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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 2009, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Question about the Vietnam War

Why did the Vietcong give the United States so much trouble? I have to write an essay on this and my book is not helping at all. I know they had superior jungle-fighting skills but that is the extent of my knowledge.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 01:22 AM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

Militarily, they really didn't. There's a story that, years after the war, an American officer met with one of his Viet Cong counterparts.

"You realize," said the American, "that you never beat us in a single battle."

The Viet Cong officer replied "And you failed to realize that didn't matter."

That's kind of the short answer.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 01:36 AM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

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Originally Posted by miffedmax View Post
Militarily, they really didn't. There's a story that, years after the war, an American officer met with one of his Viet Cong counterparts.

"You realize," said the American, "that you never beat us in a single battle."

The Viet Cong officer replied "And you failed to realize that didn't matter."

That's kind of the short answer.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

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Originally Posted by miffedmax View Post
Militarily, they really didn't. There's a story that, years after the war, an American officer met with one of his Viet Cong counterparts.

"You realize," said the American, "that you never beat us in a single battle."

The Viet Cong officer replied "And you failed to realize that didn't matter."

That's kind of the short answer.
Yeah. It wasn't a "war." People fail to realize that our main opponents were the Vietcong, who were from South Vietnam, not North. It's impossible to have a military "victory" over an enemy that has majority popular support and are willing to do whatever it takes. Our actions in the war eventually alienated even those civilians that were initially on our side.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 01:38 PM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

True, and there were other factors too, such as:

--- corruption in the South Vietnamese government.

--- until the Diem brothers who ran it were killed in a coup on Nov. 1, 1963 there was a religious divide. (They were Catholics running a heavily Buddhist country.) The Viet Minh who had caused the French to leave in 1954 and become (in the South) the Vietcong used both to gain more support by then.

--- despite American use of the toxic defoliant Agent Orange to try to "burn off" the jungle from the air, that failed. Thus the North Vietnamese government formed after the French left and the country was divided were able to move troops and (Soviet and Chinese) supplies into the south along the Ho Chi Minh trail.

This just scratches the surface. PM me if you want more information, such as the manipulation of US public opinion by our own government on this. (And a couple of things about Ho Chi Minh that I'll bet not one other student in your class will write, and will likely impress your teacher/professor.)
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

I guess you can mention that the USA were fighting the wrong type of war. The more they bombed the North, the more resilient the VC became. There was also a lack of real knowledge about Vietnam - they focused on bombing their infrastructure, but there really wasn't any at all.

The US failed miserably to win over the hearts and minds of the peasantry, who they treated as sub-human and the VC had huge support in the south as well as the North, whereas the US-regime had no support in the North.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

i saw a movie on this. cant remember what's the title..
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

Also mention about the failure of the strategic hamlets.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 01:52 PM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

Here are my notes as to why the US lost, which I just happened to have found

-Failed to win the hearts and minds of S. Vietnam population, but the VC did.
-Waning public support and protests after Tet.
-Fought the wrong war - hi-tech was not suitable in this environment - no targets to bomb.
-Lack of new ideas.
-In the end, Congress refused to fund the war any longer.
-Communist determination.
-Ho was a national hero.
-US regime v. unpopular - as were Diem and Thieu
-S. Vietnam completely corrupt.
-US soldiers were young, inexperienced, unused to hardship in a way that the VC were used to. Unused to terrain.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 06:44 PM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

I'd add the failure to appreciate the fact that Ho and his followers were nationalists first, and communists second. There was at one point an argument made by some elements within the US government that we should support Ho much as we gave Tito aid under the Marshall plan.

The US also never had a real clear vision of its goals. We tried different strategies in different areas, backed different factions, changed tactics constantly, etc.

But to a certain extent it boiled down to the same problem an conventional, imperial power has any time it fights and insurgency. The imperial power has to win an outright victory. The insurgency plays not to lose.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

Thanks for all your answers. The assignment was handed in this morning () but still thank you .
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 08:51 PM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

We also lent the North Vietnamese the services of the great Jane Fonda:

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2009, 12:56 AM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

I have no problem with war protesters speaking out and such, but there's something really wrong with a person going to make friends with a leader while he's killing and torturing their countrymen.


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2009, 06:26 AM
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Re: Question about the Vietnam War

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Originally Posted by madlove View Post
i saw a movie on this. cant remember what's the title..
The most helpful post in the thread.

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