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Old 12-11-2015, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 12,823,382 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Appzee View Post
While most will say our involvement in Vietnam was pointless, was there anything positive about it that had the U.S never gotten involved in Vietnam in any way, shape or form would've been bad?
If we hadn't wasted 52,000 Allied lives (plus hundreds of thousands more damaged), killed seven figures worth of Vietnamese people most of whom meant us no harm, split our society to the point where National Guardsmen used lethal force against students and students blew up campus buildings, we would not have the important psychosis from the experience.

Without Vietnam to demonize retroactively, we would have had to find some other Great Satan until Iran dumped the Shah and started calling us that. It would have left a terrible vacuum in our constellation of national psychoses and hatreds, and we might not have known what to do. We cannot exist without those. We abhor a harmonious, peaceful state.

That's what happened in 1991. The USSR collapsed, and until bin Laden came along, we had no national hate target, nothing to freak about. So we just kept doing what we were used to, pretended that Russia was still our main adversary, and in due course made them into just that again. Collective sighs of relief from our leadership when Islamist terror stepped up and gave them an outlet to order us to hate and fear.

So yes, we got something positive from it, besides the defense contractors that made zillions selling APC tracks and helicopter parts and defoliants and military caskets. We filled the era's need for a current national psychosis. Oh, and the VA benefited, though it would take a few years to matter. It would have had to contract as the WWII and Korea veterans thinned out. Thanks to Vietnam, jobs in healthcare for a couple more decades!
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Old 12-12-2015, 12:03 AM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,784,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidValleyDad View Post
It is generally believed that the 'Domino Theory' that was talked about at the time has generally been discredited.

BUT - The truth is we can never know for sure. It is impossible to know for sure what would have happened if the U.S. had not tried to prop up the South Vietnamese government.
The Domino Theory was being questioned in the 1970s, and has long been proven to be false. It stated that if one of the SE Asian nations fell to Communism, the rest would quickly follow. That didn't happen. Vietnam remains the only Communist nation in SE Asia.

I think we have a good idea of what would NOT have happened, all the consequences of the Vietnam War, especially the horror that was Cambodia for a decade or more after the US pulled out. Nixon's invasion of Cambodia to allegedly 'save it from the Communists' resulted in the rise of the infamous and murderous Pol Pot regime. Millions of Cambodians suffered and died because of that extension of the 'Domino Theory'.
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Old 12-12-2015, 04:08 AM
 
Location: NY
161 posts, read 231,263 times
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We would not have the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington and my friend would not have a metal plate in his head from taking shrapnel.
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Old 12-12-2015, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,576 posts, read 7,779,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Hollywood would have lost out on tens of millions of dollars without all those Vietnam themed "war is hell" movies.
Billions of dollars, really.

Most of them were forgettable anyway. Some - like Platoon - were Vietnam specific and only really relevant because of the war. Others, such as Apocalypse Now (which was set amid the Vietnam War but isn't so much a commentary on that specific conflict as on war and humanity in general) are brilliant pieces of art. But then, losing them would be a vastly smaller cost than all those lost during the war itself.

We'd have also missed out on the writings of Tim O'Brien, which mostly emerged from his experience in Vietnam and his life before and after but pertaining to the war.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MidValleyDad View Post
It is generally believed that the 'Domino Theory' that was talked about at the time has generally been discredited.

BUT - The truth is we can never know for sure. It is impossible to know for sure what would have happened if the U.S. had not tried to prop up the South Vietnamese government.
Sorry, the Domino Theory stated that a country falling to communism would lead to more and more neighboring countries falling to the communists. It didn't have an exception that said something like this 'but not if some western country first spends a decade fruitlessly sacrificing blood and treasure before pulling out and letting the country fall'. What the Domino Theory proponents claimed would happen did not happen.

While Laos and Cambodia became communist, it was not because of Vietnam being communist itself but because of the war, which expanded beyond the borders of the two Vietnams. In any case, the West never cared about those agrarian backwaters. It was the possibility of communism in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia which terrified Western leaders. And those dominoes never fell and were never in any particular danger of falling, despite the fact that the Domino Theory predicted their fall after the communists unified Vietnam.

It is incumbent upon theorists to prove their case, not to demand that those who do not accept it disprove it.
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:10 AM
 
2,563 posts, read 3,003,992 times
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One would think that those in charge might have learned a lesson from Vietnam about starting wars that they are not willing to win. But no, they didn't learn that lesson. And so kids have been fighting in the Middle East for how long now? They come home without arms or legs, only to be replaced by a fresh batch of kids.

Putin may be changing that though. He's really trying to put ISIS out of business.
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
4,979 posts, read 2,225,264 times
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I am younger than the war, so I don't know it. It's captured in Platoon, but intermixed with video games and 300. I know it's different, but I don't know it. Sometimes I feel I should know more about it, and am amazed at how close it is...but it couldn't be further.

My Dad was Navy for 6 years during nam. Upon returning he didn't pick up his medals and for a long time didn't identify as a veteran. I didn't notice anything unusual growing up, but as a kid anytime I'd get a toy gun, it wasn't more than a day or two and it would be gone. I was a preteen before I knew he'd been in the military, as an excited boy he quickly doused enthusiasm by telling me he worked on radios, and made it sound like the most boring thing ever. I was 36 when my then 98 year old grandmother shared some letters with me he'd sent. Apparently he raided POW camps. She spoke of some regret of when he first came back, the clean-cut boy she'd given had changed. She made him shower and get a haircut before she'd let him in.

My Step-Father in Law fought. He is Vietnamese. A member of a family that owned and operated businesses he was quick to want to fight the communists and save his country. He was trained in special ops, parachuting deep into enemy territory to do covert actions. He was captured at some point, and was in a POW prison for more than 20 years. Bush Sr. arranged for the last POWs to be released. Released not being the same as welcomed, he reunited with his wife, who had thought him dead and had already remarried and been widowed again. They moved to the US, children and stepchildren. I've seen his letter from President Bush. He has some pictures of him as a young man, jumping from airplanes. It took years for any payment to be made for the years of being a POW.

Both men are intelligent and quite capable in many areas. If nothing else, the war cost them their prime that could have been devoted in other areas. That alone is expensive...nowhere near the entire cost of that war.

But the topic is on what good came from the war. The good was that a skinny Viet girl came to the US as a late refugee. And a chubby American boy thought she was pretty cool. Both being after the war, with silent father figures, we met, fell in love, started a business, grew a career and are raising a family. We're a member of the community. Donate to various causes. Purchased a home for a family. From the business we worked to make Operation Prom Dress possible in San Jose, which has given thousands of dresses to teens that needed a dress, and we're not done yet, and hopefully our family isn't done yet either.

Again, not worth the number of families destroyed by that or any war, but after a forest burns, the green shoots of healing can start a forest again. To silver linings.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 12,823,382 times
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That's one benefit I will grant without a hint of sarcasm, though it's a benefit that came out of tragedy. The Vietnamese who came to this country in the aftermath have been an excellent example of why we need immigrants and refugees. Many started small businesses. Many sacrificed like hell to send their kids to college alongside me, and they deserved it more than I did. Now they are retired from town councils and their kids sit on them; they are my friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow citizens. We just have to remember that the cost of us gaining this additional panel in our national tapestry involved terrible personal loss for all of them, and for so many others.
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Old 12-12-2015, 01:18 PM
 
1,614 posts, read 1,319,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidValleyDad View Post
It is generally believed that the 'Domino Theory' that was talked about at the time has generally been discredited.

BUT - The truth is we can never know for sure. It is impossible to know for sure what would have happened if the U.S. had not tried to prop up the South Vietnamese government.
We would have lost less soldiers and the war would have ended sooner. For crying out loud we weren't the first to fight there. Others rough and list before we did
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Old 12-12-2015, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
14,403 posts, read 13,970,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidValleyDad View Post
It is generally believed that the 'Domino Theory' that was talked about at the time has generally been discredited.

BUT - The truth is we can never know for sure. It is impossible to know for sure what would have happened if the U.S. had not tried to prop up the South Vietnamese government.
If we had not double crossed the Vietnamese after WWII, there never would have been a South Viet Nam. We promised them free elections, then reneged and turned them back over to the French colonialists. The Vietnamese beat the Japanese, the French, the Americans and then went toe to toe with the Chinese army. Their defense of their homeland took decades and is one of the most admirable displays of patriotism in modern history.
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Old 12-13-2015, 01:40 PM
 
13,504 posts, read 19,615,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bentobox34 View Post
The songs "Won't get fooled again" by the Who and "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath would never have been written. That would be a loss.
Just a note here: The Who Song "Won't get fooled again" had absolutely nothing to do with the Vietnam War.


It's almost impossible to defend the Vietnam War now, but we are all being "Monday morning quarterbacks" in that we would have never known what would have happened if America had not become involved, or what would have happened if America for political reasons decided to disengage in the late 60's. We can see now, that 40 years later, the Soviet Union has collapsed and the communist Vietnam government has moderated (even to the extent of being an allied counter to the PRC's hegemony in Asia). But what we know now is not what we knew then. One argument - perhaps a weak one - is that Vietnam was simply a minor "containment action" in the cold war, but one that proved to the Soviet Union that further expansion by proxies would be met with force, that even if not finally successful by the west - it weakened both sides to the extent that Communism spread to Southeast Asia was limited to Laos, Cambodia (with the subsequent terror of Pol Pot), and Laos and stopped dead at Thailand and Malaysia. I am not prepared however to defend the above.
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