Vietnam Part MCXLVIII

Gunny

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We'll start this off with onedomino's post from the Best/Worst Presidents thread:

It was Johnson’s massive failure in SE Asia that vaulted him into second place on my list. Like Bush 43, he did not trust his generals, and disregarded their advice.

Johnson's generals were a part of the problem. They were WWII and Korea, static line battleground leaders who tried to win a clandestine, guerilla war by conventional means.

To compound matters, they reported inflated numbers to Johnson and his "think tank" in order to justify their presence and methods. Regardless his failed tactics and/or strategy, Johnson and McNamara operated under the premise of these false numbers for a couple of years; which, might have altered their strategy.


Far more damaging than his tactical blunders was the failure of his will to win. By 1968, US soldiers were dying at a rate of 1000 per month while being under the command of a President that did not take the steps advised by his generals that were necessary to win. Johnson’s stated policy was the “containment” of the communists, not their defeat.

Which steps were advised by which generals that would have altered the outcome?

Johnson did not want to lose the war, but he never took the steps necessary to win; such as a ground assault of North Viet Nam, or intradiction of supplies from China and Russia. A truly deplorable situation.

At the conclusion of TET 68, when Walter declared the Vietnam War "unwinnable," the NVA had been handed a resounding defeat and the NLF annihilated so that it no longer existed as a force.

Had Johnson invaded N Vietnam, or interdicted Russian/Chinese supplies, he risked drawing one or both of those nations into the conflict.

We never went into Vietnam to "win a war." We went into Vietnam to aid the South in becoming able to defend itself. The South Vietnamese were EVERY BIT as guilty if not moreso than Johnson in their failure to do so.


Nixon continued Johnson’s failed policy of containment, and while his bombing of the North got the enemy to pretend to negotiate peace, his end game included the abandonment of the SE Asian battlefield by US ground troops.

You need to read Giap's book. Nixon had bombed N Vietnam into the Stone Age. N Vietnam negotiated peace because it had no choice.

Nixon's end game included turning over S Vietnam to S Vietnam because it was THEIR country, and rightfully, the S Vietnamese should have been the ones fighting for it.

Johnson's "failed policy" was introducing US ground troops into the war to begin with. Nixon pulled them out. That's hardly continuing a failed policy.

Instead of a policy designed to win, Nixon substituted the process of Vietnamization, which led directly to outright defeat.

If turning the Vietnam War over to the Vietnamese led to thier defeat, it's because they did not have the will to support their own freedom. S Vietnam's government was corrupt, and its people did not support it. The S Vietnamese military had been trained and equipped by the US for most of a decade.

Their loss was on them, not Nixon.


That defeat, accelerated by the US Congress when it rejected Ford’s request for continued funding, led to many thousands of deaths in North on South retribution, and cleared the way for sociopaths like Pol Pot to grab power in Cambodia at the point of a gun. He, of course, committed one of the greatest genocides in world history.

Not "accelerated by" ... "because of." Congress refused to honor the US's obligation by treaty with S Vietnam. That decision however, did not empower Pol Pot. The regional geopolitical situation itself did; which, would have existed with or without the US.

Had Johnson jettisoned his failed policy of containment and showed the will necessary to defeat the communists in SE Asia, then perhaps many millions of lives would have been spared the fate that resulted from Nixon’s abandonment of the battlefield.
Had Johnson not escalated US involvement into what amounted to a civil war, and refused to support one despotic regime after another in the name of "demcracy" simply because they opposed what was a labelled a "commie" gov't, the end result would have been the same with WAY less loss of life and damage to property.

The failure in Vietnam was s result of US failed foreign policy in general, and not the result of just Johnson's actions in Vietnam.
 

Truthmatters

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Why is it you can see this for vietnam but not for Iraq?

It seems to me you only see fault when a D is beside someones name?

Yes I agree that greedy Texan Johnson was a scum bag.

I liked his AA stance but He was dispicable human being
 

Truthmatters

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Are you aware Howard E Hunt's deathbed confessions peg Johnson for the death of Kenendy?
 
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Gunny

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Why is it you can see this for vietnam but not for Iraq?

It seems to me you only see fault when a D is beside someones name?

Yes I agree that greedy Texan Johnson was a scum bag.

I liked his AA stance but He was dispicable human being
Why is it you continue to make assumptions without doing your homework? There a PLENTY of threads on Iraq where my opinion is stated quite clearly. It has nothing to do with the "D" or the "R" anywhere except in your mind.

We could have won in Vietnam, and we can win in Iraq. It just seems there are too many folks who think like you that either don't know or don't remember what winning is about, and/or what it takes to do so.
 

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No substance just insults?

Im right here cant you explain to me HOW we win this occupation in Iraq when they have voted to have us leave?

BTW what does vietnam look like now?
 
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Gunny

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No substance just insults?

Im right here cant you explain to me HOW we win this occupation in Iraq when they have voted to have us leave?

BTW what does vietnam look like now?
You're right here trying to deflect the topic with your first post with the same BS you've introduced into another thread.

And I'm not insulting you ...yet. There'll be no doubt in your mind when and if I do.
 

Truthmatters

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You wont even outline how we could have won a civil war in Vietnam?

How does a foriegn government win a civil war for someone else?
 
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Gunny

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You wont even outline how we could have won a civil war in Vietnam?

How does a foriegn government win a civil war for someone else?
Quite simply, you win militarily by destroying your enemy, and taking away his means of resistance and/or war-making capablilities. If that means killing each and every one, then THAT is what you do.
 

Truthmatters

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Heres the problem with that.

You go in an "destroy" what?

All you do is destroy your percieved enemies ability to fight back.

You leave and it builds until the TRUE winner emerges.

Imagine it in your own country, some foriegn entity steps in and helps the south win.

They leave and within years the war starts all over because the war was never really settled by the people.

A foriegn entity can NEVER win a civil war.
 

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Heres the problem with that.

You go in an "destroy" what?

As Gunny indicated, you destroy the enemy's will and his capacity to make war. I guess you missed that part.

All you do is destroy your percieved enemies ability to fight back.

Exactly...it's called winning.

You leave and it builds until the TRUE winner emerges.

Not if you continue to provide support.

Imagine it in your own country, some foriegn entity steps in and helps the south win.

Actually, a foreign entity did step in to help back in the 1700's.

They leave and within years the war starts all over because the war was never really settled by the people.



A foriegn entity can NEVER win a civil war. History says you are wrong...in fact the US was founded under just such circumstances.
I guess it all depends on how much you want to study and understand history, eh?
 
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Gunny

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Heres the problem with that.

You go in an "destroy" what?

All you do is destroy your percieved enemies ability to fight back.

You leave and it builds until the TRUE winner emerges.

Imagine it in your own country, some foriegn entity steps in and helps the south win.

They leave and within years the war starts all over because the war was never really settled by the people.

A foriegn entity can NEVER win a civil war.
Incorrect. Absolute military power can bring a civil war to a halt, and keep i that way so long as the force remains to enforce its will.
 
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maineman

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Incorrect. Absolute military power can bring a civil war to a halt, and keep i that way so long as the force remains to enforce its will.
an absolutely powerful foreign military power can indeed bring a civil war to a halt, but it can never WIN it..... because as soon as it leaves, the civil war will recommence....like I predict will happen in Iraq the minute we leave - whether that is this year or next decade. The only difference will be OUR body count....imho
 

CSM

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an absolutely powerful foreign military power can indeed bring a civil war to a halt, but it can never WIN it..... because as soon as it leaves, the civil war will recommence....like I predict will happen in Iraq the minute we leave - whether that is this year or next decade. The only difference will be OUR body count....imho
Too simplistic, imo. If the military force can remain in place long enough to wait out the necessary changes in the enemy's thinking, then the conditions for civil war cease to exist. That may be a very long time indeed, but it certainly is possible.

I agree with our prediction for Iraq simpl because the US has not the staying power to see it through and because of the other foreign powers involved who do...like Iran.
 
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Gunny

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an absolutely powerful foreign military power can indeed bring a civil war to a halt, but it can never WIN it..... because as soon as it leaves, the civil war will recommence....like I predict will happen in Iraq the minute we leave - whether that is this year or next decade. The only difference will be OUR body count....imho
There are all sorts of variables in any given situation. I merely addressed the ability of a military force to halt a civil war because that was the comment I responded to.

Of course once you remove the restraining force, the civil war could recommence. It is not written in stone that it will.

Insofar as Iraq is concerned, since you have three opposing ideologies (one actually an ethnicity -- Kurds) all converging in one place, the odds are good that your assumption is correct.

The main problem being it requires an iron hand to instill absolute control, and democracies and/or their Arab versions thereof are not very conducive to absolute control.
 
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Gunny

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Too simplistic, imo. If the military force can remain in place long enough to wait out the necessary changes in the enemy's thinking, then the conditions for civil war cease to exist. That may be a very long time indeed, but it certainly is possible.

I agree with our prediction for Iraq simpl because the US has not the staying power to see it through and because of the other foreign powers involved who do...like Iran.
Waiting the US out is Rule #1 in Uncle Ho's "How to Beat the US" handbook. Works like a charm.
 

maineman

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There are all sorts of variables in any given situation. I merely addressed the ability of a military force to halt a civil war because that was the comment I responded to.
not to be nit-picky, but the comment was "A foriegn entity can NEVER win a civil war." YOu replied by stating that that statement was inaccurate and that a foreign military power could, in fact "halt" a civil war.... and my point was "winning" and halting" are two different things

Of course once you remove the restraining force, the civil war could recommence. It is not written in stone that it will.

Insofar as Iraq is concerned, since you have three opposing ideologies (one actually an ethnicity -- Kurds) all converging in one place, the odds are good that your assumption is correct.
I cannot imagine that the millenium-old hatred between sunnis and shi'ites will go away anytime soon

The main problem being it requires an iron hand to instill absolute control, and democracies and/or their Arab versions thereof are not very conducive to absolute control.
Wouldn't it be nice to see someone in control of Iraq would COULD instill absolute control so we could not have to worry about Iraq and get on with the business of fighting islamic extremists? Oh...wait...we had that already. oops! :eusa_dance:
 

Truthmatters

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You can never win a civil war for someone else.

America ended its own civil war ,we may have had help but it goes against all history to sugest we were not the ones fighting.

The factions in this particular civil war have been fighting each other for hundereds of years.

This is why for our own countrys self interest it was a bad idea the take the shit cork out of the bottle.

Sdam being the shit cork and Iraq being the bottle.

It was great for Haliburton and the oil cos though
 
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Gunny

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not to be nit-picky, but the comment was "A foriegn entity can NEVER win a civil war." YOu replied by stating that that statement was inaccurate and that a foreign military power could, in fact "halt" a civil war.... and my point was "winning" and halting" are two different things



I cannot imagine that the millenium-old hatred between sunnis and shi'ites will go away anytime soon



Wouldn't it be nice to see someone in control of Iraq would COULD instill absolute control so we could not have to worry about Iraq and get on with the business of fighting islamic extremists? Oh...wait...we had that already. oops! :eusa_dance:
I used the term "halt" because no one, foreign or not, EVER wins a civil war. Even if and when one side forces its rule on the other, it does not truly win because it has not destroyed the belief. Only the ability to resist.
 

onedomino

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We could have won in Vietnam, and we can win in Iraq. It just seems there are too many folks who think like you that either don't know or don't remember what winning is about, and/or what it takes to do so.
I believe this to be true. Unfortunately, to win you must be ruthless, and Americans can no longer stomach the ruthless behavior that it takes to win. You must not only crush the enemy and his war making capability, but you must also (and here is the critical part) crush those who support the enemy; especially "civilians." Is this immoral? At some level all war is immoral. But what is more evil than ruthless war, is allowing war to drag on and on, draining blood and treasure, without a clear path to victory.

GunnyL may not like this particular example, but Tecumseh Sherman clearly understood: “War is cruelty. There’s no use trying to reform it, the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.” These words were not spoken by some barbarian from the 8th Century. They were spoken just 143 years ago by a top US military commander, educated at West Point. Sherman prosecuted the war precisely as he spoke. Not only did he crush the “insurgency,” he also crushed those that backed it up. When the war was over did the armed rebellion fester indefinitely? No. The spirit of the insurgency was crushed. To Sherman it would have been more cruel to merely destroy enemy combat forces thereby allowing the insurgency to live on. There is another factor that contributes to the failure to win modern war that Sherman understood quite well. I’ll offer this quote, and you can draw your own conclusions: “If I had my choice, I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from hell before breakfast.” Loyal sons of the South despise Sherman, who can blame them? But they cannot deny that Sherman was an extremely effective military commander that crushed the spirit of his enemy and extinguished the war without subsequent insurgency.

Eighty years later did America confine itself to merely destroying German combat units? In February 1945, the British and the Americans sent more than 1200 heavy bombers to attack the city of Dresden. No one knows for sure, but perhaps as many as 135,000 German civilians were killed. When the war ended three months later was there a significant insurgency? No. Not only did we destroy enemy combat units, we also destroyed the spirit of the people backing them up. Again, “War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it, the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.” The short form: kill 3000 thousand of our men at Pearl Harbor, and we will drop nuclear weapons on your cities. Was there a Japanese insurgency against American occupation? You know the answer.

We used to know how to prosecute war and win. But somehow winning became immoral. And losing was acceptable because at least there was not much collateral damage. I submit that smart bombs are more immoral than carpet bombing. Smart bombs leave enemy supporters alive and ready to help kill again. In Viet Nam, the subject of this thread, it was Lyndon Johnson who lost his moral compass. He restricted the military from attacking North Viet Nam, the source of the insurgency. He prevented the military from attacking the Russian and Chinese supply lines to North Viet Nam. He did not order the military to attack the North Vietnamese "civilians" that backed up the war, much less their supporters in China. Johnson turned 550,000 American combat troops into a giant police force, confined to a corner of the battlefield that did not contain the source of enemy supplies or the supporters of the enemy. Please make no mistake, regardless of government press releases, we were not in Viet Nam fighting merely to quell a civil war, or push the North Vietnamese out of the South. We were fighting the Russians and Chinese through their proxy. Despite the immoral constraints imposed from above, the US military won every battle in Viet Nam; an amazing performance. But overall, they had no chance to crush the enemy and its supporters. You can thank Lyndon Johnson.

The same immoral policy is currently being played out in Iraq. The aseptic rules of engagement prevent America from winning the war, even though it will never lose a battle. Bush prevents the American military from attacking the financiers of the insurgents in Saudi Arabia, he stops attacks against enemy supply lines in Syria and Iran, he blocks attacks on the civilians that back up the insurgency. Given these constraints, if General Petraeus pulls out a win, it will be a miracle.

PS. Why 1148?
 

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