Insight into the Sad Background of the US Entry into the Vietnam War.

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by jumpinjarhead, Apr 9, 2012.

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  1. In addition to the several mea culpa books of McNamara and others that chronicle the false premises they orchestrated and serial strategic errors they made before and during the Vietnam War, there is this excerpt that provides one of those rare insights to a critical turning point for America. This was the briefing to Lyndon Johnson that sealed the fate of more than 55,000 lives of American fighting men and wasted the vast treasure of the USA.

    It is by Lt. Gen. Charles Cooper, USMC (Ret.) who is the author of "Cheers and Tears: A Marine's Story of Combat in Peace and War" (2002), from which this article is excerpted. The article recently drew national attention after it was posted on MILINET. It is reprinted with the author's permission.

    What a waste of blood and treasure.
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  2. Arnt they all.

  3. I would have thought ******* over your Allie Ho Chi Minh, who you'd promised the moon to when he was fighting the Japanese, in 1946 to suck up to the French was what sealed the fate of 55,000 US lives and about 2 million Vietnamese.

    He never even got a reply…

    OSS Deer Team members pose with Viet Minh leaders Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap during training at Tan Trao in August 1945. Deer Team members standing, l to r, are Rene Defourneaux, (Ho), Allison Thomas, (Giap), Henry Prunier and Paul Hoagland, far right. Kneeling, left, are Lawrence Vogt and Aaron Squires. (Rene Defourneaux)

    Ho Chi Minh and the OSS
  4. Interesting.

    You know LBJ later, when asked by Nixon (who was President at the time) what should be done about Vietnam, gave the answer: "Bomb the shit out of Hanoi!"
  5. I should think everyone here has heard the Clausewitz quote about war being a continuation of policy by other means.
    Unfortunately, politicians fail to realise that once these means are set in motion, they should let the experts do their stuff & stop meddling.

    Inform the Generals as to the political goal of the military action & then leave it up to them to achieve it.
  6. That's a quote from a film. Do you have other sources?
    Nixon (1995)
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  7. First of all Uncle Ho was not MY ally. Second, as far as I am concerned Indochina did not represent a sufficient national security interest for the US in any event. Finally, while I could well be wrong given my aging memory, but my recollection of the history of international relations is that it is more the rule rather than the exception for nations to shift their allegiance and support whenever it was deemed sufficiently expedient. If memory serves, this even includes the various governments of His/Her Majesty over the years.
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  8. What was the actual purpose of getting involved in vietnam in the first place? Was there a legitimate reason beyond preventing the spread of comunism? Or was there some kind of underhanded purpose? Like a strategic or economic benefit? (like the claims about Iraq).
  9. Several "reasons" including a treaty and the so-called "domino theory" that was a product of the proxy wars fought by the major powers in the Cold War where they could test each side's mettle without risking a general nuclear exchange.
  10. Sorry, JJH, I realise that I could go and research this or read a book but surely you don't mind me picking your brain just a wee bit, eh?

    When you talk about this domino effect, is that the idea that attacking several seemingly smaller or more insignificant nations will go on to affect the larger ones in a different way?
  11. It was more the notion among Western nations that allowing the Soviets to expand their hegemony by overthrowing governments of "smaller" nations would escalate like dominos falling if the West did not counter Soviet efforts aggressively.
  12. He means domino theory:
    Domino theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  13. Fascinating stuff Jim! Speaking as one who has travelled extensively in Vn and who is now beginning to speak the language so am picking up on local info all the time, the US made a superhuman effort in Vn but failed to win the day. Maybe MacNamara and LBJ believed so implicitly in the Domino Theory and in Americas inviolable right to win the war that they were blinded to reality.

    Certainly, the fact that ALL the senior officers of the services wanted LBJ's ear should have alerted LBJ to the fact that they all felt very strongly about the war.

    LBJ's tactic in abusing and belittling his senior military officers is reminiscent of several other leaders who were psychological bullies. Kruschev springs to mind and even Adolph (did he really chew the carpet?).

    And in retrospect what did the Vn war (called the American war in Vn) achieve. 55000 US citizens dead and over 1000,000 Vietnamese. And that's not including the Laos. Thailand is still not communist. Vietnam is kind of communist, but nothing like Soviet Russia and they have a deep seated dislike of the Ba Tau (Chinese); Cambodia is... well chaotic as it has always been; PDR Laos is said to be communist, but they pick and choose which bits of communism they want to adhere to; Myanmar, ostensibly a democratic country but with wide allegations of electoral fraud; Malaysia - a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy; Indonesia now has a popularly elected government; Philipines - some kind of democracy (stabilised by US assistance); Taiwan democratic with heavy support from the US but will rejoin China one day; South Korea decidedly anti communist and unlikely to change; North Korea, a dictatorship.... enough already.

    Was the war in Vn really undertaken to split Soviet resources and make a cold war victory earlier or more certain? And did the Vn war stimulate China into becoming a world power?
  14. Ah, I understand, sorry.

    So the alleged fear that continuing to allow communism to affect smaller countries would perhaps have serious consequences was touted as a reason for fighting the NVA?

    I understand that I'm putting that into incredibly dumbed down, simple terms, I just find all of this kind of interesting.

    The whole conflict just seems to have been undertaken on a massive scale for a really insignificant reason.
  15. It wasn't massive at first--just special forces. It was 1965 (to which the quote above refers) when LBJ succumbed to "mission creep" and expanded the war with regular forces. After that it became a function of its own inertia as we have seen in many other conflicts where more and more resources are committed so as not to "waste" the casualties and costs already suffered and incurred. All through this our political leaders and some senior flag officers without sufficient moral courage failed to ever grasp and correctly define the first principle of war--the objective.
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