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August1991

The Vietnam War

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I recently got involved in a discussion with some foreigners (Americans and others) about American foreign policy and specifically about the Vietnam War.

The discussion was provoked because a few people had seen the 1970s movie Coming Home on satellite TV. I tried to explain that the movie was a product of Hollywood, and it was made for commercial reasons.

I also made the following more basic argument, as someone who is not American:

Several years ago, my car broke down in a small town in Wisconsin and I had to wait several hours while it was in a garage. In wandering around the town, I saw a small monument with the names of some 10 young men from the town killed in Vietnam. I realized, "There are thousands of towns like this across America."

It has been fashionable on the Left to say the Vietnam War was a big mistake and America should never have gotten involved. No doubt, there were many errors committed in Vietnam, and Robert McNamara has listed many. Nevertheless, America was right to get involved. America was fighting the good fight. The same one Churchill fought.

Since World War II, America has learned that it must defend the principles of liberty abroad where it can and when the threat is particularly great to America itself.

This defense of liberty sometimes means lengthy, complex wars that last for years.

On the balance of evidence, Iraq had WMD and this provided justification for war. The possibility Iraq would share these weapons with a terrorist group also justified war. One forgets also the signal this war delivers to other countries about America's intention to defend itself. Gaddafi is not the same as before.

Most Canadians travel abroad without visas, move freely from one part of Canada to another and write all kinds of nonsense on forums such as this. Too easily, we take these freedoms for granted.

As Canadians, we should be grateful those young Americans believed in their country, and grateful America won the Cold War.

IMV, the Vietnam War (like wars in Greece in the 1940s, Korea in the 1950s or Afghanistan in the 1970s and other proxy wars elsewhere) was one battle in the Cold War. The US (the West) ultimately won the Cold War.

In World War II, the Allies lost many battles and suffered many setbacks but they ultimately defeated Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan. IMV, Vietnam was one loss in the Cold War like Tobruk or Dieppe were losses in WWII - important battles lost in a larger war ultimatetly won.

It has also been fashionable to believe that America lost the Vietnam War because of domestic American public opinion. I disagree. Again, in my view, the Vietnam War was one battle in a larger Cold War and America (and the West) ultimately won the Cold War.

When an open democracy stands up to an organized authoritarian regime, or its proxy, we should all be thankful.

Edited by August1991

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In Vietnam, one battle in a larger war, an open democracy stood up to the proxy of an organized authoritarian regime (Soviet Russia/Maoist China) - and the democracy ultimately won.

Accept communism won and Vietnam is a communist country from the time America left until present.

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Accept communism won and Vietnam is a communist country from the time America left until present.

No matter....as August1991 has described.....Vietnam was just one battle in a much larger Cold War, which the "West" has clearly won. Vietnam is going the way of China and a market economy.....US Navy ships even make port calls these days.

Even when America loses...it ultimately wins.

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Accept communism won and Vietnam is a communist country from the time America left until present.
Have you been to Walmart and looked inside a bra?

Make no mistake. America and its ideals won.

Edited by August1991

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Have you been to Walmart and looked inside a bra?

So becuase they have an economy and export you won? You didn't fight a war with China and it is the same there did you win there too?

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So becuase they have an economy and export you won? You didn't fight a war with China and it is the same there did you win there too?
IOW, American ideals won. Freedom, even for Vietnamese. Edited by August1991

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American ideals won.

Freedom. Even for Vietnamese.

So capitalism is freedom now? I would saying having the right to chose your own government with out having to fight a war with country that is across two oceans is freedom. I guess being able to make a bra to sell in Walmart is what you consider freedom.

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So capitalism is freedom now?
Yes.
I guess being able to make a bra to sell in Walmart is what you consider freedom.
Whatever one's opinion of socialism or capitalism, or even the Vietnam War, I think that it's good for the world that ordinary American women can buy bras made by ordinary Vietnamese women.

To me, it's called co-operation. Punked, what do you call it?

Edited by August1991

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Yes.

I disagree, capitalism is a form of economy, not a political system. One can have a totalitarian regime that nevertheless uses capitalism, just as one can have a socialist democracy.

In any case, freedom is a matter of degree. What exactly is one free to do in a given society. Every nation restricts freedom to a certain extent to ensure a more smoothly-functioning society; of course some restrict it much more than others.

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This defense of liberty sometimes means lengthy, complex wars that last for years.

No, siding with despots and dictators and pretending its in the name of liberty - selling it out in other words - has a lot more to do with the length and complexity of the warfare plaguing the world right now.

When an open democracy stands up to an organized authoritarian regime, or its proxy, we should all be thankful.

Not when that same open democracy also sides with these or makes them its proxy, what's the point? The bitterness of injustice and death far outlasts the saccharine taste of good intent and the odd regret.

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Whatever one's opinion of socialism or capitalism, or even the Vietnam War, I think that it's good for the world that ordinary American women can buy bras made by ordinary Vietnamese women.

To me, it's called co-operation. Punked, what do you call it?

You assume with out the Vietnam war Americans would not be able to buy a bra from Vietnam, I contend the war had no effect accept costing a lot of people their lives. With or without it we would be in the same place, only thing different is some of my relatives would still be alive.

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You assume with out the Vietnam war Americans would not be able to buy a bra from Vietnam...
That's exactly what I contend.

Americans fought the fight of individual liberty. And punked, have you ever shopped in Walmart?

---

Walmart? Vietnam? Maybe I'm guilty but talk about a thread hijack.

I simply think that ordinary Americans stand up for basic American ideals of individual liberty. As a Canadian, I'm proud of America.

While not my era, I'm particularly appreciative of Americans who fought in Vietnam. As a foreigner who has read this history, and who has travelled, I appreciate Americans who defended American principles.

Edited by August1991

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....While not my era, I'm particularly appreciative of Americans who fought in Vietnam. As a foreigner who has read this history, and who has travelled, I appreciate Americans who defended American principles.

You're right for a lot of reasons....including the Canadians who volunteered and fought / died in Vietnam alongside the Americans, Australians, South Koreans, Kiwis, Philippinos, Thais, Hmong, etc.

Many thousands fled before and after the fall of Saigon to North America, adding to the fabric of Canada and the USA.

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Have you been to Walmart and looked inside a bra?

Have you without getting slapped?

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What a load of revisionist uber-patriotic ultra right wing bullshit. America ultimately won Vietnam because Vietnamese made bras are being sold in Walmart? The stupidity of such basing victory after the fact on such claims is second only to the OP's complete and utter blindness to history.

If anything, Vietnam is a victory for the Chinese model that combines Communism with Capitalism. In the end, Japan, China and Vietnam will end up owning the US......nice victory boys, when you are waving Old Glory this Fourth, best check to see where it was made.

Edited by Sabre Rider

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What a load of revisionist uber-patriotic ultra right wing bullshit. America ultimately won Vietnam because Vietnamese made bras are being sold in Walmart? The stupidity of such basing victory after the fact on such claims is second only to the OP's complete and utter blindness to history.

If anything, Vietnam is a victory for the Chinese model that combines Communism with Capitalism. In the end, Japan, China and Vietnam will end up owning the US......nice victory boys, when you are waving Old Glory this Fourth, best check to see where it was made.

Thank you. This is my point.

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There probably would still be a South Viet-Nam had ARVN been made more effective and its officer corp thrown to the crocodiles then replaced with competant, non-corrupt fellows. Nixon tried to get ARVN more involved in the actual fighting ("Vietnamization" was the term, if you recall), but other than the ARVN volunteer paratrooper/ranger companies, they were pretty darn useless. The 1972 NVA (Year of the Rat) offensive really showed this weakness as there were very few US combat troops to stop the Communist attacks. The main ARVN army was made up of conscripts with little to no motivation to fight for their country. Why bother? The Americans did a so much better job.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Offensive

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Americans fought the fight of individual liberty. And punked, have you ever shopped in Walmart?

As a Canadian, I'm proud of America.

While not my era, I'm particularly appreciative of Americans who fought in Vietnam. As a foreigner who has read this history, and who has travelled, I appreciate Americans who defended American principles.

A few million dead gooks would be inclined to disagree.

Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 52,000 to 182,000. Although most researchers of war history puts the civilian toll closer to 4 million. Complete statistics for the 1972 bombings are unavailable. Overall figures for North Vietnamese civilian dead range from 50,000 to "several million."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War_casualties

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...so would a few million dead Germans.

The Vietnamese weren't the Germans and you know it. Although the Cambodians which we started with the illegal bombings that was messed up.

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The Vietnamese weren't the Germans and you know it. Although the Cambodians which we started with the illegal bombings that was messed up.

So it was OK to "carpet bomb" German cities and civilians but not Vietnamese ?

Let me guess....Fat Man and Little Boy were "illegal" too..... :P

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So it was OK to "carpet bomb" German cities and civilians but not Vietnamese ?

Let me guess....Fat Man and Little Boy were "illegal" too..... :P

It wasn't our war.

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It wasn't our war.

WTF? See "Tonkin Gulf Resolution" (Public Law 88-408).

WWI and WWII were also not "our wars", but we sure as hell ended them.

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