Why Couldnt the US win the Viet Nam conflict? - Page 3

July 23rd, 2004  
Nop. It's Home front, not the vienamese.....
July 24th, 2004  
we lost vietnam because we lost the war at home with the antiwar movement screwed us over. and john kerry helped them win the war. even a north vietnamese generals said without the war movement and john kerry saigon would have fallen.
July 24th, 2004  
Mark Conley
Originally Posted by mrcool011
we lost vietnam because we lost the war at home with the antiwar movement screwed us over. and john kerry helped them win the war. even a north vietnamese generals said without the war movement and john kerry saigon would have fallen.

Okay...lets be fair. Can you post a credible link or article location on the North Vietnamese officers statements purely in regards to Kerry?

Yes, I understand there were many americans involved with giving aid and comfort to the North Vietnamese cause, and its a primary reason for the questioning by the american public for the reasons we were in Viet nam in the first place. (seems like famous personages lend weight to unformed public opinions).
July 30th, 2004  
silent driller
Originally Posted by Mark Conley
Originally Posted by FutureRANGER
...The Amerian people were another major factor. I've heard some Vietnam vets say they didn't lost the war, they just never got a chance to finish.
probly a good way to put it. we never turned the full might of our forces against North Viet Nam : wonder what would of happened if we did?

This is the key. We didn't go in to win. We went in to keep the peace and got our ass kicked. We would have ted the whole thing if it weren't for the improper midset. The peaceniks didn't help either.
August 6th, 2004  
In 69 Nixon already said he would go on with the war to secure "peace with honor" but since the beginning, even with the French, the vietmihn/vietcongs knew that the only victory laid in a military defeat and humiliation of the enemy. So they kept on the pressure until 73 when Nixon negotiated an "honorable" way out with the Paris agreement. The US are the only one that stuck to it by withdrawing their troops, leaving North and south at each other's throat.
To force Thieu (Southern puppet) to agree with the deal, US guarantees were given that US forces would come back in case of a Northern aggression.
South Vietnam was hyper corrupt and its forces "paper forces" and unwilling to fight or die.
Watergate kicked Nixon out.
Ford was not even elected.
America wanted the end of it.
Congress thought it was time to take a revenge from the executive.
The US ambassador in Vietnam was "crazy".
None of the past agreements with Thieu were respected.

The politics and the country lost the war. Not the soldiers.
The French were fighting in Dien Bien Phu while their government was negocitating in Geneva...Do you think the North would have agreed on cutting the country in 2 at the 17th parallel if the French forces were really defeated?
US forces did not learn from the French successes and mistakes and were also betrayed by the people and the politicians.
August 7th, 2004  
Whether the Vietnam War could have ever been won by the US, its hard to say, but there are lots of reason why it was such a miserable failure.
1.) We were backing some very corrupt and tyranical governments in Saigon. That made us look like the badguy in the eyes of many Vietnamese.
2.) We went into it all half-ass and with no real objective.
3.) We let North Vietnam pump supplies into the South, almost with no resistence whatsoever. By the time the US actually tried to take decisive action to stop the flow of supplies down the Ho Chi Min trail, the enemy was far too entrenched and too well prepared for it.
4.) We tried to run the War from Washington, not from the front. That kind of warfare never ever works.
August 7th, 2004  
I posted this a while back in some other message board. It's a pretty long answer, addressing the question of why we lost despite the fact that we won the battles. So forgive me, but I copied and pasted the post I made (because to do it again would probably ensure that my Latin is never going to get done).

Be advised, there were some parts of the post which were pretty snide to the readership. The posters on that board aren't exactly the wisest in political debates, nor the most mature, so I was a bit forceful in ramming the lovely truth (even though they didn't pay attention). So if you see any umbrage in the post, it doesn't refer to you, unless it does.

As always with Vietnam debates, it slowly trickles away from a mild discussion of military and social principles and becomes a quasi-political gaggleflop. Really now, can we back away from the inflamed opinions, not to mention do some decent research and possibly come to a discussion? Going on about causes alone isn't enough to declare a victory/loss, there are other factors involved which make or break the fight. Unless you're talking about the cause leading into developing the morale and determination of the fighters. So much for a preamble. And because of GFaqs' TOS, I can't use the time proven NCO style of explaining things, so I'll have to be astute and eloquent in my case.

Now, I'll freely admit my personal experience and that of my parents is quite limited about the war itself. In order to clear up any possible confusion of the sort in the future regarding my hand in this.

I'm a 1st generation born American (Ah-ha, I didn't say Vietnamese-American or American-Vietnamese or any of those other racial euphamisms that people use. Just a minor quirk of mine, not that I'm particularly shameful of being Vietnamese, it's just that I'm not a citizen of the Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam [Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the current name of what was North Vietnam]) of Vietnamese descent. I'm pretty young generational wise in relation to the war, as well as my parents. I'm on the verge of graduating high school, and next year I'm entering the United States Army. My MOS is going to be 11B: Infantryman, Rifleman, GI, Grunt, Groundpounder, Doughboy if you will. So I take a big interest in how Vietnam was carried out by all parties. I also happen to be an amatuer student of history (military history, specifically WWII and Vietnam), by no means an expert, but I try nonetheless. My parents on the other hand, were mere children during the time of the war. Also, they were raised in far off areas of the countryside (although my mom was born in Saigon on the second day of the Offensive); my dad in Dao Nam Du (little bitty hellhole of an island far down south, doubt anyone has gone there, doubt anyone knows about it. I've been there a few times, great loads of fun [in a pig's eye]. Brownie points for any congnoscenti {Speaking of Latin, I should be working on my Latin assignments instead of this, but the discussion's too rich to pass up}), my mom grew up in Nam Binh (it's a ways nearby Vung Tau, a city many people will be familiar with in one way or another. Nice beaches, well, used to.). My extended family with a couple of exceptions were removed from the war, they saw it through the eyes of civilian bystanders in far off places (my dad's side of the family lived out in the boonies for this express reason, so he's got no experience whatsoever about Charlie's rule.). My mom was in school when Victor Charles took over, and she remembers getting a primer in air raid procedures during the height of the Khmer Rouge fiasco in which the Vietnamese went in and kicked the hell out of Pol Pot and faced threats of invasion by China. My parents are both 'boat people,' they went on those dinghy-wannabe excuses for boats and went off to Thailand and other similar places and were stuck in refugee camps until they were sponsored over to the US (they're both citizens now, and quite proud of it). So all in all, my family history's only a small glimpse into the aftermath of the war. I've been back there four times in my life, Charlie (I just call the Cong San [Communists] that for the hell of it) is a perpetual pain in the ass. He expects bribes out the ass everywhere you go, whatever you do, and there's also that lovely lack of freedom of movement. But that's enough of personal recollections, onto the meat of the post: my thoughts on why the US and RVN collectively lost the pot in Vietnam.

One book that really stands out in my mind as a good insight into why the war was slanted downhill (not to mention being just a damned good autobiography) is Colonel David H. Hackworth's About Face: The Oddssey of An American Warrior. He was a helluva combat leader in both Korea and Vietnam and is up there on my list of people. He's got a pretty good website and group called Soldiers For the Truth: www.sftt.org . Check it out sometime.

Yes, the US won all the battles in Vietnam. Face it, Charles couldn't stand up to the US in an open battlefield, hands down. Once the smoke and dust from an artillery barrage cleared up, the US was still standing on the plain. But therein lies the folly. The US may have won the territory in that battle, but the North took it back in the night once the US left the land. The North owned the night, and in that they were able to take control of the people (by fear or other reasons). The US wasn't able to provide enough incentive through programs or protection to convince the people to fight it out on their own against the North (with the exception of Montangards and the like, who are on their own anyways and are still considered second class by Vietnamese in general). Sure, the Americans were generous and were powerful combatants, but that didn't help much when you wake up in the middle of the night to get castrated and strangled with piano wire. That's one step into the rabbit hole.

Another point is to the cost at which it took to maintain that ground (which I'll refer to as World War II style thinking at the moment: viewing terrain as critical and the condition of victory/defeat in a war), it was ultimately ridiculous. The guerilla forces only whittled away US manpower in the American efforts to maintain terrain that NVA forces could plausibly break through had they had any large standing formations (big no-no with the American big-stick of artillery and bombers). And in the pursuit of 'body count,' ridiculous amounts of munitions were used in order to get just one, the resources used to confirm the body count put many infantrymen into absurd risks, and was ultimately a lousy means of determining success (via means of attrition). A greater effort should have been placed into civil programs, especially involving Special Forces to take back the night from the North and let the people eventually take over their own defense. Further Alice.

The Americans and RVN both take the next point. The RVN and ARVN and AFRVN (Republic of Vietnam, Army of the Republic of Vietnam and Air Force of the Republic of Vietnam respectively) were largely corrupt, especially in the officer ranks. Not to dismiss the young volunteers, but you can't have jack without good leadership. So it was a large waste of resources and morale overall once the US left, which brings me to the point. RVN was all too willing to let the US take over everything, and the US was all too eager to do so. So ARVN and AFRVN kicked back and relaxed while the foreign Americans killed themselves while they leeched off of the 'Horn of Plenty from the Land of the Big PX,' never imagining the day where the US would pull the plug. But lo and behold, one day the US did, under the title of 'Vietnamization (which was trying to get the RVN armed forces off of their asses and into shape before ultimately leaving them to the hands of the NVA).' Some of the RVN forces got the message and were able to put up an adequate fight, but others didn't and collapsed as the NVA launched their first WW2 style offensive in 1975 (after the Americans left of course, now they can't be battered from afar).

And the most important factor of all, morale. Victor Charles (not specifically referring to the VC, but the North in general. VC is short for Viet Cong San: Vietnamese Communist anyways.) was drilled politically 'round the clock to the merits of his side of the war. Thus, he knew what he was fighting for (unification and all that other communist jazz). The US and RVN forces were largely in confusion in terms of a specific ideal (except freedom, but for most people, that isn't enough. A pity.). So people flocked to the NVA's banner, if only to end the long years of fighting.

So the US could have used a lot of work in waging the guerilla war, along with letting ARVN do more of its fair share of the work. If the war was going to be fought WWII style, it should have invaded the North and taken Hanoi. Which brings up the question of Chinese and Russian involvement.

Honestly people, you need to do some more reading into the relations that the Chinese and Vietnamese have had with each other. Vietnam didn't spend a thousand years to kick China out on its ass for nothing. If anything, it probably would've sped up unification under god knows what in order to hurry up and kick the Chinese out of the country, ICBMs be damned. I'll have you know that when Vietnam invaded Cambodia in the 80's to kick out Pol Pot, the Chinese were threatening Vietnam with invasion if it didn't pull out, so much for the great communist brotherhood. I'm not sure about how Russian involvement would've played out, but it wouldn't be so simple as 'Russia and China unite with Vietnam to boot out the Capitalist invaders.' There's too much enmity (societal and cultural, not easily replaced by ideological, communism) between the three of them. So real sketchy speaking there. As for the precedent in Korea, eh. Korea's always been the hind tit of China or Japan in the past millenium anyways. But that's beside the point.

Alrighty, I think I've wrapped up my points enough (as far as I can think of at 10 am). I don't particularly feel like getting into a right/wrong discussion, because that's not the point of the discussion question. The question is asking why was the war lost, and there's the plain and simple answer. No need to get the emotionally charged stories out and in the open. They aren't going to turn the tide of the battle which finished decades ago in the past. There's a time and place for that, but it's not in the discussion of the question presented.

My response might be a bit crude, but it's being a Private I aspire to, not a General.

-Cadet Cpl. Ho, N. C. USMCJROTC
August 7th, 2004  
I think it's was two things that caused us to loose the Vietnam war:

1) The Viet Con were resourceful. You bomb a road that you know they pass supplies on, they have it rebuilt right away. They were brutal and they had an objective, and that was to win.

2) The support back home - soldiers rely on the fact the people back home are supporting them. There was some to begin with but as the war dragged along, it vanished, not saying there wasn't any support cause there was. But you never heard about those folks. Also from just ... talks with my dad, some US troops were involved in drugs and alcohol. Some ran drugs back home in body bags (see The Boys in Company C for an example). We weren't together in that war as we are now. It wasn't because of the draft, I believe there were men who were there to do their job and get the hell out. But it collapsed as the war drew on. We pulled out troops and as the city of Saigon fell - when "White Christmas' was being played, we were a nation, where we didn't quite know who we were and what we were doing in this world. We lost a war. That's a huge hit to the patriotic pride of a nation.

I believe it wasn't until Ronald Reagan became President, where people felt proud to be Americans again. I believe the entire 1963-70s, is a period that most Americans were not fond of.

Some say America changed when President Kennedy was assassinated and I believe that. We weren't whole anymore and we didn't really want to fight, we didn't have Vietnam declared as an official war, our Presidents of that war did things that maybe they shouldn't have done. The Generals as well.

But not enough funding that was directed in the right places, sure, it was funded, but not much to show for it. Not enough moral support and the Viet Con, sneaky and brutal.

We lost the war on the home front before we lost it over in Vietnam. Our troops come home and they're spit on. You have to think it wasn't until our soldiers came home from the first Gulf War, where we were proud of military.
August 7th, 2004  
I'd have to add one item to my list. The US Media did almost as much to sabatage American success as the politicians and other morons running the whole affair. The Media's behavior throughout was shameful beyond words to describe.
August 11th, 2004  

Topic: The Landscape

I liked how you called it a Conflict and not a War, that is a common mistake. The US never officially went to "war" with the Vietcong, we were only assisting the Vietnamese people with their problem, not declaring war against north vietnam. We went over there without studying the landscape at all, a problem that has been alleviated in the following years after Vietnam. Furthermore, the psychological evaluations of the new recruits to all branches of service were not efficiant or thorough enough to say whethter the person was emotionally or mentally stable (history channel) "they asked you your name, if you knew where you were, where you were going and if you FELT ok". Point Blank, we knew nothing about this country, yet the US has always stepped in to other peoples problems. I mean, sure I'm all for defending our country, but since when did defending our country mean solving everyone else's problems?