Why Couldnt the US win the Viet Nam conflict? - Page 12

January 8th, 2010  
A lot of the documentaries I have watched on Vietnam seems to point out the system of bringing in conscripts into units and pulling them out after 12 months effected esprit de corp and surviving to go home was the main goal. It seems that morale was effected but I stand to be corrected on this. I thought this was the reason the US went all volunteer military.
January 9th, 2010  
That system is still in place for all modern forces.
January 9th, 2010  
Originally Posted by FourDeuce
"Over the years I have noticed that a lot of people say we lost the war in Viet Nam,"

We(as a country) lost the war, but I keep reminding people that it was NOT a loss for the military. The US military won every major(and most of the minor) engagements during the entire war. Anybody who would call that a military loss doesn't understand what a military loss is.
The military did what they were sent over there to do(at least when they could figure out what they were supposed to do). The country lost the will to fight and abandoned the people of Vietnam(as well as the people it sent over to fight).
War is more than military action & Vietnam is the most obvious example of politics trumping the battlefield. The military won the battles, but the War was lost @ home through a, no doubt, Communist inspired, peace now/pacifist movement that undermined the situation. Politics are an integral part of modern warfare, look @ the effort to undermine support for the Iraq War. Every night we saw troops in what looked like the same rice paddy apparently accomplishing nothing beyong recieving casulties. In Iraq we were treated to nightly vids of car bombings & chaos. "The War is lost!" or "We War is unwinnable". To many Vietnamese the "We won militarily" is a preposterous position to hold. Here in the US we saw a gutting of the military & a loss of will to do much militarily overseas that lasted untill Gulf War 1.
March 16th, 2010  
The people lost support for the war, and when your people do not want to fight anymore, especially in a democratic or republican nation, defeat will always be near.

If we fought too aggressively, we'd be fighting China and possibly Russia, and we'd have WWIII on our hands.
April 13th, 2010  
I think the big point that everyone is missing is that the US was not willing to reorganize its' forces necessary to win the type of war they were fighting in Vietnam. Since the Cold War was the "elephant in the room" during that conflict, a conventionally trained military equipped to fight off the Soviet hordes through the Fulda Gap took priority.

Still, the US forces that fought in Vietnam did very well against their adversaries in the VC/NVA. Unfortunately, the Communists dictated the intensity and duration of the conflict. The North Vietnamese never had to win against the US, they simply had to NOT LOSE. This is exactly what happened. US forces were geared to fight a large maneuver conventional war. They made some changes that evolved during the war to meet immediate needs, but never a comprehensive overhaul of forces to deal with a war that was really to be fought over the populations allegiance rather than the number of enemy combatants that could be killed.

There is no question that the US was able to inflict atrocious casualties to the Communists ground units fighting in and around South Vietnam, Some of these units being forced to be completely refitted because there was so few personnel left. But, the US cold never pursue these broken formations into their sanctuaries in North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. A conventional fight where the US would have occupied all key areas used by the NVA/VC as command/staging areas would have had a decisive impact in bringing the Communist to their knees. Instead, the US committed to ensuring the South Vietnamese remained sovereign, dispelling them of the influence of the NVA and VC cadres. In order to accomplish this the US should have geared their war effort into training the respective South Vietnamese forces and simultaneously deny the VC/NVA access to the population of the South. This was something that the US never committed to and probably the major reason they were unsuccessful in preserving the Souths regime.

Essentially, we should have recognized that we were on the Strategic defensive and fought the war accordingly, rather actually being on the strategic defensive and fighting it as if we were on the offensive.
May 2nd, 2010  
In short, we let it drag on far too long.
As an adviser I was indoctrinated to believe we were there to prop up the south until they could take over operations.

We failed to enforce that and they failed to pick up the slack.

Tet 68 was the breaking point.

Johnson had told us that the enemy's back was to the wall.
Intel given him indicated that.
When Charlie rose out of every crack crevice and sewer during Tet, 68, it gave the illusion that they were much stronger and resourceful than they were.

Folks at home demanded we quit. Cowardly politicians acquiesced.
The best we could have done was to maintain air support and supplies.

We never were there to win.
May 3rd, 2010  
In reviewing this topic there seems to be some questions.

From the title who is being referred to?

"Why couldn't the US win the Viet Nam conflict?"

Is it the government? Was it the people?

Is it the military? If so what military?

Obviously, it wasn't the US military as they were withdrawn from the conflict.

Seems the Paris agreement was not honored and the North continued their aggression. With out the US military support the South Vietnamese government collapsed.

Should the US have stayed? Making it a never ending war, similar to the never ending topic this is?
May 18th, 2010  
There is often much discussion made on how the United States was supposedly bested in the Vietnam War by a group of “jungle fighters.” Many pundits will look at the American involvement in that war and scoff at the inability of the American soldiers who were sent there to achieve any sort of victory against a foe who is supposed to have been grossly incapable of handling the Americans in any real way. To most who look back on the Vietnam conflict, it is little more than a byword for the mishandling of American resources and a source of mockery of American military prowess. It seems to me that this is far from the truth however, and at least deserves a second look. When I research the Vietnam conflict, I see a valiant group of soldiers, fighting without the support of their people or their politicians, a war in which they were not given any real objectives or way to win. The American soldiers fought for years in a grisly war of attrition which they won in a landslide. The North Vietnamese certainly won the political Vietnam War, but the American soldiers won the military one.

The naysayers will certainly suggest that the Americans had to pull out of Vietnam in the end, but that has little to do with whether or not the American soldiers proved themselves capable of defeating the North Vietnamese. It has much more to do with the fact that Americans decided they didn’t want to do what it would take to fight the kind of war which was required to win against the North Vietnamese, so they pulled their soldiers out. Contrary to popular opinion, the US was not trying to win the Vietnam War at any cost, if that was the case, the Americans would have just used nuclear bombs and turned North Vietnam into a lake. The inability of the American soldiers to achieve victory is not a discredit to them or their military capability, but rather to the ignorance of American policy makers who thought they could waltz through a highly prepared and capable enemy. I believe that given the circumstances the US military was placed in, it was able to wage a cruelly effective war against its North Vietnamese adversaries. One must look no further than the casualty numbers of the North Vietnamese to see the facts supporting this conclusion. The United States lost around 60,000 soldiers in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese released a statement in 1995 suggesting that 1.5 million North Vietnamese combatants were killed in the Vietnam War. It is very likely that this number is far less than accurate. So why are “experts” so quick to discredit the American military for its efforts in Vietnam? The answers are less than conclusive.

The biggest attempt by the Vietnamese to make a legitimate military effort against the Americans was the Tet Offensive of 1968. This campaign by the Vietnamese made a lot of noise, but was overwhelmingly defeated by the American and South Vietnamese forces. To say that the Vietnamese took a sound beating would be a massive understatement. What is so sad about the Vietnam conflict is not that the American military was bested (it wasn’t), but how handicapped the American military was by its leadership. I wonder how things would have been different in Vietnam if the Americans had decided to stop handcuffing their soldiers by forcing them to fight a half hearted war.

It seems to me that in the Vietnam War the American soldiers were fighting a numerically superior enemy, on its home turf, with one hand tied behind their backs as a result of the political wrangling going on at home. The Vietnamese had decades of experience in the warfare that was about to ensue, and had also spent years making elaborate defenses and procedures for carrying out their unique method of warfare. They had miles of supply lines crawling all over neighboring countries the US soldiers were unable to touch, and the North Vietnamese also had the distinct advantage of being able to blend into their surroundings with an ease impossible to the Caucasian Americans. American soldiers went into Vietnam and from the get go were essentially fighting a body count war. That was the mission they were basically assigned, and they accomplished it with an ease which is somewhat unbelievable given the circumstances. America lost 60,000 soldiers in Vietnam, but helped killed over a million North Vietnamese. The Americans lost only six percent of the soldiers the Vietnamese lost. To me that sounds like not just a victory, but a major one
May 18th, 2010  
America lost 60,000 soldiers in Vietnam, but helped killed over a million North Vietnamese. The Americans lost only six percent of the soldiers the Vietnamese lost. To me that sounds like not just a victory, but a major one
Using that logic, the Axis forces didn't lose WW2, they won it
May 18th, 2010  
Originally Posted by redcoat
Using that logic, the Axis forces didn't lose WW2, they won it
Yes when you take the text out of context.
What I meant was; it was a strategic victory.

The U.S. did not lose the war in Vietnam; the South Vietnamese did after the U.S. Congress cut off funding.

The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years after the American military left Vietnam.