Macnamara - Architect of Viet Nam debacle - has died

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Stonker, Jul 7, 2009.

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  1. There's a lesson in his words somewhere, for the retirees of the last US administration, for that preening spiv B'liar and for our own politicians.

    R.I.P.
     
  2. His view that modern military technology, including the first use of helicopters in large scale airmobile operation would defeat a peasant enemy, has some mirrors in todays conflicts.

    I read Robert masons "chickenhawks" still as i think it shows the fundamental flaw of taking and retaking the same piece of ground.

    It will be interesting if the two architects of chaos who decided on much of what has and is going wrong today show the contriteness as to the loss's!
     
  3. Good riddance.
     
  4. I don't know why you re all getting so hot and bothered about a chap from that era to be honest.

    Yes, he made decisions that cost lives etc etc...

    But, let's get things into perspective, shall we?

    It's not as if he was the leader of a band.................
     
  5. Or made millions from being a share holder or "director" of the companies who made BILLIONS from the vietnam war!
     
  6. I wouldn't say they were a "peasant" army... they had massive help from the Russians and Chinese. And due to various reasons were unable to widen operations and destroy supply lines in neighbouring countries very easily.

    The North Vietnamese Army was pretty much a professional force that fought and defeated the French Army (prior to the Vietnam War). The Viet Cong are a funny bunch... inthat they like to think of themselves seperate to, but the NVA like to think they were part of the NVA.

    Viet Cong operated in the South and Cambodia.

    It would be hard to say exactly why Viet Nam descended in to such a shambles for the Yanks.
     
  7. Martin van Crefeld on Moshe Dayan views on Vietnam
    I'd say failure in Vietnam had an awful lot to do with systemic problems in US democracy. Despite its military might the US is still a very inward looking nation. It's simply not set up to fight prolonged offensive wars and let's face it nation building is something Septics don't even like doing at home.

    Power is too centralized in the Oval Office during wartime. The incumbent is too often a poor war leader with a partisan domestic agenda. He is almost impossible to sack even if plainly incapable. Congress has just enough power to occasionally throw a damaging spanner in but otherwise all rests with the Commander In Chief.

    Frantic two year electoral cycles and an obsessive fear of rejection by the voter do not make for wise strategy. Wars are conjured up as a political means to a domestic end. They are entered into with the likely costs cooked from the books, a muddle of objectives and sugar iced with delusional missionary rhetoric. This leads to dishonest, rosily spun expectations of early victory and an emphasis on the tactical. Errors are more often white washed than corrected. Finally it ends in a bar lowering eagerness for precipitous withdrawal from the whole messy business having left behind a house of cards.

    Once a war stretches beyond a presidential term DC is handicapped. An implacable and farsighted opponent like Uncle Ho can hope that an unforced pratfall will eventually provide a window for victory. These problems are actually worse now than in the LBJ era and then at least the country wasn't in hock to Beijing.
     
  8. Perhaps-but he and his ilk caused good men (some of mine included) to die for a cause he knew was a lie. Call me petty.
     
  9. You might be interested in this discussion: On Yankee Station

    Based on the book by Cdr John B Nichols USN (Ret) and Barret Tillman.
     
  10. Many thanks.
     
  11. I should point out that that discussion that I posted a link to, like the book it takes its name from, could be seen as taking a naval viewpoint - at least in places. Nichols and Tillman suggest greater use of USN assets, such as an amphibious landing NORTH of the DMZ and not waiting until 1972 to mine Haiphong harbour would have made a difference.
     
  12. It was the 'limited war' scenario that both killed hundreds of thosands of people for no good reason and lost the war. A landing in 1969 near Haiphong harbour followed by a 3-way advance to Hanoi from the south, west and from an air landing would have shattered the NV war efforts in weeks. You'd have been left with a insurgency, but with no nation-state or vast amount of supplies to support them, they could have been taken care of. 40 years of communist dictatorship in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos could have been avoided, and all three states would have likely followed the South Korean emergence from authoritarianism and become prosperous democracies. If anything should haunt Macnamara, it's that.
     
  13. Would you buy a used car from so,eone who gives that kind of gurantee?

    20/20 counter-historical hindsight and wishful thinking

    Deal with the facts, not you fancies, PPuke
     
  14. Keep those personal insults coming Stonker, they really do make you look more credible than if you'd bothered to come up with a coherent counter argument to the points I've made.
     
  15. And if it failed? The NVA were a remarkably resilient army with a great deal of committed support from within and without Vietnam.

    Actually this does look like a much better idea than the unsustainable mess that evolved later.

    But what it had been succeeded. A re-unified Vietnam after the necessary Suharto style blood bath somehow converted into a beacon for democracy? Might have been a better outcome for this little corner of the world. It's not clear that such successful missionary zeal would have greatly benefited DC.

    It has to be remembered that Vietnam finally proved to be little more than a blow to US moral. It did cause a couple of million dead but defeat in fact left a healthily chastened DC with rather favorable options. Would DC's now vital economic relationship with China have evolved without its failure to quickly defeat the North? Would DC have taken boneheaded maximalist positions and pressed Beijing into the Kremlin's arms? Would we still be fighting the Cold War? Not unlikely, that's if our luck held and the ICBMs stayed in their silos.

    With hindsight of course it would have been far better for Truman to have come good on the Atlantic Charter and cut a deal with Uncle Hồ. The OSS had worked with him extensively and he repeatedly petitioned DC. Ike would betray the French over the rather similar case of Algeria later and pull the rug out from under Suez.

    It might have been an exemplary fissure in what would prove to a communist block riven by nationalist passions with little of the nightmare ideological cohesion DC feared existed. At worst judging by how belligerently Hanoi started to butt heads with Beijing once Saigon fell, that could have been happening two decades earlier.

    After all after throwing up a fog of pious motivations the only decent justification for this awful choice of theater the Pentagon chaps could offer Moshe Dayan with was containing Red China.