We lost Vietnam; here's why

  • Follow Letters

On Aug. 4, The Augusta Chronicle published a guest column (“When you realize objectives, U.S. won Vietnam”) by Roger Aeschliman. It’s obvious he needs a history lesson.

As one of many who served in Vietnam, I can tell you we lost the war – not in Vietnam, but in Washington, D.C., mainly because of the liberal news media, whose biased reporting swayed public opinion.

The American military decimated the communist forces on the battlefield, but you would never know this by following the TV newscasts every night. The liberal talking heads refused to report the truth. And after our forces left, Congress – controlled by the Democrats – refused to appropriate funds to the South Vietnamese military. That rendered them unable to supply their force with the necessities of war to defend themselves against a communist invasion.

Aeschliman has a strange definition of winning. If we won the war, why is Vietnam a communist country today? ...

Almost 60,000 Americans did in Vietnam, and another 100,000 or more were maimed for life. And for what? As it turns out, for nothing.

Today, young Americans again are in harm’s way in foreign lands. My fear is that history – real history, not just someone’s opinion – will be repeated, tio the dismay of another generation of young Americans. ...

Richard W. McKinney

Augusta

Comments (88) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
fedex227
11192
Points
fedex227 08/11/13 - 10:13 am
3
12
enough already ...
Unpublished

Personally, I like Kevin Klines's line in A Fish Called Wanda ... "it was a tie." Get over it guys.

corgimom
41317
Points
corgimom 08/11/13 - 03:43 am
7
3
People never "get over it" if

People never "get over it" if they have been in war.

My father never "got over" the Korean War, it haunted him literally until the day he died.

Young Fred
22352
Points
Young Fred 08/11/13 - 03:57 am
9
3
Not quite fedex.

Weather you believe the war just or not, the American media tended to be an ally of the North Vietnamese, and that is a fact, Jack!

Now, let us suppose what “may have been” if the media had been “more supportive”.

Of course there's really no way to know what “may” have happened, but being an arm chair quarterback, I'm willing to bet a totally neutral media would have resulted in a different outcome. Geoffrey Regan wrote a good synopsis about this very subject.

shrimp for breakfast
5718
Points
shrimp for breakfast 08/11/13 - 05:24 am
10
1
You won if you lived

My heart goes out to all the young men who served in that war. Now the truth be told the outcome might have been different had the politicians in Washington got the heck out of the way and let the Generals fight the war like soldiers instead of having one arm tied behind their back by the idiots in Washington,
Personally the politicians wanted this war and they used that ridiculous line about if we don't stop the commies in southeast Asia then they'll be goose stepping down Main Street USA. What a load of garbage. This country drafted young men in the prime of their youth to go 10,000 miles away and into harms way so that we could say we were standing up against communism.
Tell me something. The Korean War and the Vietnam War was actually USA vs. Russia. I find it odd that not one Russian soldier died in either war. They played us well.
The thought of hippies screaming baby killers to the soldiers coming back home makes me sick. The 60's was not some magical decade it was a violent drug induced lunacy. All the crap about Make Love Not War and yet these kids were violent.
The 60's: The murders of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, all the young men lost in Vietnam.
Did we win? If you came back from that rat hole of a country alive then YOU WON! I don't think anyone who served in Nam gave a damn whether we won or not. Just wanted to get the hell out alive!

Bodhisattva
8085
Points
Bodhisattva 08/11/13 - 06:01 am
1
7
China?

China?

Bodhisattva
8085
Points
Bodhisattva 08/11/13 - 06:42 am
8
4
In Korea McArthur blew it by

In Korea McArthur blew it by crossing the 38th parallel. The thing would have ended in 1951 had we not. At least that's the opinion of most of the Korean War POW's, most held by the Chinese, that I just spent a week with in DC.

Vietnam: US media dutifully spewed the talking points, body counts, and PR of how we were winning. We saw images of war and didn't like what we saw plus we fought the was with mostly conscripts who didn't want to be in the military. Short version: Paris peace treaty provided for free elections. The US didn't sign but agreed to abide by the treaty. THEN, we figured out Ho would win so, as we have had a penchant to do, like in Iran, Cuba, etc., we backed a murdering right wing dictator and blocked the free elections. Anything to stop "communism" even if our actions were just the same. The only difference being the guys at the top got rich. At times we really are the good guys. Other times there's not much difference between sides. Jingoism over an accurate study of history just leads to the same mistakes.

effete elitist liberal
3277
Points
effete elitist liberal 08/11/13 - 07:09 am
4
10
liberal media???

The War in Vietnam was the first U.S. conflict to be widely televised, and thank goodness. The 1968 Tet Offensive, reported on with televised footage of Viet Cong soldiers fighting inside the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, was a shock to an American public which had been lied to by the President and the military. Both had claimed repeatedly that the war was going well, the Viet Cong was close to defeat, and our troops would soon be coming home. The images on tv exposed those lies. The U.S. did not lose the war because of a "liberal media" or political restraint on the military; we lost because General William Westmoreland was hopelessly inadequate, never able to figure out how, with 500,000 U.S. military and support personnel, to defeat an army of Asian guerillas.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 08/11/13 - 07:16 am
8
5
"The U.S. did not lose the
Unpublished

"The U.S. did not lose the war because of a "liberal media" or political restraint on the military; we lost because General William Westmoreland was hopelessly inadequate, never able to figure out how, with 500,000 U.S. military and support personnel, to defeat an army of Asian guerillas."
eel, you really should study history. We lost because LBJ was afraid of the left-wing media and would not let Westmoreland do his job.

effete elitist liberal
3277
Points
effete elitist liberal 08/11/13 - 07:18 am
4
6
history

Bodhisattva, your capsule history is pretty accurate. The U.S. unilaterally undermined the 1955 Geneva Accords, leading to the War in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh, like Fidel Castro, was a Communist, but largely as a result of the U.S.'s failure--or unwillingness-- to recognize the difference between indigenous, nationalist revolutionaries and agents of international Soviet Communism. That failure or unwillingness led to the loss to Communism of both Vietnam and Cuba.

nocnoc
53745
Points
nocnoc 08/11/13 - 07:22 am
8
1
Father did 3 tours

1960-1, 1964, 1969
In 1960 he, along with a detachment of (34th or 39th ??) Signal personnel, left Bush Field with a lot ceremony and a band playing.

It is ironic that as we later learned, Ho Chi Minh had come to the USA asking for help to get the French out of his country, BEFORE he went communist.

If we had only knew where France was heading then in the next 20-25 years?

effete elitist liberal
3277
Points
effete elitist liberal 08/11/13 - 07:21 am
4
7
chascushman

"eel, you really should study history..." Laughable, really. If you only knew....

effete elitist liberal
3277
Points
effete elitist liberal 08/11/13 - 07:27 am
7
3
Ho Chi Minh

nocnoc. You are right. Ho Chi Minh wrote letters to FDR after the Four Freedoms Speech seeking U.S. support for the ouster of the French colonialists from Indo China. FDR was encouraging, but HST refused to carry through, caving to the French after De Gaulle blackmailed the U.S. over France's membership in NATO. You might want to read this chapter of history, chascushman....

nocnoc
53745
Points
nocnoc 08/11/13 - 07:56 am
8
1
The facts do hurt sometimes.

The Nam war was both a Geo-Political Planning part of the Cold War for USA and it made a lot of war profiteers and protesters RICH$$$$.

Like Lady Bird Johnson who owned part of Braniff Airways, which had a contract from 1966 until the close of the Vietnam conflict, to ferry troop to and from. Or Gore, Dupoint, Families or protesters like Timothy Leary or Joan Baez, Woodstock merchandisers over the year etc..

The list of War Profiteers would make a interesting read considering how many people were screaming NO MORE WAR, but were investing it.

I heard once, NOT 1 Congressman's son was DRAFTED, to serve in Nam.
Is there any truth to that.

Because, remember how we were assured the Draft lottery was completely fair and applied equally to all?

Ken2010
45
Points
Ken2010 08/11/13 - 08:03 am
8
5
War

I can't see that we ever win any war? In my lifetime with all the wars we've been involved be it Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Kosovo, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. I only remember one peace treaty being signed or victory celebrated. That was on 2 September 1945 that put an end to WWII. We have a Department of Defense but it acts as a Department of War. And while I'm at it, not once in my lifetime have I heard those that worship the Prince of Peace speak out against war. They always support war, declaring God is on our side, yet we never win.

dichotomy
39235
Points
dichotomy 08/11/13 - 08:07 am
10
2
I guess you just get a

I guess you just get a different view of the war depending if you are behind a rubber tree being shot at or pontificating from an easy chair after the fact. And 500,000 against army of "Asian guerillas".....I could have sworn I saw uniformed North Vietnamese regiments and even a few uniformed Chinese.

The politicians and the American public lost the war in Vietnam....mostly prompted by the news media who were admittedly showing footage that would give anyone concern. But the media failed to make the point that much of carnage on American soldiers was unnecessary had the military been given a free hand to clean house and mop up. Stormin' Noman witnessed what went on in Vietnam as a young soldier and he let Bush know up front that he would ONLY take command of the Gulf War if he was allowed to win and if he was given everything he needed to do it. That war was over in days......and AGAIN, at the last minute, with media influence and more BAD political decisions.....they stopped Schwarzkopf before the job was finished......which gave us another war with the same enemy 13 years later which the politicians and media managed to drag out for a decade.

The American military has never lost a war.......the American people have lost a few but the American military has never lost one.

Note to American public: You know you are about to lose a war when you start hearing two phrases. 1) Rules of engagement. 2) Win their hearts and minds.

effete elitist liberal
3277
Points
effete elitist liberal 08/11/13 - 08:27 am
5
6
rubber trees and easy chairs

The worship of "The American military" is the idolatrous worship of a false god. You may recall, dichotomy, that the Constitution makes
the U. S. President, primarily a political, not a military individual, the Commander in Chief. That means our Founding Fathers in their wisdom realized that the waging wars fought by American forces would ultimately elevate political considerations over purely military ones. You may believe this is a bad idea, but it's what the Constitution envisioned and demands.

deestafford
34354
Points
deestafford 08/11/13 - 08:53 am
5
2
The letter writer is correct on all his well made points.

Contrary to the leftist version of history espoused by Bod and eel we kicked the butts of the Viet Cong and the NVA during Tet of 68. It was a military victory any way you want to look at it. They tried to use large scaled operations and we caught them in the open and decimated them.

My unit would catch them in their formations and bounce them from one of our companies to another as if they were in a pinball machine. They were ready to give up the fight if we would have press them by more precise targeting of air war in the North and pressuring them on the ground; but, the media showed Tet as a defeat of the US.

By the way, trying to seek shelter from bullets behind rubber trees was not as good an idea as I originally thought because the bullets go through the tree as the vertical grains spread easily and allow the bullets to pass. Surprisingly I found a banana tree worked better because of the amount of water in the tree stopped a bullet somewhat better.

KSL
151205
Points
KSL 08/11/13 - 08:53 am
3
4
Condescending, condescending,

Condescending, condescending,

shrimp for breakfast
5718
Points
shrimp for breakfast 08/11/13 - 09:01 am
2
2
Dichotomy

Excellent post!!! You nailed it!!!

KSL
151205
Points
KSL 08/11/13 - 09:12 am
3
3
We saw banana trees having

We saw banana trees having another good function in Brazil. Absorption of human waste from open sewers (ditches) 1977.

Banana trees are good!

Dichotomy's post is excellent.
America has not fought a war she could not win, had she been allowed to win.

KSL
151205
Points
KSL 08/11/13 - 09:15 am
4
3
But don't eat the bananas.

But don't eat the bananas.

effete elitist liberal
3277
Points
effete elitist liberal 08/11/13 - 09:17 am
4
3
kicking butt

sorry destafford, but you missed the point. It is true that ultimately the Viet Cong Tet Offensive was militarily defeated, but that does not change my point. The American military was almost completely unprepared for the attack, as it had claimed the Viet Cong was on its last legs and could never manage an offensive with the scope and coordination of the Tet Offensive. President Johnson, relying on the reports of Westmoreland and others, made the same claims. The cost of the ultimate U.S. / South Vietnamese victory was large, including over 3800 U.S. service and civilian personnel. The "victory" was not enough to overcome the American people's "loss of innocence" regarding the War in Vietnam.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/11/13 - 09:18 am
3
6
fedex227 @ 1:42 AM

"it was a tie." Get over it guys."

WITH ALL DUE RESPECT to the troops that fought that ugly war, it was not a tie !! In order to call it a tie, there would have had to have been a DMZ formed between North and South Vietnam.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/11/13 - 09:21 am
5
2
Along with the asinines in Washington

DO THE countries of Laos and Cambodia ring a bell !! If these two countries did not provide troops, THEY MOST CERTAINLY provided shelter for the enemy !!

KSL
151205
Points
KSL 08/11/13 - 09:22 am
4
3
eel

Quesion, were you an adult then or are you speaking from a history book?

southern2
8240
Points
southern2 08/11/13 - 09:22 am
4
3
Strange how in the 60's we

Strange how in the 60's we were all about stopping the "spread of communism" in other countries and now each branch of our own government is tilted toward the "spread of communism" in the USA.

effete elitist liberal
3277
Points
effete elitist liberal 08/11/13 - 09:24 am
4
3
"allowed to win"

A number of you posters here keep repeating the mantra about how the U.S. military would win every war in which it was engaged, but for political restraints. Not one of you has responded to my 9:27 post in which I pointed out that the Constitution makes the U. S. President the Commander in Chief. Presidents make decisions about the ongoing courses of U.S. wars based on both military and political factors. The Founding Fathers obviously wanted it that way. Were they wrong???

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/11/13 - 09:27 am
2
5
Quote from LTE

"As one of many who served in Vietnam, I can tell you we lost the war – not in Vietnam, but in Washington, D.C., mainly because of the liberal news media, whose biased reporting swayed public opinion."

As a young teenager, I clearly remember the war being covered by CBS and WALTER CRONKITE. I have heard that when Mr. Cronkite made a commentary about how bad the war was going and how he saw NO GOOD ending, President LBJ KNEW that he had lost ALL support from the public about this war !!

KSL
151205
Points
KSL 08/11/13 - 09:34 am
2
3
Bledsoe, how old are you?

Bledsoe, how old are you?

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/11/13 - 09:31 am
3
5
EEL @ 10:24

"Presidents make decisions about the ongoing courses of U.S. wars based on both military and political factors. The Founding Fathers obviously wanted it that way. Were they wrong???"

I truly believe that LBJ and NIXON had NO IDEA about how to win that terrible war !!

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

Columbia County approves rezoning plan, grants waivers

Columbia County School Board trustees approved a massive school rezoning plan that could affect up to 200 Greenbrier High School students who will be moved to the Lakeside High School zone.
Search Augusta jobs