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Vietnam War

Tisme

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The Vietnam War was in itself as brutal as war gets, but it is also a lingering game changer on the American psyche.

In response to luutzu's movie review of "The Post" I'd like to kick start a discussion that is not layered with USA post conflict propaganda.

The Start:

1) mid 1950's the Viet Minh gave the French occupying forces a hiding
2) a ceasefire was agreed in Geneva that kept South and North Vietnam separate with Ho Chi Minh getting the north and Bao Dai getting the south for two years to prepare the population for unification and free elections
3) Eisenhower didn't agree with the idea that communists would allow free elections and immediately started sending in army trainers to South Vietnam, along with a fair bit of kit. They committed to a non communist Vietnam.
4)The South Vietnamese prime minister got a bit carried away with himself and managed to persecute his own civilians to the point they started to embrace the idea of HO Chi Minh, so Minh created a counter culture, anti South V govt group in that country known as the "Viet Cong" for the disaffected to rally to.
5) the Americans organised for an assassination coup to get rid of the PM
6) LBJ took over from JFK and ramped up things by expanding the military action into South East Asia in general. They picked a direct fight with North Vietnam by sinking some of their ships as excuse to free the natives from the grip of the marxists. We went all the way with LBJ like the good friends we are.
7) the war had now started in earnest 1965, ten years after the peace agreement.
 
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The Vietnam War was in itself as brutal as war gets, but it is also a lingering game changer on the American psyche.

In response to luutzu's movie review of "The Post" I'd like to kick start a discussion that is not layered with USA post conflict propaganda.

The Start:

1) mid 1950's the Viet Minh gave the French occupying forces a hiding
2) a ceasefire was agreed in Geneva that kept South and North Vietnam separate with Ho Chi Minh getting the north and Bao Dai getting the south for two years to prepare the population for unification and free elections
3) Eisenhower didn't agree with the idea that communists would allow free elections and immediately started sending in army trainers to South Vietnam, along with a fair bit of kit. They committed to a non communist Vietnam.
4)The South Vietnamese prime minister got a bit carried away with himself and managed to persecute his own civilians to the point they started to embrace the idea of HO Chi Minh, so Minh created a counter culture, anti South V govt group in that country known as the "Viet Cong" for the disaffected to rally to.
5) the Americans organised for an assassination coup to get rid of the PM
6) LBJ took over from JFK and ramped up things by expanding the military action into South East Asia in general. They picked a direct fight with North Vietnam by sinking some of their ships as excuse to free the natives from the grip of the marxists. We went all the way with LBJ like the good friends we are.
7) the war had now started in earnest 1965, ten years after the peace agreement.

Great topic :D

Yea, the Vietnam War was a real game changer for America, and I think, also the world.

Not because Vietnam is any great country or did much beside managing to not be totally wiped out - though survival under the French then the American is nothing to sneeze at either. Barely getting it moving under the comrades ain't third rate participation trophy at kids parties too.

But Vietnam changed the world as we know it because of the responses and reaction by American planners after the war.

It changed the world, or in this case, not changed it much, in that other European colonies and potential national independence leaders have to think twice, ten times before daring to commit the ultimate crime of wanting independence from Western imperial kindness.

As Chomsky quoted Henry Kissinger as saying... Vietnam, and Argentina [or some S.American country], is a virus threatening the new world order. So you'd deal with it as you deal with any illness: immunise it before it spreads any further.

So there was a Domino Theory at the centre of these Cold War wars, just it wasn't to defend Capitalism against Communism, freedom against totalitarianism... though those too do play a side role. The Domino was that if a former colony such as Vietnam/IndoChina could just rise up and have the world support its fight for national independence, others will also rise then you will have to start properly paying for resources and proper wages to the coolies and savages.

After Vietnam, and Cambodia... the world's freedom fighters, would be recruits, might want to think that living in slavery is better than total destruction. And it seem to work pretty well until maybe the Arabs kinda had it not too long ago.

-------

On the American domestic policy side, Vietnam really got the average American, the average folks around the world to get politically active. The common plebs don't like war crimes, don't like imperial over-reach and other grand strategies that destroy people, even if those people happen to be yellow or brownish.

The American Civil Rights movement, the anti-war activists, the free press streaming images of imperial wars on a peasant population causing outrage, the environmental movement, the unions, the well educated and good wages... These put too much restraints on state planners, captain of industries, endless wars... and became a full blown "crisis of democracy".

The state/corporate response to such "crisis" results in the world we are living today.

Dismantling of unions; low wages; insecurity everywhere; a free media in the hand of some half dozen corporations whose owners' other interests are given massive gov't/pentagon contracts so they know who butter their bread.

More indebted populous, ever increasing costs of living and getting an education; no time to learn or think outside that narrow field of expertises; jobs offshore where that is sensible, and on-shoring of skilled labour just to keep the blue and White collars on their toes, looking after their own interest first before daring to think about the widows and orphans who's too lazy to get a job.

So yea, the Vietnam War did changed America and the world.

Quoting Chomsky... the country became more civilised because of it. That before VN hit front page news and the tv screen nightly, most Americans don't much care for what happened abroad, what's being done in their name.

After VN, Reagan and other presidents all have to do secret wars, and do it fast knowing that the public will not put up with it.

But with media consolidation, with properly controlled free speeches, we're back to only killing the bad guys and doing good around the world, spreading freedom and civilisation like the good old days.
 
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The Vietnam War was in itself as brutal as war gets, but it is also a lingering game changer on the American psyche.

In response to luutzu's movie review of "The Post" I'd like to kick start a discussion that is not layered with USA post conflict propaganda.

The Start:

1) mid 1950's the Viet Minh gave the French occupying forces a hiding
2) a ceasefire was agreed in Geneva that kept South and North Vietnam separate with Ho Chi Minh getting the north and Bao Dai getting the south for two years to prepare the population for unification and free elections
3) Eisenhower didn't agree with the idea that communists would allow free elections and immediately started sending in army trainers to South Vietnam, along with a fair bit of kit. They committed to a non communist Vietnam.
4)The South Vietnamese prime minister got a bit carried away with himself and managed to persecute his own civilians to the point they started to embrace the idea of HO Chi Minh, so Minh created a counter culture, anti South V govt group in that country known as the "Viet Cong" for the disaffected to rally to.
5) the Americans organised for an assassination coup to get rid of the PM
6) LBJ took over from JFK and ramped up things by expanding the military action into South East Asia in general. They picked a direct fight with North Vietnam by sinking some of their ships as excuse to free the natives from the grip of the marxists. We went all the way with LBJ like the good friends we are.
7) the war had now started in earnest 1965, ten years after the peace agreement.

You were saying in the Post's post :D that that some 500k allies were killed/involved?

What was Australia's involvement in Vietnam? Like how we are in Afghanistan and other adventures since? I don't know much about it beside a mini-series with Nicole Kidman some decades ago.. and I didn't understand any English back then too.

-------------

3/ Didn't know it was Eisenhower, but yea, read that the US knew that when the agreed unification election takes place, Ho Chi Minh's party would win. Can't have free elections if the outcome goes the other way right?

I heard that most of the bombs the US dropped was on South Vietnam, not North. Don't know why.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail borders Cambodia, but beside that his comrades weren't too entrenched among the villagers so why all the bombings. That would just create more enemies.

Guess it doesn't help that Diem and the US put a lot of them into concentration camps for their own protection against helping the rebellion.

4/ Looked up Wikipedia and Bao Dai abdicated in the 50s. Probably '54 when the French was kicked home and bring the last emperor home with them.

Diem was picked by the US out of some Seminary in the US, literally. He and his family got too high and mighty against the Buddhists, rub a few generals the wrong way, getting too patriotic.

I'm told he's one of the most capable president SVN ever had.

oh btw, I know we call Ngo Dinh Diem just Diem.. but that's his first name. It should be Ngo if we go by the Western practice. But then there are a few Ngo. But there's only one famous Ho though... so it's Ho and not Minh. :D


I heard that LBJ often took direct action in target selection. I know he's the commander in chief and all but that's a bit much isn't it?

Yea, I heard a radio recording of that Gulf of Tonkin incident in the Fog of War. "I think they hit us sir". Alright, let's send some serious boots in then.

Might have another one with Iran soon enough. Trump is about to take on Turkey. Why would you do that? Seriously.
 

Tisme

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Great topic :D

Yea, the Vietnam War was a real game changer for America, and I think, also the world.

Military issues aside, its social legacy, driven by the denial of the godaweful truth is the real game changer.

Defeat at the hands of a peasant army is a taboo subject in the USofA. The spin doctors have managed revise and distort the real events so consistently that even baby boomers remember it for what it wasn't. They managed to turn the focus away from the real victims and make themselves the casuality to their pride and national glue; they were the ones with the greater hurt and that healing was required through denial, situational blindness, more military assets and Ronald Regan.

Eventually they realised their our veterans had also been swept up in the lookaway mentality that had also eradicated the anti war era memories of the 60/70s and so they compensated them by introducing the veneration through hero status that still persists today if you go to any airport departure lounge in the US; everyone gets the hero tag if they have gone through a degree of discomfort. This was the birth of political correctness disease, where everyone is a standout and deserves a medal for trying, or at least an encouragement award
 
Joined
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Military issues aside, its social legacy, driven by the denial of the godaweful truth is the real game changer.

Defeat at the hands of a peasant army is a taboo subject in the USofA. The spin doctors have managed revise and distort the real events so consistently that even baby boomers remember it for what it wasn't. They managed to turn the focus away from the real victims and make themselves the casuality to their pride and national glue; they were the ones with the greater hurt and that healing was required through denial, situational blindness, more military assets and Ronald Regan.

Eventually they realised their our veterans had also been swept up in the lookaway mentality that had also eradicated the anti war era memories of the 60/70s and so they compensated them by introducing the veneration through hero status that still persists today if you go to any airport departure lounge in the US; everyone gets the hero tag if they have gone through a degree of discomfort. This was the birth of political correctness disease, where everyone is a standout and deserves a medal for trying, or at least an encouragement award

Yea, heard one of Reagan's guy said that there's no need for an apology to Vietnam because "both sides suffer" the same. Maybe that could have been Bill Clinton who said that.

We couldn't estimate the death on Vietnam and Laos to the nearest million. Some put it at 2 million, some at 4. Not sure if those figure include the bombings over Laos or not. Pretty sure it does not include the death and starvation that came after the US pulled out.

Saw a doco by John Pilger that some 50,000+ GIs committed suicide after the war.

Was it Reagan or Bush the elder that ended the Vietnam Syndrome?

They've since been back to only fighting the bad guys. Global and domestic surveillance is the new norm; so are the drone programmes; the built-up on the Eastern Front with Russia; the expanding wars in the Middle East and Africa.

Seems the end to the military draft and an all volunteered army does the jobs of keeping most of the population quiet.
 
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