Vietnam War: Who Was Right And Why It Matters

Ken Burns, a documentary film maker, is airing his 13 part series on the Vietnam War on PBS….so I thought that I would post a few articles about that war and how it pertains to today.

There are many these days that compare Afghanistan to Vietnam….that there are many similarities and lessons not learned……

The ghosts of the Vietnam War no doubt hovered over a recently assembled conclave of President Donald Trump’s advisers as they deliberated over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

In the Vietnam era, as today, the United States found itself engulfed in a seemingly never-ending war with mounting costs, unclear goals and few signs of success, writes this Drake University professor.

Source: Vietnam War: Who was right about what went wrong – and why it matters in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has become a stalemate, a quagmire, just as Vietnam….and no one wants to admit it and they, the Pentagon, keeps throwing resources at a conflict that is going no where.

Some lessons are harder to learn than others…..I guess.

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14 thoughts on “Vietnam War: Who Was Right And Why It Matters

  1. Most of us who have paid a price in some way have learned the lesson. My guess is that war profiteers and psychopathic/sociopathic misleaders will continue making the same “mistakes” until they’re forced to learn.

  2. There are undeniable comparisons, but the biggest difference is the absence of conscription. If people were being forced to fight and die in places like Afghanistan and Yemen, instead of being volunteer soldiers, those wars would soon lose all public support.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Chuq, great and timely post! Just back from Charleston; but, I’ve also been working on a piece, comparing conventional and unconventional war, as the reason we’ll never win against a less powerful enemy.

    No sacrificial lamb has gone, head-to-head, against the technologically-equipped army with superior firepower. Rather, David breaks into small groups, pecks away at Goliath, and even lures him into terrain–jungles, mountains or cities–which negate the stronger man’s superior firepower and tactics.

    Within the US Military, there seems to be a theme: “No More Vietnams”, since we left there with our tail between our legs. Both Johnson and Nixon were distracted elsewhere, but tried to use the war for political purposes. After the Tet (Chinese Lunar New Year) Offensive in January of 1968, the War was ostensibly over; however, Nixon kept it going, in order to help his re-election, and it finally ended in January of 1973.

    How many young American lives, let alone Aussies, Kiwis, ROKs, Filipinos, and Canadians…and of course Vietnamese civilians and military, during that five years, in a war that was a Huge Mistake.

    Yesterday, I picked-up “A Bright Shining Lie”, by Neil Sheehan, which had been mentioned at the screening of the Ken Burns series, at the Kennedy Center. It won the Pulitzer for Non-Fiction that year!

    1. “No More Vietnams” and we create them every decade or so….let me know when your piece is done….I will be writing about Vietnam for the next week or so…..chuq

  4. Ho Chi Minh was elected as president of the united post WW 2 country in 1946 by 95% of the vote in which 90% of people voted. Then France came back, then we got in. Vietnam right. Matter of fact Ho Chi Minh was in US expecting support for one Vietnam and removal of
    French. There was no chance of domino theory of China moving into Vietnam post WW 2. After US withdraw one Vietnamese official said “Do you really think we’d let China in ? We’ve been fighting them on that for 2,000 years. “

  5. After US withdraw one Vietnamese official said “Do you really think we’d let China in ? We’ve been fighting them on that for 2,000 years. – correctamundo. And just who has “won” in ruling the Afghans in the last 1,000 years? Nobody – not even Afghans. No shame in knowing when to leave well enough alone – just let those who have worked for us come here, if they wish to save themselves from retribution.

    1. Nedhamson, your point is right on target! Vietnam was ruled by China for 1,000 years, and Hanoi doesn’t want them back, nor does it want France or America, as occupiers. They have embraced the ability to export to the West, and they’ve opened the Cam Ran Bay Naval Base for the US Navy to repair and refuel ships, and sailors to have shore leave. Among all of the countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is the strongest, and it is currently playing one superpower against the other.

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