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For the Vietnam afficienados.

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  • For the Vietnam afficienados.

    On the Vietnam forum , an interesting question was asked about the cutting of US funding to ARVN after the American withdrawl in the early 70's. My knowledge is limited in this area but I'm no less interested. I was wondering how you folks think things would have played out through the 70' or even beyond if such assistance had continued.

  • #2
    I don't believe that continued funding would have prevented the final outcome. Now if the North had removed their troops after the 73 cease fire, it might have made a difference, though small the chance may have been.

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    • #3
      It would not have made a difference. Thre problems for the South were corrupt leadership, poor motivation and poor training. Too much of what money there was went into the pockets of senior South VN commanders and political leaders - many of the senior commanders never involved themselves with their commands but left that function to subordinates.

      The North was tough, ruthless and motivated, something the South never acquired. Not too surprising when the average South Vietnamese citizen really didn't see much difference between the corrupt government of the South and the Communist-inspired government of the North.
      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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      • #4
        What if that support had included air support which is I believe what was what originally intended?

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        • #5
          South Viet Nam had an air force, purchased entirely by us, which if you recall boogied out to the carriers when the going got tough, sacrifing their choppers and stranding hundreds if not thousands of their countrymen in the process.

          Had the South Vietnamese kept their heads, they couod have fwerried a lot of people to those carriers bwefore the whole thing collapsed. American forces worked miracles pulling embassy personnel and others off the roof of the Embassy under extremely difficult conditions, but again, the South Vietnamese simply lacked the necessary commitment.

          No matter what we did or did not give that nation under any alternative scenario, unless the alternate allows for an entirely different national government and national will, the North is going to win.
          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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          • #6
            The 'Easter Offensive" of 1973 was defeated by ARVN with massive US air support. ARVNs logistics situation was also better in 1973 due to US funds.

            Rising fuel costs post 1973 made the motorized ARVN less viable without increased funds. There was a urgent need to replace destroyed and worn equipment after the 1973 campaign. The US Congress was wrestling with its own fiscal problems and with the US supporters of South Viet Nam weakened the choice was made to reduce funds for ARVN.

            Faced with inadaquate resources the leaders of South VN made the decsion to consolidate their weakening army, abandoning portions of the sparsly populated central highlands. The withdrawl was badly handled and turned into a rout when pursued by the NVA. The US executive branch was still in dissarray and decisive intervention as in 1973 was not practical.

            The NVA was not capable of sustained offensive operations of the same scale as 1973. Losses had not yet been completely replaced and training of the replacements was far from complete. A limited campaign had been contemplated for 1974-75. This was modified to take advantage of the South VN decision to withdraw from several highland provinces. The NVA was not capable of and had no plans for a "final offensive". When the ARVN proved weaker than expected, panicked, and US support did not appear in suffcient quantity the NVA reacted swiftly and launched aggresive pursuit that carried through to Saigon.

            Had the US provided the necessary funds to maintain the ARVN in position, and been able to mobilize the necessary air support South VN would have survied through the 1975 campaign season. The NVA would have held back until ready for another full scale effort in late 1975 or 1976. This cycle would have continued until either the US ceased the necessary support of South Viet Nam, or the North Veit Nam leadership changed its policy.

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            • #7
              I believe that nothing short of a long term drawn out US involvement (even longer then what were were already there for) and an expansion of the war into North Vietnam could have won it for us.

              Could we have won? Yes but we made too many mistakes and let politics and the media influence to much.

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              • #8
                I don't much care for "what if's," but amongst my experienced colleagues is a feeling that the south was beginning to rise to the task at hand.
                Some of them showed some serious mettle towards the end.
                Continued air support may have had an impact.
                Our politicians yanked us out, but after a very protracted involvement that did not seem to be working. For one thing, their political skins were in danger from the commie inspired anti-war movement.
                It's interesting to read some of the thinking that the North was on the ropes, but no one seemed to know it.
                The corruption, which continues unchecked, was a big factor.
                All those "Saigon Cowboys" parading about with their criminal activities did not help.
                We had a group of these who had volunteered for the CIDG program.
                They all deserted and bad things happened to them as they made their way through the wilderness heading South.
                We let it drag out too long, let the ARVNS lay about too long and did little to stop or at least confront the corruption.

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                • #9
                  IMO the answer is simple. The NVA had far more motivation then the AVRN. No matter which way you look at it the NVA would win eventually even if Soviet and Chinese assistance stopped. Why? Because they weren't just some petty CIA established government.

                  Ho Chi Minh > US puppet government.

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                  • #10
                    "The NVA had far more motivation then the AVRN. "

                    Back in the 1980s I met a former NVA soldier then living in Chicago. His view was the NVA soldiers motivation was largely derived from constant cocersion and punishment by the party cadres. Unlike the SVN soldier desertion was not a option.

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