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28 August 2006

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JM

Re myth "2" on the domino theory: bit of a counterfactual argument, that.

Re myth "8" on whether or not the US lost the war: American military performance on the battlefield is not the issue; the issue is whether or not we lost the war.

McGee

Colonel,

OK, I'll start. Didn't serve in Vietnam but was assigned to Germany during part of that period ('65 to '69). Would have probably stayed in if it weren't for Vietnam as I loved the work I was doing (CI special agent). Thought before, during and after (I trained as an historian and studied in Europe) that it was the most ill-advised, senseless waste of resources that we had ever been duped into. The only good thing that I thought had come out of it was that our country had learned a lesson and would not do anything as foolish for at least another hundred years or so....and this reflects no dishonor on the men and women who served there. I lost friends with whom I went through intel and language training.

Boy was I ever wrong about the lesson learned part....

You know, every time I write or think about what this crew has done I'm always reminded of that HL Mencken quote:

"As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents more and more closely the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

McGee

P.S. Should've added in my previous post that I'm from Massachusetts and had vet friends who were involved with VVAW. I was living in Europe during this time and was luckily reading about US news on the back pages of the local papers. They were sincere in wanting to stop this war (and I agreed with them), but many thought even then that John Kerry was a bit of a phony and a self-promoter, for what that's worth....

I should also add that I later had some professional contact with Kerry when he was a prosecutor and I worked as an investigator on cases involving the Middlesex DA's Office. His reputation there was sterling. A very good and thorough-going attorney.

Don't mean to make this about John Kerry but thought I'd add what I knew as I suspect his name will pop up somewhere in this thread....

walrus

My my! Col. Lang you are trolling a little today!

Here is one "myth" I can explode.

"The domino theory was proved false."

Yes it is false.

The statement is made:"The Indonesians threw the Soviets out in 1966 because of America's commitment in Vietnam."

No they didn't. The Indonesian Communist party staged a coup against Sokarno's government. The Indonesian army then stepped in and staged its own counter coup. They then proceeded to kill about one million Indonesians suspected of being communist sympathisers.

I found out about a year later that the Australian Army (including me) were within a week of being mobilised, and we would have been if the Communistst had won.

As for Malaysia being a domino, I'm afraid not. Australia and Britain had cleaned out the communists already.

As for Singapore falling to Communism, are you kidding?

As for Vietnam itself, they hate the Chinese more than the Americans and fought a border war with China after we left. They just want to be left alone, not be a domino.

"The war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated."

Probably true, with types like Bush and Cheney and other college kids excluded.

"The United States lost the war in Vietnam."

True, or we could simply say "we didn't lose, we just came second".

We left, the North took over the South. That looks like an NV victory to me.

Then there is this howler

"Most Vietnam veterans were drafted.

2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed were volunteers. "

Notice how the writer skillfully conflates two different categories; "volunteers" and "drafted".

Australians who were drafted AND volunteered for Vietnam were many because commanders didn't want anyone under them who didn't want to be there.

Don

1) Two problems with that list:

1) Where are the sources for their conclusions? I am not inclinced to belive them just because they say so;

2) The second entry isn't even logical; you can't prove a negative. The failure of Communism to spread to the mentioned countries may or may not have anything to do with the Vietnam War, but the website provides no proof other than unsupported statements.

Don

Please excuse the multiple posts: I didn't see the blurb about comments not appearing until checked, and I thought my browser was malfunctioning.

sonic

"The American military was not defeated in Vietnam"

I'm afraid I have to respectfully disagree. As the man said War is politics by other means, and the NVA understood that. By standing up to, and surviving, almost everything the US threw at them they prevailed. They had the political will to keep up the war past the point the US had.

Josh S.

I was born well after the Vietnam war was over, but consider myself a decent student of history. The big lesson not learned: opposing forces may not agree on what they are fighting over. When we try to impose our vision of motives and ideology we'll often lose on the battlefield. Seems to me its pretty clear that the Vietnam War was simply a continuation of the First Indochina War, a colonial war. We (U.S.) had its cold war blinders on and saw nothing else. Communism was simply the form the Vietnamese struggle came in. Considering their other option was Ngo Dinh Diem, I think they probably made the right choice.

The site you linked to declares that we were in fact successful as "Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand stayed free of Communism." I'm not sure I'd consider those success stories. They may not have become communist, but they certainly didn't become liberal democracies.

Cold War mistakes are innumerable. Castro wasn't a member of the communist party, he requested american assistance and was rebuffed. Soviets decided to return his call. Replacing Allende, a socialist (also not a member of the communist party) with dictator and executioner Pinochet was another huge mistake brought about by shoehorning reality into one's ideology.

And then there's Africa where the superpowers got played by a bunch of two-bit warlords, changing communist berets for capitalist top hats depending on who they were meeting that day; e.g. "Maoist" UNITA in Angola.

Attempts to fit reality into a system of bipolar relations makes for a bloody mess, in Vietnam or the Middle East. You end up confusing Iraq with al Qaeda with Iran with North Korea. I have lowly B.A.s in computer science and poli. science, but I'm smart enough to know that binary thinking is good for the former and lousy for the latter.

Green Zone Cafe

OK, I agree with all of the points about "myths," except for the assertion that the well-to-do died in proportion to the poor and working class. That is nonsense; college deferments and other subterfuges allowed the better-off to mostly escape service in Vietnam. There were exceptions of course, but this is the rule:

[T]hose who fought and died in Vietnam were overwhelmingly drawn from the bottom half of the American social structure. . . The three affluent towns of Milton, Lexington and Wellesley [MA] had a combined wartime population of about 100,000, roughly equal to that of Dorchester [a blue collar neighorhood of Boston]. However, while those suburbs suffered a total of eleven war deaths, Dorchester lost 42. . . An extensive study of wartime casualties from Illinois reached a similar conclusion.

from Working Class War: American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam, by C.G. Appy

super390

The idea that the Soviets were taking over Indonesia is grotesque.
a. The Soviet-China split was so intense then that in 1969 they came close to a border war.
b. The Indonesian Communist Party was heavily backed by ethnic Chinese who felt racial solidarity with Mao - not Moscow.
c. Many of those Chinese were merchants. Welcome to the complexity of Asian views of ideology.
d. The mass murder carried out by the pro-US Suharto dictatorship afterwards was also largely a race war, Moslem Malays against those Chinese.
e. Given that the final score of the coup and counter-coup was about 500,000 to zero, maybe the Communists saw the Army coming and reacted too late, like the similarly-coldcocked German Communists in 1933.

I've got plenty to say about the other contentions but so do many others. Just had to clear up Indonesia.

super390

My second point:
Yes, black casualties were 12% of the total. But if this man were anywhere near the war in 1966 he knows the truth. Black casualties were very heavy in the first couple of years; this caused a scandal embarassing to LBJ and potentially dangerous to civil order at home. Blacks were shifted to non-combat positions as much as possible, so that in the latter years their casualties were below the average. That pulled the wartime total down to 12 %. Your deceptive (and frightened) government in action. Watch the sequel when Hispanic casualties in Iraq start getting too much publicity.

Grimgrin

One of the things I find interesting is the way noone really wants to talk much about the North Vietnamese much when analysing the war. How did they organize, how did they fight and keep fighting, in the teeth of air mobile american forces and a massive strategic bobming campaign? Smarter people than me have pointed this out, but it seems as if everyone's trying to turn defeat into victory by changing definitions.

Pop-culture about the war is bad for this. There seems to be a desire to reduce the war to a psychodrama about the Americans fighting it. Wether it's "Full Metal Jacket", "Apocalypse Now" or "Born On The Forth Of July", the war is allways presented in terms of conflicts between Americans. The Vietnamese, where they appear, are either innocent victims, or shadows firing out of the jungle.

Its not just popular culture either. Political groups play the same games. The political left turns defeat into victory by saying involvement was illigitmate in the first place, and ending the war was a victory for their political movement. They don't mention that (as Kurt Vonnegut wonderfully put it) the anti war movement proved "to have the power of a banana-cream pie three feet in diameter when dropped from a stepladder five-feet high.".

Political opposition to the war in Vietnam was fringe at best untill the public at large turned against the war. And the public at large didn't turn after years of anti-war demonstraions, but because the North Vietnamese were able to keep fighting long enough to put the lie to official statements about the war. In fact you could argue that the anti-war movement did alot to keep public opinion from shifting, by associating oppostion to the war with a grab bag of fringe leftist causes.

The right does the same trick, allthough in the opposite direction. They define victory soley in terms of the outcomes when U.S. forces met Vietcong on the battlefied, competely ignore the fact that America was unable to accomplish strategic objectives with their battlefiled victories, and procedes to blame domestic political opponents for forcing the US to pack up and go home.

People who cling to this myth make several errors. First they pretend that there there was some magic 'If we had just done X' that would have delivered victory. Second they pretend that even if there was, that it counts for anything at all and finally they pretend there was ever a time and a place when there was significant political opposition to a foriegn war that was being won.

The biggest problem I see with these myths is that they've prevented any kind of learning from the experience. It seems like what the millitary got out of Vietnam was a firm belief that it had to run a constant media campaign for it's domestic audience, rather than any clear ideas on how to actually fight the next insurgency.

MarcLord

It comes down to this: the Vietnamese absolutely had to win, and did win their objective of self-determination. Ho Chi Minh's leadership fended off China, Japan, France, and the greatest military power on earth. I'm no devotee but I'd say that's a pretty good record, and he's been underexamined. If anyone here knows a good (i.e., objective, accurate) English-language book about him, I'd appreciate a recommend.

On our side, we made wrong moves at the outset. DeGaulle hoodwinked Eisenhower; Diem was a very bad choice to run the franchise. Basic assumptions made at the top throughout about the strategic threat we faced were simplistic and false, which probably hurt us worse than anything else. Russia and China were not a united bloc, not before, not during, nor after the war, and it took an endlessly pragmatic man to finally exploit gaps which could've been pried into before. China even tested the NVA (as I recall in '78-79) with division-level PRC incursions, the nasty outcomes of which quickly convinced them to abandon any short-term designs on Vietnam.

For the US, the costs of losing in Vietnam weren't obvious then, and they aren't obvious now. They may have been pretty bad, though, since Nixon had to go off the gold standard right when the war ended, the Saudis felt comfortable kicking off an oil embargo, and officers didn't feel safe going into certain barracks on many of our bases in Germany on into the early 1980s. I know the last was still the case in Bamberg in 1982, when the Army's task #1 was to clean out the rot left over from Vietnam. Some of the barracks' floors still had their windows painted black, and it was deemed foolhardy to stand within throwing distance of them if you were an officer, or were wearing a suit and tie. Losing has consequences much like these.

Hal Carpenter

Good Evening Col Lang and all,

For years I took it as a given that the United States had lost the war in Viet Nam. I'd seen the footage on television of the last desperate few clinging to the struts on helicopters. It looked like we had left in a rout and panic.
I assumed that the US had lost, although I wasn't sure what they had lost.

About 10 years ago, I was reading an article about the 'new Viet Nam". Saigon resembled Havana in the ability to keep antiquated American machines and vehicles running. The sorta commies from Hanoi were fishing around for a little recognition and some Yankee dollars. A new Viet Nameese president was interviewed, extoling the idea of co-operation with the US.
I got hit with a few nagging questions that caused me to re-evaluate and decide that the US achieved a good number of her objectives and didn't lose that much, except a bit of face.

What's the name of the president of the winning nation? And,the losing Nation? If the victory wasn't big enough to make later leaders important, what did they win?

What did we really lose? We lost physical possession of South Viet Nam, which isn't all that valuable and wasn't even a colony. French Indo-China was vital to France, but we had replaced raw rubber and latex with petroleum products.

What did they really win? Well, they achieved their great objective, reunification, but this nationalist theme did nothing for their new communist economy. The North VietNamese won the rest of Viet Nam, a war with China and the burden of a domino that had collapsed on her border, Cambodia.

When does a war start and when does it end? That helicopter photo of fleeing Americans has cost Viet Nam a huge amount since their victory. The United States keeps the winning nation at the far edge of world events, although we losers seem to be softening our stance in recent years. Maybe they won't have to find every single bone of every single American who ever died or disappeared in their country.

The main achievement of the United States in Viet Nam was the quelling of peasant revolutions and their middle class support. Peasant armies and achademic leftist movements were flourishing in Africa, South America and a number of other locations worldwide.

The war in Viet Nam exhausted options for foreign peasant militaries. When you start looking for the canopied jungle, dedicated front line peasant volunteers, lines of supply to a communist country through territory too difficult to interdict, etc. you start realizing how unique Viet Nam is?
It also sapped the revolutionary zeel of the proto-communist radical movements.

The Left was facinated by the tenacity of the Viet Cong peasant army and the skill of the North VietNamese Army, manned by a proud with a warrior heritage.
It became almost axiomatic on the Left that if you wanted to oppose American Capitalism, you should be prepared to endure what the Viet Namese endured. Peasant war, as presented for the first time on television, scared the hell out of the Western Left.

During the period of the war, as leftist anti-war shouts got louder, leftist support for all warfare including peasant war faded.
South America quieted down, except for the ever nuts Shining Path. Drug gangs soon became more powerful that political movements.
African peasant movements became nationalist movements which have devolved in many areas into tribal and ethnic movements. The intellectual and financial support for far Left political action in Africa was stripped away by the knowedge that the no African country could field a force that could withstand an American assault. The Americans were proving that they were tenatious enough to destroy the vast majority of communist movements and were willing to take casualties to do it. Mobutu flipped to capitalist dictator of the Congo. Zimbabwe has the last goofie old commie going in Africa.

Most peasant and Leftist movements shifted right and aligned themselves as laborist, nationalist and socialist opponents of communism, especially Russian model Communism.

It was like watching a little man pick a fight with the biggest bully in town right in the tavern with everyone watching. The big guy keps knocking him down, but the little guy keeps dragging his beatup body off the floor. After a few years, the little guys friends are realizing that the big guy is willing to hand out a worse thrashing than they are willing to take.
Pretty soon they all want the little guy to stay down.

The French purpose in Viet Nam was to retain control of their colony, or leave with grace. They failed.

The American cause was the defeat of a communist peasant army, in a way that would convince other leftist movements to avoid armed conflict.

Clearly there were other events and issues that weakened the communist movement, but I'm convinced that the War in Viet Nam helped. I think that it was at least as great a factor as the incompetence of the Russian model and the tyrany of Mao.

After Viet Nam, the Left, the supposed winners, had no interest in another Viet Nam? If it was a successful way of making war on the US, why not use it to defeat capitalism?

Because the war was Viet Nam specific, the US lost locally. Because the war was closely observed globally, the US achieved a good number of its global objectives.

I don't know if anyone else agrees, but that's how it looked from the Left, where I was watching from at the time.

Thanks for listening, Hal Carpenter

citizen k

The movie "fog of war" has an unbelievable moment when Macnamara goes to vietnam, 20 years after the war, and is apparently suprised when one of the old NV generals informs him that Vietnam never would have been a chinese client state because of a millenia long history of enmity. Imagine that: send 1/2 million soldiers and more bombs than all of WWII 20,000 miles away for a full scale war and you don't even bother to learn the first facts of the history of the people you are blowing up. Sounds depressingly familiar.

Ghostman

A fascinating discussion. But I'll pose some alternate thoughts to the flow of the commenters:
1. domino theory myth: most all commenters dispute the idea. I'll take a "leap" here and guess most commenters are American? As am I. But how are these events seen thru the eyes of learned academics, historians native to Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.? Do the native academics of these countries accept or reject the idea that US presence in Vietnam helped counter communist influence in their own land? I'd like to know.

2. casualties/enlistments of poor v. the wealthy: I've come across numbers that skew all over the place on these issues. I suppose you'd have to agree on the "start date" of Vietnam, and then agree on what income level makes you poor, middle class, etc. As to the draft...many did take a deferral. But many also just "joined up" from sense of duty. I go back and forth on these issues. I cannot resolve them.

3. we won the war vs. no we didn't: most of the good commenters point to the ultimate result-we left and they didn't. In the end, the NVA "owned the ground" and we didn't. (shades of Hizb. vs Israel?) But did the "military" lose this one?
A. A few times the WH permitted massive bombing of the North. These would also seem to be the times when N. Vietnam negotiators would suddenly start talking earnestly in peace talks. Did they feel the heat? The politicians then made the decision to halt the bombing.

B. DMZ: the politicians made a decision to forbid crossing the line. Our military was fully capable of invading north. But politicians so forbade.
Other such examples exist. My point is...is it fair to even ask the question "did the US MILITARY lose the war?" Perhaps it might be "did the US politicians lose the war?"

I find the comments I've read to be most interesting. A good read.

Ghostman

blowback

The real tragedy about Vietnam is that Ho Chi Minh was first and foremost a Vietnamese nationalist although he was also a communist. In WW2 he worked for the OSS assisting downed airmen and sending intelligence and weather reports. At the end of that war, he tried to declare Vietnam independent with a constitution based on the American one. But the Americans and British had decided that the French must be allowed to reoccupy Vietnam. The British forces that were allocated to "liberate" Vietnam from the Japanese re-armed the Japanese to maintain control of Hanoi and Saigon so that they could be passed back to the French. At this point, Ho Chi Minh launched a guerilla war to liberate his country and turned to the Russians to obtain weapons. So Truman could have prevented Vietnam from falling into the Soviet sphere but he would have had to accept that it would most likely have been a non-aligned communist country like Yugoslavia after WW2.
BTW, one reason that the British found it easier to defeat the communist insurgents in Malaya was that they had been trained and armed by the British to fight the Japanese and as a result of the British operating alongside them most of the leaders were well known to the British.

Myth: The domino theory was proved false.
The domino theory is not a theory in the scientific sense, it would be better to call it the domino hunch. The trouble is that some in the American government continue to believe that the domino "theory" still applies, only this time it is to the Middle East.
Myth: The fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II.
Tell that to anyone who fought on the Eastern front or in Burma, for example. The fighting in the South Pacific might feature predominantly in American’s war mythology but it was atypical of the fighting in WW2.
The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility. Without the helicopter it would have taken three times as many troops to secure the 800 mile border with Cambodia and Laos (the politicians thought the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords or 1962 would secure the border)
If American soldiers really did secure the borders with Cambodia and Laos, just how did the North Vietnamese get all their soldiers with weapons, ammunition and other supplies into South Vietnam?
Myth: Most Vietnam veterans were drafted.
I'm sorry but for me this just reaffirms my view that it is stupid to volunteer to fight an unnecessary war and that all-volunteer armies are more likely to be sent to war than conscript-based ones.
Myth: The media have reported that suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 - 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.
Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. "The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans' group."
The rate would drop after five years because all those likely to commit suicide would have already committed suicide. Still, more Americans committed suicide than would have done if America hadn’t fought an unnecessary war. From the way the statistics are presented it is impossible to establish just how many extra people that involved so the argument doesn't disprove the myth.
Myth: The war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.
Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers.
Non-sequiter. Just because pilots and infantry officers who were drawn predominantly from the affluent and educated middle-classes had a greater risk of dying, it doesn’t mean that the fighting wasn’t largely done by the poor and uneducated. BTW, if you look at the casualty rates for WW1, you will see the same. Junior officers had the highest casualty rate but the fighting was still done by the poor and uneducated.
Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam.
I quite agree that the American military was not defeated in Vietnam in any major battles but that is irrelevant. (There was an American officer who claimed that a Vietnamese officer who made this point but I can't find a reference.)
Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972, was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang.
It was American-supplied Napalm dropped from an American-supplied plane.

SAC Brat

Several family members are Secret War veterans and I have also met many Thai, Lao, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Korean South East Asia veterans, and all feel the war against communism in SEA was justified. Hopefully the historians will start to separate the wheat from the chaff and the BS can be put to rest.

Excellent website Col. Lang. I've always enjoyed your appearances in the media, though I was afraid your days on television were numbered when you mentioned the Iraqi insurgents would try to manipulate the media during a PBS Newshour interview a few years ago. I guess there are reasons to be glad the press has a short memory.

Oh yeah, SOG seemed to have some good ideas.

cynic librarian

There's this "myth", reported in the Chicago Sun Times, Feb. 6, 2005:

John Staresinich is a Purple Heart veteran who has slept in cracks in highway overpasses and abandoned cars, camped out in thin tents next to railroad tracks and fought off rats and bugs in Chinatown flophouses.

In December, he was diagnosed with severe combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder -- 32 years after returning from Vietnam -- and is now getting help from the federal Veterans Affairs in Chicago. He says it took more than a year of begging that agency.

...
Still, the VA officially maintains there's no connection between military combat and homelessness. But people who work with veterans believe otherwise.

"Many people will tell you that military service is not a significant contributing factor to homelessness. But it clearly is a factor," said Pete Dougherty, national director of the VA's homeless veterans programs. "There are more veterans who have shown up in the ranks of the homeless than their average age cohort."

There are 93,000 homeless Vietnam veterans, VA officials say. Illinois has the nation's third-largest population of homeless vets -- about 20,000.

Dan

Feeding a digression --

No, the demise of the communist party in Indonesia had nothing to do with dominoes or the war in vietnam. Keeping it simple, the communist-leaning Sukarno had driven Indonesia into the toilet, power-struggle ensued and the western leaning, CIA-backed and rapidly anti-communist Suharto won.

No, Suharto's purge was not a "race war." The vast majority of the 500,000+ killed (no one really knows how many) were ethnic-Malays. Chinese also suffered heavily (seen as disloyal, "pro-china" and also resented for their relatively greater wealth), but in nothing approaching ethnic-Malay numbers. Most of those killed were Malay villagers seen as communist-leaning, though there was also a lot of nasty score-settling of a very local variety under cover of Suharto's purge.

Dan
lived in and studied Indonesia from 1993-2003.

John Shreffler

Grimgrin,

That's a great post. My view on 'Nam is that the single most telling story is one told by Col. Summers, the military theorist-historian. At a meeting postwar, he told a North Vietnamese general that the U.S. Army had never been beaten on the battlefield. The North Vietnamese responded, "While that is true, it is also irrelevant."

Gerard

Add me to the list disputing the site's account of "Myth" no. 2 for the same reasons expressed by the other commenters.

As for No. 8. If the aim of the war in Vietnam was to keep the South from falling to the communist North, how can we say we didn't lose when they're now in charge? It is possible to win all the battles and still lose the war, especially for occupying armies in wars of national liberation.

The U.S. was fighting a war containment, unfortuneately the enemy was fighting a war of national liberation. Know your enemy.

John Howley

We got doisoriented in Vietnam because we forced that country into the misleading framework of a binary, global struggle against monolithic communism. (Neocons doing the same with GWOT.) The linked website reflects this distortion.

Regarding Vietnam myths, I would start with WWII when we were allied with the USSR and promised good things to the colonized peoples if they stuck with us against the Axis. Even Ho's Viet Minh got a trickle of aid from the U.S. The Viet Minh held fast against the Japanese appeals to Asian solidarity and after the war Ho sent a pathetic letter to Truman requesting assistance in their drive for independence. Ho got no response. Well, he did get a response in the form of U.S. bankrolling French re-conquest of Indochina. Apparently restoring the French empire was good for morale in shatterred postwar Europe.

Similarly, Churchill and his ilk duped the U.S. into doing their dirty work in Iran by using the anti-communist smokescreen. In that case, Truman had rightly resisted British requests for assistance. With Ike's victory, the Dulles brothers got busy and rest is history. (We're still paying for that one and may yet pay more.)

A better post war strategy would have been to stick to our anti-colonial heritage and tell the French and British colonialists to f*** off. This is what Ike did during the Suez Crisis...greatly benefiting the U.S. in the Arab world.

If the U.S. had backed Ho and Mossadegh against European imperialism, then think of the opportunities for U.S. business!

Col. Lang, when we get this Vietnam thing settled, let's turn our gaze to the Korean war, excuse me, police action. No one even bothered making up any myths about that one, we just flushed the whole thing down Orwell's Memory Hole.

W. Patrick Lang

All

So far this thread is just a re-run of mythology driven denials of fact, assertions of evil intent, and a lot of drivel about VN vets as "victimized children." Disappointing. can't people come up with something more interesting than this? How about a juicy massacre somewhere? something... Anything but this.

John Howley - Send me soething interesting about Korea to start one of these cathartic threads. pl

W. Patrick Lang

All

The lady in Boston wrote me off line when I told her that I do not tolerate ad hominen attacks (whining, etc.)

She responded that there have been many ad hominem, attacks on Bush supporters on this blog.

I think that is a fair criticism and caution us all not to pick on people who are merely voters and our fellows.

Stick to policy and public figures. pl

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