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  • America pulls out of VietNam

    Hi,

    I just finished reading McNamara's book "In Retrospect". In it he states there was a point in which the U.S. was tantilizingly close to throwing in the towel and pulling out of VietNam in early 1965.

    The sticking point was the "coup of the week" government in Saigon. Political stability was clearly not in the cards and without it, the ability of the RVN to fight it's own battle was in doubt.

    Johnson clearly understood that, without a stable government, the RVN had no hope of winning the war. Up to that point, it had been understood that the war was something the vietnamese had to fight for themselves.

    On the other hand, the administration was being told again and again that the war was going badly and that a communist victory was imminent. Many people, including Lodge, Taylor, the joint chiefs, even the British and French were saying a communist victory in SVN would be "a really bad thing" (tm). The spirit of the domino theory was alive and well.

    In the end, Johnson decided to escalate. But what would have happened if he had decided to take his marbles and go home?

    Would the dominos have fallen? How much would US prestige and image have suffered?

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Maybe a loss of Malaysia and Singapore, more trouble in the Philippines... maybe more bush proxy-wars in Africa while Big Red pushes a little tougher...I don't see much else really changing.
    If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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    • #3
      America pulls out of VietnamMa

      Considering previously classified information I have seen, few if any Asian "dominos" would have fallen. The Soviets did not feel comfortable with trying to expand their North Vietnamese experiment. Laos was already a socialist regime, and Cambodia had a large, active, and ambitious Communist Party (they gave us the Pol Pot regime and the "Killing Fields"), and it was known that the Thais were not well disposed to Communism. As well, it was probable that the US would assist Thailand against a Communist onslaught. Malaysia was too far afield, same with Singapore. The "Domino Theory" was good as a theory, but in practice it was rather a paranoid nightmare of some analyst or policy wonk. The Soviets would have been very happy to have initiated a domino reaction but, in reality knew that it was not realistic.
      Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
      (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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      • #4
        It was really very unfortunate that Johnson did not have the wisdom and courage to have ended the war. He was under enormous pressure from the war hawks/conservatives/military to escalate and win the war. He could have save thousands of american lives in this great mistake of foreign policy. The CIA and people in the known privately knew it was unwinnable to told the elites the truth but only privately. The south vietnamese were corrupted, undemocratic, and hopelessly divided in their society at large. Nixson War was a total waste of time and lives. The peace treaty was available for him and Kissinger years early but they stalled and prolonged the killing. The domino effect was an invention of the war hawks to justify to war and support their fantasy of world communism threat. Proof is that when Nixson did take the marbles and leave nothing happen as per the domino invention. Nixson invasion of Cambodia allowed a local home grown communistic group to take over and cause great war crimes. Laos was a local group also. More proof was that the Chinese and Vietnamese went to war against each other plus the Cambodians and Viets fought savagely. Of course the French felt we should stay and save their old colony with our blood and money. Eisehower and his friends made big mistake following the French Vietnam policy especially since the French themselve just got defeated very badly. Should not that be warning sign to us? However, the war hawks were very aggressive and totally bind to history lessons of the past but obsessed with their fantasy of international communist world threat. The war hawks did the country a great disservice in blaming Truman wrongly that he lost China to the communist. It was nothing Truman could have done about it outside what he did. However, this was one Johnson's and demoncrats greatest fear was the war hawks blaming them for losting Vietnam. Therefore we go into Vietnam on a policy drivenn by the war hawks drunk on the propaganda of the great evils of international communist threat.

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        • #5
          I think some of the technology and tactics we developed/learned as a result of the Vietnam War might never have occured of been developed slower. I agree it was a waste of lives, and maybe if the military's hands had not been tied it could have ended earlier. But, had we not been involved, would we have had any reason to replace the older infantry weapons with M-16s? Would some of the gun's major flaws been worked out? How about the Huey, or any other transport and/or attack copter? Think of any weapon, technology, or tactic the U.S. military developed/invented/learned in Vietnam. Would we have gotten them?
          "You realize that if I could actually purchase a weapon, I would stab you with it now?" --Roy, Order of the Stick #136

          Governor of South Florida, Cuba, Louisiana, Manhattan, Hawaii, Illinois, Moon and Mars. Chief of Cybernetics Div., S.INC

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          • #6
            It is only nature but very wrong headed to blame the government for the so called tie the hands of the military causing defeat in Vietnam. Any serious study of history will prove there is no way one can defeat a very popular revoluntionary movement within a huge hinterland of difficult terrain plus having an inexhaustable supply of modern arms and ammunitions. The think George Washington would agree. If the mlitary was allowed to run wide open in Vietnam our losses would have very heavy. If you invaded anywhere inculding the North Vietnam the enemy moves out of your reach only to counterattack when they want to. Remember the French did invade the North and South but got defeated. We invaded Laos and Cambodia with no effect except causing a communistic takeover of Cambodia. It is a dangerous and misguided distortion to not admit the unwinable nature of the war in Vietnam for it set us up to repeat the same stupid mistake because could notwe win if those blame politicans would just get out of the way to let the military win. Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. Look at what it cost the Germans to blame wrongly other elements of their society for the lost of war in WWI instead of admitted to the was being a stupid mistake.


            Yes the advancement in weapons development was wonderful as result of the war but I think those pesky civilians mightwould think the cost in blood and money might be too high.

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            • #7
              Well it's not the first time I've seen someone drawing comparisons from Ho Chi Minh to George Washington, but it's still less than a perfect match. George Washington, some will recall, was not invading Mexico immediately after-having gained American Independence.

              Anyhoo, had we pulled-out earlier, the results would have been much the same in Vietnam, but more importantly things in the United States might have progressed a bit differently. The national malaise that endured into Reagan's first term as President might have been minimized, if not all but eliminated.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by chrisvalla
                Maybe a loss of Malaysia and Singapore, more trouble in the Philippines... maybe more bush proxy-wars in Africa while Big Red pushes a little tougher...I don't see much else really changing.
                Philippines for sure would not have fallen. Crab mentality is rife in that country, no offense to any filippinos that happen to see what I wrote, but they know what I mean, and would most likely agree
                "To know the weapons the enemy has is already to beat them!"

                http://www.anft.net/f-14/f14-photo-vf213-01l.jpg

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