What We Still haven’t Learned from the Vietnam War

Hits: 1281

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.


Originally published on 2017-10-21

Source: Who.What.Why

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We 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.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
War between US and Russia Could Be Sooner than Later: “The Danger of a Nuclear War”
Right now the US mainstream media is obsessing over Donald’s alleged womanizing and female groping soap opera as the Clinton’s/MSM’s pruriently entertaining smokescreen, neatly designed to cover up Hillary/Bill’s serial raping and her criminal lead role as enabler/strong armed intimidator of past victims.Meanwhile, barely noticed in a virtual media blackout in the West are at least a half dozen high alert, significant international developments this last weekend that all strongly indicate the extreme danger of a nuclear war breaking out at any time against Russia and its Eastern alliance. Again, do not pay attention to the US deceivers behind their Oz-like curtain ...
READ MORE
US-NATO Operations in Kosovo and Ukraine: Compare and Contrast
There have been at least two countries in Europe in recent history that undertook ‘anti-terrorist’ military operations against ‘separatists’, but got two very different reactions from the Western elite.The government of European country A launches what it calls an‘anti-terrorist’ military operation against ‘separatists’ in one part of the country. We see pictures on Western television of people’s homes being shelled and lots of people fleeing. The US and UK and other NATO powers fiercely condemn the actions of the government of country A and accuse it of carrying out ‘genocide’ and ’ethnic cleansing’ and say that there is an urgent ...
READ MORE
The Future of Syria is in Your Hands
Recently, the West and the Middle East pundits and analysts have been trying to analyze the provisions of the new draft constitution proposed by the Russian side as a solution to the Syrian conflict.Naturally, analyzing the provisions, any of the sides involved in the conflict is trying to present itself as the legitimate government. That raises the question of whether to adopt such a draft or not, because a newly appointed government would have to comply with a new constitution. Not surprisingly, not only the moderate opposition and illegal armed groups, but the official Syrian authorities as well subject the ...
READ MORE
Why the Albanians Need Tensions in the Province of Kosovo-Metohija Now?
One sharp and interesting  analysis of situation in Serbian province of Kosovo Metohija came last week from Andrew Korybko, program host at Radio Sputnik.Mr. Korybko speaks on how the whirlwind of geopolitics, military interests and global giants of business, as well as the change of US administration, could impact the fragile peace in Balkans and what’s behind the latest tensions:”Serbia’s NATO-occupied province of Kosovo has been up to its old tricks lately in trying to provoke Belgrade into another military confrontation conveniently timed to coincide with Trump’s inauguration.The former so-called “Prime Minister” of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, was detained in France ...
READ MORE
Israelis – Not Muslims – Cheered in Jersey City on 9/11
The corporate media don’t like Donald Trump. They used to like him a lot; in fact, Big Business Media are responsible for making this minor multi-millionaire into a household name. But Trump is on their hit list, nowadays, because the Republican presidential candidate insists on telling his own lies, rather than sticking to the list of official lies parroted by corporate media every minute of every day. Donald Trump told a really “HUGE” – as he would put it – lie when he claimed to have watched thousands of Muslims cheering in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the World Trade Center ...
READ MORE
China: Rise, Fall and Re-Emergence as a Global Power
The study of world power has been blighted by Eurocentric historians who have distorted and ignored the dominant role China played in the world economy between 1100 and 1800.  John Hobson’s[1] brilliant historical survey of the world economy during this period provides an abundance of empirical data making the case for China ’s economic and technological superiority over Western civilization for the better part of a millennium prior to its conquest and decline in the 19th century. China ’s re-emergence as a world economic power raises important questions about what we can learn from its previous rise and fall and about ...
READ MORE
Kosovo Albanian “Skanderbeg SS Division”
The historical and political precedents for the creation of a greater Sqiperia or Greater Albania was set during World War II when the Kosovo and Metohija regions along with territory Southwest of lake Skutari from Montenegro and the western region of Southern Serbia, or Juzna Srbija (now part of Macedonia), were annexed to Albania by the Axis powers led by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, under a plan devised by Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler to dismember and to destroy the Serbian Nation and people, which the Germans and Italians perceived as the main threat to the Axiss powers and ...
READ MORE
NATO: А Dangerous Paper Tiger
The Chinese have a genius for pithy expressions and few are more packed with meaning, while immediately understandable, than "paper tiger". NATO is one, but paper tigers that overestimate their powers can be dangerous.Some Russians are concerned that there are today more hostile troops at the Russian border than at any time since 1941. While this is true, it is not, at the moment, very significant. The Germans invaded the USSR with nearly 150 divisions in 1941. Which, as it turned out, were not enough.Today NATO has – or claims to have – a battle group in each of the three ...
READ MORE
9 of the World’s 10 Least Peaceful Nations were all Targeted by U.S. Intervention
The 2017 Global Peace Index has declared Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan to be among the “least peaceful” countries in the world. Incidentally, all four have been targets of U.S.-led destabilization efforts that were used to pursue economic interests that suit the U.S. MINNEAPOLIS– The annual Global Peace Index, recently released for June 2017, has found that while the world is more peaceful now than last year, violence has increased significantly overall in the past decade. Although the situation has improved in many countries, the ten lowest-ranking nations – known as the world’s “least peaceful” countries – have shown little change ...
READ MORE
Ukraine’s NATO Referendum is a Vote for War
The massive artillery bombardment of the peoples of the Donbass, that has been raining down shells and fire on them since Christmas, is a war crime of horrific proportions designed to terrorise the people and bring their refusal to be subject to the NATO-installed regime in Kiev to an end. It is also becoming clear that it has a political purpose, which is to increase anti-Russian, pro-NATO propaganda among the Ukrainian people to influence them to vote to join NATO in a referendum, the consequences of which will be dramatic because a vote for NATO will be a vote for ...
READ MORE
“Going After” the Islamic State: Guess Who is Behind the Caliphate Project?
Author’s note and UpdateThe following article was first published in September 2014 at the outset of the air campaign “against the ISIS”. In recent developments Russia has officially joined the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). What are the implications?Amply documented but rarely mentioned in news reports, the ISIS is a creation of US intelligence, recruited, trained and financed by the US and its allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.  What this means is that the ISIS terrorists are the foot soldiers of the Western alliance. While America claims to be targeting the ISIS, in reality it is protecting the ISIS. The air campaign is intent upon ...
READ MORE
Zagreb, Independent State of Croatia, 1941
The consumption of history seems to be more widespread than ever: from general-interest history magazines and historical dramas and documentaries to historical fiction, popular history seems, well, unprecedentedly popular. The evolution of the TV historian reflects this trend: where once real working historians who had written serious books hosted television programmes, these days they are as likely to be photogenic media presenters with minimal, if any, actual history qualifications. The attraction of history and being a historian are not hard to work out. In the public imagination, historians are usually considered to be intelligent, objective people, if a little eccentric, who tell ...
READ MORE
The U.S. Documentary Movie: “The Origin Of Islamic State”
Truth in Media, THE ORIGIN OF ISISBen Swann explores the origin of ISIS that has already been long forgotten by American media.Swann takes on the central issue of whether or not ISIS was created by “inaction” by the United States government or by “direct” action.Link to the movie: THE ORIGIN OF ISISOriginally posted by Ben Swann on Thursday, 19 March 2015.Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & 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 ...
READ MORE
The Criminal Roadmap Towards “Greater Israel”?
The concept of a “Greater Israel” according to the founding father of Zionism Theodore Herzl, is a Jewish State stretching “’From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.’Rabbi Fischmann, of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, stated to the UN Special Committee on 9th July 1947 that:The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon’”, wrote Michel Chossudovsky. (1)Thus “from the Nile to the Euphrates.” Herzl’s detailed thesis was written in 1904.Quoted in the same article is Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya on The Yinon Plan (1982) “ … a continuation of ...
READ MORE
Another Dangerous Rush to Judgment in Syria
Exclusive: The U.S. government and the mainstream media rushed to judgment again, blaming the Syrian government for a new poison-gas attack and ignoring other possibilities, reports Robert Parry. With the latest hasty judgment about Tuesday’s poison-gas deaths in a rebel-held area of northern Syria, the mainstream U.S. news media once more reveals itself to be a threat to responsible journalism and to the future of humanity. Again, we see the troubling pattern of verdict first, investigation later, even when that behavior can lead to a dangerous war escalation and many more deaths. Before a careful evaluation of the evidence about Tuesday’s tragedy ...
READ MORE
NATO’s Protected EuroKosovo (Photos not seen at CNN)
Save... and many more pictures!Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & 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.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
Edward S. Herman (ed.), The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics (PDF Book)
Read the truth about "Srebrenica Massacre" in 1995.Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & 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.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]The Al-Qaeda-linked ‘El-Mujahedeen’ brigade of the Bosnian Muslim Army parading in downtown Zenica in central Bosnia in 1995
READ MORE
“Russiagate” is Actually “Israelgate”: Trump as “Agent of Israel”, not of Russia?
The Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s main evidence thus far in his “Russiagate” probe is not actually about possible Russian collusion with Trump to win the Presidency, but instead about definite Israeli collusion with Trump after Trump had already won the Presidency but before he became inaugurated. As a lawyer explained on the day when Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was indicted in a plea-deal: “Mr. Flynn has just become the prosecution’s star witness.” What Flynn had pled to was his trying to obtain Russia’s support for Israel’s Government, against the Palestinians. Russia said no; Putin said no to Flynn’s request, ...
READ MORE
Former Kosovar Jihadist Recounts Syrian Odyssey
Ridvan Haqifi (left) and Lavdrim Muhaxheri (right), two ISIS Kosovo Albanian commanders. | Photo: ISIS propaganda videoAlbert Berisha, a former Kosovar jihadist who travelled to fight in Syria, appeared before a Pristina court on Monday to recount his version of the story and maintain his innocence.Berisha, who graduated in political sciences from the University of Pristina and holds a Masters degree from the University of Tirana, was arrested in 2014 and is charged with participating in terrorist organisations. This crime is punishable with a minimum of five years in prison.Berisha said he went to Syria from October 6 to 20, ...
READ MORE
America’s Renegade Warfare
Seventy-seven million people in North and South Korea find themselves directly in the line of fire from the threat of a Second Korean War. The rest of the world is recoiling in horror from the scale of civilian casualties such a war would cause and the unthinkable prospect that either side might actually use nuclear weapons.Since the first Korean War killed at least 20 percent of North Korea’s population and left the country in ruins, the U.S. has repeatedly failed to follow through on diplomacy to establish a lasting peace in Korea and has instead kept reverting to illegal and terrifying threats ...
READ MORE
War between US and Russia Could Be Sooner than Later: “The Danger of a Nuclear War”
US-NATO Operations in Kosovo and Ukraine: Compare and Contrast
The Future of Syria is in Your Hands
Why the Albanians Need Tensions in the Province of Kosovo-Metohija Now?
Israelis – Not Muslims – Cheered in Jersey City on 9/11
China: Rise, Fall and Re-Emergence as a Global Power
Kosovo Albanian “Skanderbeg SS Division”
NATO: А Dangerous Paper Tiger
9 of the World’s 10 Least Peaceful Nations were all Targeted by U.S. Intervention
Ukraine’s NATO Referendum is a Vote for War
“Going After” the Islamic State: Guess Who is Behind the Caliphate Project?
How Holocaust Revisionists Remake History as Nationalist Sham
The U.S. Documentary Movie: “The Origin Of Islamic State”
The Criminal Roadmap Towards “Greater Israel”?
Another Dangerous Rush to Judgment in Syria
NATO’s Protected EuroKosovo (Photos not seen at CNN)
Edward S. Herman (ed.), The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics (PDF Book)
“Russiagate” is Actually “Israelgate”: Trump as “Agent of Israel”, not of Russia?
Former Kosovar Jihadist Recounts Syrian Odyssey
America’s Renegade Warfare
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share

About White Nettle

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published on this website. The views of the authors presented on 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