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1 Romantic Heretic  Mon, Feb 25, 2013 9:42:21am

Whenever I think of Vietnam there are always two things that come to mind.

First is this, maybe apocryphal, meeting between an NVA and an American after the war.

American: You know, you never beat us on the battlefield.

NVA officer: That is true. It is also irrelevant.

The other is this quote.

We weren’t in Vietnam for eight years. We were in Vietnam for one year eight times.

Ultimately Vietnam is the best example of asymmetrical warfare in the 20th Century. The smaller country, basically invaded by the larger, has nowhere to run. All the smaller country has to do is make staying more expensive than the larger is wiling to pay. The invader has an out while the defender does not. This means that the defender has to play for higher stakes. It’s a strategy that rarely fails. Even accomplished imperialists like Soviet Russia in Afghanistan fall to it.

The war cost Vietnam big. As noted, well over 1 million dead. That meant that Vietnam lost a whole generation. This included many of their well educated people and that cost them years of economic backwardness amplified by the idiotic government of the Communists.

In my opinion the biggest mistakes the U.S. made, apart from going in there in the first place, were political. Starting with putting a Catholic in charge of a Buddhist country. Then they kept allowing corrupt Army officers to run the place. Oy.

Vietnam is an example of one of Sun Tzu’s dictums: “Although we have heard of operations that were clumsy but swift we have never heard of one that was skilled but long. No nation ever profited from a long war.”

2 Destro  Mon, Feb 25, 2013 12:43:24pm

re: #1 Romantic Heretic

The war cost Vietnam big. As noted, well over 1 million dead. That meant that Vietnam lost a whole generation. This included many of their well educated people and that cost them years of economic backwardness amplified by the idiotic government of the Communists.

As opposed to the idiotic freedom loving capitalist govt of the USA that bankrupted itself to fight that war while killing a million people……

PS: Putting a Catholic in charge of the South Vietnamese was done for purely racists reasons. We forget how racist the USA was back then. By being a Christian he was seen as more compatible and compliant to his American handlers. It probably has to do with the fact that the people running the Asian dept were old hands from China and they dealt with a Christian anti-communist Chinese nationalist Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek so they looked for a similar analog in Vietnam.

3 wrenchwench  Mon, Feb 25, 2013 3:10:29pm

I don’t like Poliquicks, but I like your Page.

4 Aligarr  Mon, Feb 25, 2013 5:10:23pm

re: #2 Destro

Oh please Destro , enough of your revisionist history .Yes Diem was a catholic , elected by crooked election , and despised by many including Buddhists,who were systematically replaced in Govt by Diem . Buddhist monks self-emulated in protest . Those disaffected in the South ,became the Viet Cong . Diem and his brother survived a bombing and a coup but were both later assassinated , the US having a large hand in that . There were no “racist motives ” involved . Not to mention , discrimination between religions would be called bigotry.Eisenhower started our involvement , after the end of WW2 , the British gave authority back to the French , whom the US supplied with money and weapons until their defeat in a decisive battle .[ it should be noted ] During WW2 Ho Chi-Minh was an ally who fought the Japanese and vowed to remove the other occupier -France , and sought to unify the country by election under a communist rule . The US refused to accept that fearing communists would win , and cited “the Domino Theory ” therefore taking over where the French had failed . Thus an election in the South only , producing Diem .

5 jamesfirecat  Mon, Feb 25, 2013 7:44:24pm

re: #4 Aligarr

Oh please Destro , enough of your revisionist history .Yes Diem was a catholic , elected by crooked election , and despised by many including Buddhists,who were systematically replaced in Govt by Diem . Buddhist monks self-emulated in protest . Those disaffected in the South ,became the Viet Cong . Diem and his brother survived a bombing and a coup but were both later assassinated , the US having a large hand in that . There were no “racist motives ” involved . Not to mention , discrimination between religions would be called bigotry.Eisenhower started our involvement , after the end of WW2 , the British gave authority back to the French , whom the US supplied with money and weapons until their defeat in a decisive battle .[ it should be noted ] During WW2 Ho Chi-Minh was an ally who fought the Japanese and vowed to remove the other occupier -France , and sought to unify the country by election under a communist rule . The US refused to accept that fearing communists would win , and cited “the Domino Theory ” therefore taking over where the French had failed . Thus an election in the South only , producing Diem .

I think you mean self immolated not self emulated.

6 Destro  Mon, Feb 25, 2013 11:30:52pm

re: #4 Aligarr

Oh please Destro , enough of your revisionist history .Yes Diem was a catholic , elected by crooked election

To be Catholic in Vietnam at that time was to be viewed as a collaborationist by the native population. This divide and rule tactic has long been used by colonial powers. Upon reflection I think what I said was in error in who I accused. Diem was a left over from the French rule and thus they were responsible for his rise to power and by default his handling fell on the USA after as a legacy of French politics.

Thanks for making me reflect on that.

7 Aligarr  Tue, Feb 26, 2013 3:31:57am

re: #5 jamesfirecat

you are correct my bad .


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