Did Vietnam Actually Save Lives?

For any of you who have felt the power of the Vietnam memorial, or who lost loved ones in Vietnam, I begin by apologizing if you mis-construe my question. We lost close to 60,000 of our best and brightest, with many more injured, scarred and divided, (including a whole Country). How can any War “save” lives?

Here me out…

After being a Student of War for a few years, and after looking at the recent Campaigns of the U.S. (coupled with the viewing of “Path To War”…I highly recommend it…), those 60,000 plus built an intolerance in a U.S. public to see their Sons and Daughters coming home in Flag draped coffins from some far off, ill-defined conflict with no clear objective. Those 60,000 plus built an intolerance in a U.S. public to see their Sons and Daughters be used as “Human Chess Pieces” in a ferocious and devastating feat-of-arms called “Hill Fighting”. In both Korea and then Vietnam; on useless pieces of real estate given names like “Hill 238”, “Pork Chop Hill” and “Hamburger Hill” where GI’s and Marines would fight from the foot of a Hill, through pre-sighted Artillery quadrants and landmind fields, all the way to the top, often to hand-to-hand combat and close small arms fire…only to just leave the hill for another day as the Politicians “talked and negotiated”.

Anyway…the list could go on. But my point is this…I think the souls of those 60,000 speak to the politicians and planners these days as they consider putting our soldiers in harms way (with notable exceptions like the U.S. Marine Beirut Barracks).

In other words…for perhaps the first time in history, those 60,000 have made the power brokers and planners think of our soldiers as lives worth protecting, even within the context of war. In this way (and in others) those 60,000 did not die in vain…

Agreement or Flame…it really doesn’t matter…fire away…


You do hear “We don’t want this to be another Vietnam” every once in a while when the discussion of another military conflict comes up so you may have a point.

I don’t know if it was necessarily a “good” thing but Vietnam certainly made us review our methods of dictating foreign policy. I am far to young to have personally experienced the 60’s and early 70’s but my dad spent time “in country” and I relate to the war through him. It seems we were fighting for people who for the most part could not have cared less. To the rice growing peasants it really did not matter if they were under communist or democratic rule. Also the US gov continually hamstrung efforts to win the war by restricting ground troops to south vietnam. Only after it was too late did the Nixon administration commit forces to Laos and Cambodia.

It retrospect it looks like one of the greatest blunders ever. But in the context of the sixties i’m sure things appeared differently. First, it was a crusade to save the world from communism. We may laugh at that threat today but at the time it looked as if the reds would gain control of most of the world; a line had to be drawn. Kennedy took the first stand in Cuba and began to covertly involve the US in vietnam. Later, Johnson and Nixon had difficultly extracting themselves from the war. LBJ thought things could still be won and later Nixon realized the war was supporting the economy. One of the greatest bear markets in history was in 72-73 as the US was for most purposes out of the war by this time.
I don’t think we can hate the administrations of the past too much as they were doing what they thought was best at the time. Someday we may scoff at Bush and the reactions that have taken place(office of homeland security). It’s very easy to judge in retrospect…

It certainly seems to have had an effect on how we conduct warfare. Nowadays we fully commit ourselves to a conflict and overwhelm the opposition with force. In my opinion, this way of conducting warfare saves American lives. Half-hearted commital to a conflict only results in the loss of more lives by extending the conflict far longer than need be.

Yes. Vietnam left it’s mark. Our current Commander & Chief and his father before him seem to have learned the lesson that if you commit troops you do it all the way. As for the last C & C, while I won’t Flame him here. It is just that LTC McNight was my Tactical Officer when I when through Ranger School and I knew some of the soldier involved personally. FLame Bill Clinton, the Hell I won’t, because that poll taking, draft dodging, moral coward let this country suffer the slings and arms of a bunch of rag-headed miscreants. We ended up suffering 9-11. And that Pisses me off to no end.

Mufasa, I would like to think it has contributed to saving lives. It was a hell of a way to learn a lesson though. Lifter, right on Bro! The hair on the back of my neck stands up when I think of cowardly snake and his un-american wife.

Forces friendly to the Taliban and Al-Queda kept trying to pull U.S. forces into a “stand-up” fight in those God Forsaken mountains and caves of Afghanistan. Some of those U.S. commanders knew first hand of the devastation of the hill fighting of Vietnam (and knew of Korea). One was unofficially quoted as saying “Why the hell am I gonna send kids to their certain death to “prove” their worth, when I can blast the hell out of the 'som bithces from 50,000 feet?”

I don’t know…somehow if not for Vietnam, I think we would have seen many more kids being pulled out of caves in Afghanistan in body bags…(just my opinion…)


Yep…one helluva lesson…

Hey Gul and Gals, do me a favor. Next time you hear or see some whine ass official or media bum questioning to use of superior force to accomplish a military objective. Nuke him or her with emails asking them if they want to write letters home to the parents of the decease explaining that we had to play fair.

OL: I agree with you 100%!

I just put up a new thread on the Goverments push to get our Military involved in the quagmire known as “Domestic Security”.

I would love your comments!