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Thread: Vietnam: Where Did the US Go Wrong?

  1. Top | #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    Vietnam: Where Did the US Go Wrong?
    ...
    Thoughts?

    SLD
    The bombings. My heart bleeds for that country thinking of the civilians whose lives and land were scarred and destroyed by land mines, napalm, agent orange, cluster bombs and indescriminate carpet bombing. I got a 4F in 1972 and didn't have to go. But I've known many Vietnamese refugees and they are such a gentle, caring, and hard working people. America lost it's soul over that war and it tore my generation to pieces.
    And we not only never recovered, we keep trying to win it over and over and over again, as if we can regain our soul the same way we lost it.

    The specter of WWII (and WWI) has never left us. Which goes a long way to explaining why Nazis keep springing back up like whack-a-mole’s in our periodic zeitgeists.

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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    Vietnam: Where Did the US Go Wrong?
    ...
    Thoughts?

    SLD
    The bombings. My heart bleeds for that country thinking of the civilians whose lives and land were scarred and destroyed by land mines, napalm, agent orange, cluster bombs and indescriminate carpet bombing. I got a 4F in 1972 and didn't have to go. But I've known many Vietnamese refugees and they are such a gentle, caring, and hard working people. America lost it's soul over that war and it tore my generation to pieces.
    And we not only never recovered, we keep trying to win it over and over and over again, as if we can regain our soul the same way we lost it.

    The specter of WWII (and WWI) has never left us. Which goes a long way to explaining why Nazis keep springing back up like whack-a-mole’s in our periodic zeitgeists.
    Once all the Germans were warlike, and mean,
    But that couldn't happen again,
    We taught them a lesson, in nineteen eighteen,
    And they've hardly bothered us since then...
    - Tom Lehrer, MLF Lullaby

    Not only will America go to your country and kill all your people, they’ll come back twenty years later and make a movie about how killing your people made their soldiers feel sad.
    - Frankie Boyle

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    Vietnam: Where Did the US Go Wrong?
    ...
    Thoughts?

    SLD
    The bombings. My heart bleeds for that country thinking of the civilians whose lives and land were scarred and destroyed by land mines, napalm, agent orange, cluster bombs and indescriminate carpet bombing. I got a 4F in 1972 and didn't have to go. But I've known many Vietnamese refugees and they are such a gentle, caring, and hard working people. America lost it's soul over that war and it tore my generation to pieces.
    And we not only never recovered, we keep trying to win it over and over and over again, as if we can regain our soul the same way we lost it.

    The specter of WWII (and WWI) has never left us. Which goes a long way to explaining why Nazis keep springing back up like whack-a-mole’s in our periodic zeitgeists.
    I was jusy listening to a women on CSPAN talking about how she traces the history of the white supremacist movement back to the end of the Vietnam war. The veterans came home to a country that didn't honor them sufficiently for their sacrifices, which they understandably resented, and that this led to the birth of backwoods militias which led to widespread distrust of government anything. I can see that. And I think this resentment is still having repercussions and is intimately related to gun-rights. Especially to the romance with military-style assault rifles. This is our heritage. Just as Lincoln said about the civil war being repayment with the sword of every drop of blood lost to the whip. I'm not a spiritualist or a supporter of Marianne Williamson but this is one idea she has right. When our moral compass has been broken we end up paying the price.

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    Senior Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    Having grown up in the South during the Fifties and Sixties, I hardly think that Vietnam vets had much to do with the origins of White Supremacists. There may have been some that gravitated that way, I‘ll admit. And what about African American vets, who had a lot more to resent than being ignored. There aren’t that many African American mass shooters.

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Having grown up in the South during the Fifties and Sixties, I hardly think that Vietnam vets had much to do with the origins of White Supremacists. There may have been some that gravitated that way, I‘ll admit.
    I can't agrue the point so maybe it was wrong to bring it up. I'm just looking for answers like everyone else.

    And what about African American vets, who had a lot more to resent than being ignored. There aren’t that many African American mass shooters.
    It seems obvious that there's more than enough opportunity for violent resistance to authority within the black community. When alt-righters complain about restricting guns they often point to this fact to deflect from the growing white supremacist carnage. It just doesn't tend to get considered as in some way a principled cause. And besides, history makes it obvious what happens to black militias trying to defend their rights. For some reason they don't qualify as patriots as easily as whites do.

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    So I wanted to finish my book before I finished. The comments are all well and good. But here’s the reality. The US didn’t go wrong in Vietnam. They won. Doubt me? Go to Saigon today. (And that’s what the locals call it). It’s a capitalist banking center. Look at the shops. From all over the world luxury goods. It’s a modern capitalist city. And with China seen as a threat, likely an ally of the US.

    It’s unrealistic to have expected the US of the fifties to walk away from Vietnam completely. The experiences in China and Korea were too new. Ho Chi Minh was a dedicated Stalinist, and he created a brutally repressive regime. Far more brutal and repressive than anything in South Vietnam, which probably gave them the edge against the South. The South could never be so disciplined because of the pressures from outside to be free. The other thing going against the South was simple geography. Without Cambodian sanctuary the VC would’ve withered and died. A corrupt Diem regime would’ve given way to a South Korean style democracy eventually. It may still happen for all Vietnam. It’s the South that’s really taking over the rest of Vietnam.

    SLD

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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    So I wanted to finish my book before I finished. The comments are all well and good. But here’s the reality. The US didn’t go wrong in Vietnam. They won. Doubt me? Go to Saigon today. (And that’s what the locals call it). It’s a capitalist banking center. Look at the shops. From all over the world luxury goods. It’s a modern capitalist city. And with China seen as a threat, likely an ally of the US.

    It’s unrealistic to have expected the US of the fifties to walk away from Vietnam completely. The experiences in China and Korea were too new. Ho Chi Minh was a dedicated Stalinist, and he created a brutally repressive regime. Far more brutal and repressive than anything in South Vietnam, which probably gave them the edge against the South. The South could never be so disciplined because of the pressures from outside to be free. The other thing going against the South was simple geography. Without Cambodian sanctuary the VC would’ve withered and died. A corrupt Diem regime would’ve given way to a South Korean style democracy eventually. It may still happen for all Vietnam. It’s the South that’s really taking over the rest of Vietnam.

    SLD
    That's like saying that the US won control of East Berlin after WWII, as evidenced by its lack of stalinism today.

    The US lost the Vietnam war. That Vietnam subsequently shrugged off Ho Chi Minh's style of communism has nothing much to do with the Americans, and everything to do with the Vietnamese.

    Indeed, we can see that throwing out the Americans was an essential part of this Vietnamese victory over totalitarian communism - if the Americans had maintained control of part of the country, then what would have happened in the communist part is clear. In the Korean peninsula, the presence of the Americans in the south as a perennial threat and bogeyman allows the extremists to present western style freedom as an existential external threat.

    It's the absence of American influence that allowed Saigon to take a relaxed and liberal approach to the desire of their population to have private property and the right to trade that property with minimal government interference.

    To present the victory of mixed market capitalism as somehow a victory for or by the USA is frankly insane, and only a blind US patriot with an extreme penchant for false dichotomy would suggest it.

    That Vietnam today has a government and economy that looks a bit more like that of the US than it does like that of North Korea is no more a sign of US victory in the Vietnam War than the fact that New Zealanders speak English proves that the Americans have successfully invaded their country.

    America not only doesn't have a monopoly on mixed market economics; They aren't even particularly good at it, as evidenced by your country's extraordinary levels of poverty, and woeful provision of essential services (such as healthcare) to vast swathes of your population.

    The Vietnamese people, having defeated the USA, didn't just sit around with their Dong in their hands, waiting for Americans to teach them how to do business. They are economically successful despite the Americans, not because of them. America may well be partly responsible for the economic conditions in North Korea (and South Korea too); But the economic conditions in Vietnam are entirely down to the Vietnamese.

    The American War, if anything, delayed the economic evolution of Vietnam. If America had stayed out - or gotten out far earlier - then likely Vietnam would have become a free and prosperous nation that much sooner than she actually did.

  8. Top | #18
    Junior Member ralfy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    So I wanted to finish my book before I finished. The comments are all well and good. But here’s the reality. The US didn’t go wrong in Vietnam. They won. Doubt me? Go to Saigon today. (And that’s what the locals call it). It’s a capitalist banking center. Look at the shops. From all over the world luxury goods. It’s a modern capitalist city. And with China seen as a threat, likely an ally of the US.

    It’s unrealistic to have expected the US of the fifties to walk away from Vietnam completely. The experiences in China and Korea were too new. Ho Chi Minh was a dedicated Stalinist, and he created a brutally repressive regime. Far more brutal and repressive than anything in South Vietnam, which probably gave them the edge against the South. The South could never be so disciplined because of the pressures from outside to be free. The other thing going against the South was simple geography. Without Cambodian sanctuary the VC would’ve withered and died. A corrupt Diem regime would’ve given way to a South Korean style democracy eventually. It may still happen for all Vietnam. It’s the South that’s really taking over the rest of Vietnam.

    SLD
    Vietnam could have gained that without the war and two million deaths. Also, it learned from China, which started during the late 1980s. Finally, the difference is that in these countries the Communist Party is still in control while in the U.S. political parties work for Wall Street.

    Interestingly enough, similar features are seen across many members of BRICS and emerging markets: authoritarian governments with financial oligarchs leashed.

    Finally, the U.S. could not have walked away because it needed control of natural resources in Indochina, and thus coupled that with the military industrial complex, the use of the dollar as a reserve currency, and the need to engage in and profit from permanent warfare.

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    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    Another way to look at Vietnam as a capitalist country is as proof as to how unnecessary the war was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Having grown up in the South during the Fifties and Sixties, I hardly think that Vietnam vets had much to do with the origins of White Supremacists.
    I don't think it's a matter of origins.

    And what about African American vets, who had a lot more to resent than being ignored. There aren’t that many African American mass shooters.
    I think the difference is obvious. Add or take away the "vet" part from an African American and you've got the same lower class citizen they've always been from the perspective of white America. Don't honor a white soldier? HOW DARE YOU! The rivers part and the skies open and the hammer of almighty gawd comes down against you.

    Thus, when a white vet snaps, they snap violently because they've never had to bend in their lives before. If you've been forced to bend since birth, you get used to it. Or snap in your younger days (and/or join the army in the first place in order to "snap" legally and in foreign lands).

    And the horrific irony is that the righteous hammer of SUPPORT THE TROOPS that sprang up as a direct result of how white Vietnam vets were treated upon returning what not about honoring the soldiers; it was (and is) about making sure that cannon fodder don't ever realize what they're being used for. Particularly for a volunteer army. If the recruitment posters all said: "Join the Army. Millionnaires need more pawns!" recruitment would (hopefully) plummet.

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