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Was Vietnam War to prevent North Vietnam from enforcing the 1954 Geneva Accords?

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  • #91
    Originally posted by BF69 View Post
    Sadly the people on this board who could give you the best tips no longer post. This one is good, and the link is to the PDF. Given the prices I've seen quoted for it the PDF is your best chance of reading it.

    https://epdf.tips/vietnams-forgotten...-the-arvn.html
    Thanks for that!

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    • #92
      Originally posted by BF69 View Post

      Thanks jeff. By no means comprehensive, but something I've given a bit of thought to.

      As a younger man I was wholly on board with what might be called the 'standard leftish narrative' - Communist Vietnamese = brave liberators, Americans = oppressors, non-Communist Vietnamese = corrupt collaborators. Engaging in a deep study of the war and living in the midst of a large expat Vietnamese community (I walk past the old RVN flag daily) beat the simplistic tendencies out of me.

      I once commented to a Vietnamese acquaintance at Uni that the Vietnamese 'won'. As a child of Sth Vietnamese immigrants he quickly corrected me - 'not all of us'. Since then I have worked with a man whose parents fled the North and whose father was a minor RVN official. He turned 18 in 1975 & recalled the years of living in terror as friends & acquaintances disappeared for months or years on end...or sometimes forever. A few years ago i was getting a blood sample taken at a local pathology lab. I had just got back from a trip to Vietnam, so I asked the nurse if she had ever returned home. She gave me the saddest look and said 'I have no home'.

      None of these experiences redeems the profound failures of non-Communist Vietnamese & the RVN, but it has been a reminder that brushing aside their perspectives is an act of prejudice pure & simple. I still think the 'leftish' critique of US actions has something to offer, but only balanced by an understanding of the worst aspects of Communist behaviour and the perspectives of the non-Communist Vietnamese.
      As someone who leans to the left politically, I think this is exactly it. Many of the left and right often fall into simplistic black & white (or maybe black & grey is more accurate) view of foreign affairs, in the case of the Vietnam that the DRV may not have been pure/incorruptible but it was essentially right, with the opposite saying the same of the US/RVN. Although I tend to sympathise more with the anti-imperalist movement in general, the brutality of the DRV towards it's own citizens and the South, as well as the fact for the corruption and repression of the RVN there were ARVN soldiers who showed valour and determination in combat, the idea that any war can be black and white is laughable and Vietnam is no exception.

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      • #93
        Originally posted by Queensland View Post

        As someone who leans to the left politically, I think this is exactly it. Many of the left and right often fall into simplistic black & white (or maybe black & grey is more accurate) view of foreign affairs, in the case of the Vietnam that the DRV may not have been pure/incorruptible but it was essentially right, with the opposite saying the same of the US/RVN. Although I tend to sympathise more with the anti-imperalist movement in general, the brutality of the DRV towards it's own citizens and the South, as well as the fact for the corruption and repression of the RVN there were ARVN soldiers who showed valour and determination in combat, the idea that any war can be black and white is laughable and Vietnam is no exception.
        The shades of grey are almost endless. Sometimes they can become a bit of a swamp, but that swamp needs to be traversed to get a decent understanding of the conflict.

        My default sympathy was & is with the desire for independence. What has changed since I was much younger is an understanding of just how noxious an idea Communism is and the extent to which its practitioners were determined to enforce it on their nations. The ruthlessness of the Vietnamese Communists in dealing with others seeking independence is one of the things that changed my mind about such movements. There were groups in Vietnam as violently opposed to French rule as the Viet Minh, but in the end their choice was to accept a Communist dictatorship, ally with the French or Americans or give up. Variations of this were repeated in country after country. It is a profound tragedy that so many postwar liberation movements ended up in the hands of one of the worst ideas in human history.
        Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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        • #94
          shades of Gray. Exactly. Most veterans I know from that war are as divided on how they view our attempts at doing the "right thing" as there are veterans. There is, and never will be a definitive answer to the whys and wherefores of that war. Its early roots which I think go back into the 1800's up till the present day are as unanswerable as any point in history that you can find. there were just too many ideals and different ideologies and just plain idiots involved to ever have a definitive rhyme or reason to any of it...…….The more knowledge I aquire about that conflict ,the more angry and confused I get. And I was there. I do know this for sure...…...the Vietnamese deserved better.

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          • #95
            They did indeed Jeff, they did indeed.
            Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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