Ideas

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 11, 2003.

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    hope6970
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    Looking back at the days America spent in Vietnam, what do you believe would have happened, if we would have had all the military resources that the military has available to them today in Afghan.? Not only in the hardware but also the leadership?

    Any ideas you would care to share? Hope

    high2fly
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    I have always concurred that the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT must never be confused with TERMS OF ENDEARMENT. While the warriors battle and bleed in the field, there are those statesmen who, in palaces of marble, determine how fairly the blood will be let. It seems to me that those aforementioned RULES OF ENGAGMENT, always undermine the American warrior's abilities, and all the principles of fair play must be adhered to only by them. Reminds me of a story about the time these low life Tripoli pirates, who had this U.S. Marine they had captured. They had him buried right up to his neck in sand, and he could only move his head around. They were tormenting and torturing him and finally they let this hungry old dog attack him. The half starved old male dog did their bidding, and viscously attacked the Marines head. The Marine dodged and parried the best he could and finally as the old dog leaped over the Marines head, the marine cought the old mutt's swinging testicles in his teeth and tore them right off his mangy body. The old dog collapsed in a bleeding heap as the pirates screamed at the top of their lungs "FIGHT FAIR, F-----G MARINE.......FIGHT FAIR"!!!!!!! Wilborn

    Edited by: high2fly at: 12/12/01 4:36:28 pm

    nighthawksh
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    Hope,,in answer to the question you posed,,,

    First, I think we had sufficent hardware to do the job. Probably more than enough.

    As to the leadership,,,that is entirely another matter

    When the political leadership of this country is convinced at the onset that a war is "unwinable", the outcome is inevitable.

    Further, IMHO, the upper level of the military (at least the Army) had allowed itself to become, not an organization to defend this country, but a group of self serving individuals whose primary concern was their own careers, aided and abetted by what Ike had labeled the "military-industrial complex".

    Also, again IMHO, at the end of WWII, we, by kissing up to the French, allowed the situation in SE Asia to deteriorate beyond any country's abilities to stop the advance of Uncle Ho's program.

    And, finally, due to the vast amount of corruption in the RVN, I do not belief any other outcome could have taken place.

    So, in summary, could we have physically defeated the VC and PAVN? Without a doubt!! Could there ever have been peace in Vietnam? Not without continuous military action and probably not even with it. It would be like Bosnia/Kosavo today, in need of constant "Peace keeping" forces.

    IMHO


    Stan H ,, nighthawk

    I may not agree with what you say,
    but I shall defend to the death your right to say it

    Edited by: nighthawksh at: 12/12/01 5:24:28 pm

    Tac401
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    Very interesting folks, good read!

    JD
    The Firearms Forum Vietnam Memories Bulletin Board Contact Administrator

    nighthawksh
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    I must admit I am rather suprised there have been no other responses to this question,,, come on, ya'll,,,everbody has opinions,,,state yours!



    Edited by: nighthawksh at: 12/14/01 7:47:04 pm

    bhd8ball
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    Need to throw in 'guns and butter'.

    As the war unfolded (guns) we were still living our lives as though there was no war, churning out the 'new society' and consumer goods as fast a possible(butter).

    We learned in econ 101 that you can't have guns and butter without causing problems.

    This had the effect of marginalizing the war, so that most Americans just tuned it out. Let alone causing a massive government debt.

    That allowed the politicians to 'tone down' the war, 'rules of engagement', don't go after the VC/NVA in other countries, narrowing the bombing so that is was not effective, etc.

    T.V.? I don't know. Certainly the sight of American dead, as they were dying or shortly thereafter had to have a demorilizing effect on CIVILIANS. America just lost the stomach for helping the South Vietnamese.

    It's all so sad



    588th Engineers Class of 1968

    Shadow
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    We were not allowed to fight to win because American Civilians (by the thousands) were not killed on our soil!!! If an attack had occurred in a major metro area, we would have been allowed to unleash the hounds of Hell. But instead, the American news media spent their time showing Vietnamese civilians being forced from their homes for relocation. Showed American casualties as they were being injured and being undermined by politicians that did not want their sons to be damaged goods like the returning vets.
    I wonder how long before we are forced to discontinue our bombings, will this be before or after ground casualties? I do not think we are close to ending this.

    hope6970
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    Thanks guys for your reply. I know we all have different thoughts on the subject and I am sure if you posed this question to others you would have as many different answers.

    As for the TV John, I believe the media made sure that everything that was put on the screens back home was for the sole purpose of demoralizing and undermining what we were trying to do and for what we represented.

    I agree, we had the fire power and the leaders to see us through to a complete victory. A victory that if we would have been able to complete would have saved a lot of American lives that are now engraved on The Wall. I sit and think back and wonder if the powers in D.C. back then ever had nightmares regarding the games they played, those games that were played with American lives.

    However, some of us came back home and done the best we could to erase the bad times and try to hold on to any good times that we had there. It was a struggle for some and easier for others and the ones that didn't quite make it, well it is up to us to try and continue to help them on their personal journey that is locked inside of them.

    If you detect any anger, sorrow etc. in my post you are correct. I do have them and a lot more all wrapped up into a tidy little package that has been carefully stowed away in that special place in side of me. A place that no one can open. However, every once in a while my memory returns to that special place and I find the package is still there, it never lets me forget. - Hope

    ruffitt
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    (12/24/01 10:42:13 am)
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    hope6970 -

    The U.S. Military flexed its mighty power to their utmost during those long ago days. At that time, in that place, the hardware was adequate to the task (once the bugs were finally worked out of the M-16 rifle). It was not lack of might, equipment, resources, or personnel that caused our Great Country to come out second best and depart the area with our tail between our legs.

    God Rest, and God Bless, each and every service man and service woman who gave of themselves for a cause not supported by the civilian leadership of our Country. Vietnam was more of a political war than many would like to admit.

    I remember well the early days of American involvement there - in the early 60's. At this time our involvement was primarily in an advisory capacity. It was about 1962 or 1963 that many Armed Forces personnel started volunteering to go to Vietnam. I, myself, even volunteered in 1964 to depart Europe and go there. For whatever reason the military saw fit, I was not accepted. It was during the 1965 - 1966 time frame that the military leaders started asking that more combat troops be sent to Vietnam. This is when the problems began surfacing that caused the eventual loss of our military might and power. The military was hamstrung by the politicos who disagreed with the agenda there and did everything they could to not support the effort.

    Also, just prior to this time frame started the era of the hippies - the flower power folks; - free love advocates. I was right smack dab in the midst of them as I was stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco from 1963 until I left for Vietnam in 1967. I not only worked on the San Francisco side of the Bay where "hippidom" got its beginnings; my wife, my self and our children lived on the North side of the Bay; cross the Golden Gate Bridge and get off at the first exit on the right - then turn left to go to our quarters on Fort Barry - or continue straight ahead about three miles to get to Sausalito ( THE Mecca of hippidom).

    The combination of the hippie movement, spineless politicos who were afraid to take a firm stand, and many senior military leaders who had their own self serving interests and agendas in mind, severely effected the doctrine that was followed in the situation in Vietnam. Needless to say, the culmination of these effects/efforts is what eventually made us pull out of Vietnam.

    Neither the North Vietnamese, nor the Viet Cong, defeated us. WE, as a Country, lost sight of the goals we were trying to accomplish and as such defeated ourselves. We shot ourselves in the foot and self destructed for lack of a concerted effort to allow the military to do the job they are trained to do. Many say that Vietnam was an "unconventional" war - that it was gorilla warfare, fought in jungles, caves, rice paddies and plantations. I can agree to this assessment to a degree, but not wholeheartedly. Granted the war in Vietnam was different in that there were no clear lines of demarcation from which our forces could advance to achieve a specific goal. I can also agree that the enemy used surreptitious means in their effort to destroy us. Their use of night time raids, attacks, and sappings; the booby trapping of most anything available; their use of punji sticks, etc., etc., is not necessarily "unconventional". More than anything, I would say it is different than actions used in other wars we have fought in, but not so different that these tactics alone caused us to leave Vietnam.

    Our Country has not really won a war or major military action since WWII. We are still in a negotiated stalemate in Korea; we got whipped unmercifully at the Bay of Pigs; we gave up in Vietnam; we beat the hell out of Sadams' troops in 104 hours of actual land warfare - but did we "win"? I don't think so because that SOB is still alive and will some day come back to haunt us. We are kicking the daylights out of the Taliban right now, but again; are we winning? Again, I don't think so because Osama hasn't been reported as DEAD yet. But, we are in the process of winning this one, and it will be won once terrorists and terrorist harboring countries are removed from the face of this earth.

    The interesting situation we have here is that the actions I described as occurring after WWII were primarily political defeats rather than military defeats (up until the Iraq/Afghanistan engagements). Truman turned Korea into a political defeat when he did not agree with McArthur to chase the Chinese back across the Yalu into Manchuria. If McArthur had continued fighting the military war that needed to be fought, I doubt if there would be a stalemate between North and South Korea today. But Truman had to politicize it by bringing McArthur back to the States and firing him. The Bay of Pigs fiasco was as much a political blunder as it was a military disaster. Poor planning and execution all around. I have stated my feelings about our involvement in Vietnam, so will expound no further. Now comes the era of our last two major conflicts - Iraq and Afghanistan. What is there in common about both of these situations? There is almost unanimous support from both the politicos and non-combatants for our troops. Everyone wanted us to whip Sadam's rear end, and everyone wants us to kill Osama as well as wipe out global terrorism. It is truly amazing what 100 percent backing and support can achieve when it is given.

    You asked, I replied in my own humble way.

    Regards


    RUFFITT




    Edited by: ruffitt at: 12/25/01 5:39:25 am

    106RR196LIB
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    I would like to second StanH -- and add the corruption of our own govt and military.
    Our M16's clearly were faulty. We were ordered not to write to our congressman or complain to any newspaper. Our outgoing mail was destroyed if it was addressed to a politico or journalist. Many of us tried to get the word out, but the letters never arrived. Colt used the same two M16's for QC for the duration of the contract. The contract called for two rifles selected at random from production.
    The corruption extended to all levels. Our Christmas and Thanksgiving chow arrived without dessert. We were glad to get any rations at all, but I wonder how ALL of the dessert became lost between the mess hall and the line units. The Army mail system was so corrupt that civilian jewelry companies refused to send any of their products through it. I had to have a gift shipped directly to my girlfriend.
    Nothing could excuse the South Vietnamese corruption!
    We were sent out to torch a ville. It was one of the ugliest things I ever had to do. We later found out that it was a land grab by SVN politicians. We had to throw the farmers off their own land so it could be used to line someones pockets. No wonder they lost.
    I do however appreciate the great sacrifices made by servicemen and women.
    Mike


    GRUNT
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    don't disagree with anyone, but when I came home I went directly into the hippie/commune lifestyle..I had a lot of lovin to catch up on and free love was right up my alley..was in communes from Canada to Arizona

    It was a Political Action in which few politicians and their kids partook in the actual conflict.



    The Price Of Freedom Is Written On The Wall

    Comanche6
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    Folks - one of the reasons I enjoy this discussion board is that there is a good exchange of thoughts without all the flaming that too often takes place on the web. Thanx. Hope6970's question is a good one, and there have been some good answers. Here's my two cents worth.

    Hope asks if what might have happened if we'd had the resources then that are available today. Her supposition - and I assume - her real question - is whether we could have won the war.

    Let's start with what we mean by "win." One model might be that from WWII where we knew it would be over only with total, complete, unconditional surrender. Another model might be taken from Korea. Following our national policy of containing Communism (adopted in 1948), we sought to keep the enemy within its previous boundaries. We have kept troops in Korea for 50 years. Or, still another model is that from the Gulf War - defeat the enemy's military, but do not leave troops in the area, and do not interfere politically.

    Let's look at those options. The WWII model would have meant we invade and occupy Hanoi. Remember - neither North nor South Vietnam had any capacity to wage modern war. Both sides were totally dependent on their supporters for weapons, trucks, ammunition, etc. For the North, that meant the Soviet Union and China supplied everything except soldiers. The question would have been whether we felt either the Soviets and/or the Chinese would let us invade and occupy their client state. If they did not, we would be fighting WW III against a nuclear power and against the most populace nation on earth at the same time.

    The Korea model seemed to be the model we actually tried. But, Korea is a peninsula, and it was (relatively) easy to prevent infiltration. But, in VN we had the enemy sanctuaries of Laos and Cambodia. In order to make the Korea model work, we would have had to occupy those two countries. That would have meant a greatly expanded military. And, we would still have troops in Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam - even today.

    Then there is the Gulf War/Iraq model. The problem was, we did not, in fact, defeat the Communist military. Oh yes, we won all the battles, but Westmoreland's strategy of attrition did not, in fact, wear down the enemy. Communist forces were far stronger in 1973 than in 1965, even after eight years of having the tar beat out of them.

    But, IMHO, "victory" meant the South Vietnamese be able to govern. They could not. Their feudal society was unable to adapt quickly enough to the modern world. We did not have the ability to control their corruption. The only solution to that would have been to take over the country and run it. In our earliest stages (the advisor stage under President Kennedy) and the latest stages (Vietnamization under President Nixon), we thought it was the South Vietnamese's job to win or lose the war.

    Using any of these scenarios, I do not think "victory" was possible, regardless of resources, the media, political leadership, or other entity. Even Bernard Fall, in his wonderful books such as "Street Without Joy" (written during the French war with the Viet Minh) conceded victory was not possible because sanctuary was always possible for the Communists. Fall was not talking about Cambodia and Laos, as those still belonged to France. He was talking about China. The 1948 victory of the Communists over the Nationalists (another example of a corrupt American allie) gave Ho Chi Minh the ability to cross into China whenever things got tough. I'm sure he would have done that if we had invaded and occupied Hanoi - and then we would have had to fight China.

    A modern argument is that Vietnam was a battle rather than a war - it was one battle within the entire Cold War. Part of that argument also says we didn't lose. Rather, we tied. If in fact, it was the intent of the the Soviet and Chinese Communists to spread throughout Southeast Asia, the effort in Vietnam stopped that. (Yes, there was some "domino theory", such as Cambodia and Laos, but that was all.)

    Most of us on this board left a big part of ourselves in VN - and I think we did just fine. I'll end this long post with a story:

    An American visited VN a few years after the war was over. In trying to protect his pride, he said to his Vietnamese guide "You know we never lost a battle." To that, the Vietnamese replied, "And that is now irrelevant."

    Years later, the American returned. Vietnam was still ravaged by poverty. The conversation began again.

    "You know, we never lost a battle."

    "Yes, but that is irrelevant"

    Looking at the poverty and misery around him, the American now retorted "And that too is irrelevant."

    (I'd love to take credit for that made up story, but I must credit Dr. Donald Patrick, who served as a neuro surgeon at the 24th Evac in Long Binh. Dr. Patrick recently returned to VN and wrote about this three weeks there.)

    Hope all of you had a great Christmas - -

    Comanche 6





    hope6970
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    I want to Thank all of you for taking the time to stop and give a reply regarding your thoughts on my original above question. It is great to be able to learn your thoughts and for each of us to give their opinions as to how they feel about just one little part of the war. All of your posts were super.

    However, I am not about to let you all off the hook that easy. Who is the next person to bring up a question to get us all thinking and reply with a post????? Come on, I know each of you has a lot to offer. There has to be something that is bugging you or bugged you at one time and you just put it aside. Something that you would like to get others opinion or ideas on. - Hope

    bhd8ball
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    Doug:

    Thanks for that post. I haven't looked at Vietnam (current day) for a while.

    It would appear that the war is not over. We may still win.



    588th Engineers Class of 1968

    hope6970
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    Come on you guys, don't any of you have an idea for a good topic???? There has to be something that you question or would like to talk about. I bet if you were all together,you would sit and talk a mile a minute about a lot of topics. - Hope

    high2fly
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    Hope, there are so many things that can be used for ideas. But I suppose it is like being in the forest and trying to describe the functions of the tree. Picture us guys sitting around, talking the talk of girls and home, and home and girls, and then for a fleeting moment someone mentions Mom. That is a diversion and we slide easy over to Dad and siblings, and then back to girls again and maybe cars or trucks this time. Oh, that will grab everyone who cultivates whiskers attention---boast and brag and dig out the photos of that set of killer wheels you got in your moldy old wallet. Then I mention the forest and the trees--how each little leaf is like a chemical factory---the photosynthesis business really grabs me, so I go to great detail to explain it to the troops who still have girls and cars on their minds. The gathering of eagles breaks up for they sure as hell know there is a turkey amongst them---they don't invite me to their next pow-wow---let me make like a lumber jack if I want to---as far as they are concerned my ideas 'suck'!!!! Wilborn

    berto64
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    I have to agree with Nighthawksh up at the top.
    Most officers I had to deal with, even at company level, just wanted to get their command time in with a good OEP.
    Then sometimes you get the guys that want to get themselves a medal, no matter what kind of danger they put their men in.
    The smart NCO's and enlisted learned to CYA and to heck with the LT's or the CPT's medal. Thank God for experieced NCO's who helped keep us alive.
    Not saying they were all irresponsible, but the bad ones you sure remember. I know I do.

    berto


    Endeaver to Persevere

    hope6970
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    Chief, if you want to discuss the forest, the pow-wows and photosynthesis of the bushes, lets begin. You all can give me and others that were not in the bush a lesson of all the tropical vegetation that we didn't get to see. Where I was it was a bit lacking on the vegetation side of it.



    berto,

    Not being out in the field like the rest of you, I do not have the experience that you did with officers that you speak of. I did have experience with the higher echelon officers that were there. The men that I knew would come into my office and have nothing but the highest regard for the men out in the field and they were not out to use them to gain rank for themselves. I am not saying "all" there is an exception to everything. A lot went on the enlisted man and lower ranking officers didn't know about and I assure you it was not a party that went on.

    There were times we would lose that officer to the war and it was heartbreaking as it was with anyone that was lost.

    I was talking with an officer who was on return to the field from his chopper, while talking the line went silent, his chopper had been destroyed in flight. When that officer came into the office, he looked like he had not changed his clothes for months but he was in too much of a hurry to get back to the guys to stop and take time out for a shower. If he had only taken the time maybe.......

    However berto, I do know of what you are speaking about. I myself had a few run-ins and those type of people did exist.

    Hope

    hope6970
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    OK, we now find that we had excellent man-power, top notch equipment and the brilliance to have totally won the war.

    Here is the question: From your experience of being there and knowing what went on fighting the war, how would you have gone about totally winning the war, if you would have been in command? This means, if D.C. sent a message informing you that you were now the commanding general and it was up to you to win.

    I am sure a lot of us left there with at least one idea, what is yours?

    Hope

    berto64
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    Enter Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand and eliminate the infiltration routes, and turn the 52's loose on hanoi and any other targets right up to the Chinese border.
    OOOPS! I fergot, we used too many budditts per kill over there didn't we. That's what the bean counters say, anyhow.
    What the heck.

    berto


    Endeaver to Persevere

    dogmeat2
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    Would immediately draft all the little peaceniks that protested and send them to the Laos border to have a short discussion with the NVA as they were making their way south. I am afraid this would also include all the loud mouths that scream and hollar and shout about how much they support our military without ever having served themselves in any of the services. No basic, no ait, just issue equipment and ship!!!!!

    hope6970
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    How you doing there Dogmeat2?

    Nice to see a new kid on the block and
    Welcome to the board.

    No basic or AIT??? How do you suppose
    that we keep order and have knowledge
    to carry out our assignment to get these
    peaceniks to the border??? lol I wonder
    if everyone would use the equipment all
    the same way? lol lol

    Nice seeing you Dogmeat. - Hope

    dogmeat2
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    After re-thinking this, You are right Hope! No equipment, that would be a waste of good equipment.