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05 October 2013

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turcopolier

Amir

To describe the Communist war against SVN and the US as a war of liberation is just silly leftism. We did not want their wretched country, pl

Tigershark

Just as point of historical accuracy, Lucy and Ethel were in a chocolate factory, supposedly researched at the See's Candy factory in Los Angeles.

Charles I

After many perilous years here, methinks your supposer is overrsensitive to disparagement.

A couple of flavors of honor seem redolent when I think of Walt coming across a prisoner being dropped out of a helicopter.

turcopolier

Charles I

Thanks, friend. Border Warlord's staffies were mighty irritated with me just then. pl

jmc5588

You were down there with the 5th, 7th, and 9th "PLAF" Divisions. They started out with single locally-recruited battalions in the early 60s, then gradually increased to regiments. A division would usually have one regiment largely of southern soldiers and two of PAVN. After Tet 68 they were almost all northern, getting assigned to a regiment and getting killed before anyone even knew who they were. In 68-69 we killed the 9th Division three times, but they still kept coming, hitting targets of opportunity from bases in Cambodia. I've talked to hundreds of PAVN veterans over the past 20 years. Many of them are amazed that they survived. None of them doubt the justice of their cause, even if they doubted they would live to see it prevail. It may be those qualit1es of endurance and acceptance of fate (not resignation) that allowed Giap and his successors to spend those resources so freely, without much concern about dissent within the ranks.

turcopolier

jmc5588

We had all those NVA divisions in my first tour area at one time or another. We also had VC Military Region ten main force units at battalion level. pl

Keith Harbaugh

An occasional topic at SST is WHY did the U.S. abandon its war effort,
either direct or indirect, in Vietnam.
I have views on that, which may be worth putting forward.

Surely the loss of public support for the war was a primary reason.
But WHY did public opinion turn against support for the war, and the Republic of Vietnam?
In my opinion, the primary reason was HOW the media presented the war.
I had a good view on the media's presentation of the war.
I was a graduate student in Boston from September 1967 to January 1973,
and subscribed to and regularly read both the Boston Globe and New York Times.

One photo was omnipresent in the coverage of the war by both papers:
the photo of a Viet Cong captive having his brains blown out by a South Vietnamese officer:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nguy%E1%BB%85n_Ng%E1%BB%8Dc_Loan#Prisoner_execution
http://www.famouspictures.org/vietnam-execution/
Rarely was the context, described in the Wikipedia article, for the execution mentioned.
The photo ran again and again, accompanying stories about VN.
The effect on readers was clear: to present the war as a series of brutal attacks by U.S. and RVN forces against their foe.

Later in the war, another photo became another nearly inevitable accompaniment to VN stories:
The one of the young girl running naked down a dirt road, fleeing a napalm bombing:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phan_Thi_Kim_Phuc
(See her today:
http://www.digitaljournal.com/img/6/8/2/8/9/9/i/1/5/7/o/About-Face-Phan-Thi-Kim-Phuc-2.jpg )
Like the execution, this, after June 1972, was ubiquitous in accompanying stories on the war.

I suspect the cumulative effect of those photos on public opinion was profound.
And was the result of the deliberate attempt of the media's editors to drive down support for the war.

On the other hand,
in this blog I have read Colonel Lang reference the brutal tactics various forces on the NVA/VC side used to kill what they viewed as "enemies of the people".
I really appreciate his bringing that up,
for the brutality on the other side, in my memory, really didn't get much coverage.

To make a long story short,
I think public opinion turned against the war because of how the media presented it.
You can see how Wikipedia describes the coverage here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_news_media_and_the_Vietnam_War
and Wikipedia's views on the antiwar movement here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_to_United_States_involvement_in_the_Vietnam_War
This last reference suggests the primary reason for declining support was
concern over the loss of young U.S. men in what was portrayed as an endless and unwinnable war.
Whether the war was winnable is arguable;
the loss of so many young U.S. men surely was a factor;
but the media's methods described above surely was also a major factor.

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