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Why did we get involved with the Vietnam War?

Discussion in 'Non Sci-fi Debates' started by 1930sPulpFan, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. Why did we ever get involved in the first place under Ike?
    Why did Kennedy continue and enlarge Ike's aid to Vietnam?
    Why did LBJ commit ground troops in '65? Was he misled about the Gulf of Tonkin's second incident? In his tapes he seems to have known the war couldn't be won, but tried to win it--Why? Many have characterized him as a war monger but he seems to have despaired about the war, seeing it as a no-win situation from any angle, in private.
    Was there ever a chance for a peace in 1968? Did Nixon truly sabotage what could've been a much earlier peace brokered by the Johnson Administration in '68?
    Did the US ever stand any chance of winning--how could it be won?
    Was there ever any path which could've led to South Vietnam not falling to Communism, while at the same time, America not being humiliated nor being involved in a divisive and hated war?
  2. Lord Squishy Shadow Cabal Member

    ..have you ever considered using Wikipedia before posting a thread?
    mdman1, Silveraith, Lerticus and 19 others like this.
  3. Sven Pure handsome

    Foreign wars are handy to distract the populace from problems at home.
    Tuisto likes this.
  4. sdfds68 Chewie beats moon!

    FREEDUM AND AMURRICA

    ALSO FREEDUM
  5. Zelinko Indexing The Index

    But that would prevent him from making yet another shitty thread that could be answered by Wikipedia.

    He's that sad of a man.
  6. Necron_Lord Prince

    Domino Effect theory.
  7. LT_Ryguy The Mod members never call acquitter.

    Because war is fantastic.
  8. Hectonkhyres A smaller man than Havocfett

    We absolutely needed to get involved in the Vietnam War. Against the French. That would have been a truly magnificent beachhead against that corner of the world.
    The Imperator, Tylonius and Les like this.
  9. LT_Ryguy The Mod members never call acquitter.

    We were involved prior to Ike as well but it was mostly in order to assist the French. At the time there was a strong effort made to keep France backing NATO and because France had its domestic communist problems as well.

    Primarily it was the controversial Domino theory. When Kennedy took office in 1960 the Cold War was still at its peak. Tensions when it came to nuclear war wouldn't die down until the Cuban Missile Crisis. Malaysia had just defeated its Communist flavored insurgency. Indonesia still had a strong communist power block and there was still an ongoing communist flavored insurgency in the Philippines. Laos and Cambodia were weak and the latter was actually pro-Chinese. The Korean War was fresh in memory and tensions on the DMZ were still strong. It was felt if there wasn't engagement of the North Vietnamese in South Vietnamese, that the dominos would fall. Making the fight for South Vietnam made sense, in order to bolster our regional allies and because South Vietnam had the most military potential of all of the countries in the immediate region (including Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines) and Diem had already, by the time of 1960, already ousted the French, and defeated the French-backed Binh Xuyen cartel/insurgency and two powerful Buddhist militant sects as well as up to that point, resisted nascent NLF aggression.

    LBJ wasn't a war monger. If anything he wanted to focus on his Great Society plan and domestic issues. But thanks to political meddling, such as with Henry Cabot Lodge, Diem was deposed in a coup and assassinated in 1963. This led to almost two years of political infighting which allowed the NLF (Viet Cong) to expand their powerbase and apparatus. Also in August of 1964, the NVA started moving troops to South Vietnam, intending on taking advantage of the South Vietnamese political disarray and crushing them in 1965. The viewpoint was so dim that none of the ARVN military top brass wanted the head job when the civilian leadership bailed in December of 1964. So they decided to give it to a political virgin in the form of the Air Force head, Nguyen Cao Ky. Ky surprised everyone by actually lasting two years instead of two weeks. This lead to a more stable political situation. But it was the US military intervention that saved South Vietnam militarily in 1965. The United States had to intervene in 1965 at the latest, if it wanted to save South Vietnam. So LBJ did just that.

    Doubtful. There was no reason in 1968 for the North Vietnamese, even after Tet, to consider a peace deal that either Johnson or Nixon would find appealing, much less the South Vietnamese.

    Depends who you ask. I personally, say it could've been won by the South Vietnamese and their US allies, but that's a big question with no simple answer.

    The longer wars are prosecuted, the more war weariness that is experienced. It is simply more pronounced in First World democracies. Obviously there are ways it could've been mitigated, but those answers are many.
    mdman1, Hurin, Tylonius and 2 others like this.
  10. Both the north and the south were supposed to hold free elections and eventually reunify, but neither side had any actual interest in that. The south rigged the election and violently supressed communists. The north sponsored violent insurrection in the south and purused a land reform with included killing or imprisoning up to 50000 people.
    China and the USSR weren't about to let vietnam be what they saw as a US puppet state. The US wasn't about to let vietnam be what they saw as a chinese or soviet puppet state.
    When the insurrection in the south (the fnl or better known as the viet cong) grew more agressive and started to attack even US bases the US started airstrikes against north vietnam.

    Feel free to correct me but that's about what I can recall with some aid from wikipedia.
  11. Well in terms of the elections, before the elections there was supposed to be free movement of people to move either north and south and then they would decide the fate of Vietnam. However, so many people were fleeing the North that both the North and the South closed the borders early. The North closed it because they didn't want to lose any more people and the South closed it because they thought a lot of these people were North Vietnamese infiltrators. I say this based on what happened to my grandfather who got stuck in North Vietnam because they closed the borders early. He was trying to sell his business and by the time the deadline approached and he was ready to leave they closed the roads and the borders and my father had to live with his uncle and didn't get to see his own father for like 30 years.

    As for whether the US or the South Vietnamese could win it or not, this again comes from personal family stories. When my father went back to Vietnam to visit his dying father, he got to talk to a lot of high ranking North Vietnamese officers--ranging from Colonels and Generals and they said that when Nixon did his bombing campaign the thought was that the US was going to invade the North and that it was going to be game over for them. So they were already preparing to surrender to the US when Nixon's people came in with an offer for a cease fire instead. Whether the North would have truly surrendered is unknown, but it shows how little the US understood the thinking of the enemy.

    Next about why we got into Vietnam, as others have said there was the domino theory that if you let one country fall to communism that others would fall as well like a stack of dominos. Was this a real threat or not is hard to say; there was evidence of it going both ways. i will point out though that a popular mantra among the NVA & Vietcong was first they would liberate South Vietnam, next they would liberate Cambodia, then they would liberate Thailand and finally America (keep in mind they had brainwashed the people into thinking America was only across the border from Cambodia & Thailand). Anyway, when the South was defeated, they proceeded to do just that with the invasion of Cambodia.

    Another the thing about Vietnam which attributed to American escalation is that it was a sort of reverse Korean War. By that I mean, in Korea after MacArthur's sucessful invasion he was able to kick out the North Koreans and restore the old borders. If the US had decided to end the war and declare victory, US invincibility would had remained and the US would look like a big hero for having saved one of their allies. Well, because the invasion went off with minimal casualities the thinking in Washington was that since we invested so little and got so much, we can invest a little more and possibly unify the peninsula. This worked out well at first with the US pushing the Korean forces towards the Yalu River, however we neglected to take into consideration what China's response would be. Couple that with MacArthur making dumb ass comments about celebrating Christmas in Manchuria and the Chinese decided they couldn't allow for a US puppet to be right at their borders so Mao sent a 1 million "volunteers" that pushed back UN forces all the way back to the original 38th parallel.

    In Vietnam we had the opposite occur. We invested a little and didn't gain anything. So the politicians decided to invest some more, hoping to get something back on their return. Ultimately it became a major sink in manpower and resources with little to show for it. But because so much political, financial and human capital had been spent it was hard for the politicians and the generals to walk away.
    mdman1, Jonen C, RahXephon and 3 others like this.
  12. Dusel Loving Smiles!

    AND COMMUNISM! THEY WERE COMMUNISTS! REMEMBER KOREA!
    Storm Jumper likes this.
  13. Deadguy2001 Bane of the Sla'haii

    To plunder their Pho noodle shops. Search your heart, you know it to be true.
  14. PostalPostman Yurameshi, I...

    To protect French imperialism
  15. The Reaper Don't fear The Reaper

    Vietnamese food is my absolute favorite food on Earth. Or at least, they say it is Vietnamese and they all speak some Asian sounding language and look Asian so I assume it is Vietnamese. And I have no idea what any of the food is called except the number of the meal I order.
    But damnit it is the best!
  16. HanEmpire Delicious

    In order to stop the dirty commies.
    If Vietnam falls, then Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, ... and so on would fall to their vile ways until Australia and New Zealand succumbs as well.
    And when that happens, the Reds would cross the Pacific and threaten the very heart of freedom in the world: America.

    Or so the saying went.
    Those wacky Cold War era McCarthyism hacks.
  17. Prince Ire Section XIII

    [IMG]

    Why did we get into Vietnam? Communism
  18. Senmut America Aeterna!

    We got involved so that Pulp would not fall short of things to make threads about.
  19. 1812 Lech Walesa

    I'm confused. I'm fairly sure that SB wasn't around in the 1960s, so how could "we" have been involved in he Vietnam war?

    Has someone been playing with the communal TARDIS again? I thought we agreed never to do that again after the last... incident.

    If by "we" you mean "the USA"... I know it's hard for you, but do please try to remember that not all of us here are American.
    LONE WOLF 666 and hassam like this.
  20. Mainly because of the Korean War and the fall of China to the Communists both of which happened little more than a decade before U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War really heated up (1963-65 give or take).

    People forget that in the aftermath of the Korean War but before the Vietnam War, Korea was often called "the only war America ever lost". Given that the "losing" of the Korean War and the "loss" of China to communists had both occurred during the Democratic Truman admin., both Kennedy and Johnson felt strong pressure not to "lose another war".

    So they both, despite misgivings poured U.S. support into South Vietnam. Kennedy also felt the incredibly dangerous Cuban Missile Crisis had occurred mainly because the Soviets felt he was weak due to his failures to help the rebels in the Bay of Pigs invasion (he was right) and that to appear weak in Vietnam would encourage even greater crisis with the Soviets elsewhere.
  21. Damar Alien Nationalist

    This message was brought by Bob Morton of OCP.
    WhiteDragon25 and LT_Ryguy like this.
  22. Dio212 Plunder the internets!

    Let's face it, if SB was involved in the Vietnam war, there wouldn't be a Vietnam left. Just that nuked-out crater next to the pacific.
    LONE WOLF 666 likes this.
  23. Lerticus Senile Old Coot

    Well, I might not remember everything so clearly, what with old age and all, but I recall the American troops saying, "WAAAAH! COMMIES!!!" a lot.
    LONE WOLF 666 likes this.
  24. 1812 Lech Walesa

    Rather an understatement... I doubt there'd be anything left if SB got involved!
    LONE WOLF 666 and Dio212 like this.
  25. Roi Danton Bavarian-in-Exile

    I would actually be surprised if Earth was still intact after SB got involved in any kind of shooting war.
    LONE WOLF 666 and Dio212 like this.

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