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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought I'd start a new thread for fear of hijacking another one.

I contend that we did - that we did not attain any of the political ends we had in mind when we introduced US ground troops in 1965 and made the Vietnam War our war. Yes, we did withdraw our troops well before the final collapse of why we were there in the first place, with Vietnam becoming unified under a communist regime rather shortly after our departure. So?

If the Brits had withdrawn their troops from the colonies prior to Saratoga that means they wouldn't have lost the Revolutionary War - even if shortly thereafter the colonies became recognized as an independent nation? I don't think so. Nope, they would have lost the war.

The corollary to Clausewitz's maxim that "War is policy by other means." is that whether you won or lost the war is defined by whether it successfully implemented your policy. We did not successfully implement our policy of maintaining an independent South Vietham.

This is also why we can say we won WWII. Had our policy been that we were going to restore the Western border of Poland and free Poland from foreign occupation (remember, it was the German invasion of Poland that precipitated the war, that was the wrong to be righted), we then lost WWII: Polish independence wasn't established until after the collapse of the Soviet Union almost 50 years after the war had ended. Nope, our stated policy instead was the destruction of the Axis powers. And that we succeeded in implementing through warfare - we won the war.

This is also why I think we won the Korean War. We stuck with implementation of the policy to throw the North Koreans out of South Korea. Warfare implemented that policy. Had we adopted McArthur's policy to also kick the communists out of North Korea, and then out of China, we would have lost because that policy could not realistically be implemented by military means.
 

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Did we lose the Vietnam War?

What's this we shit???? You got a mouse in your pocket???
 

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I don't know...wouldn't the loser of a war have to lose something...territory, form of government, ...something other than just the "loss of face and trust" from other people?
South Viet Nam lost for sure....Cambodia lost for sure...Laos lost for sure....

It's just ironic to me that the political party that really got us into escalating the war was the party who became the anti-war party and blamed Nixon for the war rather than heap any blame on their own leader who "wouldn't send American boys to do what Asian boys should be doing.".....but had about half a million there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cephus, sounds like you and I are at least in agreement that we lost the Vietnam War.

Myself, I think we lost it in a manner somewhat different from what you describe. I don't think the war was winnable on those terms. It could have been won had we installed a South Vietnamese government that the South Vietnamese thought was worth fighting for, though. It looks like we may have learned that lesson from the 'Nam because the Bush Administration really is leaning over backwards to try to install a regime in Iraq that the Iraqis think is worth fighting for - I think that's why it's considered so important to move forward with the elections.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
N/A said:
I don't know...wouldn't the loser of a war have to lose something...territory, form of government, ...something other than just the "loss of face and trust" from other people?
South Viet Nam lost for sure....Cambodia lost for sure...Laos lost for sure....

It's just ironic to me that the political party that really got us into escalating the war was the party who became the anti-war party and blamed Nixon for the war rather than heap any blame on their own leader who "wouldn't send American boys to do what Asian boys should be doing.".....but had about half a million there.
To lose a war what you've got to lose is the ability to impose your policy through warfare. I don't think we were fighting in the Nam for territory (despite other lefties who think it was a colonial war), and hopefully we didn't throw a generation of Americans into harm's way simply to save face. We had a policy of an independent South Vietnam - and failed to implement it.

Am in enthusiastic agreement with you about how disgusting it is that the Republicans somehow end up taking the fall for the Vietnam War. The liberals, beginning with JFK, and especially with LBJ, created that mess to prove that they were tough on communism, completely screwed it up, and left it for the Republicans to clean up.

And how ironic that it was the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and not the United States that put an end to the communist killing fields in Cambodia! But that's another story. (In checking for the official name of Vietnam now, stumbled across the CIA Factbook on Vietnam. Those CIA Factbooks are really really good - http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/vm.html
 

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Cephus said:
When you sat we are you talking about we the govenorment or are you saying we the soldier.If the latter then we don't agree. we the soldier did win and often but were pulled out before the job was done.
We, the soldier, never lost a battle in Nam that was fought with a force larger than a Platoon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cephus said:
When you sat we are you talking about we the govenorment or are you saying we the soldier.If the latter then we don't agree. we the soldier did win and often but were pulled out before the job was done.
The soldiers won every major battle. The nation lost the war.

Forget the names of the players, but after the US had withdrawn its troops a US general pointed out to a North Vietnamese general that the North Vietnamese had not won a single major land battle. To which the North Vietnamese general replied, "We didn't have to."

In insurgent warfare, all the insurgents need to do is not lose and eventually they will win. We didn't win very many battles when fighting the Brits, you know. Perhaps Washington's greatest military claim-to-fame is that he retreated well - and that's no criticism at all, an orderly retreat being arguably the most difficult military maneuver there is. The Revolutionary War was shortened by Saratoga, but had we not won that battle we would have won eventually so long as Washington continued to keep his army intact and we didn't lose.
 

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Dzerzhinsky said:
The soldiers won every major battle. The nation lost the war.
On that statement we're in complete agreement.
 

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Yeah, we won the tactical war, but we lost the strategic war. Eventually, we failed to recognize the communists greatest weapon-the ability to turn our own media against the war, thereby destroying the national will to follow through. Propaganda, in other words.
The war was lost right here at home.
 

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DorGunR said:
We, the soldier, never lost a battle in Nam that was fought with a force larger than a Platoon.
Rodger that, Bro.
 

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Actually, Viet Nam and out involment there was a result of the failed foreign policy of Eisenhower. After WWII, the French tried to re-colonialize Viet Nam and Eisenhower supported them with aid and equipment. The Viet Namese, after fighting with the allies to oust the Japanese, had hoped to become an independent nation once again free of all foreign interference. At the time, Ho Chi Minh was a great admirer of the U.S., and as I understand it, even patterned his constitution along the lines of ours. But when Eisenhower supported France in their attempt to recolonize "French Indo-China"...Ho Chi Minh became our sworn enemy.
It is interesting to wonder if things would have been different if we had of sided with Viet Nam becoming independent and against France attempt at becoming a colonial power again.
Eisenhower was actually the first President to introduce U.S. troops into South Viet Nam after the partition following the French defeat a Dien Bein Phu.
 

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I think the real loss of Vietnam was the way our soldiers were treated when they returned home. Just my 2 cents.
 

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The news media lost the war and a nation of sheep followed.

All I lost were friends.
 

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Well I tend to take a different tack. If as Clauswitz says that winning is obtaining your political objctive, then I contend that we won the war even if the politicians don't realize it. If one recalls, the whole premise for bailing out the French in Vietnam was a theory known as the domino theory. This theory stated that if vietnam fell to communism, then so would Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.etc.etc. well for whatever reason, even through our bungling or misinterpretation of events, history has shown that none of these countries fell to a communist regeme. And Vietnam is trying to be as capitalist as it can be working as a subcontractor for Nike. so in effect We ipso-facto won the greater Southeast Asian War. how bout that logic?????
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Viragos said:
Well I tend to take a different tack. If as Clauswitz says that winning is obtaining your political objctive, then I contend that we won the war even if the politicians don't realize it. If one recalls, the whole premise for bailing out the French in Vietnam was a theory known as the domino theory. This theory stated that if vietnam fell to communism, then so would Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.etc.etc. well for whatever reason, even through our bungling or misinterpretation of events, history has shown that none of these countries fell to a communist regeme. And Vietnam is trying to be as capitalist as it can be working as a subcontractor for Nike. so in effect We ipso-facto won the greater Southeast Asian War. how bout that logic?????
Pretty convoluted, but I suppose it's defensible. Although those who considered the Domino Theory to be bunk would cite the very same facts to point out that the Vietnam War was a completely unnecessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
N/A said:
Actually, Viet Nam and out involment there was a result of the failed foreign policy of Eisenhower...
Truth to what you say. One of the problems with the Cold War was that we invariably sided with the status quo, leaving any insurgency anywhere in the world left to be supported by the communists by default. It could be that our failure to align with Ho Chi Minh represents one of the great lost opportunities of history.

That's pretty speculative, though. What isn't speculation is that, as you say, the US sold out its anticolonial values at the end of WWII. At the time there was much controversy about this, since it betrayed US troops being liberators and it betrayed the self-determination clause of the UN Charter that we so loudly trumpeted. Eisenhower indeed did send US troops to Vietnam, albeit as advisors. During Eisenhower's term they indeed were advisors. Kennedy sent more, and under his administration that became increasingly a thinly-veiled fiction as Kennedy became enamored with Special Ops. But I would have to say that the landmark was Johnson's sending in ground troops in 1965, an event chronicled in "We Were Soldiers". That allowed the colonial roots of US involvement to become paramount, and the entire war became redefined as a US neocolonial war instead of a civil war as the US took on the fight since South Vietnam didn't have a government the South Vietnamese considered worth fighting for. You know that moment in "We Were Soldiers" where the colonel sets his foot on the battlefield?

That's when we lost the war.

Yep, Eisenhower began the policy, but Kennedy began to escalate it, and Johnson took it to totally idiotic extremes that produced catastrophe for the Vietnamese and the senseless death of many young Americans. The war perhaps could have been won had we pursued the strategy that Bush appears to be following in Iraq - install a regime that the folks living there consider worth defending (something South Vietnam never had), and turn the fight over to them as soon as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Preacher said:
I think the real loss of Vietnam was the way our soldiers were treated when they returned home. Just my 2 cents.
Agreed. A lot of folks forgot that it's not the troops who define US policy - they only implement it.

Those who say that supporting the troops means that you've got to support US policy in Iraq make the same mistake.
 

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I remember how the party which pushed the Great Society on the country, and big government, called Vietnam a "Conflict," and labored to distinguish it from a "War."

Was Vietnam a War? Sure was. Did Jane Fonda give aid and comfort to our country's enemies in time of War? She sure did, but as a member of the privileged class, her treason was excused as an exercise of the First Amendment. Why didn't Tokyo Rose think about that defense? Did the anti-War movement give aid and comfort to the enemy? Sure did. It went well beyond civil protests, and became an excuse for infantile parades, irresponsible "free" sex, illegal drug use, and generally infantile behavior by people who demanded attention and respect while unwilling to grant it to others.

I think government has learned lessons from Vietnam, but I wonder about others? Did the Press learn anything from their news slanting? I remember as a child watching the news every night and hearing terrible reports about Viet Cong atrocities. Where was the United States while such evil was being inflicted on an ally? After getting the country into such an uproar that troops were committed in great numbers, the national media decided to spotlight the so-called "anti-war movement," which was little more than numbers of self-important privileged youths who were afraid they might be drafted and sent to the same war which had earlier been promoted by NBC, CBS, and ABC. Drugs, sex, and rock and roll pretended to be noble opposition to a colonial war.

Our country lost, and it wasn't because of our courageous servicemen, God bless them all.

Just my bitter opinion.
 
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