Korean War...

If you watch the film "Pork Chop Hill," you'll notice that it is an allegory for the final days of the UN/US involvement in the Korean War, a period of extremely contentious negotiations between obstinate, politically determined Chinese and NK negotiators and the US/UN contingent, which were operating on more conventional notions of Western diplomacy. But, the final phase of Korea, after about the midpoint of 1951 or so, was dominated by what amounted to static warfare punctuated by periodic mini-offensives conducted by both sides. The premise was that the Chinese were continually "testing" the US to see if it was willing to do more than just kill PLA soldiers through vastly superior firepower. The senior US officers soon came to the conclusion that real question was: "Was the United States prepared to sacrifice its men for what amounted to strategically worthless hills, merely to make a political point." And so, men were by-in-large sent to their deaths and ordered to hold territory that was pretty much useless in order to do little more than to show that the US was indeed willing to accept casualties. Whether or not Vietnam was a continuation of this notion, I can't say with any certainty. But I can say that Vietnam showed that the US gov't WAS willing to sacrifice its young men in futile causes.

What impact this had, no one can say for certain. But you'll have a hard time convincing me that there was no impact. And I will also say that it was never worth it in the end...

Nickdfresh
08-03-2007, 09:25 AM
dupe.

Rising Sun*
08-03-2007, 10:18 AM
Then I read some of my statements on this board which perhaps put me as a "nationalist," more in line with Reagan. :shock: Oooof!

There is a limit to everything, including self-flagellation. :D


The US still demonstrated enormous firepower in Vietnam. Something that was of only limited use against an agrarian society, but still a huge problem, as the fact is that the Soviets would have to contend with if they ever struck into West Germany, where artillery and air strikes would have been far more effective against a mechanized army advancing on an open plain.

I think that's one of the things that's at the heart of America's problems in its post-WWII military adventures and associated, for want of a better word, diplomacy.

Coming as I do from a small nation that had to learn to use its very limited resources against much larger enemies which resulted in an entirely different type of military doctrine and tactics to those that America as a superpower could evolve, it seems to me that America has consistently put too much emphasis on the aggressive part of Teddy Rooseveltís dictum ďSpeak softly and carry a big stickĒ.

So far as the military aspect went in Vietnam, a lot of the problem was that America relied on massive firepower, which had been devastating in Europe and the Pacific in WWII, against an elusive enemy which wasnít all that susceptible to it.

Weíve seen the same thing in Iraq in a different fashion, where America, with a bit of help from its mates, creamed Saddam in the conventional war because of its massive firepower, but canít win against irregular forces because it didnít anticipate their impact or work out how to defeat them as part of its war plans (not invading Iraq would have defeated them before they even looked like resisting the invaders).

Just like Vietnam, but for a whole set of different reasons, America (with a bit of help from its mates) is now bogged down in Iraq in something it created; doesnít really understand; to which it has no military solution; and to which its Presidentís only response is to increase the military commitment in the hope of solving insoluble problems in Iraq and marginally less insoluble political problems in America.

Itís not an accident that, even allowing for the Americans in Vietnam and Iraq being in hotter spots than their mates, the Australians and Koreans in Vietnam and the British and Australians in Iraq managed to deal with their areas of operation more effectively militarily and ultimately more harmoniously with the local populations, even if they had to give them a flogging first to get their attention.

One reason that American forces didnít achieve the same results was that their military doctrine was based on massive firepower. This in turn was derived from Americaís successful WWII experience and the application to war of Americaís massive industrial resources and desire to avoid casualties. It was consolidated by gearing up for a European land war 1945 onwards with conventional forces in European geography.

Meanwhile America fought its most significant wars in Korea and Vietnam on different geography and, in Vietnam, against forces that didnít bear any relation to anything that American military doctrine was designed to deal with.

Despite all that, America didnít learn that just because youíre the biggest bloke on the block, it doesnít mean that pygmies who keep firing darts at you from the alleys wonít win.

So now it's stuck in Iraq, with lots of alleys and lots of pygmies in them.

32Bravo
08-03-2007, 12:58 PM
I agree. Especially if the Communist Party had become The Socialist Party, and gradually allowed the privatization of property from the bottom up, as opposed to the top down. I think unfortunately, the Oligarchs were chosen over the "mom & pop stores" (small businesses) causing a shock from which my basic understanding is that Russia is only just recovering from...


Privatisation of property means ownership, does it not? Bit of a culture clash there. Was it not ownership by the few, when the majority were still in a semi-feudal society tha gave rise to the revolution in the first instance?

32Bravo
08-03-2007, 01:21 PM
What impact this had, no one can say for certain. But you'll have a hard time convincing me that there was no impact. And I will also say that it was never worth it in the end...

I could say that you would have a hard time convincing me that any good came from the war, but that would just be silly. One has to keep faith with that in which one believes. If one were to say nothing came out of it, then one would have to say that those people died in vain - who wants to say that?

Not my intention to prove or disprove the positive or negative impact of the Vietnam War. Just wanted to get away from the 'we kicked your butts' mentality.

Would recommend: 'Vietnam' by Christian G. Appy.

Lots of personal stories there, including one from the Grandson of the fellow who wrote 'Pork Chop Hill'. There are also stories from former VC and NVA. One Marine reckons that the war could have ended in 1969 and that the further twenty five thousand American fatalities, which followed, were a waste.

Another criticizes 'search and destroy' as a strategy, and says that 'hearts and minds' should have been pursued more vigorously. Lots of opinions based on personal experience, but none of them actually prove anything. It just illustrates the complexity of the war.

We do hear that the qualities of the US forces which were sent there in 1965 were of a higher standard than those that followed later. Perhaps this is due to the draft and the way the war was waged. Again, a fault which can be placed at the doors of the Pentagon and the WHite House rather than in the hands of the soldiers who performed their duty. My own thoughts are that those that formulated strategy betrayed their people by not keeping an open mind on how to prosecute the war and, instead, shackled themselves to doctrine.

By the way, I happened accross the site you mentioned, some time ago.

32Bravo
08-03-2007, 01:31 PM
Have to agree with Chevan, regarding Afghanistan. I was going to mention it, but he beat me to it.

Re: the early sixties - Cuba had a big impact on the psyche of western governments and played no small part in convincing the US that they must call a halt to the spread of communism - Dominos.

Nickdfresh
08-03-2007, 02:52 PM
Privatisation of property means ownership, does it not? Bit of a culture clash there. Was it not ownership by the few, when the majority were still in a semi-feudal society tha gave rise to the revolution in the first instance?

I was referring to a gradual transition from autocratic communism to a mixed economy of democratic socialism in which the major industries stayed within the hands of the gov't, at least for a time, while entrepreneurs would be allowed to establish the basis of an open economy starting with small businesses. Ideally, this would have averted the catastrophes of the oligarchs and the polarized wealth in the country. Not unlike what is happening in China, only with an actual democratic gov't...

Nickdfresh
08-03-2007, 03:04 PM
I could say that you would have a hard time convincing me that any good came from the war, but that would just be silly. One has to keep faith with that in which one believes. If one were to say nothing came out of it, then one would have to say that those people died in vain - who wants to say that?

They did mostly die in vain. Mostly...


Not my intention to prove or disprove the positive or negative impact of the Vietnam War. Just wanted to get away from the 'we kicked your butts' mentality.

I don't think I tend to exude that mentality, but okay...


Would recommend: 'Vietnam' by Christian G. Appy.

Lots of personal stories there, including one from the Grandson of the fellow who wrote 'Pork Chop Hill'. There are also stories from former VC and NVA. One Marine reckons that the war could have ended in 1969 and that the further twenty five thousand American fatalities, which followed, were a waste.

Another criticizes 'search and destroy' as a strategy, and says that 'hearts and minds' should have been pursued more vigorously. Lots of opinions based on personal experience, but none of them actually prove anything. It just illustrates the complexity of the war.

I've read quite a bit on Vietnam, though I'll check his book. Of course everything stated is true to an extent. The war was very complex, and essentially was a "two front" war in which the US fought an insurgency of the National Liberation Front (NLF or 'Viet Cong') and the regular formations of the North Vietnamese Army...

Some have argued that the US and their South Vietnamese allies essentially marginalized the NLF, if not nearly defeated it, through the "Operation Phoenix" program dreamt up by William Colby of the CIA. And that the program (which essentially turned into a bloody assassination and terror pogrom not unlike what the NLF had been doing to the Saigon regime's representatives since the late 1950s) was very successful to an extent.

And yes, conventional, heavy-handed military strategies were foolhardy in a counterinsurgency situation (something the US Army is just rediscovering with Gen. Petraeus in Iraq).

But it came down to the simple fact that Vietnam was essentially a civil war, and the US, for all its firepower, can not "win" someone else's civil war. They had to do it themselves, we should have seen that they were completely incapable much sooner than we did...


We do hear that the qualities of the US forces which were sent there in 1965 were of a higher standard than those that followed later. Perhaps this is due to the draft and the way the war was waged. Again, a fault which can be placed at the doors of the Pentagon and the WHite House rather than in the hands of the soldiers who performed their duty. My own thoughts are that those that formulated strategy betrayed their people by not keeping an open mind on how to prosecute the war and, instead, shackled themselves to doctrine.

The decline of the US Army had to do with conscripts fighting an extremely unpopular war, drugs, and a systemic breakdown of discipline, and of course the fools who planned the thing...


By the way, I happened accross the site you mentioned, some time ago.

Interesting...Ever post?

Nickdfresh
08-03-2007, 03:18 PM
There is a limit to everything, including self-flagellation. :D

It’s not an accident that, even allowing for the Americans in Vietnam and Iraq being in hotter spots than their mates, the Australians and Koreans in Vietnam and the British and Australians in Iraq managed to deal with their areas of operation more effectively militarily and ultimately more harmoniously with the local populations, even if they had to give them a flogging first to get their attention.

...

So now it's stuck in Iraq, with lots of alleys and lots of pygmies in them.

I agree with 90% of your post -but-

The British are in (what were anyway) 'quiet sectors' of mostly Shiites that hated Saddam, and were more appreciative, if very dubious, of the effort to get rid of him.

There is NO comparison between this and the American experience of dealing with the Sunni Triangle, or the sectarian wars going on all over the country, and especially Baghdad. Though the war-plan was completely ****ed (with only about 60% of the troops called for being sent!) and the fact that there was NO plan for what happened after "we broke it," there were in fact visionary US Army, Marine, and sp. ops. commanders that, for instance, temporarily quelled Sunni areas like Tikrit and Ramadi (initially) by working WITH the Sunnis rather than trying to intimidate them.

Unfortunately, these were too few and far between, and their work was quickly undone by "hard asses" that 'thought' that alienating the populations by kicking in doors and ignoring what their troops did was the answer.

Read the book "Fiasco" by Thomas E. Ricks for more info...

And as for the rest of the British Army's counterinsurgency experience of the last sixty years, well they operated in areas where there were few TV cameras or people asking questions. That is until there was Northern Ireland, and that one took a while, didn't it?;)

Rising Sun*
08-03-2007, 06:59 PM
Some have argued that the US and their South Vietnamese allies essentially marginalized the NLF, if not nearly defeated it, through the "Operation Phoenix" program dreamt up by William Colby of the CIA. And that the program (which essentially turned into a bloody assassination and terror pogrom not unlike what the NLF had been doing to the Saigon regime's representatives since the late 1950s) was very successful to an extent.



Because it's remembered now for the assassination aspects, it's forgotten in most quarters that Phoenix was actually a much broader and quite good counter insurgency plan.

Your comment in response to my last post about the hard asses in Iraq stuffing up another good plan applies equally to Phoenix.

Aggressive military action probably can't win against insurgents by itself if they have strong popular support.

32Bravo
08-04-2007, 08:37 AM
Interesting...Ever post?


Nahh, this site takes up too much of my time as it is. I try to keep away, but what you chaps post is just such compelling reading, I find myself unable to resist the odd comment. :D

One thing I would add regarding Vietnam and my coments: the Vietnamese were not the enemy of Britain, as such, though at the time it was going on, my loyalties were towards our cousins accross the water, and some of the comments which I might post now, I would have considered to be disloyal at the time. However, a lot of time as passed by since then, and so I look at it in more of an historical context.

We often ignore the Vietnamese in our dicussions, beyond the fact that they were the enemy - but they did overcome.

Here's what Bill Shanahan, the author of 'Stealth Patrol' says of them:



During the two years I spent in Vietnam I saw a lot of action - a lot of highs and a lot of lows - but the one thing I saw that just never changed was the enemy. I went from the line company to the Lurps, made the transition to the Rangers, and spent months and months humpin' some of the most hostile territory in the land. And the one constant, throughout it all, was the enemy. They were elusive, they were a mystery - but above all, they were just always there.

The Vietnamese had been fighting over that land for hundreds of years - previously with the French and before them the Japanese and the Chinese - and through that entire time they'd never been defeated. They had a mindset that was just doggedly determined, the sort of commitment that could only come from someone with a passionate belief in what he was doing - in their case, fighting for control of their homeland.

Our guys had the best technology, there was no doubt about that. We had choppers, rifles, grenades, mines, artillery, planes, ships, tanks - anything you could think of, we had it - but those guys had the commitment. They had the willingness and the drive to see the war through to its end, no matter how long it took. They'd lost no telling how many men, and yet they still continued to fight - and as far as I could tell, were in no hurry to quit.

Nickdfresh
08-04-2007, 01:34 PM
Nahh, this site takes up too much of my time as it is. I try to keep away, but what you chaps post is just such compelling reading, I find myself unable to resist the odd comment. :D

One thing I would add regarding Vietnam and my coments: the Vietnamese were not the enemy of Britain, as such, though at the time it was going on, my loyalties were towards our cousins accross the water, and some of the comments which I might post now, I would have considered to be disloyal at the time. However, a lot of time as passed by since then, and so I look at it in more of an historical context.

We often ignore the Vietnamese in our dicussions, beyond the fact that they were the enemy - but they did overcome.

Here's what Bill Shanahan, the author of 'Stealth Patrol' says of them:


Quite true. The North Vietnamese fielded some of the finest infantry the world has ever seen.

I'm currently reading "Fiasco," in which the Vietnam comparison crops up frequently. Here's a relevant passage:


Retired Army Colonial Harry Summers, Jr. began On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, perhaps the most influential book to come out of the conflict, by recounting an exchange he had had in Hanoi on April 25, 1975, with a North Vietnamese Colonial.

'You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield,' Summers said.

The North Vietnamese officer considered this assertion for a moment, and then responded, 'That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.' Hanoi's center of gravity (the main focus of the "enemies" war effort and ability to resist) had not been on the battlefield.
"Fiasco," by Thomas E. Ricks (pg. 131)

They endured, "It is not those who can inflict the most but those who can endure the most who will conquer."

32Bravo
08-05-2007, 06:10 AM
I already knew of the 'irrelevant' comment, Nick. One could draw parallels with the American war of independence.

If you are interested in gaining a true insight into the Vietnamese attitude, you couldn't do better than reading 'The War of the Flea' by Robert Taber (if you haven't read it already), it pretty much explains all.

I have spotted 'Fiasco' on the book shelves, but haven't been tempted, as yet, mainly due to the amount of other books I'm reading. I'm sure I'll get around to it in the not too distant future.

Nickdfresh
08-11-2007, 09:47 AM
I already knew of the 'irrelevant' comment, Nick. One could draw parallels with the American war of independence.

I saw a recent documentary in which an Englishmen/host did just that, with annoying frequency.:)


If you are interested in gaining a true insight into the Vietnamese attitude, you couldn't do better than reading 'The War of the Flea' by Robert Taber (if you haven't read it already), it pretty much explains all.

I'll seek it out...


I have spotted 'Fiasco' on the book shelves, but haven't been tempted, as yet, mainly due to the amount of other books I'm reading. I'm sure I'll get around to it in the not too distant future.

It's a fascinating study of how all of the lessons of Vietnam were lost in such quick order by the US military, and what a bunch of shortsighted ****s we elected...

namvet
06-29-2008, 08:02 PM
I served 4 years in that war. for me to say they died in vain would dishonor them. you have comfort of 20-20 hinsight.

when we came home we didn't give a good god damned what anyone thought

and we still don't

kallinikosdrama1992
06-30-2008, 05:20 AM
Well i think that here everybody should speak that's why i am writing this . I know few of Vietnam War but from the things i read in the books and saw in the movies , from my part , yes i think they did . For me , every attack war with no reason , because i think Vietnam War had no reason , and the casualties of these wars are with no reason .

I hope you understand what i am writing

Kato
07-01-2008, 05:06 AM
Well i think that here everybody should speak that's why i am writing this . I know few of Vietnam War but from the things i read in the books and saw in the movies , from my part , yes i think they did . For me , every attack war with no reason , because i think Vietnam War had no reason , and the casualties of these wars are with no reason .

I hope you understand what i am writing

Everyone still dies anyway. Death at war can't be more in vain than death from natural causes at peace.

Rising Sun*
07-01-2008, 05:47 AM
Death at war can't be more in vain than death from natural causes at peace.

I think it can.

An 20 year old conscript dying to no good purpose in a country that doesn't matter to his instead of dying at home of natural causes 60 years later with his children and grandchildren around him is a waste, a death in vain in the sense of futile, pointless, of no value.

Where was the point in Americans and others on that side dying in Vietnam to prop up a corrupt South Vietnamese government while their own governments didn't give them the means to fight the war properly and in fact hamstrung them from doing so for domestic and international political reasons?

Not to mention the poor bloody South Vietnamese grunts and civilians who bore the brunt of the war.

What is the point of getting involved in a war that doesn't have as its objective the defeat of the enemy, and won't allow the military to do that?

Contrast that with lives lost fighting the Nazis or the Japanese, which were lost in pursuit of a clear objective of defeating the enemy instead of, as in Vietnam, just starting out by maintaining the status quo of supporting the crooks running SVN and then, at the executive government rather than military level, having no idea what to do as things started spin out of control.

If the same pussy footing approach taken to hammering and invading and defeating North Vietnam had been employed in WWII, the Allies would still be in England and Saipan, begging the enemy to surrender.

Chevan
07-01-2008, 08:02 AM
IWhere was the point in Americans and others on that side dying in Vietnam to prop up a corrupt South Vietnamese government while their own governments didn't give them the means to fight the war properly and in fact hamstrung them from doing so for domestic and international political reasons?

What do yo mean to fight the war properly mate?
Somebody prevented the Americans destroy the enemy?Or didn't let them to use the "proper" wearpon like a-bomb?

Rising Sun*
07-01-2008, 09:11 AM
What do yo mean to fight the war properly mate?
Somebody prevented the Americans destroy the enemy?Or didn't let them to use the "proper" wearpon like a-bomb?

Exactly.

The Americans hamstrung themselves.

Although when Nixon indicated he might nuke NVN, NVN suddenly found itself able to advance the peace talks it had been stalling for ages.

The problem goes back to the start of the 'war' when America became directly involved, although it really goes back to the division of Vietnam about a decade earlier. Kennedy and Co wanted only to prop up the Diem regime, until they worked out that, as is common with America when it clumsily and ignorantly interferes in other countries to pursue its narrow and ill-considered interests, they had backed the wrong horse. Nobody saw how it was going to develop at the start, because the Americans thought they could contain the anti-Diem forces and then they thought they could handle the various politicians and crooks who succeeded the crooked politician (Diem) America backed to begin with. Not unlike America's other brilliant exercises of a similar nature in other parts of the world, giving rise to the modern belligerent Iran, long term support for Saddam Hussein, and various human rights abuses in South America such as Chile in the early 1970s.

Anyway, back to Vietnam.

Then Kennedy or others in his Administration gave the green light to Diem's assassination (or maybe they didn't and were even more ill-informed and ill-advised than they appeared) http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB101/index.htm and everything turned to shit after that as the US dragged itself deeper and deeper into a swamp with no bottom as long as it confined itself to not taking the war into NVN and not going north of the DMZ on land.

A war which does not have as its ultimate objective the defeat of the enemy is just a waste of everything and everyone involved.

A war which cannot be won from the air, which the Vietnam war couldn't, requires a land advance into the enemy's territory.

That could not happen as long as SVN / US and their allies would not cross the DMZ and advance towards Hanoi with the clear intention of capturing it and subjugating NVN.

As long as Hanoi and NVN knew they weren't going to be invaded, and were not invaded, they would keep invading SVN.

It requires a military idiot of spectacular incompetence or masochism to run a war on the basis that it allows the enemy to cross a border to invade its territory but it won't respond by doing the same to the enemy.

There were wider political reasons for that refusal to go north revolving around the risk of Chinese and or Russian involvement at the height of the Cold War, because Vietnam was a proxy war between the US and its allies against the communists (which the US and its allies thought were all the same, conveniently ignoring that Vietnam and China had been enemies for perhaps a thousand years or more and China and the Soviets weren't exactly singing from the same hymn book) but in those circumstances it was just plain bloody stupid to try to prosecute a war that couldn't be won against NVN because nobody was going to invade it.

royal744
09-06-2013, 02:45 PM
Not a lot of soldier deaths in the cold war and, leaving aside some accidents like Gary Powers, very few related to uniformed or acknowledged national enterprises.

Granada was probably hotter, although not as hot as Clint Eastwood tried to make it in the embarrassing "Heartbreak Ridge", which, although it seems impossible, was even more embarrassing that John Wayne pretenting to be a soldier on celluloid. :D

I tell out of town guests who want to see the Alamo, "This is where John Wayne, Billy Bob Thornton and Fess Parker died."

royal744
09-06-2013, 04:03 PM
Everyone still dies anyway. Death at war can't be more in vain than death from natural causes at peace.

That's much easier for an 80 year old man to say than for a 20 year old one.

jconners
12-12-2013, 02:15 PM
When I travel to South East Asia, I encounter everywhere progresses that embody what we fought to achieve ... not just 'free the oppressed' but a culture that has a greatly improved opportunity for all and freedoms that are greatly more than when we made our stand in Vietnam. The quality of life has significantly improved and much of those improvements throughout SE Asia were initiated and began with US funding for both civilian and military endeavors.

The troops in my scout squad that were killed in Vietnam and others that were killed that I knew well are alive in the faces of so many SE Asian people...happy, polite, intelligent, interesting and mindful of life and the beauty of SE Asia and the world at large...they are and will always remain our people and our countries...we won much of the greatness of what they are today...no Chinese Bandit Scout [Recon 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav] died in vain.

If I could have prevented their deaths, then I would have done so then but they fought willingly and in 1965-66 they were not lead by the unqualified or fighting for the ungrateful...they died surrounded by the best and believing that their cause was right and just.

Chunky
12-19-2013, 01:22 PM
First you would have to ask yourself the question, as it/did it, make any difference to today's America

jconners
12-30-2013, 10:10 AM
Meine Walkure

By Ranger Jerry L Conners
Chinese Bandit Recon 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav
1965-66

Handmaiden of Oden
I beckon thee
embrace me
and carry me forth

My lovely Valkyrie,
come for me
and open thy heart
and soul

Know my battles
and judge me
lest I be forgotten
on this inconspicuous field

Remove my blood
soaked tunic
and carry me aloft
into the drying winds

Fear me not Valkyrie,
close neither wings nor dreams
but take me high
into the world above

Lovely Valkyrie,
come to me and
hear the music
of my warrior's fire and
let our unbridled passion
consume us in the
twilight of the gods

Dedicated to Carlos R Hatcher,
Chinese Bandit 13 Rear Security Team Leader
KIA 1966

jconners
12-31-2013, 11:49 AM
Carlos R Hatcher, Chinese Bandit 13 Rear Security Team Leader 1965-66 (KIA 1966)
By Ranger Conners, Chinese Bandit 13

In February 1965 the US Airbase located outside of Pleiku had been attacked resulting in American casualties and additional US troops were assigned to improve security at the base. During the Battle of the Ia Drang Oct-Nov 1965, the Chinese Bandit 13 reconnaissance scout squad of the Chinese Bandit Recon Platoon patrolled the wooded areas around the tea plantations surrounding Pleiku…a large NVA attack was expected at Pleiku but did not materialize, however the security of the area remained a concern and the Jumping Mustangs 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav deployed to the hills above the large lake north of the city in December.

All three Chinese Bandits recon scout squads conducted patrolling around the assembled battalion bivouac site and the Montagnard village located on the far side of the lake. During this period the Jumping Mustang Battalion conducted parachute jumps from UH-1 helicopters and celebrated Christmas. On 30 December the Chinese Bandit 13 Scout Squad was inserted by helicopter onto a clear and barren field adjacent to the Montegard village and immediately came under small arms fire from positions within the village. During combat assaults the scout squad responded with an assault team lead by the scout squad leader and a support team led by the scout team leader. However, during the rapid response, I was in the position to best lead the assault team and Frank Spickler the support team which included the M60 machinegun. Our response required an aggressive execution and Carlos R Hatcher, the Chinese Bandit 13 original rear security man, took possession of the M60 and Frank Spickler and Raymond Carley maneuvered towards the main ‘street’ that was the entrance to the fence lined village. Spickler, Hatcher and Carley were members of the original recon platoon formed from the Ft. Benning based 11th Air Assault and they worked together as a team in any crisis, often ‘leaving the others behind”. The persons firing on the Chinese Bandits withdrew as the assault team advanced and ‘crashed’ through the thin wooden fence. Only three bullets were fired at the assault team during the rush towards the village and the shooting stopped when we entered the village. The Chinese Bandit 13 Scout Squad members had only superficial injuries and no one was wounded during our assault and we were directed by radio to depart the village and continue the originally planned patrol route.

That evening we arrived by at the Chinese Bandit Recon Platoon’s bivouac site. After a short debriefing a meeting was held where the acting Platoon Sergeant, SSG Robert Grimes, Jr. announced that the Chinese Bandits were to be reorganized and persons reassigned. I was promoted to Scout Squad Leader of the Chinese Bandit 13 scout squad, and selected Frank Spickler as my Scout Squad Team Leader and Raymond Carley’s request for the M60 machine gun was approved. Carlos Hatcher would remain the rear security man. Louis Tyler’s request to join the point team with Big and Little Hall was also approved. Terry Stevens was ‘persuaded’ to remain the Chinese Bandit 13 radio operator with the understanding that his major responsibility included forward observer and calling for fire support duties. The next day the Chinese Bandit 13 Scout Squad resumed patrolling around the lake and training of those having new squad assignments. I spent most of day helping Tyler develop his needed tracking skills and Stevens preparing ‘dry’ fire missions and memorizing the necessary fire commands. The area was open with only shrubs for concealment and the men remained about 100 meters apart during the patrol. On several occasions I was able to see Hatcher trailing the patrol and scanning the area with his binoculars. He was often almost 1000 meters from me and I used my binoculars to watch him and others in the patrol. He was curious about everything, outwardly more so than any other Chinese Bandit and requested a set of binoculars which many reconnaissance type units did not issue for the rear security slot; however I encouraged others to carry them also, only half of the men did and no one used them as often as Hatcher and no one enjoyed exploring the hills and valleys as much as he did. I had learned during the patrolling in late November and December that he loved South East Asia and I believed more so than anyone other than maybe myself. I gave him copies of the issued Vietnamese phrase book and he and I spent time attempting to learn the language.

When we returned from patrolling, SSG Grimes notified me that we the three scout squads would begin rotating patrolling duties with two of the squads patrolling and one in ‘stand down’. The patrolling would be limited to the area only around the lake and routine enough that no preparation of warning orders, operations orders, etc was required since few changes were to be made in the patrolling. Therefore, we decided to use the day of from patrolling resting in the Chinese Bandit bivouac site.

Beer was available and the Chinese Bandit 13 Scout Squad members set around camp fires drinking the free beers that were provided. I did not join my men but set apart drinking from a large bottle of beer looking down at the lake and ‘hatched’ a plan to take an unauthorized trip to Pleiku. We had been briefed and observed of the frequent South Vietnamese military vehicle conveys that moved along the highway to and from Pleiku where the city was NOT consider a safe secure area and US and South Vietnamese military personnel were not given ‘free rein’ to visit. After walking in darkness back up to the ‘make shift’ NCO club near the Jumping Mustangs CP and returning with another beer, I stopped and listened to the squad members talking around the fire. “Now we get to operate like we wanted,” Hatcher said. There morale was high and I departed back to finish the beer where I decided that I would go into Pleiku the next day. I returned to where the men were still talking and ‘put an end’ to the beer drinking and gave a short briefing on the training and preparation for the planned patrolling where Frank Spickler would be in charge and that I was going alone into Pleiku.

The next morning we ate breakfast and I spent some time getting Frank Spickler ‘lined out’ on what was to be done while I was gone. I watched Spickler and the men for awhile and Hatcher approached and inquired on how I was going to get to Pleiku and what I intended to do in the city. I told him that I would link up with one of the convoys and once in the city that I would walk around and maybe eat in a restaurant or bar. The scout squad members knew that I had lived in SE Asia before the war and interested in the culture. “Yes, there should be prostitutes at some of the bars”, I said. Hatcher indicated that he wanted to go also. I sent Hatcher back to continue working with Spickler. After a few months, I told Hatcher to get a .45 pistols and belt set up and that would be all that we would be carrying. I do know why I agreed to take him with me…probably due to his interest in Vietnam and wanting to learn everything about the country and the people. He was a true scout.

Hatcher and I walked towards the highway where we waited less than 15 minutes and were able to hitch a ride with an ARVN unit…in the back of a 2 Ĺ ton truck. I sat down but Hatcher stood up holding on to the wooden side panels where he could see as much as possible. Several times he tugged on my fatigue shirt to point out something of interest. When we arrived in Pleiku we both stood up near the back of the truck where we could better observe the city. Somewhere near the center of the city where a Y-intersection occurred, I saw a young woman wearing the white traditional Vietnamese long dress and hat walking away from us down a street lined with shops and two story buildings. I yelled for the vehicle to stop and Hatcher and I jumped to the pavement. When we did so the woman in white stopped and looked over her shoulder at us, smiled and then resumed walking.

The remainder of this dedication can be read at http://www.docstoc.com/docs/70400640/Carlos-R-Hatcher-Chinese-Bandit-13-Rear-Security-Team-Leader-1965-66

Chunky
01-03-2014, 09:54 AM
"Before Glory"

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/vietnam-napalm-girl-now-353380

muscogeemike
01-04-2014, 06:48 PM
We were soldiers, most of us were volunteers. Despite what the media and anti-war people portrayed relatively few draftees served in VN and even fewer in Combat Arms (funny how every VN vet in the VFW and/or American Legion was a “combat” soldier).

We don’t want to die but understand that is part of what we sign on for - you take your chances. We, the soldiers, the military and the country, did learn lessons - how well we learned them is another question.

Viet Nam was no more in vain than the Indian Wars, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, or the Korean War.

Chunky
01-05-2014, 06:18 AM
As a soldier, your trained to use a weapon on a firing range firing at targets, what their training you for is to kill, whether your then placed in a position to do so that's another thing.

When you say, die for your Country, you need to ask by doing so, did it actually make any difference, unlike WW2, were it did. when you get older, you ask more questions, and are not easily fooled/duped in to believing every thing your told by corrupt (I don't know if I can mention the word politician).

Rising Sun*
01-05-2014, 07:30 AM
When you say, die for your Country, you need to ask by doing so, did it actually make any difference, unlike WW2, were it did. when you get older, you ask more questions, and are not easily fooled/duped in to believing every thing your told by corrupt (I don't know if I can mention the word politician).

Why make a special issue of WWII as being something distinct from the usual process of politicians and people of power and wealth causing wars which harm the common person in pursuit of the aims of politicians and people of power and wealth, who promise the grunts and their widows and children a land fit for heroes when the pressure is on but deliver little or nothing after the war is won? Or lost?

Forget the Allies for a moment.

What did the Japanese soldiers get from the "serve and die for the Emperor" bullshit promoted by the nationalist / militarist / capitalist crew which took Japan to war for their own aims?

What did the Russian and other Soviet communist soldiers get from the communist bullshit promoted by Stalin the dictator who did deals with the Nazis to preserve his own regime and to expand his own empire?

What did the Italian soldiers get from that overblown fascist clown Mussolini in pursuit of his colonial ambitions in Africa?

What did the German soldiers get from the ambitions of Hitler and the German capitalist cabal he represented, or at least that that cabal thought he represented at the start?

The deaths which made a difference in WWII, if like me one subscribes to the view that the main Axis powers were evil as demonstrated by the war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Germans and Japanese, were the Allied deaths opposing that evil.

But the fact remains that millions died on the other side for their countries, believing their countries' version of the justness of their cause. Plus many more civilians.

I can't think of a greater waste of human life to no good purpose.

Chunky
01-05-2014, 11:30 AM
WW2 was a World War, and liveís were lost in keeping the World safe, did they die in vain

As for the Japanese army, yes they did, die in vain.

As for the Russian army. and Stalin: http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v14/Teplyakov.html.

As for the Italian army, did they have one, I know their battle flag, was a white cross on a white background!.

As for the German army, yes they did, die in vain.

jconners
01-06-2014, 10:50 AM
My Vietnam unit (Chinese Bandit Recon 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav, 1st Cav Division 1965-66) and individuals were trained to fight when decisively engaged and when doing so and manuevering knew that casualties would be incurred.

Fighting when decisively engaged requires courage and skill whereas killing does not. Placing yourself in harmsway to assist and protect the men in your unit and the people of SE Asia, especially when trained to fight when decisively engaged and doing so knowingly is characteristic of the best combat troops of any era or combat condition.

Many and most of the goals for which we fought in SE Asia have been realized...the entire region is significantly more politically stabilized, and freedom and opportunity increased for the majority of the population and the economic advances of what is now the "Tiger Economy" was stimulated by both US military and economic aid throughout Asia, including SE Asia.

These were the issues that the men in my unit believed important and gave their lives, heart and soul to achieve as they responded to the 'sound of the guns'. We were not trained to kill, but to fight when decisively engaged and do so for each other and the peoples of SE Asia.

Chunky
01-06-2014, 12:08 PM
Replacing a communist dictatorship with a capitalist dictatorship does not constitute a just war. This seems to be part of a mindset that the USA cannot shake - a capitalist, a Christian or an oil giving dictatorship is no better than a communist, Muslim or oil hoarding dictatorship. Millions of civilians on both sides were killed by a conflict over which socio-economic system was superior. Perhaps the worst thing, however, is the brainwashing that still occurs in the western world today, the idea of Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori - It is a sweet and seemly thing to die for one's country. Firstly, one must question whether or not going to Indochina to murder civilians and shoot foreigners is achieving an outcome that is beneficial for one's country. Secondly, one must consider whether a country run by an elite that could not care less about the common man is worth dying for. And finally, and this is most relevant to not just the Vietnam War, but to every war the USA or NATO members have fought in since the end of the last just war, the Second World War, and that is the idea that a single footsoldier can make a difference. The footsoldiers being killed by the Vietcong, the Taliban or the LRA are no different to men that stood in lines and slowly marched towards enemy artillery emplacements, patiently waiting for the next cannonball to hit them. It makes a very good press release to say that the soldier that was killed by a roadside bomb or stepped on a landmine died 'for their country' or 'for what they believed in', and one cannot die for one's country unless one's death contributed to the well-being of that country. We must face the harsh reality that all soldiers in every war except some parts of the Second World War died for, let's face it, nothing. The concept that one soldier can make a difference is similar to the principles held by militaristic civilisations such as the Vikings or the Feudal Japanese, or by the very fascist states that the west seem to be convinced they are fighting. Therefore Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori is a concept used by sabre-rattling jingos to force down the throats of their naive, militaristic population in an attempt to win votes through the chance of a foreign policy victory that draws attention from the debacles that are occurring in their flawed domestic poicies.

Nickdfresh
01-06-2014, 03:32 PM
It should be noted that the Saigon regime wasn't really the United States' doing. Certainly there was much overlap and involvement in the many upheavals, including in the coup against Diem in 1962. But it would be simplistic, unfair, and historically inaccurate to simply characterize the Saigon cluster**** of a intrigue-infested regime as simply an American "puppet" or "capitalist dictatorship". My understanding is much of the South's ruling elite came out of the French colonial occupation gov't and predated America's direct involvement in the conflict. It should also be noted that when the United States effectively changed strategies to a "clear and hold" mentality from "search and destroy" (aka body count) one, the command there under Gen. Abrams attempted to counter the VC/NLF with the "Ruff-puffs" or the Regional and Provincial defense forces (territorial army/reserve) to build a more democratic and armed system at the village level in hopes that this would eventually filter up to the Saigon regime in the ensuing years as well as cutting off NLF terror and control at the local level. The Ruff-Puffs were in fact often better armed at an infantry level than many of the ARVN forces were...

Chunky
01-06-2014, 04:03 PM
Following the end of America’s combat role in Vietnam in 1973, and the subsequent fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) in 1975, the often prophesied and much feared resurgence of McCarthyite Red-baiting, the bitter accusations of "who lost Vietnam?" barely transpired. Rather than massive recriminations, a collective amnesia took hold. The majority of Americans, it appeared, neither wanted to talk or think about their nation's longest and most debilitating war--the only war the United States ever lost. That forgetfulness gave way in the early 1980s to a renewed interest in the war: Hollywood, network television, and the music industry made Vietnam a staple of popular culture; and scholars, journalists, and Vietnam veterans produced a flood of literature on the conflict, especially concerning its lessons and legacies. Much of it, emphasizing the enormity of the damage done to American attitudes, institutions, and foreign policy by the Vietnam ordeal, echoed George R. Kennan's depiction of the Vietnam War as "the most disastrous of all America's undertakings over the whole two hundred years of its history.

Initially, the humiliating defeat imposed by a nation Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had described as "a fourth-rate power" caused a loss of pride and self-confidence in a people that liked to think of the United States as invincible. An agonizing reappraisal of American power and glory dampened the celebration of the Bicentennial birthday in 1976. So did the economic woes then afflicting the United States, which many blamed on the estimated $167 billion spent on the war. President Lyndon B. Johnson's decision to finance a major war and the Great Society simultaneously, without a significant increase in taxation, launched a runaway double-digit inflation and mounting federal debt that ravaged the American economy and eroded living standards from the late 1960s into the 1990s.

The United States also paid a high political cost for the Vietnam War. It weakened public faith in government, and in the honesty and competence of its leaders. Indeed, skepticism, if not cynicism, and a high degree of suspicion of and distrust toward authority of all kind characterized the views of an increasing number of Americans in the wake of the war. The military, especially, was discredited for years. It would gradually rebound to become once again one of the most highly esteemed organizations in the United States. In the main, however, as never before, Americans after the Vietnam War neither respected nor trusted public institutions.

Nickdfresh
01-07-2014, 06:11 AM
Chunky, this is an official Mod warning. If you're going to cut and paste others' work, you need to cite the author and ideally provide a link. I thank you for complying with this in the future. Link: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/vietnam/postwar.htm

Chunky
01-07-2014, 07:19 AM
I only needed that part, that's why I copied and pasted it, which I thought was acceptable to this forum, as I thought others were doing the same, to put their point over, when you talk about history, you have to refer to history. unless your the one who wrote it. Going back to you warning, when I became a member of this forum, there was no mention, saying I could not cut and paste, if there is, please point be to where it is said. I will log out now, I will try to log back on later.

Nickdfresh
01-07-2014, 07:28 AM
It's acceptable when one provides links and attribution. I think there are several examples of quoted text where links are provided...

Nickdfresh
01-07-2014, 08:26 AM
BTW, I don't give a shit if this is written in the bylaws or whatever. Plagiarism is plagiarism and you could potentially make this site liable if they push the issue. I also just find it appallingly intellectually dishonest and lazy....

Chunky
01-07-2014, 09:54 AM
BTW, I don't give a shit if this is written in the bylaws or whatever. Plagiarism is plagiarism and you could potentially make this site liable if they push the issue. I also just find it appallingly intellectually dishonest and lazy....

You must be one hell of a cyclopaedia, if you can remember every thing that happened in History, have you not referred to a statement used by someone else, in a History book or the internet for you information, and then using it in your context, even if it not copy and paste, its still using another person information. I will log out now, I will try to log in on later.

Rising Sun*
01-07-2014, 10:39 AM
Replacing a communist dictatorship with a capitalist dictatorship does not constitute a just war. This seems to be part of a mindset that the USA cannot shake - a capitalist, a Christian or an oil giving dictatorship is no better than a communist, Muslim or oil hoarding dictatorship. Millions of civilians on both sides were killed by a conflict over which socio-economic system was superior. Perhaps the worst thing, however, is the brainwashing that still occurs in the western world today, the idea of Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori - It is a sweet and seemly thing to die for one's country. Firstly, one must question whether or not going to Indochina to murder civilians and shoot foreigners is achieving an outcome that is beneficial for one's country. Secondly, one must consider whether a country run by an elite that could not care less about the common man is worth dying for. And finally, and this is most relevant to not just the Vietnam War, but to every war the USA or NATO members have fought in since the end of the last just war, the Second World War, and that is the idea that a single footsoldier can make a difference. The footsoldiers being killed by the Vietcong, the Taliban or the LRA are no different to men that stood in lines and slowly marched towards enemy artillery emplacements, patiently waiting for the next cannonball to hit them. It makes a very good press release to say that the soldier that was killed by a roadside bomb or stepped on a landmine died 'for their country' or 'for what they believed in', and one cannot die for one's country unless one's death contributed to the well-being of that country. We must face the harsh reality that all soldiers in every war except some parts of the Second World War died for, let's face it, nothing. The concept that one soldier can make a difference is similar to the principles held by militaristic civilisations such as the Vikings or the Feudal Japanese, or by the very fascist states that the west seem to be convinced they are fighting. Therefore Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori is a concept used by sabre-rattling jingos to force down the throats of their naive, militaristic population in an attempt to win votes through the chance of a foreign policy victory that draws attention from the debacles that are occurring in their flawed domestic poicies.

Very well said.

Parts of it should be inscribed above the tombs of forgotten soldiers, where it will be seen as profound by later generations, and above military recruiting offices, where it will be ignored by people who will become good but ultimately forgotten soldiers, whether dead or disabled.


As for Dulce et Decorum est, the Great War poet and soldier Wilfred Owen, MC (killed in combat about a week before the Armistice) summed it up in his poem of the same title.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!óAn ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundíring like a man in fire or lime.ó
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devilís sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,ó
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Rising Sun*
01-07-2014, 10:44 AM
It should be noted that the Saigon regime wasn't really the United States' doing.

Quite the reverse.

The US upheld the SVN regime, which was a SVN creation.

Had the SVN regime been a US creation, the Vietnam war undoubtedly would have progressed rather differently, and probably more successfully.

muscogeemike
01-07-2014, 04:16 PM
As a soldier, your trained to use a weapon on a firing range firing at targets, what their training you for is to kill, whether your then placed in a position to do so that's another thing.

When you say, die for your Country, you need to ask by doing so, did it actually make any difference, unlike WW2, were it did. when you get older, you ask more questions, and are not easily fooled/duped in to believing every thing your told by corrupt (I don't know if I can mention the word politician).

When I went through basic the DI’s ensured the “targets” we trained against were personalized - the targets were the VC, Gooks, Slopes, Commies and other non PC Words - and we were to kill them, because they were damn sure going to kill us.

“Politicians” did have something to do with my entering the Army - I was drafted, but they had nothing to do with me staying in the Army.

I do agree with you about the young being easily duped, that goes far to explain why the US has the current Political Administration is has. Unfortunately I also believe that “…at least 60% of all people are stupid” and age does not factor into that. I can state and demonstrate through test results, however, that significantly fewer of the 60% are in the Military.

Your tone is suggestive of soldiers having choice - where, when, who the enemy is - and to what level he should engage this enemy. If you believe a soldier can decide which enemy to engage in every situation then you are going to get some people killed - probabley yourself, but you could choose to the like PFC Robert Garwood, that seems to fit you philosophy.

I’ve known of soldiers who think they can “choose” what orders to obey.

A few years back a young US Army Sp4 Medic refused to deploy, I believe it was to the Balkans. His reasoning was that it was un lawful for him to serve under “foreign” officers. I am ashamed he was allowed to enlist in the first place.

US troops have served under “foreign” officers throughout our history. He was a Sp4 Medic ! He was to treat any casualties-our own, foreign or civilian - how does what country the Dr. he works for enter into him doing his job? As a Sp4 he does not have the luxury of choosing where he goes, or even, up to a limit, what capacity he serves.

When you enlist, and he was a volunteer, you take an oath and you understand you loose some of your civil rights. Part of that oath is to obey the orders of those placed above you.

The young Sp4 was wrong, recently PFC Manning was wrong. The Army has internal channels to address problems, most of the time these channels succeed but even if they don’t satisfy the soldier it does make his plight public.

The Medic and Manning choose to disobey orders, and in Manning’s case commit treason. In no military service, in no country, can this be tolerated.

You do not join a military service in a time of war and then say you have the “right” to choose who you fight. You cannot be surprised (unless you are a fool) that you are sent to the war. You can’t volunteer and then say you don’t want to get your hands dirty, let somebody else do it while you draw you pay and benefits.

The subject is the Viet Nam War and I’m guessing you meant why so many of us went to that war (remembering that the great majority of men in Combat Arms were not draftees), the same can be said of any war. Despite the current acclaim the “Greatest Generation” has gotten the truth is most of the military of WWII had no real idea of where they were going or why. How many had heard of Guadalcanal, Kazerine Pass, or Anzio? How many Airmen could find Schweinfurt or Manheim on a map? What did they really know of the Japanese or Nazi’s other than what they read in the papers or heard on the radio, both extremely biased. How many Americans were even aware of why Pear Harbor was a target?

Almost without exception in every country, in every war there are those men who will step forward, to blame all of it through history on “Politicians” leaves a lot to be desired.

Again some men are soldiers, perhaps it is in our genes, but we follow the drum. We are not all the fools the media sometimes makes us out to be. None of us want to die young but killing and being killed is sometimes part of what we do.

We accept all the bad shit that goes along with our profession, but our worse enemy is not the one trying to kill us - it is those who will not serve (or manipulate their service for future gain (Sec of State Kerry)) and, after the current emergency is over, go to any length to demean our service to make themselves look good.

Nickdfresh
01-07-2014, 06:47 PM
Quite the reverse.

The US upheld the SVN regime, which was a SVN creation.

Had the SVN regime been a US creation, the Vietnam war undoubtedly would have progressed rather differently, and probably more successfully.

Agreed. The final regime of Theiu was being pushed a bit to liberalize and reform. But after the U.S. withdrew all monies after 1973, there wasn't much teeth of influence left...

Nickdfresh
01-07-2014, 06:48 PM
You must be one hell of a cyclopaedia, if you can remember every thing that happened in History, have you not referred to a statement used by someone else, in a History book or the internet for you information, and then using it in your context, even if it not copy and paste, its still using another person information. I will log out now, I will try to log in on later.

A strawman argument now? All I asked you to do is to cite any text you borrow. If that's too difficult, I can't help you...

JR*
01-08-2014, 05:14 AM
Interesting. Over history, people have come to the battle line in different ways. Certainly, many volunteered freely. Many others were, in one way or another, conscripted by a "competent authority"; or were conned into armies; or were in one way or another impressed; or were compelled to do a "duty" to a personal lord or some sort or other. The list could go on, I have no doubt. Those compelled in one way or another have often run away; as often, they have stood their ground in the face of likely death.

The Russian army under Kutuzov, that faced Napoleon at Borodino, comes to mind. Kutuzov is, deservedly, a Russian hero yet, at Borodino, he showed little interest in the survival of his troops. In contrast to more "modern" commanders like Wellington, he arrayed the bulk of his infantry on open, slightly sloping ground, within reach of the French artillery. No Russian commander would have been unaware of the capacities of artillery; the excellence of the French artillery was matched only by that of Russia, where that arm was professionalized and held in better regard than in most armies of the time. The rank-and-file Russian infantry in question were, for the most part, conscripted, or else peasants informally impressed by local authorities, or compelled to follow their "lords" in medieval style. Yet, in spite of the obvious danger of horrible death or injury, most of them stood in their ranks as the French guns mowed them down in rows like skittles. Few ran away. When they were required to meet heavy French infantry and cavalry attacks, the survivors fought fiercely. In the end, an army largely composed of soldiers more used to used to the plough than to the musket fought the French to a "draw" and, in the process, saved their country or, in fact, an autocratic regime that had, to date, shown little regard for the welfare of their class as human beings.

Even the most reluctant soldiers often stand their ground. Cultural factors, the quality of command at all levels, and particular circumstances may all play a part in deciding whether they do, or not. That they have often done so is beyond doubt. Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
01-08-2014, 06:36 AM
Even the most reluctant soldiers often stand their ground. Cultural factors, the quality of command at all levels, and particular circumstances may all play a part in deciding whether they do, or not. That they have often done so is beyond doubt. Best regards, JR.

One of the particular circumstances which can produce better than expected performance is probably fighting an invader directly threatening, or in, your homeland, such as the Russians you mentioned at Borodino and countless other examples throughout history.

That doesn't diminish the conduct of professional and "civilian enlistees for the duration" / conscripts in other circumstances, but there are levels of effort and willingness to take risks and make sacrifices which can change with the circumstances.

Defending one's homeland and one's family within it seems more likely to produce the greatest levels of effort, risk and sacrifice across the board than, say, being in an undeclared "we won't fire at you if you don't fire at us" zone facing the enemy across trenches in WWI or in the South West Pacific Area in WWII where there isn't much point putting yourself at risk to no purpose.

Rising Sun*
01-08-2014, 07:02 AM
You do not join a military service in a time of war and then say you have the “right” to choose who you fight.

Agreed.

But a mate of mine who served in Australian infantry in Vietnam around ?1967-68? as a conscript found that it was the volunteer regulars who usually had what was called 'gangplank fever', being a reluctance to get on the ship transporting them to Vietnam. As he said, and as I know from personal experience, some of these blokes were pretty ordinary country boys who joined the armed services because it offered them a peacetime life (with a six year enlistment starting before Vietnam was on the horizon) where they didn't have to think too much and had their lives ordered for them at much better rates of pay and conditions than they got on a struggling farm run by their parents, which was ironically outlined in this fictional letter which has had counterparts in various nations.


LIFE IN THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY

Letter from a kid from Eromanga to Mum and Dad. (Eromanga is a small town west of Quilpie in the far south west of Queensland)

Dear Mum & Dad,

I am well. Hope youse are too. Tell me big brothers Doug and Phil that the Army is better than workin' on the farm - tell them to get in bloody quick smart before the jobs are all gone! I wuz a bit slow in settling down at first, because ya don't hafta get outta bed until 6am. But I like sleeping in now, cuz all yagotta do before brekky is make ya bed and shine ya boots and clean ya uniform. No bloody cows to milk, no calves to feed, no feed to stack - nothin'!! Ya haz gotta shave though, but its not so bad, coz there's lotsa hot water and even a light to see what ya doing! At brekky ya get cereal, fruit and eggs but there's no kangaroo steaks or possum stew like wot Mum makes. You don't get fed again until noon, and by that time all the city boys are buggered because we've been on a 'route march' - geez its only just like walking to the windmill in the back paddock!!

This one will kill me brothers Doug and Phil with laughter. I keep getting medals for shootin' - dunno why. The bullseye is as big as a bloody possum's bum and it don't move and its not firing back at ya like the Johnsons did when our big scrubber bull got into their prize cows before the Ekka last year! All ya gotta do is make yourself comfortable and hit the target - its a piece of piss!! You don't even load your own cartridges - they comes in little boxes and ya don't have to steady yourself against the rollbar of the roo shooting truck when you reload!

Sometimes ya gotta wrestle with the city boys and I gotta be real careful coz they break easy - it's not like fighting with Doug and Phil and Jack and Boori and Steve and Muzza all at once like we do at home after the muster. Turns out I'm not a bad boxer either and it looks like I'm the best the platoon's got, and I've only been beaten by this one bloke from the Engineers - he's 6 foot 5 and 15 stone and three pick handles across the shoulders and as ya know I'm only 5 foot 7 and eight stone wringin' wet, but I fought him till the other blokes carried me off to the boozer.

I can't complain about the Army - tell the boys to get in quick before word gets around how bloody good it is.

Your loving daughter,

Laura xx



You cannot be surprised (unless you are a fool) that you are sent to the war. The problem was that some of these blokes were fools. They signed up for a military career during a peaceful period with the expectation that they'd never be required to fight.

Depending upon the battalion or unit you were in in the Australian Army during the Vietnam war, you could be pretty much included in the battalion's / unit's move to Vietnam without being given a choice; or given a choice on a parade where you'd be shamed by stepping out to confirm you weren't going; or, at the other extreme, discouraged from going if you didn't want to because the other blokes didn't want to be serving with someone who wasn't 110% committed.

Personally, I prefer the last choice. I don't want a bloke beside or behind me who isn't prepared to take the risks I'm willing to take, so I'm not totally opposed to the notion that people can decide whether they're prepared to serve or not, at least in wars where my nation's survival isn't in the balance in which case everybody is in and if they don't perform they cop what's coming to them from the people they've let down in their half section, section, platoon or maybe company, because local understanding and punishment doesn't go much beyond platoon or maybe company level.



The subject is the Viet Nam War and I’m guessing you meant why so many of us went to that war (remembering that the great majority of men in Combat Arms were not draftees), the same can be said of any war. Despite the current acclaim the “Greatest Generation” has gotten the truth is most of the military of WWII had no real idea of where they were going or why.

The same mate told me of his surprise in dealing with an American unit composed largely of blokes from some backwoods hillbilly country who knew they were outside America but had very little grasp of where they were geographically and of why they were there militarily, let alone politically. These were not people who read newspapers and kept up with current affairs outside their own narrow lives.

Probably not all that different to some of the Australian country boys who joined the army from their own narrow backgrounds and were surprised to find that they were off to a war in a place they'd never heard of.

Chunky
01-10-2014, 02:09 PM
This is not mine, or is copy and paste, or off the internet, well I did look but could not find it, and Rising Sun, that's one of my favourite's Dulce et Decorum est,

Here's another one I like:

I have been silent a lifetime
As a stabbed man,
And stolid, showing nothing
As a refugee.
But inwardly I have wept.
The blood has flown inwardly into the spirit
Through the gaping wound of the world.
And only the little worm,
The small white tapeworm of the soul,
Lived on unknown within my blood.

But now I have this boom to speak again,
I have no more desire to express
The old relationships, of love fulfilled
Or stultified, capacity for pain,
Nor one or other of the old compulsions.
For now times are gathering for confession.

First, then, remember Faith
Haggard with thoughts that complicate
What statesmen's speeches try to simplify:
Horror of war, the ear half-catching
Rumours of rape in crumbling towns:
Love of mankind impelling men
To murder and to mutilate: and then
Despair of man that nurtures self-contempt
And makes men toss their careless lives away,
While joy becomes an idiot's grin
Fixed in a shaving mirror in whose glass
The brittle system of the world revolve.

And next, the rough immediate life of camp
And barracks where the phallic bugle rules
The regimented orchestra of love;
The subterfuges of democracy, the stench
Of breath in crowded tents, the grousing queues,
And bawdy songs incessantly resung
And dull relaxing in the dirty bar;
The difficult tolerance of all that is
Mere rigid brute routine; the odd
Sardonic scorn of desolate self-pity,
The pathetic contempt of the lonely for the crowd;
And, as the crystal slowly forms,
A growing self-detachment making man
Less home sick, fearful, proud,
But less a man.
Beneath all this
The dark imagination that would pierce
infinite night and reach the waiting arms
And sooth the guessed-at tears.

And then the final change. For discipline
Becomes a test of self; one learns to bear
Insult as quietly as if it were
A physical deformity. But hope
Has left the calm humanity that waits
In silence for the zero hour.

That first great ordeal over,
New resolution grows
In shell-shocked minds of frightened boys
To live again, within the heightened vision
Of life as they saw it in the hour of battle
When the worn and beautiful faces of the half-forgotten
Came softly round them with the holy power
To raise the wounded and the dying succour,
Making complete all that was misbegotten
Or clumsily abused or left neglected.

And as the burning town falls down the wake
And white waves spread their fans and day grows bright,
Then sea and sky and wheeling gulls commingle
In the smiles of dying children and the joy
Of luckier babies playing in the cot,

Soldiers who died, are never forgotten, you have only to look at the WW1 and WW2 Cemeteries, and the work of the CWGC, to see that they are not.

namvet
01-10-2014, 02:54 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMcsDVYo0I8

Chunky
02-01-2014, 02:00 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zgja26eNeY