Why did we leave Vietnam?

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I am a disabled Vietnam War veteran, having served in 1966 with the 1st Cavalry Division at a large base in Vietnam in the central highland area called An Khe.

The 1st Cav was noted for its fighting ability, as were all the other units. However, because our division was air mobile, the North Vietnamese feared our division simply because we could be deployed on a moment’s notice and the division could cause much havoc. We had many successful mission accomplishments.

So as we celebrate the recent 40th anniversary of the last U.S. combat troops leaving Vietnam, I often wonder: Why did we simply leave Vietnam? The greatest country in the world with the strongest military? Something does not add up. Is it just me who feels this way?

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Jon Lester
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Jon Lester 04/02/13 - 02:28 am
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Watergate.

That's what removed all political will to honor treaty obligations when hostilities resumed in 1975. Remember that next time you hear from the unrepentant G. Gordon Liddy.

avidreader
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avidreader 04/02/13 - 05:55 am
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The Forgotten War!

The war in Vietnam is rightfully tagged, "The Forgotten War". Let's leave it that way. Even the memorial in D.C. was designed to flow down into a swell. A nifty metaphor. It was an unjust war; a political scandal that left 58,000+ young troops dead or missing. These Vietnamese patriots kicked our butts and left us scratching our heads, wondering what went wrong. LBJ and Nixon attempted to coax our populace into believing that communism was equivalent to the Black Plague.

My fondest memory (Ha!): Melvin Laird is walking down a LONG hospital corridor and passes by 20-30 wounded vets and never makes eye contact with any of them. LBJ, Nixon, Kissinger, and the lot can all kiss my ankle.

Mr. Diggs, God bless you and the 1st Cav. But sometimes, a nation has to give up the ghost and quietly lick its wounds.

Bodhisattva
4942
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Bodhisattva 04/02/13 - 06:20 am
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The bigger question should

The bigger question should be, "Why in the heck were we in Vietnam in the first place?". A lesson we should have learned and remembered as we entered Iraq and Afghanistan.

agustinian
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agustinian 04/02/13 - 06:58 am
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We Left Because

I too am a veteran of Vietnam. We left for the same reason we left Iraq, and will soon leave Afghanistan . . . Americans should not squander our blood and treasure to gain or preserve freedom for peoples of another country. That fight is best reserved for those who are oppressed. Just as America fought for its freedom when it tired of oppression so should others. We can help, but we should not be surrogates for the people who seek freedom. That freedom should be bought with their own blood and treasure, not that of America.

karradur
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karradur 04/02/13 - 07:01 am
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deestafford
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deestafford 04/02/13 - 08:34 am
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We left because we lacked guts to follow our promises

I am a wounded Viet Nam veteran who was proud to serve in Viet Nam and would do it again.
As far as avidreader's comments, let me set him straight. First, Korea is known as "The Forgotten War" not Viet Nam. Second, those "patriots" you are so proudly glorifying were ruthless murders and torturers. After the Communists took over RVN they killed tens of thousands and sent millions to "re-education" camps. Third, the South Viet Namesse were fighting for freedom not to be ruled by the Communists. Fourth, you would not be so loving of the "patriots" if you had gone into a village as I have and found the village chief tied to a stake, gutted, with his male organs stuffed in his mouth. His family was forced to watch this mutilation and then the wife and daughters were raped and gutted. Next time you think of your loving communist patriots, visionlize what I just told you.
We left because the lying democrats in Washington, DC did not live up to our promises. After we pulled our troops out (which was a mistake along with the unwillingness to properly fight the war) we promised we would provide weapons, ammuntion, and logistical support. Oh, by the way, the Communists had promised at the Paris "peace talks" they would not attack the South. After we pulled our troops out the communists mounted an all out attack. We refused to provide the South with gas for their tanks, aviation fuel for their planes and helicopters, ammunition for their weapons. South Viet Namese soldiers were on the ground calling for ammo resupply, artillery support, and close air support as they were being attacked by NVA tanks. You know what the response to them was? It was," Sorry, we have none of that because the United States has refused to provide us with those as they promised." Since you liberals have never heard a shot fired in anger much less been face to face with an attacking enemy have no concept of what those helpless RVN soldiers went through.
So you bleeding hearts and anti-war protesters be proud of yourselves for taking the side of the enemies of freedom. Your type of thinking and actions not only cost tens of thousands of freedom loving Viet Namese people their lives but you cost the lives of many of those American service members whose names are on the memorial in DC. You and your kind gave hope to the enemy. You and your kind are not worth the life of one of the brave RVN soldiers who fought along beside me for freedom.

Bodhisattva
4942
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Bodhisattva 04/02/13 - 08:50 am
5
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We were propping up a

We were propping up a dictator who was happy to slaughter his opponents and "won" his election by 98.2% of the vote, managed to garner 133% of the vote in Saigon, and received more votes than eligible voters. We were blocking free elections because we felt Ho Chi Minh would win. If we weren't there in the first place all that you describe never would have happened. You seem to be swept up in the groupthink that got us into the mess in the first place, much the same as it got us into Iraq and Afghanistan. You are to be commended for your service but a soldier goes and fights where he's told. He does not make the policies or the decision to go to war. In this case, as well as others, the decision was the wrong one. There's a wall in D.C. that shows just how horribly wrong it was.

Fiat_Lux
13863
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Fiat_Lux 04/02/13 - 09:57 am
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Techfan, were you even alive in 1975?

DeeStafford has it exactly right. We refused to treat the Vietnam misadventure as a real war, which it absolutely was, because of spineless politicians whose ethics and personal morality was of such a low quality that they should have been imprisoned as traitors.

The real war was between ourselves and China, just as it was/is in Korea. If you don't believe that, just look at what is happening right now: China is massing troops on it's border with N. Korea, and they aren't there to stop Kim Jung Ugh.

South Korea is a plum, just like South Vietnam was in comparison to the North. It's where all the intellectuals and the commerce are. They want the prosperity produced by a free people, but they don't want the bother of having people be free.

Look at China: it is the inevitable result of suppression of personal freedom and of the ability of the individual to pursue his own course in life without government interference and micro-control. Do you enjoy being micro-controlled and a steady diet of indoctrination that runs counter to reality?

Do you honestly want the government telling you how many children you are allowed to have, and being force to kill more than your allotment? How about being limited on where you may live or how many homes you are allowed to own? Or how about dictating whether or not you can even choose your own faith and belief system?

The lefty-libs have always believed people don't know enough to be free and must be treated like cattle. Just like the Chicoms do. Just like the Soviets. Just like Ho Chi Menh and Kim Jung Ugh (although he is clearly to stupid to formulate such a thought).

And just like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it always has been a smarter plan to fight our enemies on their own turf rather than wringing our hands and hoping against hope they will stay on their side of the world.

We let Bill Clinton and the Dim-controlled Congress do exactly that and look what it brought us during his successor's first year in office.

You gotta wonder how so many educated people can be so completely obtuse. Don't you guys pay attention? Haven't you read any history at all? Can't you see the patterns?

historylover
684
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historylover 04/02/13 - 10:41 am
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4

We treated Vietnam like a

We treated Vietnam like a real war. We just had no idea how to fight a guerilla war where neither side was the good guys. We should have learned from the French and stayed far away.

WalterBradfordCannon
1131
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WalterBradfordCannon 04/02/13 - 10:57 am
4
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We went into Vietnam b/c LBJ

We went into Vietnam b/c LBJ wanted his Great Society - Medicare and Medicaid and others, and he acted like a war hawk to procure the votes necessary to get it. He got his new deal, but Nam lasted far too long, and produced far too little benefit to the USA, to be justifiable. Who cares if we won or lost? If winning or losing is not material to the interests of the USA, we should not have been there in the first place. We were there, in large numbers, only because the military industrial complex was offering Great Society votes in Congress in exchange for a nice profitable war.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 04/02/13 - 01:51 pm
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DIXIEMAN GOT LOTSA VIETNAM VETERAN POINTS

deestafford and Fiat_Lux above got it exactly right. I was there in 69-69 and am proud to have served.
This is the only US war where we won EVERY battle, never defeated on the battlefield, then "lost" the war due to cowardly politicians, dumb students and idiotic media. I say "lost" because actually the US abandoned a small ally when victory was in sight. We caved in Washington DC. Most of us who served there never forgot this and are still angry about it. Every day.
I could go on at book length. Read "Vietnam: The Necessary War" for fuller explanation better than I can do here.
After the war I did some volunteer work for boat people fleeing their new masters (funny there were no boat people fleeing the South Vietnamese government during the war!) and came away impressed by their courage and resilience.
I actually had been a newspaper reporter before serving in Vietnam and quit the profession in disgust after returning home. The reality I saw there bore no relationship to the lies the press was telling.
And a big thanks for your service and welcome home to all vets posting here.

Riverman1
70554
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Riverman1 04/02/13 - 11:52 am
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Actually, there was success

Actually, there was success in the Vietnam War even though it was fought with tremendous restrictions due to political turmoil here. We fought a delaying action that prevented Communism from running rampant over Asia and India. We held on. Later the Soviet Union fell and China quietly decided to do away with Communism. Now Vietnam is quietly embracing capitalism. It's almost funny to see the Coca Cola and Nike facilities there. Here's a Bom de Bom to all Viet vets.

Fiat_Lux
13863
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Fiat_Lux 04/02/13 - 12:00 pm
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1

I can't help but marvel that

the very same people who hate the government (ie, the anti element of the Vietnam era types) seem to be overjoyed that the most oppressive regime in American history is busy at work dismantling our Constitution and individual liberties as they vacuously applaud.

Baaaaaaa.

ultrarnr
875
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ultrarnr 04/02/13 - 12:09 pm
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Why we left

Unpublished

We left Viet Nam because we lost. We supported a corrupt government that was completely out of touch with the people. The generals had absolutely no idea how to pursue counterinsurgency strategy and 58,000 Americans perished along with at least a million Indochinese. Yep, the good old USA got its butt kicked over there.

Jane18
12331
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Jane18 04/02/13 - 12:21 pm
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Vietnam

Thank you Vietnam Veterans for your service and for these great comments! As I finished reading Mr. Diggs' letter, I was saying, "Politicians! That's what happened!" dee, fiat, Dixieman, Riverman--great comments!! The United States had a destiny, she was to always help those that cannot help themselves and to remove evil. Why do you think we have always been the strongest country on Earth? It was not by chance....................

t3bledsoe
13264
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t3bledsoe 04/02/13 - 01:11 pm
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0

Vietnam veterian:

Mr. Diggs, Sr.: I am 54 years old and I still remember the nightly news up-dates from CBS and Walter Kronkite. I was 17 years old when the news media was all about you Brave U.S. Troops coming back to Andrews Air Force Base. I know that you and tens of thousands of your fellow troops felt like you-all were being punished for this war. At 54 years, I am old enough to say that it was not you troops that had ANY REASON to feel defeated, but it was our very own government that would not include Liaos and Cambodia. These countries should have been included because they were giving The Viet-cong a place of sanchtuary !! I CAN NOT SAY IT LOUD AND CLEAR ENOUGH,"IT WAS NOT THE TROOPS THAT LOST VIETNAM, BUT OUR VERY OWN GOVERNMENT !!" Thank-you Mr. Diggs, Sr. for your Vitenam service ! You nor you fellow troops have ANYTHING to feel bad about !!

faithson
4601
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faithson 04/02/13 - 04:05 pm
2
2

it's the money honey...

Eisenhower said it best... watch out for the military industrial complex, a necessary evil that will suck the life blood out of society to see its ends become reality. Money has no alllegiance.

dahreese
4609
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dahreese 04/02/13 - 05:27 pm
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2

Mr. Diggs and all other Vets

Unpublished

Mr. Diggs and all other Vets who served in Vietnam.

I am a AF Vet, serving from 12/27/62 to 12/15/66. I was fortunate not to have served in Vietnam.

At the time I served I had questions about that war and I have researched the political aspects of it as well as the behavior of our "Commander(s) and Chief(s); namely LBJ and Nixon.

Both put their political careers ahead of the need to get out of that war and both with held the U.S. military from having a complete military victory.

(To his credit, JFK wanted to get out and some believe this is one of the reasons he was killed, although it was more likely because at the last minute he pulled the plug on the invasion of the Bay of Pigs, and, during the Cuban crisis he went behind the back of the CIA and opened his own secret channels of communcation with Khrushchev - neithher of whom wanted a war).

LBJ is known to have said, "[If I pull out they won't re-elect me]."

Nixon and Kissinger went behind the back of Congress and intentionally sabotaged a truce scheduled to begin on Christmas day, 1968.

He wanted the political glory and promised that if S. Vietnam would just wait until he was president, he would get better terms for S. Vietnam. Alas, with additional loss of life and wounded, the truce was signed in 1974 - on the same terms as agreed upon with N. Vietnam in 1968.

This was a politicians war, nothing less.

Today we have the lies and the tragedy of Iraq behind us (threat of the "smoking gun") and that is the same excuse being used to attack Iran.

When will Americans learn just how manipulated they are, especially by the mainstream media, including some local newspapers?

PEACE!

And in mention of the CIA, we can wonder just who? runs the foreign policies of this country - it certainly isn't Congress.

KSL
105764
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KSL 04/02/13 - 06:30 pm
3
3

Between. 65 and 69, I was in

Between. 65 and 69, when I was in college, there were a couple of girls there from South Vietnam. Understandably, they were greatly in favor of the American presence. And very grateful.

fedex227
8515
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fedex227 04/02/13 - 11:17 pm
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Very grateful KSL?

Not sure what you're trying to say?

KSL
105764
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KSL 04/03/13 - 08:44 am
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2

Simple, fed

These young women were grateful for the support that the US was giving them in trying to keep the communists from taking over. Why was that so hard for you to understand?

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 04/03/13 - 02:24 pm
1
0

"We were propping up a

Unpublished

"We were propping up a dictator who was happy to slaughter his opponents and "won" his election by 98.2% of the vote, managed to garner 133% of the vote in Saigon, and received more votes than eligible voters."

That sounds a lot like OUR last Presidential election.

dahreese
4609
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dahreese 04/03/13 - 08:23 pm
1
0

""We were propping up a

Unpublished

""We were propping up a dictator who was happy to slaughter his opponents...."

What's new?

Propping up dictators is nothing new for the U.S.

Saddam, Noriega, Kadafhi, Batista...all were "our good ole boys" at one time or another.

We've propped up dictators in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, all through Central and South America.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 04/04/13 - 07:56 am
3
1

"Propping up dictators is

Unpublished

"Propping up dictators is nothing new for the U.S.

Saddam, Noriega, Kadafhi, Batista...all were "our good ole boys" at one time or another. "

You left off Obama.

dahreese
4609
Points
dahreese 04/04/13 - 04:35 pm
1
1

"You left off Obama." "So,

Unpublished

"You left off Obama."

"So, when are you going to leave the country?"

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 04/08/13 - 08:02 am
0
0

Did I ever claim that I

Unpublished

Did I ever claim that I would?

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