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Old 06-22-2017   #1
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Default Could the United States Have Really Won the Vietnam War?

By Robert Farley at War is Boring:


Mark Moyar, the scholar of U.S. foreign and military policy, recently had the opportunity to update an older argument on the viability of the Vietnam War.

Moyar argues that the historical consensus on the war is wrong on several points, and that in fact the United States could have won the war and preserved the Saigon government at acceptable cost.

While Moyar’s argument is worth consideration, he still fails to make his case against the long-standing consensus on the war.
Moyar's key points:
  • South Vietnam was a viable state by 1972, afflicted but not overwhelmed by insurgency
  • Local Communist forces in South Vietnam had been mortally wounded in 1968
  • With U.S. support, South Vietnam could blunt and even defeat North Vietnamese offensives
  • Saigon was far more democratic and less repressive than Hanoi
  • The war was less unpopular in the U.S. at the time than it is presently

Farley’s “realities”:
  • South Vietnam could not survive on its own in the way of South Korea
  • Hanoi was unified whereas Saigon was prone to infighting
  • The U.S. could not have stopped North Vietnamese aggression
  • The war was unpopular enough that Nixon faced no opposition in 1972 for abandoning South Vietnam, and Ford could not generate any support for re-engagement in 1975
  • The U.S. could have militarily won by invading and occupying North Vietnam or have merely remained engaged in the South indefinitely, but both options would have been very costly politically and materially
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Old 06-22-2017   #2
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Gotta disagree with Mark, as he is arguing based upon the US narrative on the war, rather than the Vietnamese reality. The "states" of North and South Vietnam were legal fictions created by the US in an effort to deny the Vietnamese people the victory they had won to remove the French and attain a self determined government. The victors came from across Vietnam and were forced to withdraw into what became North Vietnam. Meanwhile the insurgency continued in the Maoist model of ebb and flow until they finally prevailed. Sure, we could have delayed their independence even longer than the 30 years we did, but it would have happened eventually. Conflicts are what they are, caring little for how they are named or perceived by various parties. The US completely misunderstood and mis- defined that conflict. A mistake we are repeating in a few places currently as well.
Robert C. Jones
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(Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 06-23-2017   #3
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Default Two Colonels said

There are a number of SWJ articles on this question and two caught my attention:

1) In 2009'A Better Understanding of the Vietnam War'byColonel Gian Gentile and there is a telling quote:
...the war could [not] have been 'won' in any meaningful sense at a moral or material cost most Americans deemed acceptable.

2) In 2011 'Vietnam Postmortem: A Senseless Strategy' by David Maxwell, that is a pointer to a Parameters article by Colonel John Collins. This led to thirty-five comments. Amidst them is one by Ken White, cited in part, with my emphasis:
If we cannot discuss history and current activities then we may have to fight them again as you say -- but I do not believe it will be a like it or not problem. It will be a choice on our part. I for one submit that Vietnam was a mistake in all aspect
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Old 07-02-2017   #4
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Default Might this PBS series help understanding?

Maybe timely a new PBS series is due, by Ken Burns and The Guardian has a report. The headline and sub-title:
Ken Burns returns to take on Vietnam – 'a war we have consciously ignored' Burns’s new 10-part, 18-hour epic film covers the conflict from all sides, and hopes to ‘shape more courageous conversations about what took place’
The war in south-east Asia is now the subject of an epic 10-part, 18-hour series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Burns is America’s premier documentary film-maker....
The series, which premieres on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) on 17 September in the US and will be released in full on DVD in the UK, includes rarely seen archival footage, photographs, TV broadcasts, home movies and secret audio recordings from the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations, as well as music of the period....

Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-02-2017 at 09:33 PM. Reason: 1857v
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cold war, united states, vietnam, vietnam war

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