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Is there a lesson here?

Nov 26, 2005 1:37AM PST

There were many people protesting the Vietnam war in 1964. If they had been listened to, there might have been close to 56,000 fewer Americans killed, and nearly 300,000 fewer Ameicans injured, many for life (not including those psychologically injured). Many more protestors in 1967. If they had been listened to, there might have been around 40,000 fewer Americans killed, and around 200,000 fewer Americans injured. Some half million American soldiers deserted between 1960 and 1973. Of course, some would call them all cowards and traitors; others would realize that only an ostrich would make such a generalization. While there are some who don't think the millions of Vietnamese killed and injured are important, others do. A common commentary on the Vietnam war is that by now almost everyone concedes that it was a mistake. There are, of course, exceptions.

Discussion is locked

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Carry on the statistics
Nov 26, 2005 1:43AM PST

by pointing that finger in another direction.

IF the POLITICIANS had stayed out of it and let the MILITARY people handle it, the war would have ended much more quickly with far fewer deaths on both sides, and we would have freaking won.

You don't go into battle of any kind without being aggressive in the pursuit of victory...the politicians here literally tied the military's hands on that war and nothing was ever battled in the manner that it should have been.

Does ANY of this sound even a little bit familiar to you TODAY?


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But it was an immoral war, Toni -- or doesn't that matter?
Nov 26, 2005 2:25AM PST

This one isn't -- but it's pragmatically just as big a mistake, as is finally clear to a majority of Americans. It's been clear to a majority of the world from the git-go.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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(NT) (NT) How is preserving freedom immoral ??
Nov 26, 2005 2:29AM PST
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Are you talking about Iraq or Vietnam?
Nov 26, 2005 6:48AM PST

Preserving freedom is a laudable goal, and that is certainly our stated objective in Iraq; however, I'm not sure the Vietnam war had much to do with preserving freedom for the Vietnamese.

I mean no disrespect for our soldiers who served Vietnam, including my Father, who spent some time there with the USAF. They did their job, many of them did more than their job, almost all were honorable men. I do respect that.

What I'm questioning is the judgment of the US political leadership in getting us into Vietnam in the first place. They presumably thought they were doing the right thing at the time, but from what I can tell they were excessively influenced by the general level of anti-Soviet paranoia so prevalent in the US during the early years of the conflict. I'm too young to speak from deep personal experience of the political climate of the early war years, but my impression is that much of our political thinking about foreign countries was very much along the line of: if you aren't for us, you must be pro-communist. The world isn't that simple. I'm not saying we should have supported North Vietnam; I'm just not sure we should have stuck our noses in their in the first place.

Was the domino theory right? I doubt it. Either way, though, we'll never be sure.

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I think that's too simple minded unless you think JFK
Nov 26, 2005 7:43AM PST

thought in those terms. They were, however, determined to resist communist expansion through wars of aggression. Whatever the political merits, there were clearly many including both South Vietnamese and various tribal groups who did not want to live under communist rule. Thus, at least part of the military effort was to extend self determination to these people.

Basically, JFK was sucked in little by little until he was committed. First advisors, then helicopters for transport, then troops for protection, etc. However, the goal included helping the South Vietnamese defend themselves. Militarily, we won, but the military was undercut by the chorus of criticism that we see today, as well as the political refusal to commit the force needed to achieve overwhelming victory. The result was the fiasco that ensued and much bitterness within our military.

The Democrats are striving mightily to rebuild that situation today. They are undermining, at every opportunity, the things that are being accomplished, and IMO are working against our national interest. They are attempting to prove that the US cannot fight and win a war. It looks like maybe the public doesn't have what it takes to sustain any extended war effort. This is particularly true when the politicians are screaming that we can't win.

I think people like JFK and RFK would be appalled.

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Vietnam wasn't an immoral war
Nov 26, 2005 2:30AM PST

until AFTER it became public news that the politicians were the ones pulling the strings on how it was fought.

And your belief that this war "is a mistake and finally clear to a majority of Americans" is incorrect since there are only a handful (such as Sheehan) of civilians actually protesting it here in the USA and lots of politicans maneuvering for the next election based on what you think.

And every single one of you few are wrong.........


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politicans maneuvering
Nov 26, 2005 3:16AM PST

<<you few are wrong>>

Politicians want to be with the majority or they won't be "paid" politicians.

If there are only a "few" and they are "wrong".

Are the politician maneuvering to get the wrong (minority) vote?

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Politicians (all over the world)
Nov 26, 2005 3:26AM PST

swing in the direction of the MONEY that is being dumped in their direction.....they very rarely swing in the direction of what the PEOPLE who elected them want. And when the money is coming from organizations like and the moore-ons, it's big bucks.

Like war...when you vote for a representative, it is a crap shoot.

So the politicians are the ones pulling the strings again....and they're wrong again.


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only your war dk
Nov 26, 2005 2:40AM PST

whats imoral is your foaming at the mouth as you have what proof

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(NT) (NT) Who says it was immoral? You?
Nov 26, 2005 3:05AM PST
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Nov 26, 2005 1:49AM PST

Yes there is a lesson. The few (and it seems the ultra-left few) want to dictate policy only if they're not held accountable, don't have to follow that policy themselves and it increases their stature as enlightened among their peers. Leave war to the military, not the pols or polls.
Seems , and no links or hard-core proof, that some believe the Vietnam war helped end the Cold War. Just heard it a few years ago.

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Nov 26, 2005 2:05AM PST

given that the Vietnamese General in charge has said that they knew that they could NOT defeat us militarily, they saw that the US protesters were lengthening the war and then they decided that they could win by attrition. Therefore, the protesters COST and CAUSED more deaths.

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Nov 26, 2005 2:07AM PST

let's not forget how many millions would have died had the communists had a free reign (Pol Pot any one???)

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Your conclusion may be correct, but ...
Nov 26, 2005 2:11AM PST

Even though the communists would undoubtedly have killed a lot of people, I don't think you would have seen more of Pol Pot. I'm not sure the communists want to be associated with Pol Pot either. The communists would have had their purges, re-education camps and so forth. But Pol Pot? I doubt it.

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Nov 26, 2005 2:17AM PST

look at the history of the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, commonist rule = unabated murders

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Not wrong at all ..
Nov 26, 2005 6:34AM PST

I didn't claim that Soviets or Chinese or ... played nice or that they didn't kill people. I did claim that the Soviets and others weren't in the same league as Pol Pot. Pol Pot may have called himself a Maoist but that doesn't mean other communist governments made similar choices or that they approved of his choices.

According to the Wikipedia article on Pol Pot:
Pol Pot's regime killed between 1.5 - 2.3 million people between 1975-1979. By some accounts, nearly 1 out of every 8 Cambodians were murdered.

Stalin certainly didn't do anything that dramatic in terms of the proportion of the population. Even Mao's China didn't kill people on that large a scale, at least proportionately.

I'm not sure anybody has good numbers for North Korea, but I suspect that an accurate tally of deaths due to their government would be large. However, my guess is that much of those deaths would be from causes other than political execution. The North Koreans have botched their economic management even more than China and the Soviets, and from what I've heard there's a lot of malnutrition and other non-political but avoidable deaths there.

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Here's some statistics...
Nov 26, 2005 2:16AM PST
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Most interesting is
Nov 26, 2005 2:20AM PST

% of draftees and the socioeconomic background. We've heard for 40 years that only illiterate ethnics from the ghettos got drafted/served/died

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There are, of course, the thousands (I don't know how many)
Nov 26, 2005 2:08AM PST

who were killed after we pulled out. The abandonment of these people can be laid at the feet of the liberal Democrats like John Kerry. I guess you are one of them?

Oh, BTW, there were very few protesting the war in 1964. John Kennedy, who got us into Vietnam, did not die until late 1963.

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Just curious...
Nov 26, 2005 2:09AM PST

Just curious, what is your statistical source for the statement that some half million American soldiers deserted between 1960 and 1973?

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He, of course, has none.
Nov 26, 2005 7:41AM PST

I was in the military during that period (1970 - 73), and I think that had that number of troops bolted, somebody would have given those of us who remained a stiff briefing.

Unsubstantiated "facts", dubious assumptions and a total blindness to reality; there you have the state of the contemporary left.

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It's the Eleanor Clift school of journalism. The truth is
Nov 26, 2005 7:45AM PST

whatever I want it to be.

Eleanor is a regular on the McLaughlin Group.

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bigest lesson here
Nov 26, 2005 2:12AM PST

is the people protesting the war gives strength to the enemy.
and killed my men in combat!

as others have shown the protesters kill us.
arent you proud?

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And why do you choose VietNama as your model
Nov 26, 2005 3:49AM PST

For a lesson? Why not WW II or any of tHE other thousands odf wars that humanity has engaged in over the centuries? Is it because the percieved lesson is the one you prefer instead of others that might be equally or more likely?

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Nov 26, 2005 4:04AM PST

It is estimated that 55,000 American soldiers deserted during the Vietnam era.

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(NT) (NT) Still no link?
Nov 26, 2005 4:05AM PST
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Do your own research
Nov 26, 2005 5:28AM PST

It's typical for many posters who do little or no research to sit back and take pot shots at posts by more conscientious posters who do research. I have attempted to support the information in my posts with references. I have seen no indication that people check those references. Instead, by and large,they just take issue with what was posted without trying to support what they say. Since the information I have posted came from a large number of sources, it would have taken me much more time if I had attempted to keep taps on those varius sources. If you contest the validity of what I have posted, do your own research to support that. Unless, of course, you want to be like some many posters and just make up statements without doing research to support them. I came by my information by googling Vietnam war polls, and using other terms which I don't recall. You are free to do the same.

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And your research has been disputed
Nov 26, 2005 5:34AM PST

with another statistical site listed/linked by another member further down the thread.


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(NT) (NT) His "research" was shown to be FALSE
Nov 26, 2005 5:41AM PST
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and its typical to
Nov 26, 2005 5:37AM PST

ignor threads that dispute your "claim"