Vietnam Essay Research Paper Vietnam The War
Vietnam Essay, Research Paper
Viet nams: The War We Should Have Won
Essay written by Chris Styduhar
The Vietnam War is one of the most scandalous periods in American history. Not merely did the greatest world power in the universe get bested by an about third-world state, but we lost severely. Possibly this war could hold been won, or even prevented in the first topographic point. The United States could hold and should hold won this war, with a combination of better arms use, better tactics, and better support from their place state.
Before the War
Even old ages before the war, Vietnam was a heatedly disputed district. Many states had taken Vietnam over, and after World War II, Vietnam was in the custodies of France. Obviously, the Vietnamese wanted their ain state, and their long history of being a settlement prompted the laden people to contend for their independency in the French-Indochina war. 7
Ho Chi Min, a leader of the Communist party, organized the Vietnamese independency motion, Viet Minh. Asking for support from America foremost, Ho Chi Min did non desire to hold to turn to communist support for the freedom of his people. Since the United States viewed assisting Ho derive his independency from France as a move against their ain Alliess, they declined. It was merely after Russia and China offered to assist that Ho adopted communist ideals and wanted to do all of Vietnam Communist.
The Vietnam war started merely because Ho Chi Min and his communist protagonists wanted South Vietnam to go Communist after the South split off in 1954 to go its ain democratic state. The United States saw this as a menace to democracy, and utilizing the Domino theory, successfully threw the U.S. into the one of the worst wars it has of all time seen.
If merely the United States had looked past its petit larceny confederations and helped another state derive its independency like we had gained ours so many old ages ago, this war would hold been wholly avoided. Unfortunately for the households of over 64,000 soldiers, it wasn & # 8217 ; T.
Beginnings of a Nightmare
Equally early as 1954, the United States started directing fiscal and military assistance to South Vietnam, trusting to halt the spread of communism. The flow of & # 8216 ; military advisers & # 8217 ; from 700 to over 14,000 1 built up steadily through John Kennedy & # 8217 ; s presidential term, and after he was assassinated, Lyndon B. Johnson escalated the war to the point of no return.
Johnson used the farcical Domino theory to warrant the military buildup in Vietnam. American people were so frightened of communism by McCarthyism in the 1950 & # 8217 ; s, that they were willing to make anything to halt communism where it started. The people of the United States let Johnson construct up a immense force in Vietnam, and he was besides about nem con backed by Congress. By the terminal of the war, Johnson was so ashamed that he didn & # 8217 ; t even seek to run for reelection.
If the American populous would hold stopped and thought about what they were acquiring themselves into and non jumped gung-ho into a frivolous war, their representatives wouldn & # 8217 ; Ts have felt so pressured to endorse Johnson.
In 1964, the event every war-hungry Commie-killer was waiting for happened. In the Gulf of Tonkin, several VC gunman boats reportedly fired on a U.S. vas. 6 Even though the American ship sustained no amendss, Johnson drafted the & # 8216 ; Gulf of Tonkin Resolution & # 8217 ; , which authorized him to utilize any force necessary to crush back the North Vietnamese. Congress ne’er declared war or even straight authorized military personnels, but Johnson twisted adequate words around to hold his ain small executive war.
Early on in the War
At first, Johnson limited the struggle to an air war, trusting to lb off and corrupt the VC into entry. He used planes such as the B-52 bomber and the F-4 Phantom to seek to win the war every bit rapidly as possible. Unfortunately, the United States & # 8217 ; air power had many defects.
The F-4 Phantom was the latest and greatest piece of engineering out at that place during Vietnam. Manufactured by McDonnell-Douglas, this plane was capable of multiple functions, as a dogfighter, bomber, recon, and support aircraft. However, the F-4 had its portion of jobs. First, the applied scientists who designed it neglected to mount any type of gun on the F-4A through the F-4D, believing that the Phantom & # 8217 ; s scaring compliment of missiles could take out any enemy menace. They were incorrect. Not holding a gun made the dogfighting function of the Phantom highly hard, because the AIM-9 and AIM-7 missiles were non as effectual at closer scopes against the enemy MiGs. Merely after about 2 old ages was the F-4E Phantom fitted with a 6-barrell Gatling gun. 4 Besides, many pilots were ill trained, merely holding 6 hebdomads of preparation as opposed to the customary 1-year. These excitement-hungry flyboys, these air cowpunchers had a rapacious appetency for combat, but were ever-cognizant of the terminal of their circuit of responsibility.
The B-52 Stratofortress was the largest bomber of all time produced at that clip. It could present its monolithic 60,000lb warhead up to about halfway around the universe, and could make it at an height that VC MiGs couldn & # 8217 ; t even make. 4 There were, besides, defects in the usage of the B-52 besides. During World War II, the Alliess could depend on decimating the industry of their enemy, therefore destructing its contending power. As will be explained subsequently, the VC didn & # 8217 ; t trust on industry and large guns, but guerilla tactics and little weaponries. The U.S. besides believed by bombing the life snake pit out of the population centres and by utilizing napalm, the enemy would be demoralized and resignation.
Both of these hypotheses proved to be direly incorrect. By bombing industry, the U.S. merely wasted one million millions of dollars and cherished clip and work force for nil. Besides, the bombardment of population centres rallied the enemy and brought the North Vietnamese closer together, alternatively of its existent end. Napalm was besides another error. By utilizing a flammable gelatin to literally fire up all of North Vietnam, the U.S. non merely killed more civilians than soldiers, but besides raised several ethical inquiries. Napalm coated anything it came within range of, and burned continuously for up to a hebdomad. Doctors who treated napalm victims said their lesions would still glow green with heat at dark, while the patients writhed in hurting. Besides, many international scientists and influential people around the universe protested the usage of napalm really adamantly.
Yet another type of bomb was dropped by the B-52s, this one incorporating a big sum of the defoliating gas, Agent Orange. Hundreds of 1000000s of estates of jungle were destroyed and even more Fieldss and rice Paddies were poisoned because of Agent Orange. South Vietnamese husbandmans complained about the damaging consequence Agent Orange had on their rice Paddies, and its usage flooded cantonments and metropoliss with refugees from outlying countries where full harvests were destroyed. Agent Orange was supposed to extinguish the VC & # 8217 ; s advantageous concealment topographic points, but it merely turned the people we were contending for against us even more. Even more so, Agent Orange cause countless birth defects and deathly unwellnesss in returning vets. Thousands of soldiers came back with reoccurring illnesss, and even malignant neoplastic disease. 6 The usage of Agent Orange was possibly one of the largest errors made in Vietnam.
By merely believing in front, weighing the effects of utilizing arms such as napalm and Agent Orange, the U.S. quite perchance could hold won the Vietnam War wholly through the usage
of air power. More tunnage of regulation was dropped in any given hebdomad during Vietnam than during all other wars in the history of the universe combined. One would believe this would do the war easy to win. Unfortunately, ethical jobs and deficiency of be aftering made it impossible to settle the war in the air, therefore coercing the U.S. to occupy with land forces.
Westmoreland and the Ground War
President Johnson chose General William C. Westmoreland to command the land forces in Vietnam. Westmoreland, a tall, rugged adult male from South Carolina, was know for his enthusiasm, and for ever holding good intelligence from the forepart lines. Westmoreland commanded over 500,000 military personnels at the extremum of the war, and was still unable to oppress the Viet Cong, as hoped by most of Washington. 3 But there were many factors that contributed to our galvanizing licking on the land in Vietnam.
The first and foremost was the difference in tactics between the Americans and the North Vietnamese. The VC were pitiless soldiers, who, even though sometimes ill trained, fought with every bit much thrust and enthusiasm as the best trained soldiers in the universe. The VC used something called guerilla tactics. They would enroll kids, tie themselves to trees, usage babes as come-on for dumbbell traps, and other & # 8216 ; unethical & # 8217 ; things. American soldiers stopped accepting the drinks offered to them by immature Vietnamese male childs after a few unfortunate GIs found out the ice was truly crushed up glass. These and other contending techniques such as strapping explosives to childs and holding them run up to soldiers, were a few of the labors U.S. soldiers had to cover with.
Besides on the tactics side, the full U.S. offense consisted of a myriad of & # 8217 ; hunt and destroy & # 8217 ; missions. S & A ; D missions involved a patrol, ( normally 10-35 soldiers ) , traveling out of the base and determination ( so killing ) the enemy. Unfortunately, the dumbbell traps placed by the VC and the fact that they knew the land and could conceal, intend the S & A ; D missions were like throwing soldiers off. In fact, more U.S. soldiers were killed from dumbbell traps than any other cause of decease in Vietnam.
Weapons were another job in Vietnam. Again traveling back to World War II, the monolithic armoured assaults that won the war for the Alliess were useless in the dense jungle. U.S. armour was limited to utilizing M113 troop bearers with machine guns on them, alternatively of utilizing the more effectual M60 armored combat vehicles and heavy weapon. 3 So Westmoreland was forced to rethink tactics, every bit good as usage arms and schemes untested in the history of American warfare.
Other troubles with arms were rampant. The M-16, a radical new foot rifle, was prone to frequent jams every bit good as H2O harm. And in a state when it rains about every twenty-four hours, that wasn & # 8217 ; t good intelligence. Besides, U.S. commanding officers underestimated the power of the Viet Cong & # 8217 ; s arms, believing that they merely had muskets and bolt-action rifles. But since the Chinese and Russians were providing the VC with modern AK-47s and other similar weaponries, the officers were faced with one awful surprise after another.
Weapons, though new and advanced, can still hold failings, and the battlegrounds in Vietnam exploited about all the failings of our arms. However, with tactics that could utilize the strengths and all but extinguish the failings, the land war would hold besides been a catch. This shows that trusting excessively to a great extent on engineering and non plenty on battle-tested arms can be downright lifelessly.
Leaderships, Washington, and the Morale Issue
While Johnson and Westmoreland had tonss of support at the beginning of the war, as the American people started to see that the war was unwinnable, their support began to worsen. 1 in 5 of every soldier who fought- and died- was drafted, 1 and this caused hurt among the populace. Draft cards were burned publically, schools walked out in protest of the war, and even big music events were held to somehow halt the combat. With all this public sentiment against the war, one would inquire why the combat continued.
The ground is apparent to us now, sing that hindsight is 20/20. General Westmoreland manipulated the organic structure counts for both side to do it look like we were ever winning. Not merely did Westmoreland prevarication, but he failed to advert that the pool from which VC and NVA soldiers came from was about the full state. With lawgivers stating you one thing and the telecasting stating you another, what would you believe. Obviously, it is highly difficult to contend a war where your place state doesn & # 8217 ; t even back up you seting your life on the line. Life on the battleground wasn & # 8217 ; t precisely reasonably, either.
Daily firefights, dead companions, and officers who were fresher than you were were a few of the problems oinks had to cover with on the battleground. Drug usage was rampant, soldiers would acquire high before conflicts to assist them bury about what they were making. 4 Mutiny was common, and the sum of soldiers who went AWOL was higher than any other war. With soldiers who didn & # 8217 ; t know what they were contending for and people at place who didn & # 8217 ; t support you, what else could travel incorrectly? Merely one thing, and it happened to travel incorrect.
The largest ground why we lost the war is really evident, and tantrums in nicely with this subdivision. When one is contending for a state & # 8217 ; s independency, and the citizens of that state wear & # 8217 ; t back up the attempts, problem abounds. 7 The South Vietnamese were non happy about U.S. soldiers being in their state, and it showed. Every twenty-four hours, 1000s of South Vietnamese joined the Viet Cong, so the American soldiers ne’er knew who to swear, and who to hit. Not holding the support of the people you & # 8217 ; re contending for is the worst expletive that can be bestowed onto a military.
Westmoreland and Johnson should hold figured out the root of the job before directing more military personnels, and the job was that the American arms were destructing the peaceable husbandman & # 8217 ; s Fieldss and firing their small towns. For a people as far off from the struggle and as apathetic towards the war as they were, it is surprising we lasted this long without being forced to capitulate.
The saddest chapter in American history could easy hold been avoided, with a combination of good leading, planning, readiness, and morale. Possibly in the hereafter, American soldiers will cognize what they are contending for, be equipped for the conditions, and non be thrown pitilessly into the meat bomber of an already-lost conflict. Merely the hereafter, nevertheless, will state & # 8230 ;
Bibliography ( Note ; Numberss are used for placing commendations )
1. Becker, Elizabeth. America & # 8217 ; s Vietnam War. New York: Clinton Books, 1992
2. Gregory, Barry. & # 8220 ; River War & # 8221 ; . The Vietnam War ( series of books ) . New York: Marshall Cavendish corporation, 1988.
3. Gregory, Barry. & # 8220 ; The Grunts & # 8221 ; . The Vietnam War ( series of books ) . New York: Marshall Cavendish corporation, 1988.
4. Gregory, Barry. & # 8220 ; The Air War & # 8221 ; . The Vietnam War ( series of books ) . New York: Marshall Cavendish corporation, 1988.
5. Gregory, Barry. & # 8220 ; The Green Berets & # 8221 ; . The Vietnam War ( series of books ) . New York: Marshall Cavendish corporation, 1988.
6. Lomperis, Timothy J. The War Everyone Lost & # 8211 ; and Won. Washington D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, 1993
7. McNamara, Robert S. In Retrospect. New York: Random House, 1995
8. Westmoreland, General William C. A Soldier Reports. New York: Doubleday & A ; Company Inc. , 1976