What We Still haven’t Learned from the Vietnam War

Fifty years ago today, in 1967, nearly 100,000 Americans marched on Washington, DC, to protest the Vietnam War. In those days there was a mandatory draft in place, and the risk was very real that a young man just out of high school could quickly wind up 13,000 miles away, fighting an unseen enemy in jungles that didn’t need tanks or B-52 bombers to inflict fear. Worse yet was the possibility of going MIA or coming home in a body bag — just another expendable statistic in the great fight against communism. But even many of those who made it back left part of their souls in that war zone.

Today there is no longer a mandatory draft. And neither is there any anti-war movement to speak of.

If you ask young people today why the United States joined the fight in WWII, many could probably tell you that we were bombed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. Or perhaps they would say we had to fight Hitler and the Nazis. But what about Vietnam? Why did we go to war there? What were we fighting for? How did we become involved in that conflict? My guess is that most couldn’t tell you — just as it became unclear to that generation in 1967, who were fighting and dying.

This contrast between clarity and ambiguity is reflected in popular cinema — take WWII films like Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Pearl Harbor, and Sands of Iwo Jima that reflect the essential righteousness of the American cause. Yet classic Vietnam War films like Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, and Hamburger Hill reflect the uncertainty, misery, barbarity, and psychosis of the GI experience.

But this split perception took time. The truth is that the US had been in Vietnam since the mid-1950s. Since the turn of the century, America had been slowly developing into an imperial power to rival the British and the French. WWII had solidified it as the inheritor of the British Empire — the only imperial power left standing.

The whole of Vietnam had been a colony of the French since the 1890s, but after WWII an uprising occurred, led by Ho Chi Minh — inspired by Marxist-Leninism and a nationalist fervor to regain control of their own country. By 1954 the French were out, and two Vietnams, north and south, formed in an uneasy proximity.

The US inherited the imperial project from the French — gradually sending in military “advisers” to the south. President John F. Kennedy had continued that project by backing the south Vietnamese government with military assistance and equipment. The stated reason for this intervention was to prevent the spread of communism throughout southeast Asia — the infamous “domino theory.”

But by 1963, Kennedy had come to see the futility of this endeavor. He gave orders to begin withdrawing troops, and planned to have all military personnel out of Vietnam by the end of 1965.

But on November 22, 1963 President Kennedy was assassinated, and President Lyndon B. Johnson took the helm. He immediately reversed Kennedy’s orders. The Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964, in which a group of North Vietnamese torpedo boats allegedly fired on a US Navy ship (it turned out to be false — and the administration knew it), gave Congress the incentive to give Johnson the authority he needed to dramatically escalate troop deployment and to begin a new bombing campaign.

By 1968, over 500,000 American soldiers were stationed in Vietnam.

In the mid-60s, young people began questioning why their friends and family members were being sent thousands of miles away to fight in another country they’d never heard of before. The rock n’ roll revolution was in full swing, and the hippie movement, dope, and acid were fueling a counterculture movement that questioned the establishment and their rules of conformity — instead pushing the mantra “make love, not war.”

Not only was Johnson feeling the heat from student protesters, but even Wall Street and Big Finance were beginning to express doubts about the feasibility of winning the war. The debt was piling up and America was at that point still under the Bretton-Woods gold standard.

In March of 1968, less than a year after the protest march on D.C., Johnson announced he would not seek reelection.

Senator Robert Kennedy, brother of JFK, had thrown his hat in the race, running as a peace candidate who would bring the troops home from Vietnam. He was assassinated several months after Martin Luther King, Jr. The Republican candidate Richard Nixon won the election, and the war continued another seven years, taking us off the gold standard in the process. It ended in US defeat in 1975, shortly after Nixon resigned from office in shame after the Watergate scandal.

By the war’s end the US had lost 58,000 troops — the Vietnamese somewhere between one and three million.

So why was America in the Vietnam War for so long? What was it really about?

We might as well ask why we have been in Afghanistan for 16 years with no end in sight. Or why did we invade Iraq? Why did we overthrow Libya? Why are we involved in a civil war in Syria? Why are we backing a genocidal war in Yemen? Why did we invade Grenada? Why did we conduct covert warfare in a dozen different Central and South American countries over the past 60 years? Why are we still in Korea 70 years after the fact, now on the verge of a renewed conflict? Why have we come to the very threshold of nuclear annihilation more than once?

What happened to the citizens, community leaders, institutions, and politicians that we would allow this endless warfare to continue? And where is the anti-war movement? Why are they MIA?

These questions are all related. Perhaps if we were to solve the riddle of Vietnam, we would solve these other questions as well. Perhaps those 100,000 students and protesters 50 years ago solved it — and decided to do something about it. Maybe we can too.


2017-10-21

Source: Who.What.Why


Disclaimer/Legal Statement

The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website.

The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website.

The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors.

The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website.

The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website.

The source of all used illustrations (photos, maps, documents, etc.) in published articles and at the website in general is the internet.

The authors of used illustrations are unknown and the illustrations are not copyrighted if not marked on the illustrations.

We do not use cookies.

18+

Knowledge and best practice in this field are constantly changing. As new research and experience broaden our understanding, changes in research methods, professional practices, or medical treatment may become necessary. Practitioners and researchers must always rely on their own experience and knowledge in evaluating and using any information, methods, compounds, or experiments described herein. In using such information and/or methods they should be mindful of their own safety and the safety of others, including parties for whom they have a professional responsibility.

To the fullest extent of the law, neither the owner & editor-in-chief nor the authors, assume any liability for any injury and/or damage to persons, property, institutions, nations or states as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions, or ideas contained in the material on this website.

The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

With best regards,

Dr Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

sotirovic@global-politics.eu

READ MORE!
America’s Secret Planned Conquest of Russia
The U.S. government’s plan to conquer Russia is based upon a belief in, and the fundamental plan to establish, “Nuclear Primacy” against Russia — an American ability to win a nuclear war against, and so conquer, Russia. This concept became respectable in U.S. academic and governmental policymaking circles when virtually simultaneously in 2006 a short-form and a long-form version of an article endorsing the concept, which the article’s two co-authors there named “nuclear primacy,” were published respectively in the world’s two most influential journals of international affairs, Foreign Affairs from the Council on Foreign Relations, and International Security from Harvard. (CFR got the more popular ...
READ MORE
Albert Einstein’s 1948 Letter to the New York Times Comparing Israeli Politicians to Nazis
Albert Einstein’s 1948 letter to the New York Times If we want to understand the real history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, we can turn to a trustworthy Jewish source: Albert Einstein. Einstein was a humanitarian and peace activist, in addition to being one of the greatest scientists of all time. What did this extremely intelligent, wonderfully wise and warmly humane Jew have to say about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians? In a landmark open letter to the New York Times in 1948, Einstein clearly and candidly explained why Israel’s militant Zionist leaders were not to be trusted and did not deserve money ...
READ MORE
Journey to Aleppo: Exposing the Truth Buried under NATO Propaganda
Aleppo has become synonymous with destruction and “Syrian state-generated” violence among those whose perception of the situation in the war-torn nation is contained within the prism of mainstream media narratives. The NATO-aligned media maintains a tight grip on information coming out of this beleaguered city, ensuring that whatever comes out is tailored to meet State Department requirements and advocacy for regime change. The propaganda mill churns out familiar tales of chemical weapons, siege, starvation, and bombs targeting civilians–all of which are attributed to the Syrian government and military, with little variation on this theme. The purpose of this photo essay and my ...
READ MORE
The Waffen SS Against the Serbian Chetniks: Heinrich Himmler’s Inspection Tour in Kraljevo, Serbia (October 1942)
Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler arrived in Kraljevo, German-occupied Serbia on Thursday, October 15, 1942 to inspect the 7th Waffen SS Mountain Division “Prinz Eugen”. Himmler spent four days in Serbia, leaving on Sunday, October 18. The first offensive or operation of the Prinz Eugen division, the anti-guerrilla military operation against the Kopaonik region of central Serbia, was to attack the Chetnik guerrillas under Draza Mihailovich in the Kopaonik, Goc and Jastrebac mountains of central Serbia. Prinz Eugen attacked Chetnik troops under Chetnik Major Dragutin Keserovic. Himmler was photographed arriving in an air field in a German Junkers Ju 52 transport plane. Te ...
READ MORE
The Real Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons against Japan
Like all Americans, I was taught that the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to end WWII and save both American and Japanese lives. But most of the top American military officials at the time said otherwise. The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman to study the air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946 that concluded (52-56): Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all ...
READ MORE
Zionism, Anti-Semitism, BDS, and the United Nations
An earlier abridged version of this post was published by Middle East Eye under a different title on June 5, 2016. The focus is upon the misuse of anti-Semitism by those defending Israel to deflect a rising tide of civil society activism and public criticism of Israeli policies and practices. Zionism as Racism? Zionism and the State of Israel 8 Jun 2016 – More than 40 years ago the UN General Assembly adopted controversial resolution 3379 by a vote of 72-35 (with 32 abstentions), determining “that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” This resolution was bitterly opposed by Israel and its ...
READ MORE
Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West was Checkmated
A quick review of Ukraine,  Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West Was Checkmated is simple – this amazing work should be in everyone’s reading library.  Anyone who cares to understand the situation of what has happened, and is happening in Ukraine needs to read this book.  It covers the history of the dissolution of the USSR, the resulting creation of Ukraine, and the history of the U.S.’ attempts through various government and non-government organizations (e.g. Soros) towards the first failed colour revolution (Orange, 2004), then on towards the second attempt resulting in the successful installation of the noenazi puppet ...
READ MORE
The Libyan Scenario for North Korea
On March 23, 2018, the US media published an interview with the newly-appointed National Security Advisor John R. Bolton, where he stated that the only solution for North Korea is complete disarmament – following the example of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi. This scenario is exactly what Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un need to discuss during their negotiations. John R. Bolton is well-known as a hardliner regarding Pyongyang. During his work for the Department of State in the 2000s, he was one of the most furious opponents of any dialogue with North Korea, and more recently he advocated a preventive strike against ...
READ MORE
Why NATO/US’s “Collateral Damage” and “Errors” are not a War Crime?
Many innocent civilians were killed in American military interventions around the world – from Vietnam and Serbia to Iran and Afghanistan, because of the alleged “errors” or “collateral damage” – without consequences for civil and military leadership. In addition to political, military and every other power, Americans secured itself with legal mechanisms. Twenty-two civilians, wounded and doctors, among them three children, were killed in the American bombing of a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz. Americans acknowledged the error and apologized. The President of the United States expressed his condolences, the military leadership announced three independent investigations. “Doctors without borders” ...
READ MORE
Washington has Found the Solution: “Let’s Divide Iraq as We Did in Yugoslavia!”
Editor’s note: This article by Michel Collon was first published by Global Research in December 2003. It outlines with foresight the strategy of the US, through covert intelligence operations, of breaking up Iraq into a number of separate states. The unleashing of a civil war with a view to deliberately breaking up Iraq was part of the US war agenda from the outset. They have found the solution! Divide Iraq into three mini-states and then pit them against one another. Does that remind you of something else? Oh, yes! It’s not the first time something like this happened…. The New York Times published ...
READ MORE
The Birkenstock Bomber: When Bernie did Serbia
The most useful parable about progressives is that offered by Bernard Sanders, self-styled “socialist-progressive-independent” rep from Vermont. Sanders owes his political career to rage against the Vietnam War among radicals, many of whom moved into the state in the early 1970s. They forthwith planned a long-term, carefully organized, assault on Vermont’s two-party structure. Sanders linked his political ambitions to this effort to organize a third force, the Progressive Alliance. He became mayor of Burlington and, later, congressman. At a rapid clip the emphasis moved from party-building to Sanders-building. By 1994, it was apparent that the only movement B. Sanders was interested in ...
READ MORE
US Provides Military Assistance to 73 Percent of World’s Dictatorships
Source: Rich WhitneyAbout the author: Rich Whitney is an attorney, actor, radio commentator and disk jockey, Illinois Green Party activist and former Green Party candidate for governor.Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
The Biggest Threat to World Peace is NATO
On November 8th, Britain’s Daily Mail bannered “NATO tells Europe to prepare for ‘rapid deployment’:” and sub-headed “Defence chiefs say roads, bridges and rail links must be improved in case tanks and heavy vehicles need to be quickly mobilised” (to invade Russia, but the newspaper’s slant was instead that this must be done purely defensively: “In October, NATO accused Russia of misleading them, saying that Moscow had deliberately violated international rules of military drills”). The article continued: Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for the infrastructure update across Europe as NATO is set to overhaul its command structure for the first time since ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: What Everyone (Really) Needs to Know
Preface Kosovo is today one of the most disputed territories in Europe and a real Balkan powder keg which can explode again at any time. It is a province within the Republic of Serbia, recognized as such by both Serbia’s constitution and the Resolution 1244 by the Security Council of the United Nations (the UNSC Resolution 1244, June 10th, 1999). However, Kosovo parliament with a clear Albanian majority proclaimed the independence of Kosovo (without a referendum) in February 2008 that was recognized by the majority of the Western countries followed by their puppet clients all over the world (in reality, today ...
READ MORE
Blowback: Afghanistan and Bosnia
As the U.S. and NATO casualties rise from the war in Afghanistan, with 2010 being the deadliest year of the nine-year war for the U.S., the question needs to be asked of how we got involved in that interminable and unwinnable conflict? The Afghan war has been dubbed Barack Obama’s War but its origins go back much earlier. Is the U.S. military disaster in Afghanistan an instance of blowback? What is the standard definition of “blowback”? The U.S. intervenes illegally in a volatile and unstable scenario and over time the consequences of that criminality come back to reek havoc on U.S. ...
READ MORE
The 1967 Obsession, Trump and Trivia
I arrived in Jerusalem last night and as always during the weeks between mid-May and mid-June the media is full of romanticized memories. Within these weeks are the two most siginicfant dates in modern Palestinian history: May 1948 when Palestine was conquered and renamed Israel, and June, 1967 when the Israeli army completed the conquest of Palestine by taking East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. For Palestinians these dates bring back bitter memories, but for Israelis the memories are sweet – those were the days when we were young and brave and innocent.  Vintage photos of soldiers at the newly conquered ...
READ MORE
“Je Suis CIA”
Note: This article was first published in January 2015. Since 9/11, the imperial playbook has consisted of a favorite and time-tested tactic: the false flag operation. Carry out or facilitate a spectacular atrocity. Blame it on the enemy of choice. Issue a lie-infested official narrative, and have the corporate media repeat the lie. Rile up ignorant militant crowds, stoke the hatred, and war-mongering imperial policy planners and their criminal functionaries get what they want: war with the public stamp of approval. Here we are again. The Charlie Hebdo incident is being sold as “the French 9/11”. It certainly is, in all of the most ...
READ MORE
Totalitarian Rule in America
Every day signs are looming larger than life as we know it in the wealthiest nation on earth that it’s about to crash and burn, forever changing not for the better. The latest wake-up call arrived in a Guardian article earlier this week. The story features a secret prison not unlike the CIA torture detention centers all over the world whereby the Chicago police hold rounded up US citizens for hours or days at a time for interrogation. The same internationally illegal roundups of suspected “potential terrorists” (which by latest Gestapo America standards can easily be you or me) that the CIA ...
READ MORE
Nekrologas Makeinui
Mirė vienas didžiausių pasaulyje tarptautinių karo nusikaltėlių JAV senatorius Džonas Makeinas. Jis , kaip ir kitas JAV karo nusikaltėlių gaujos sėbras Zbignevas Bzežinskis, darė karo nusikaltimus visame pasaulyje, žudė civilius gyventojus, moteris, vaikus, senelius Vietname, Irake, Jugoslavijoje, Libijoje, Sirijoje, Jemene, Somalyje, Nigerijoje, Gruzijoje, Ukrainoje, kišosi į visų pasaulio šalių vidaus reikalus, dalyvavo vykdant spalvotas revoliucijas visose Rusijos pasienyje esančiose buvusiose tarybinėse valstybėse, Vidurio ir Rytų Europoje, Pabaltijo respublikose, Šiaurės Afrikoje, Artimuosiuose ir Vidurio Rytuose, rėmė nusikalstamus fašistinius režimus, nacionalistines chuntas, islamo teroristines organizacijas minėtose šalyse, yra tiesiogiai atsakingas už jo remtų partijų – konservatorių, liberalų, socdemų, nacistų, nacionalistų, fašistų, islamo teroristų ...
READ MORE
Who is Profiting from the Rise of Fascism?
On October 21, 2016 a typical Estonian school witnessed an opening ceremony of the bronze bust of Harald Nugiseks. He was an SS-Oberscharführer (Sergeant) in World War II, who served voluntarily in the 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Waffen SS. According to the director of this education institution, the memory of Harald Nugiseks will lead to the increase in feelings of patriotism among students and must increase their willingness to protect their country in case of external aggression. So who is this Nugiseks? – During the Second World War, he was awarded with the second highest military award in the ...
READ MORE
America’s Secret Planned Conquest of Russia
Albert Einstein’s 1948 Letter to the New York Times Comparing Israeli Politicians to Nazis
Journey to Aleppo: Exposing the Truth Buried under NATO Propaganda
The Waffen SS Against the Serbian Chetniks: Heinrich Himmler’s Inspection Tour in Kraljevo, Serbia (October 1942)
The Real Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons against Japan
Zionism, Anti-Semitism, BDS, and the United Nations
Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West was Checkmated
The Libyan Scenario for North Korea
Why NATO/US’s “Collateral Damage” and “Errors” are not a War Crime?
Washington has Found the Solution: “Let’s Divide Iraq as We Did in Yugoslavia!”
The Birkenstock Bomber: When Bernie did Serbia
US Provides Military Assistance to 73 Percent of World’s Dictatorships
The Biggest Threat to World Peace is NATO
Kosovo: What Everyone (Really) Needs to Know
Blowback: Afghanistan and Bosnia
The 1967 Obsession, Trump and Trivia
“Je Suis CIA”
Totalitarian Rule in America
Nekrologas Makeinui
Who is Profiting from the Rise of Fascism?
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu