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Was America's involvement in the Vietnam War justified?

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Was America's involvement in the Vietnam War justified?

-Yes
23
24%
-No
72
76%
 
Total votes : 95

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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:43 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Senkaku wrote:The American ambassador's borderline-proconsular influence on the ostensibly sovereign Saigon government's decisionmaking and even its composition should at least raise doubts as to whether we can really characterize South Vietnam as fully decolonized (especially when you factor in the continued influence of Francified colonial elites in the government and the military right up to the end). No, it wasn't as formally under imperial control as it was under France, but...


That’s a really funny definition of “colony”. Well, I guess Nigeria remains a British colony today, right? Not all post-colonial governments are established by anti-colonial fighters. Guess what? Countries such as Malaysia are legit too.

No, because the British ambassadors to Malaysia and Nigeria can't topple their respective governments with a quiet word to military leaders, or determine extremely detailed aspects of their security policies, and there aren't tens of thousands of British troops in either country? Read the whole post, please.
Last edited by Senkaku on Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Trollzyn the Infinite
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Postby Trollzyn the Infinite » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:43 pm

This is a complex situation that can't easily be answered with a simple "yes" or "no". The issues that led to the Vietnam War dated back decades before the actual fighting started, and were exasperated by both WWII and the Cold War. Overall I would say our reason for being in Vietnam--to stem the spread of Communism and stifle the growth of the Soviet sphere of influence--were legitimate reasons to get involved, but the overall execution of the American war effort in Vietnam was not only laughably incompetent and dangerously ineffective but also the pretenses under which we got involved (helping the fucking French colonial authorities? Jesus that was stupid) were complete bogus bullshit. There's also the fact the entire war could have been avoided entirely if we had simply engaged the Vietnamese in dialogue before they went full-blown Commie which is just another fuck-up to add to the pile of monumental fuck-ups involving America in Vietnam.

Should we have been there? Yes.

Should we have been there under the specific circumstances in which we were there? Fuck no.

It was one of those situations where you only realize you've fucked up long after it's too late to unfuck yourself. In that sense, it was a doomed venture from the start because the only way we could've been in the position to actually do good in the region was a slim opportunity that we passed up long before the Japanese first pillaged French Indochina.
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Stellar Colonies
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Postby Stellar Colonies » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:44 pm

Would've been nice if France faced reality and gave it up in the first place, allowing Vietnam to develop nice and happily as a US-friendly state.

But by the point of the Vietnam War actually beginning, the US had a reasonable reason for opposing a communist government in Vietnam, but the way it went about trying to do that...no, those methods weren't justified. Impossible to defeat an enemy you're not even invading anyway.
Last edited by Stellar Colonies on Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:44 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Page wrote:
If Kermit the Frog commits a crime do you blame him or the puppeteer?

Not a good analogy for Diem. Yeah, we backed his regime, but part of the reason we subsequently got rid of him was because he was kind of an irascible cunt who wouldn't cooperate.


Exactly. The anti-Buddhist shit is clearly not of American origins just like Stalin was not responsible for the Kim dynasty.
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Postby Senkaku » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:46 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Senkaku wrote:Not a good analogy for Diem. Yeah, we backed his regime, but part of the reason we subsequently got rid of him was because he was kind of an irascible cunt who wouldn't cooperate.


Exactly. The anti-Buddhist shit is clearly not of American origins just like Stalin was not responsible for the Kim dynasty.

However, we also didn't stop him, because we had no idea what the fuck was going on, just a bunch of Orientalist just-so stories about "the Asian mind." We didn't even train our diplomats and intelligence personnel to speak Vietnamese for a while.
Last edited by Senkaku on Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nekostan-e Gharbi
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:47 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
That’s a really funny definition of “colony”. Well, I guess Nigeria remains a British colony today, right? Not all post-colonial governments are established by anti-colonial fighters. Guess what? Countries such as Malaysia are legit too.

No, because the British ambassadors to Malaysia and Nigeria can't topple their respective governments with a quiet word to military leaders, or determine extremely detailed aspects of their security policies, and there aren't tens of thousands of British troops in either country? Read the whole post, please.


Technically they still can after a war. But that doesn’t mean Malaysia and Nigeria aren’t independent states. Lots of counties got their independence without an all-out independence war, let alone purge of colonial era elites.

Using your definition West Germany must have been a colony.
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Monsone
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Postby Monsone » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:47 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Monsone wrote:
It wasn't just one monk. It was several. And you know you've lost a war when your own people are burning themselves to death, aiding the enemy, defecting to the enemy, or outright taking up arms against you.


Yuppo. That’s because Diem was really a fundamentalist.


Yet you support the nation that allowed these acts to go down. You can't distance Diem from the rest of the government (who held nearly the exact same beliefs), or the other former colonial elites who remained in power even after France left. South Vietnam was fundamentally the "bad guy" of the war if you can even draw such a distinction in a bloody and drawn-out conflict where all sides have blood on their hands.

Even after Diem was removed from power and killed, his successor were little better than him.
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Nekostan-e Gharbi
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:47 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Exactly. The anti-Buddhist shit is clearly not of American origins just like Stalin was not responsible for the Kim dynasty.

However, we also didn't stop him, because we had no idea what the fuck was going on, just a bunch of Orientalist just-so stories about "the Asian mind." We didn't even train our diplomats and intelligence personnel to speak Vietnamese for a while.


That’s indeed stupid.
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Nekostan-e Gharbi
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:48 pm

Monsone wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Yuppo. That’s because Diem was really a fundamentalist.


Yet you support the nation that allowed these acts to go down. You can't distance Diem from the rest of the government (who held nearly the exact same beliefs), or the other former colonial elites who remained in power even after France left. South Vietnam was fundamentally the "bad guy" of the war if you can even draw such a distinction in a bloody and drawn-out conflict where all sides have blood on their hands.

Even after Diem was removed from power and killed, his successor were little better than him.


South Vietnam did not have to be Catholic fundamentalist. There was this period between Diem and Thieu when things were not like that.

In many societies the colonial era elite remained in power after independence. That doesn’t mean they are illegitimate. Some reasonably good societies such as Ivory Coast and Nigeria are like that. This doesn’t mean they treat their people Iike shit or that Independence is fake.
Last edited by Nekostan-e Gharbi on Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Ethel mermania
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Postby Ethel mermania » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:51 pm

Tsaivao wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:Vietnamese fleeing from the US? I don't know any Vietnamese who were in the US who went to vietnam.

Yes, because if I personally don't know anyone, then this MUST mean that no one actually did!

This is a very weird argument. People flee into North Korea all the time; hell, there are North Korean defectors who defected twice and went back into North Korea. Whose to say the same could not happen to Vietnam?


No people who were Vietnamese left america to go to Vietnam in 1975. The boat people came here. If the other poster meant there were many Vietnamese folks who fled from US forces that would be true.

I do know Vietnamese folks who went back recently, but that was as a tourists, and now actually wouldn't be a bad time to go back as there is opportunity there and it is a beautiful place.

One other poster got it right when they alluded too Vietnam as mostly a colonial war. It kind of morphed into the cold war, at its start it was about the west not letting the elections called for in the 1954 treaty take place.

(Yes I am separating the French involvement from the American one)
Last edited by Ethel mermania on Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:52 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Senkaku wrote:No, because the British ambassadors to Malaysia and Nigeria can't topple their respective governments with a quiet word to military leaders, or determine extremely detailed aspects of their security policies, and there aren't tens of thousands of British troops in either country? Read the whole post, please.


Technically they still can after a war.

Come on. If Britain gets itself into a war and tries to use the Commonwealth to drag others in, you can bet that that living legal fossil will be snuffed out pretty fast.
But that doesn’t mean Malaysia and Nigeria aren’t independent states. Lots of counties got their independence without an all-out independence war, let alone purge of colonial era elites.

Sure, but South Vietnam only displays some characteristics of independence. Are you really an independent country if you're totally reliant on a foreign power to set your security policy, the lineup of your government, the equipment of your military, the development of your infrastructure, and the stability of your economy? Malaysia and Nigeria don't rely on outsiders to determine all these things for them.

Using your definition West Germany must have been a colony.

Harder to define, since there's less coup plotting to analyze, but I think for quite a while it would be fair to characterize West Germany if not as a colony, then certainly as an imperial outpost (and especially West Berlin).
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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:53 pm

Ethel mermania wrote:
(Yes I am separating the French involvement from the American one)

You shouldn't. Without the huge piles of money we gave them, they wouldn't have been able to fund their operations. Even with our help it wrecked the French budget.
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Nekostan-e Gharbi
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:55 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Technically they still can after a war.

Come on. If Britain gets itself into a war and tries to use the Commonwealth to drag others in, you can bet that that living legal fossil will be snuffed out pretty fast.
But that doesn’t mean Malaysia and Nigeria aren’t independent states. Lots of counties got their independence without an all-out independence war, let alone purge of colonial era elites.

Sure, but South Vietnam only displays some characteristics of independence. Are you really an independent country if you're totally reliant on a foreign power to set your security policy, the lineup of your government, the equipment of your military, the development of your infrastructure, and the stability of your economy? Malaysia and Nigeria don't rely on outsiders to determine all these things for them.

Using your definition West Germany must have been a colony.

Harder to define, since there's less coup plotting to analyze, but I think for quite a while it would be fair to characterize West Germany if not as a colony, then certainly as an imperial outpost (and especially West Berlin).


Well, you must have never heard of total war. If UK really wants to retake Malaysia at any cost they can. It’s just pretty pointless.

South Vietnam was definitely more of an independent state than Iraq today but even Iraq today has genuine elections with results neither US nor Iran likes.

Your classification of West Germany is about right.
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Monsone
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Postby Monsone » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:56 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
South Vietnam did not have to be Catholic fundamentalist. There was this period between Diem and Thieu when things were not like that.

In many societies the colonial era elite remained in power after independence. That doesn’t mean they are illegitimate. Some reasonably good societies such as Ivory Coast and Nigeria are like that. This doesn’t mean they treat their people Iike shit or that Independence is fake.


1. No, South Vietnam didn't have to be a fundamentalist state, but it became one regardless and would remain one, even though it's stances would eventually soften.

2. The period you referred to was a whopping two years long. And it only was relatively okay because the military was in the middle of a power struggle, and the fact that the US had just entered the war.

3. Bringing up Ivory Coast and Nigeria as reasons to keep the colonial elite in power disproves your point entirely.
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Nekostan-e Gharbi
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:56 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:
(Yes I am separating the French involvement from the American one)

You shouldn't. Without the huge piles of money we gave them, they wouldn't have been able to fund their operations. Even with our help it wrecked the French budget.


They were indeed different. US cared about communism, not whether Vietnam should be independent. France on the other hand did not want the Vietnamese flag to fly.
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Postby Ethel mermania » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:57 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:
(Yes I am separating the French involvement from the American one)

You shouldn't. Without the huge piles of money we gave them, they wouldn't have been able to fund their operations. Even with our help it wrecked the French budget.

That is why I put the caveat there, I am trying to keep my point at the OP which talks about the gulf of tonkin, which was much later.

The French never would have been able to get back to Vietnam in 1945 without American equipment and shipping.
Last edited by Ethel mermania on Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:59 pm

Monsone wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
South Vietnam did not have to be Catholic fundamentalist. There was this period between Diem and Thieu when things were not like that.

In many societies the colonial era elite remained in power after independence. That doesn’t mean they are illegitimate. Some reasonably good societies such as Ivory Coast and Nigeria are like that. This doesn’t mean they treat their people Iike shit or that Independence is fake.


1. No, South Vietnam didn't have to be a fundamentalist state, but it became one regardless and would remain one, even though it's stances would eventually soften.

2. The period you referred to was a whopping two years long. And it only was relatively okay because the military was in the middle of a power struggle, and the fact that the US had just entered the war.

3. Bringing up Ivory Coast and Nigeria as reasons to keep the colonial elite in power disproves your point entirely.


1. This was probably related to the history of French Indochina. We don’t see anything similar happening in Cambodia or Laos.

2. It was probably not about the US. Instead it was literally about warlordism.

3. Compared to places such as Zimbabwe these two countries do pretty well. A gradual transition is usually better than an abrupt break.
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Postby Major-Tom » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:00 pm

Not only was it a bad idea, but successive administrations managed to botch the response on a seeming bi-weekly basis until LBJ came in and managed to botch the response on a daily basis.

Not only was our involvement rooted in stubborn pride, but by the late 60s, our involvement had become immoral and completely unjust on an ethical, human level.
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Nekostan-e Gharbi
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:04 pm

Major-Tom wrote:Not only was it a bad idea, but successive administrations managed to botch the response on a seeming bi-weekly basis until LBJ came in and managed to botch the response on a daily basis.

Not only was our involvement rooted in stubborn pride, but by the late 60s, our involvement had become immoral and completely unjust on an ethical, human level.


The involvement should either never have happened or it should have been a lot more effective.
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Monsone
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Postby Monsone » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:07 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
1. This was probably related to the history of French Indochina. We don’t see anything similar happening in Cambodia or Laos.

2. It was probably not about the US. Instead it was literally about warlordism.

3. Compared to places such as Zimbabwe these two countries do pretty well. A gradual transition is usually better than an abrupt break.


1. We don't see anything similar happen in Cambodia, eh? Nothing at all?

2. No, it wasn't warlordism. South Vietnam didn't fall apart into warring states, it's military simply wrangled amongst itself for power. And the US entry into the war brought about a placebo effect of possible victory to South Vietnam, which quelled some of the unrest.

3. Ivory Coast and Nigeria are really not success stories. Nigeria was run by the military up until 1999 and is still deeply corrupt and flawed. And Ivory Coast has been in varying degrees of turmoil since 1999. Neither country should be used when making a case for keeping the colonial elites in power. And I will give you that both countries are better than Zimbabwe, but that's not saying much. If you really want a success story of decolonization while keeping the colonial elites, look at North Africa. Anyhow, this point is hardly topical anymore.
Last edited by Monsone on Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nekostan-e Gharbi
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:13 pm

Monsone wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
1. This was probably related to the history of French Indochina. We don’t see anything similar happening in Cambodia or Laos.

2. It was probably not about the US. Instead it was literally about warlordism.

3. Compared to places such as Zimbabwe these two countries do pretty well. A gradual transition is usually better than an abrupt break.


1. We don't see anything similar happen in Cambodia, eh? Nothing at all?

2. No, it wasn't warlordism. South Vietnam didn't fall apart into warring states, it's military simply wrangled amongst itself for power. And the US entry into the war brought about a placebo effect of possible victory to South Vietnam, which quelled some of the unrest.

3. Ivory Coast and Nigeria are really not success stories. Nigeria was run by the military up until 1999 and is still deeply corrupt and flawed. And Ivory Coast has been in varying degrees of turmoil since 1999. Neither country should be used when making a case for keeping the colonial elites in power. And I will give you that both countries are better than Zimbabwe, but that's not saying much. If you really want a success story of decolonization while keeping the colonial elites, look at North Africa.


1. Cambodia had a lot of atrocities but there was no Catholic fundamentalist attempting to root out Buddhism. This is likely because the French were a lot more involved around Saigon compared to elsewhere in former French Indochina.

2. You are right here.

3. It is not fair to compare Sub-Saharan African countries with Arab/Berber ones since the latter had access to a lot of tech much earlier and before 1800s were generally fairly successful states. Of course Tunisia and Morocco work. But so do Algeria and Egypt. It’s also related to who the former colonizer is. Keeping Anglo and Japanese institutions and people educated by them is a good idea. Keeping French-linked elites is less so. As for Russia-backed, Italy-backed or Germany-backed (in Africa) ones they just need to go.
Last edited by Nekostan-e Gharbi on Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Monsone
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Posts: 2525
Founded: Apr 14, 2018
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Monsone » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:24 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
1. Cambodia had a lot of atrocities but there was no Catholic fundamentalist attempting to root out Buddhism. This is likely because the French were a lot more involved around Saigon compared to elsewhere in former French Indochina.


That doesn't change the fact that the Kampuchea massacred people for a wide variety of reasons, including for practicing any religion. While not the same as in South Vietnam, it is a similarly extremist position to that of being a Catholic fundamentalist nation and forcing that religion upon people.

And guess who stopped the violence...oh look it was North Vietnam.

Perhaps you need to think critically about what South Vietnam has done, and what North Vietnam has done. Then look at what things their allies did during the whole course of the Vietnam Wars. It's pretty clear North Vietnam was more of a force for good in the region than South Vietnam. After all, it was the US in its eternal cold war quest of stopping communism that it staged a coup in Cambodia that eventually led to the Khmer Rouge and Kampuchea.
Last edited by Monsone on Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
It's not pronounced Monsoon, or Monson-e, etc. It's Mohn-sohn-eh!

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Nekostan-e Gharbi
Minister
 
Posts: 3197
Founded: Dec 01, 2020
Ex-Nation

Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:29 pm

Monsone wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
1. Cambodia had a lot of atrocities but there was no Catholic fundamentalist attempting to root out Buddhism. This is likely because the French were a lot more involved around Saigon compared to elsewhere in former French Indochina.


That doesn't change the fact that the Kampuchea massacred people for a wide variety of reasons, including for practicing any religion. While not the same as in South Vietnam, it is a similarly extremist position to that of being a Catholic fundamentalist nation and forcing that religion upon people.

And guess who stopped the violence...oh look it was North Vietnam.

Perhaps you need to think critically about what South Vietnam has done, and what North Vietnam has done. Then look at what things their allies did during the whole course of the Vietnam Wars. It's pretty clear North Vietnam was more of a force for good in the region than South Vietnam. After all, it was the US in its eternal cold war quest of stopping communism that it staged a coup in Cambodia that eventually led to the Khmer Rouge and Kampuchea.


Come on..The only time I would sympathize with communists is when they fight against Nazis. Nazism is an even worse horror since it actually exterminated people of ethnic group X simply for being X. No matter how bad Communist Poland was it was still better than having General Government.

Khmer Rouge was a highly evil entity. American Realpolitik that backed KR was indeed highly immoral. As for China backing it..well, it is China so what do you expect? Of course the people it care about the least are the ethnic Chinese who dared to escape from China.

I do need to give NV some credit though since they stopped KR. Moreover compared to Soviet Union, China and North Korea it is less harsh. It’s pretty interesting that they actually treated Viet Cong leaders in South Vietnam pretty well while Mao and Kim had no love for even exiles on their own side. It could be a cultural thing. Vietnam being heavily Buddhist has never been fully Sinosphere (a classical Sinic civilization such as old China and old Korea were nominally secular).
Last edited by Nekostan-e Gharbi on Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:34 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Must read on China by David Goldman https://www.tabletmag.com/amp/sections/ ... ina-empire

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The Holy Britainnian Empire
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Posts: 25
Founded: Dec 01, 2020
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby The Holy Britainnian Empire » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:29 pm

I don't know if it was justified, but it was pointless. While I'm not fond of communist govvernments, at the end of the day, it was their war to fight, not ours. Heck, I remeber a documentary where one of the interviewees remembered a meeting he had with Vietcong leaders years ater where they basically said they didn't know why the Americans were there and just saw them as a another conquerer like the French.
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Postauthoritarian America
Diplomat
 
Posts: 502
Founded: Nov 07, 2020
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Postauthoritarian America » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:48 pm

No. Certainly not by the manufactured Gulf of Tonkin "incident." Defoliation. Napalming civilians. Free fire zones. Propping up a brutal, corrupt Saigon government with all the trappings. Carpet bombing. Spreading the conflict into Laos and Cambodia and at least indirectly contributing to the famous Killing Fields. Mines and munitions that are still exploding, maiming and killing. And in any case the US didn't lose the Indochina War, France did; our decision to tag in to that quagmire was the worst strategic brain fart until Iraq. And for what? Sweet fuck all.
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