Date: April 24, 2018 12:16PM
It was completely idiotic. The Vietnamese people had a long and storied history of resisting, and eventually expelling, the imperialist Japanese, the imperialist French and the imperialist Americans. They were tenacious, unforgiving and committed fighters for their homeland who were not only deeply inhospitable to foreign powers invading their country, but were willing to pay any price and bear any burden in terms of sacrificing their own blood and treasure for as long as it took to stave off and defeat outside efforts to occupy, exploit and conquer their native territory.
My grandfather supported the over-heated hawk Barry Goldwater, who touted the insane notion that he could win the Vietnam War over a weekend if he was just given a handful of nuclear bombs to do it.
It was all part of the racist doctrine of “Manifest Destiny,” the historically ignorant notion of supposedly divine entitlement rabidly rooted in the ideological/theological construct that the United States was facing a so-called “Domino Effect” where, if Vietnam fell to the Sino-Soviet Communists, the entire region would go Red and eventually the whole world would be speaking Russian.
My grandfather had no realistic sense of world history when it came to understanding long-term grassroot insurgencies born in traditional time and place. The American-spearheaded Vietnam War was a futile intervention into a localized civil war, where Ho Chi Minh and his followers were determined to prevail, even if they had to turn to the Russians and the Chinese for military assistance. Keep in mind that the North Vietnamese initially pleaded for American help in fighting off Japanese invaders but were rebuffed by the US government.
JFK knew that the United States could not win the Vietnam War for the Vietnamese, telling Walter Cronkite that, in the end, it was their war and they would have to fight it. His brother, RFK, traveled to Vietnam in the 1950s and came away convinced that, as far as American intervention was concerned, it was a lost cause.
America’s military leadership, combined with the politically-poisoned view of civilian command, was ignorant of, and immune to, the basic in-country nature of Vietnamese resistance to outside invasion. There was no rational, conceivable, operable long-term military solution to resolving the Vietnam conflict. Eisenhower, Johnson, Westmoreland, LeMay, Goldwater, John Wayne, Ezra Taft Benson, the John Birch Society, et al, were a bombastic bombs-away breed of God-driven, fanatical fools who were out of their league and out of their minds.
At least SecDef McNamara knew, by the early 1960s, that the Vietnam War was a fool’s errand – – meaning militarily unwinnable – – but was nonetheless a willing part of a concerted, deceitful, propagandistic and deliberate cover-up of reality on the ground when it came to Vietnam. It was only years and 55,000 American combat deaths later that he openly admitted that the Vietnam War was not a military operation that the United States could ever “win.”
My grandfather was not a military strategist by any stretch of the imagination. Like he once told me, when he tried to warn Eisenhower that Fidel Castro was not a local nationalist rebel who was being naively idealized as “the George Washington of Cuba,” but, instead, a committed Communist with diabolical designs to take over the entire Western Hemisphere in violation of the Monroe Doctrine, “no one would listen to me because I was just the Secretary of Agriculture.“
Ya think? He also told me that Eisenhower was either a “dupe” or an agent of the Soviet government. This is what drinking too much John Birch sacramental wine will do to you.
ETB was a wacky religious warrior who had aligned himself with the US military-industrial complex. When it came to the Vietnam War, that ultimately proved to be a deadly and delusional mix.
Edited 18 time(s). Last edit at 04/25/2018 04:09AM by steve benson.