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Thread: Did US Soldiers that Died in Vietnam "Die in Vain?"

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ww2admin View Post
    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.

  2. #32
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    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    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...

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    Quote Originally Posted by ww2admin View Post
    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.
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 08-02-2007 at 12:43 PM.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    Tell me more, Nick.
    I thought you already knew...

    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    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?
    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)...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 08-02-2007 at 02:56 PM.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    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.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    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...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    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. 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...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 08-03-2007 at 09:37 AM.

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    dupe.
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 08-03-2007 at 09:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    Then I read some of my statements on this board which perhaps put me as a "nationalist," more in line with Reagan. Oooof!
    There is a limit to everything, including self-flagellation.

    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.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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?


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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