U.S. Involvement In Vietnam From Term Paper

Length: 9 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Military Type: Term Paper Paper: #58736098 Related Topics: Cambodia, Vietnam, Deception, Vietnam War
Excerpt from Term Paper :

They could not admit such a great loss, and so they concocted lies, false assessments, and poor recommendations just to cover themselves and their reputations. These essays are so disturbing because they show the culpability of the American people. They make the reader wonder what falsehoods are underway in military actions today, and if in another thirty years, the same kinds of revelations will continue the lies, deception, and false assessments that made up the Vietnam War.

Both authors indicate how essential the Tet Offensive was and how it crippled the military and gave the North Vietnamese a clear advantage in strategy and intimidation. It also caused Westmorland to bring in more troops, which started more protests back home and in other parts of the world. McMahon continues, "The resulting back channel memoranda between Westmoreland and Wheeler demonstrated that the military understood that its position in Vietnam was untenable" (McMahon 338). Thus, as early as 1968, there were suggestions Vietnam was a war that could not be won, and yet it lingered on until 1975. As with the last group of essays, the reader must wonder what would have happened if the military would have pulled out of Vietnam after the Tet Offensive. Certainly thousands of lives would have been saved on both sides of the conflict. In addition, the outcome would have remained the same, as the Communists overtook the country after American forces pulled out in 1975. These two essays are deeply disturbing because they paint a picture of the American military that understood it was fighting a losing battle, and fought on anyway.

It is clear both authors have studied the Tet Offensive and America's role in the offensive during and after it occurred. It is also clear that they find the military's actions and behavior unacceptable, which is probably why they chose to write about it. These essays show different aspects of the Tet and the military reaction to it, but they both show a military that is extremely willing to bend the truth and mislead the government and the American people. It is almost as if the military sees itself as a separate entity from the government and the country, and that is sees itself as the most important arm of the government. In doing so, it places itself above examination and reproach, and that is extremely frightening to consider. In fact, it calls into question many other military engagements. World War II was an allied victory, but after that, our military seems to take itself too seriously, and perhaps that is the ultimate Vietnam failure.

Comparative Essay #3

Small's essay discusses in detail the Nixon administration's development and implementation of their Vietnam policy, which basically continued Johnson's policy of reliance on bombing and participation in the Paris Peace Talks. He also discusses the American people's growing dissatisfaction with the war - feeling involvement had been a mistake, and becoming more vocal about their dissatisfaction. Small writes, "When Nixon took office, 40% of the population considered the war to be the nation's most serious problem" (Small 407). Small shows how the war overshadowed all of Nixon's thoughts in office, and how politically important the war had become. In fact, Nixon believed he would not be reelected by the American people if he did not successfully end the war during his first term in office. In fact, Nixon felt he had the ability to end the war within six months of taking office, but of course, that did not happen.

Small also discusses the anti-war movement, which was largely made up of "unruly" band of young people, often college students, who very vocally opposed the war. The author maintains that the anti-war movement of "hippies" alienated many conservative Americans, who helped Nixon get reelected in 1972, even though America did not leave the war until 1973. The anti-war movement was made up mostly of liberals and young people who were enraged about the continuing involvement in the war. While they alienated many, many more Americans agreed with the anti-war sentiments, and began to demand an end to the war by gradually bringing troops home. It also played into the hands of the enemy, and helped give them bargaining power, because they knew Americans were tired of the war and were putting political pressure on the administration. The anti-war sentiments seem remarkably close to the sentiments about the Iraqi war today, and

...

Americans are equally tired of the war in Iraq, and yet, the administration is not bowing to pressure. Comparing these essays and the war today, it is difficult to see how Iraq is going to end, but it seems certain that it is not going to end any better than Vietnam did.

The lies and deception continued through the Nixon administration, only this time the military had their way - the administration was deceiving the American public and the North Vietnamese, because peace talks required no escalation of military activities during the peace talks. Nixon got around this by creating a system of deception about increased American bombings in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Again, this indicates the highly political nature of the war, and the duplicity on the part of the military and the administration. It does not seem to matter who is in charge in the White House; there will always be duplicity and deception. In addition, Nixon seems more concerned about his image, insisting he would not be "the first American president to lose a war" (Small 412), indicating how important public perception is even in wartime. It also shows how important the influence of the media is, as several of these essays address attempts to mislead or avoid the media, and Nixon was no different.

Throughout Nixon's attempts at peace, he continually escalated the war and then kept it from the American people or lied about it. The escalation took place in Laos and Cambodia too, and it enraged the anti-war movement. Many of Nixon's ideas were misguided, and many of his escalations were failures, which led to further demoralization of troops who were coming home to derision and hatred. While he assured the American people that the South Vietnamese would have no trouble managing the fight on their own, the administration knew that was not the case. In effect, much of what America knew about the war that came from the administration was a lie, created for Nixon's ego and success rather than having anything to do with the actuality of the war and the ensuing peace talks. Because the Americans had gone back on their word about escalation, the North Vietnamese also planned a huge offensive, and that led to massive losses of life, and the U.S. having to bail out the South Vietnamese. It is clear that once the U.S. left Vietnam, it was doomed, and it would fall into communist hands, it was just a question of when. While military leadership improved after Westmoreland was removed, there was still only so much they could accomplish.

Both authors discuss the aftermath of the war, and speculate on whether the war was actually "won" in 1970. If America had left the war then, perhaps the outcome might have been different. Both authors allude to this in their works, and while one concentrates on the military during the Nixon administration, and the other concentrates on the administration itself, they both illustrate a war that had gone on too long and was accomplishing very little, other than killing and maiming soldiers and civilians.

Both authors also discuss the press. Small presents them as liberal doves, while Sorley shows them as woefully misunderstanding about the real war of pacification, politics, and manipulation of the populations of Indochina. He writes, "In these later years the press simply missed the war. Maybe it wasn't exciting enough, maybe it wasn't graphic enough for television, maybe it was too difficult to comprehend or to explain" (Sorley 425). He shows the Asian side of the war while Americans were protesting it, and shows the difficulties the military faced in trying to win an unwinable war. All of these essays discuss different aspects of the war in Vietnam, and yet the all have commonalities. There were problems with Vietnam from the start; it was a political war the American people did not like. It sounds a lot like Iraq today, and that may be the most disturbing aspect of all these essays. They all seem to transcend time and place, and that is frightening.

References

McMahon, Robert J Major Problems in the…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

McMahon, Robert J Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War: Documents and Essays. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.


Cite this Document:

"U S Involvement In Vietnam From" (2007, July 17) Retrieved October 17, 2021, from
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/us-involvement-in-vietnam-from-36642

"U S Involvement In Vietnam From" 17 July 2007. Web.17 October. 2021. <
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/us-involvement-in-vietnam-from-36642>

"U S Involvement In Vietnam From", 17 July 2007, Accessed.17 October. 2021,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/us-involvement-in-vietnam-from-36642

Related Documents
U.S. Involvement in World War I &
Words: 994 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Drama - World Paper #: 91788876

U.S. Involvement in World War I & II: There are several historical details of America's involvement in the First and Second world wars and the critical role that this country played in the two wars. Studies on these historical events have mainly focused on examining the involvement of the United States in the wars, the results of the engagement, and its impact on the country's position nationally and globally. America's involvement

U.S. Involvement in Vietnam Remains One of
Words: 753 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Military Paper #: 61167823

U.S. involvement in Vietnam remains one of the most controversial actions the U.S. government has ever undertaken. It has divided the country like never before. The divisions took place along political, class, and racial lines. Partly because of the inability of the U.S. To win the war and partly because many thought the war was wrong and even immoral, politicians sharply divided over the war. Many Americans resisted the draft,

U.S. Involvement in El Salvador
Words: 2292 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Literature - Latin-American Paper #: 84875427

..accused of being an assassination bureau, used for reprisals against the VC, GVN critics and personal enemies. Torture was common, and "elimination" was the preferred method of dealing with Phoenix's suspects. In a similar vein there have been accusations that the United States supported the 'death-squads' in countries like El Salvador during the Cold War period in order to bolster what they saw to be a threat to the democratic growth

U.S. & Vietnam War President
Words: 586 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Military Paper #: 15733339

freedom. The South Vietnamese anti-communist leaders were dictators, not democrats, and had been allied with the wildly unpopular French, then with the Americans. In contrast, the National Liberation Front (NLF) or 'Viet Cong' (as it was called by the Americans) had deep, longstanding support in the Vietnamese countryside. American military decision-makers proved unable to process this fact, given that they viewed Vietnam through its own biases, not through the

U.S. Involvement in the International Law Enforcement Academy
Words: 2017 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice Paper #: 22906306

ILEA's International Law Enforcement Academies The 1990's saw a tremendous change in the nature of international relations and international threats and crime in particular. The end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union opened a large portion of Central and Eastern Europe, formerly under the control of the U.S.S.R., to cooperation with nations of the West. This included the United States, which sought to improve international relations with

U.S. in Iraq Argumentative Essay:
Words: 2999 Length: 10 Pages Topic: Military Paper #: 16273629

The American administration was well aware of the genocidal massacre of the Tutsi by their Hutu neighbors that accounted for more than a million innocent victims killed, mostly by machetes that would have posed less of a problem to U.S. forces had they been deployed to stop the carnage in Rwanda. Similar atrocities, albeit less in number, have been ongoing in Sudan and especially in Darfur since before Operation Iraqi