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"‘We Are the Ones You Sent to Fight a War’" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2019 9:33 p.m. PST

"W. D. Ehrhart is best known as a poet, though over the years he has earned his living as a construction worker, merchant seaman, forklift operator, legal aide, newspaper reporter, magazine writer, and high school teacher. A straight-A student in high school, Ehrhart enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on April 11, 1966, as he was finishing his senior year. Nine weeks later he put aside four college acceptances to begin active duty, and the following February he shipped out to Vietnam as an 18-year-old marine. "I stopped writing within a few months of my arrival in Vietnam," he says, "when the war became so disturbing that I did not want to think about it." Ehrhart received the Purple Heart Medal (for wounds he received in action in Hue City during the Tet Offensive) as well as other citations and commendations during his three years in the marines…"
Main page
link

Amicalement
Armand

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2019 10:43 p.m. PST

"We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields."

Legion 401 Dec 2019 9:19 a.m. PST

The horror of the Vietnam War[or all wars for that matter] was compounded by the draft. I can see why those the didn't volunteer but were drafted could make the situation that much more horrendous. Regardless most whether volunteered or drafted served and did their duty honorably. And generally it changed most forever from what I can tell. I'm sure it was similar with my Father who volunteered and served in the ETO as an Army SGT. Who ended up being highly decorated for his actions and service.

Regardless I'm vey glad that the US ended the draft in '73. For many reasons …

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2019 1:58 p.m. PST

The poor performance of the US army in Vietnam was certainly a product of the inequitable draft system (amongst other issues).

This makes interesting reading:

link

I think if you look into it, Ralph, conscription in WW2 in the US wasn't seen as onerous and unfair as the Vietnam-era draft.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2019 2:10 p.m. PST

Thanks!.

Amicalement
Armand

Legion 401 Dec 2019 3:17 p.m. PST

In many cases US troops preformed very well in Vietnam. But as time went on with more units having less professionals/volunteers and more draftees … unit effectiveness dropped. Now on the other hand US Spec Ops Forces were very effective. The most effective based on the historical record.

Most in the US didn't know where Vietnam was. And generally could careless about a small 3d World Asian country on the other side of the planet.

I frequently have said if there was not draft there would have been a very small Anti-War movement.

Another little known but very interesting fact. About 30,000 Canadians joined the US Military to fight in Vietnam. Which I believe was illegal for them to do so by their gov't. AFAIK none were ever charged when they return back home.

Of course WWII was a completely different situation. Many Americans came from and/or had relatives still in Europe. Plus more importantly the US was attacked at Pearl Harbor. Then shortly afterwards Hitler declared war on the US with the hopes of getting Japan's help with the USSR from the East.

Just like after 9/11 many joined the military to get payback on the jihadi terrorists that attacked the US homeland.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2019 4:47 p.m. PST

Most in the US didn't know where Vietnam was. And generally could careless about a small 3d World Asian country on the other side of the planet.

That says so much about the US.

Dn Jackson01 Dec 2019 10:37 p.m. PST

One of the big killers of combat effectiveness in Nam was Project 100,000. The idea was to put 100,000 men who couldn't qualify for military service into the military anyway. Big social experiment.

Whenever the Army had a fragging incident the first thing CID did was get the files on the Project 100,000 men in the unit. That usually solved the crime. The Marine Corps put the Project 100,00 men on the docks unloading supplies.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2019 7:03 a.m. PST

That's interesting. The issues with perceived 'draft dodgers' (rich, privileged & usually white) also certainly soured many US conscripts.

I believe many historians see social problems surrounding the rising racial tensions in the US also effected American military effectiveness. I have also read on the failures of the American education system tending to produce substandard enlisted men, NCOs & even officers.

This is not to say there weren't well trained & motivated units in Vietnam but the average quality seems fairly poor.

Legion 402 Dec 2019 7:13 a.m. PST

That says so much about the US.
Many in the US know little of their own history and less about much of the rest of the planet. Save for possibly Europe as many/most can trace their linage back to Europe. The US gov't, e.g. USAID, etc., and NGOs donate billions of dollars, aid, etc. to nations all over the planet.

The man on the street knows or cares little about that. As it generally does not effect him/her personally. To say the US is Not "generous" is an inaccurate/false/fake statement.

Some of those billions that go outside the US. To many countries that are even not supportive of the US. Many feel some of those billions could be better used here. To take care of our own. E.g. 1-6 children in the US go to bed hungry, families can't afford good healthcare, etc., etc. "Charity begins at home." …

To add to that only 9 NATO Nations to this point have paid their share. But in many case those same countries are accepting money, support, etc., from the US. From either the US gov't or US NGOs.

Now many those US families who had relatives drafted and send to Vietnam. Only to come back dead, maimed, MIA, etc. They did/do not really have too much positive to say about the denizens of Vietnam/Indochina/SE Asia. And I really can't blame them.

I don't think many nations donate/send as much money, aid and support, etc., as the US gov't and US NGOs do overall, per capita. Again to many places the average man/woman on the street couldn't find on the map and couldn't care less about those countries. Many of with are failed or failing …

I assure you many in the US don't have much good to say about places like Somalia, A'stan, Iraq, etc. Many of those are Vets who served there or are serving there.

As I said I talk to US Vets almost daily. I belong to the Military Officers Assoc. of America[MOAA] and was chosen to be on the staff. We assist and support Vet organizations that not only help the Vets, but active duty and all their families. I know how many US Vets and active duty service member think, feel, etc. Many in MOAA are Vietnam Vets. I listen to them intently, and respect them immeasurably.

Dn Jackson +1 … Fragings were generally committed by draftees, especially in the later years of the war in SE Asia.

Legion 402 Dec 2019 7:34 a.m. PST

This is not to say there weren't well trained & motivated units in Vietnam but the average quality seems fairly poor.
Only as Draftees began to outnumber professionals/volunteers. In many case soldiers fight for the survival of their comrades and themselves. Not really too concerned about the geopolitical, etc., reasons they are there.

Of course e.g. 9/11 and GWOT was a little different. It was personal and playback, etc., was a motivator.

I have also read on the failures of the American education system tending to produce substandard enlisted men, NCOs & even officers.
That continues today to a point, sadly. Some who want to join the US Military can't pass the basic military aptitude test, drug screening, criminal background investigation, etc.

The large numbers needed by the military during the Vietnam War was not only for SE Asia. But the US had troops/Divs. all over the world. Most in Europe, some in Korea, Okinawa, etc. The so called "Cold War" was in going on at full speed …

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2019 11:09 a.m. PST

That continues today to a point.

Still technology and logistics can cover a wealth of problems.

I believe this was often the case in WW2 & certainly kept the US in a war against highly motivated but poorly trained & badly equipped Vietnamese peasants.

So don't despair.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2019 11:16 a.m. PST

I have previously here praised a book;

Unheralded Victory: Who Won the Vietnam War? by Mark W. Woodruff

which is brilliant at analysing the US military performance in VN and concludes that, for all their contemporary failings, the US Army was never beaten in the field by NLF or NVA. The fragging, drug addiction stories were grossly exaggerated by the media.

Not sure how "poorly trained" was Nathaniel Victor. He was not a looney, kamikaze, banzai charge to no purpose, type. He was a highly competent professional soldier by 1968. Charles may well have been different, but he did keep fighting on….well, while he survived anyway.

Bismarck02 Dec 2019 1:06 p.m. PST

Echoing much of the above, I think it was more a matter of morale rather than performance. The draft I am sure contributed as well. I have spoken with fellow Vietnam Vets, ranging from field grade officers to junior enlisted ranks who served after 1971 and morale and attitude toward the war were as different as day and night from what I saw in the Marines in 1968 and from those who served earlier in the war. The racial tension also seemed to worsen post '69.

Marine combat units were basically withdrawn by '71, and I think that along with beginnings of Vietnamization(sp) added to that.

Sam Lemonds

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2019 2:05 p.m. PST

Although I have no intention of gaming Vietnam, I do like to read about it.

So thanks for the recommendation, Deadhead. I'll seek the book.

Legion 402 Dec 2019 2:38 p.m. PST

brilliant at analysing the US military performance in VN and concludes that, for all their contemporary failings, the US Army was never beaten in the field by NLF or NVA. The fragging, drug addiction stories were grossly exaggerated by the media.
Not sure how "poorly trained" was Nathaniel Victor. He was not a looney, kamikaze, banzai charge to no purpose, type. He was a highly competent professional soldier by 1968. Charles may well have been different, but he did keep fighting on….well, while he survived anyway.
Agreed on all points.

To quote Gallowy who was with the Air Cav at LZ X-ray as a war reporter. Then later wrote the book, "We Were Soldiers Once And Young". Followed by a movie.

"The US was fighting a war of attrition against the birth rate of a 3d world tropical Asian country."

I.e. Any weaknesses in the VC/NVA was made up for by their seemingly endless numbers.

And as I had said before, The VC/NVA didn't have to win … they just didn't have to lose. All they had to do is continue to kill Americans, and sooner or later the US will go home. Just like the French before. The Vietnamese, that managed not to died, didn't have to go anywhere. They were already home and fighting in their own backyard.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2019 4:53 p.m. PST

I think the "Asian Hordes" argument is pretty threadbare. And the fact of the matter is the North Vietnamese won. Sometimes you have to admit you were outplayed.

Dn Jackson02 Dec 2019 8:54 p.m. PST

"Many in the US know little of their own history and less about much of the rest of the planet."

I wonder if its really any different in other countries. Gamers have a general love of history that sets us apart from the general population. I wonder how many French, Brits, Germans, Aussies, Russians, etc. could tell you where Vietnam was prior to 1965.

"1-6 children in the US go to bed hungry,"

Codswallop. This stat was taken from a survey where the question was asked of children if they'd ever gone to bed hungry and was twisted to imply that American children don't have enough to eat. If you ask a kid, (I know my two would say it), if they've ever gone to bed hungry the answer you'll get is an emphatic 'Yes'! Because they've been punished, weren't allowed to get a snack after dinner, the kitchen was closed for the night, etc. 'Going to bed hungry' is not 'not having enough to eat.'

That said, I agree with your post.

Legion 402 Dec 2019 11:52 p.m. PST

I think the "Asian Hordes" argument is pretty threadbare. And the fact of the matter is the North Vietnamese won. Sometimes you have to admit you were outplayed.
I'll take Galloway's and others opinions. If for no other reason based on the fact that the US/SEATO inflicted about 1 million losses on the VC/NVA. With the US having 60,000 KIA, about 4 times that WIA[including those that committed suicide, etc., when they got home], about 1900 MIA. Those numbers say it all for me.

The VC/NVA really didn't outplay the US/SEATO. As I said The VC/NVA didn't have to win … they just didn't have to lose. All they had to do is continue to kill Americans, and sooner or later the US will go home. Just like the French before. The Vietnamese, that managed not to died, didn't have to go anywhere. They were already home and fighting in their own backyard. The deck really was stacked against both the French and then US/SEATO. The forces of South Vietnam couldn't handle the VC/NVA on their own as we saw. No matter how much support they received from the US.

Along with the VC/NVA were getting continuous support from their Communist allies. The USSR and the PRC.

All that being said, after Tet, the VC had been seriously attrited. Estimates say down to about 3 Rgts. And even then the NVA were still going to push on. Even though it took until '72 for them and the remaining VC to be strong enough to go on a major offensive again. US firepower was massive but they just continued to come in large numbers.

The US air offensive Linebacker brought the NVA back to the peace talks in '72. But they had taken massive losses during both Tet '68 and the '72 "Year of the Rat" offensives. In '72 much of Hanoi, Haiphong, etc. had been significantly damaged. By US Air assets. They were running out of SAMs. And many areas were near to being rubbled. Had the US been more aggressive earlier with it's airstrikes in the North. The outcome may have been a still divided Vietnam … but that is just speculation.

Legion 403 Dec 2019 12:01 a.m. PST

I wonder if its really any different in other countries. Gamers have a general love of history that sets us apart from the general population.
Those are valid points Dn.

"1-6 children in the US go to bed hungry,"
That is the current figure I frequently hear in the media. By saying that I should realize it should be suspect. Like much of the medias' reporting.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2019 1:48 a.m. PST

Those numbers say it all for me.

You feel free to take any opinion you like: I prefer hard fact.
We'll leave the issue of dubious numbers but even as a wargamer, I'd think you'd realise that wars aren't won by a simple head count: though Westmoreland evidently thought so.
Read this:
"A Program for the Pacification and Long-Term Development of Vietnam (PROVN), a study commissioned by U.S. Army Chief of Staff Harold K. Johnson and published in 1966, raised serious questions about Westmoreland's approach. It proposed that U.S. efforts should be concentrated on providing security and stability for the rural population in South Vietnam and suggested that attrition would not work as an effective counterinsurgency strategy."

And yet, the US persisted in futile Search & Destroy missions. They won all the battles,,,,but lost the war.

Just one example to show how "outplayed" the US was: General Westmoreland was convinced that Khe Sanh was the enemy's main objective. He sent 50,000 troops there….and the NV launched Tet.
I'm sure you'll tell me that Tet was a failure for the NV….it actually won them the war."War is the continuation of politics by other means." said by Clausewitz.

You keep telling me how the US had won…but they lost. Paint it any way you like, the simple truth is that.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2019 2:10 a.m. PST

"1-6 children in the US go to bed hungry,"

That is the current figure I frequently hear in the media. By saying that I should realize it should be suspect. Like much of the media's reporting.

I'm not sure how we got onto this and for some reason your desire to reject the media's research & findings…..but do the US Dept. of Agriculture's findings hold water?

link

If you hear other figures, please free to quote them & we'll examine the strength of their claims.

Legion 403 Dec 2019 8:26 a.m. PST

You feel free to take any opinion you like: I prefer hard fact.
Well have to agree to disagree. But yes as I said a war of attrition was not a good choice. And based on everything I've already said … It really was a no win situation if our goal was to get SVN capable to the point they could fight the Communist on their own effectively. I believe many saw early on that probably was not going to happen. And again the VC/NVA were not going anywhere.

Now from a tactical POV, the US was never defeated on the battlefield. That is a fact. I remember hearing US ARMY COL Harry Summers rely a story on the History Channel. He was one of the US Reps at the Paris Peace Talks. He said to one of NV Reps[can't remember his name ?] The COL said, "You never defeated us on the battlefield."

But in a true pragmatic manner, the reply was, "Yes, but that is irrelevant."

Those on the ground generally did their duty but were really fighting a losing battle in the long run. The war was handled poorly at the top in DC and in many cases at the Pentagon.

From my POV, as a former Inf PL '80-'82 and Co Cdr, '87-'89, with US ARMY RDF units of the 18th ABN Corps. Winning on the tactical level was the best we could do. Truly a case of winning the battle(s) but losing the war.

The US may not have been aggressive enough with our air assets in the North early on. That could be up for discussion by any real historians. For fear of the PRC again getting directly involved as in the Korean War. Which the UN Forces under overall US Command had won the war, defeated the Norks.

Until the PRC crossed the Yalu. And whole new "war" was started with a new enemy with a massive amount of troops available to fight[and die].

But in both Korea and Vietnam we pretty much destroyed most targets of value/any importance repeatedly in many cases. But again, it didn't matter in the long run. Korea is still divided and Vietnam is under Communist control.

I'm sure you'll tell me that Tet was a failure for the NV….it actually won them the war."War is the continuation of politics by other means." said by Clausewitz.
Yes from a US/SEATO standpoint it was a victory for reasons I stated before and other reasons. Giap was almost relieved for fighting a war of attrition against US firepower. Even being pushed into going on the offensive by the NV leadership.

And again it was not until '72 that the NVA after being rebuilt. That they could attempt another major large scale offensive. Those are facts …

Highly recommend you watch Ken Burns' recent documentary series about Vietnam. IMO that is the most accurate to what actually went on.

But again here was go going round and round with competing "facts" and getting to no resolution … again.


If you hear other figures, please free to quote them & we'll examine the strength of their claims.
As I said the media is not known IMO opinion for be "factual". And I rarely have the time to fact check everything the say, publish, etc.

I do know this for a fact where I live and elsewhere too. There are frequent food donations/drives that go to various local NGOs, food banks, churches, etc. to feed the poor.
I always give something to those requests. If local.

I have a friend who volunteers at the Mission downtown. I was surprised how much food was donated by large companies and small. Someone is eating all that …

Again I've heard that figure in the media often. But again the media is generally no longer a good source of fact but polarized opinion, IMO.

Bigby Wolf In the TMP Dawghouse03 Dec 2019 3:20 p.m. PST

How about you guys just stop dwelling on it so much?

Seriously … Vietnam was a long time ago.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2019 11:01 p.m. PST

How about you guys just stop dwelling on it so much?
Seriously … Vietnam was a long time ago.

Give them a break, Digby. Vietnam was the first time Americans lost a war, post WW2 (if you count Korea as a draw).

The denial of post WW1 Germans about their defeat seems quite similar. There's a national trauma that we should be sensitive about.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2019 7:07 a.m. PST

Must agree.

That is the funny thing about history. most of it was a VERY long time ago. but if you do not learn the lessons of etc….

Plus this recent enough to have many a veteran still with us and deserving better than they got back then.

But US is not alone in this. It was Kipling who reminded us how we love our brave Tommies in time of war, but God help him in the peace that follows.

Legion 404 Dec 2019 8:51 a.m. PST

I have to agree with these two post to a point. We may have to agree to disagree on some comments. E.g. The US lost Vietnam in D.C., the Media, etc. But again … refer to my previous post. Recommend we move on.

Being that as it may, as I said I am member and on the staff of the local Military Officers Assoc of America[MOAA]. As well as the MOAA Liaison to the near by USAFR base. I frequently talk to Vietnam Vets and consider many as friends. I also go to the YMCA pools to exercise almost daily. I talk to many Vietnam Vets who are friends there as well. Plus my medical visits to the local VA Clinic is still full of Vietnam Vets.

I among others will not let their service be forgotten. Again based on how they were treated when returning from Vietnam. As well as those families who lost loved ones there.

As a former Infantry Officer we studied and exercised/trained, etc. in all forms of Infantry/Combined Arms Warfare. We were taught and used lessons learned from that war and previous wars all the way to the ACW and beyond, e.g. Cannae, Tueteburg Forest, etc.

So to me and other amateur history buffs and Vets, the Vietnam War is not only worth study. As like any other war should not be forgotten. We know what happens if you forget history …

Vietnam is not so long ago. As we remember WWI[who all our US Vets have passed by now], WWII many of those are alive as are the Korean War Vets.

Vietnam Vets are the largest group at the VA clinic, many still effected by Agent Orange, PTSD, etc. And we can't forget the new younger group of Vets, from Somalia, Iraq, A'stan, the GWOT, etc.

It was Kipling who reminded us how we love our brave Tommies in time of war, but God help him in the peace that follows.
+1

And again I highly recommend all watch Ken Burns' recent documentary series about Vietnam. IMO that is the most accurate to what actually went on.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2019 11:08 a.m. PST

I think I'm quite sensitive to the US's trauma over losing in Vietnam. But there is the analogy of removing a band aid: pulling it off quickly actually hurts less. I think the nonsense of "Jane Fonda lost us the war", or the media "stabbed us in the back" (echoes of between the wars Germany!)ultimately hurts more than it helps.

This is an interesting article"

link

BTW 300 documented cases of fragging! And probably as many as 1000 or more cases!! I knew it was bad but this is mind boggling.

Legion 404 Dec 2019 2:13 p.m. PST

I don't think Hanoi Jane lost the war. I think the coverage was more about "if it bleeds … it leads". I.e. the medias' bias in many cases helped the NV leadership. I'm not the only one that thinks that. The NV leadership saw what was going in the streets of the US and DC, etc. The NV knew all they had to do is continue to kill US troops. Sooner or later the US public and some in DC, etc. would have to pull out.

Of the mess that was created at much high levels of the US Gov't's and even the militaries' leadership, etc. They continued to reinforce failure. And no one had a way to make things come out in US's favor off the battlefield.

Now there were some journalists e.g. Joe Galloway who were more about the truth. Then trying to so the US/SEATO abusing the poor rice farmers of Vietnam, etc.

The war was lost not on the battlefields of Vietnam. And I've said many times why many as I believe that way.

Most US forces did their duty. The fragging number mentioned, I believe is waay too large from the sources I read. And again the vast majority were later in the war as many US units were almost full of Draftees. Many of the professionals had served a number of tours. Some as many as 3 or more. They would be pushing their every time they would return. But then of heard of some SF, etc., types doing as many as 5.

Much of the article from the New Yorker I have read about or knew from my passed studies, etc. I've read "The Bright Shining Lie". I highly recommend it. The New Yorker is not considered by many today as being unbiased. The same bias I talked about from the media during the war.

So again we just will have to disagree … And I'm sure the many US Vets from MOAA, the VA, etc. would tell you pretty much everything I have said on the topic of Vietnam.

I will be going to a MOAA staff meeting in the morning. Then a County Veterans' Services Christmas party. I will not be bring up much of anything some have said here. I know what their response would be.

And we are there to celebrate not only the holiday but the comradeship I see many times when US Vets get together. I do much more listening that talking. I prefer to get much of my information from those who served there. And not the media bias.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2019 4:48 p.m. PST

So again we just will have to disagree

I'm happy to disagree it's just that the facts lean towards me & as much as I respect your military experience, you can't expect me you validate some cherry picked sources and your own impression. For example, the fragging. I know it is an embarrassment that so many cases occurred. "The army [was] at war not with the enemy but with itself."
link
Lepre's book on the issue, BTW, is worth reading. And he was there.

"Woulda, coulda, shoulda" is understandable but is not an argument."Many as I believe that way" is wishful thinking and not born out of hard historical fact, supported by many eye-witnesses.

I'm sure the relatively few career soldiers and professional US units were motivated but numbers tell. In Vietnam, the ranks of infantry units were too often filled with young men who hated the fact that they lost the lottery. They were too poor or too disadvantaged for their parents to get them deferred or into the National Guard.They often made poor soldiers, often taking drugs & even killing their unpopular officers & NCOs. Even you, above, wrote that conscription was a disaster AND most US serving combat soldiers in Vietnam were conscripts.

If "the war was not lost on the battlefields" but by some allegedly "treasonous" US media, then how come, after full commitment of the US military during the Vietnam War which ran from 1955 to 1973, ie nearly 20 years!!!,there was insufficient time to win the war?. So, in spite of huge numbers of men, the latest military technology, untold billions of dollars, the backing of several presidents & over 18 years of fighting, a few newspapers and TV shows halted the inexorable path to victory? I'm sure thinking otherwise is a balm but see my analogy (above) about band-aids.

My best regards to the "vets": it wasn't their fault they were beaten & I'm sure many did their best.

Legion 405 Dec 2019 2:55 a.m. PST

Well I can say this after rereading an article about Fragging in an issued of Military History Magazine last night. Yes you are correct on some points. I can't dispute that. But it is clear the quality of Draftees was a critical factor. As I just said on another thread here. My Lia was a very sad day for the US Military. But was an example of the mess the entire war had degenerated to. After Vietnam the US ARMY had to pull itself up by it's boot straps. Revaluate, and rebuild itself after what it had devolved to.

With the need to send 1000s upon 1000s of troops there to fight the war. Plus all the forces the US had deployed all over the world, mostly in West Germany. It was not long before the standards for who was drafted were lowered. Bringing in some who were really not fit to be in the military. Low IQs, had problems in civilian life, with drugs and alcohol, criminal records etc., etc. Some referred to them as "McNamara's Morons". Now that being said, many did their duty and their service was honorable, etc., regardless … As I have said many of the instructors starting in ROTC for me in '75. Had served in Vietnam. They were still o active duty. But instead of being assigned to a combat unit, etc., e.g. the 101, 82d, 1ID, etc. they had a tour in ROTC. And again after ROTC when I went on active duty, with the 101 after going thru all my basic officer's training etc. I served under the command and along side many Vietnam Vets. I learned a lot, and some of those lessons I used thru out my 10+ years on active duty.

So I think I can safely I do know something about Vietnam Vets. And certainly serving in the military in nothing but combat units. Which I wanted to do. That was may choice. I have a pretty go understanding about the military on many topics.

As Vietnam progressed the entire very sad situation just kept going from bad to worse. The Draftee problem was not the only rub. Much can be blamed on the Leadership in DC and at the high levels in the military.

That is why after the war the US ARMY had do so much to make itself a viable fighting force again. I joined ROTC in '75 right after graduating from high school. I saw and was part of that "rebuilding".

Even you, above, wrote that conscription was a disaster AND most US serving combat soldiers in Vietnam were conscripts.
Yes, but I said in the later stages of the war many units were filled with draftees. There were some from the beginning and it continued that volunteered thru out the war. And some draftees didn't go to Vietnam, but to units in West Germany, Korea, etc.

If "the war was not lost on the battlefields" but by some allegedly "treasonous" US media,
Well I won't go all that far but as we see today the media was and is very biased in many cases.

Lepre's book on the issue, BTW, is worth reading. And he was there.
That may be true, but I don't know the author of the article's background. And again some in the media are known for biases. Just as we see today in the troubled times the US is going thru now. E.g. the 3 major cable news stations all tell the same story in their own way. With their spin, narrative, agenda, etc. It not news it's more like opinion. I'm afraid much of the reporting about Vietnam and the military was the same. I watched the news every morning before going to school and read the paper, books, etc., too.

My best regards to the "vets": it wasn't their fault they were beaten & I'm sure many did their best.
On this we can agree.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2019 4:13 a.m. PST

It is said that in the entire history of the internet, no-one ever persuaded anyone else to change their opinion. So, on that count, I'm happy to leave this here.
But, as always, Ralph, it's been jolly, discussing "stuff" with you.

Legion 405 Dec 2019 4:23 a.m. PST

thumbs up

M4rtinFierro05 Dec 2019 6:03 a.m. PST

I would just like to point out that there are far many more documented cases of fragging than there are of Vietnam vets being spit on by peace protestors. And yet somehow that is hardly ever remembered in discussions like this. (Thank you, Ochoin!)

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2019 7:33 a.m. PST

"I would just like to point out that there are far many more documented cases of fragging than there are of Vietnam vets being spit on by peace protestors."

Kind of like saying there are many more cases of road rage ending in death then there are cases of drivers giving the finger. One get investigated.

The treatment we gave are Vietnam veterans was shameful.

Legion 405 Dec 2019 12:13 p.m. PST

I would just like to point out that there are far many more documented cases of fragging than there are of Vietnam vets being spit on by peace protestors. And yet somehow that is hardly ever remembered in discussions like this. (Thank you, Ochoin!)
Obviously the military since someone is killed or wounded. There will be at least some sort of reporting, etc., going on.

Getting spit on by a protester, unless someone in the media sees it and reports about it. Then no one would, not unless the Vet says something to the media or something like that. And based on the media at that time, they wouldn't probably believe him anyway.

So what is being said here ? There were more fraggings than returning Vets being spit on ? How does that figure or even matter ? So the Vet is lying he was spit on ? It's OK to spit on him because he was drafted or volunteered went to Vietnam and came back alive ?

So it's OK to spit on a Vet because a small percentage of all the 10,000s of troops deployed, fragged someone in their Chain of Cmd ?

So spit on him as he must of done something immoral, bad, criminal, etc. ? When he went off to fight a war. Even if the war was unpopular.

As I said, with the need to send 1000s upon 1000s of troops there to fight the war. Plus all the forces the US had deployed all over the world, mostly in West Germany. It was not long before the standards for who was drafted were lowered. Bringing in some who were really not fit to be in the military. Low IQs, had problems in civilian life, with drugs and alcohol, criminal records etc., etc. Some referred to them as "McNamara's Morons".

Kind of like saying there are many more cases of road rage ending in death then there are cases of drivers giving the finger. One get investigated.
The treatment we gave are Vietnam veterans was shameful.
VCarter +1

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2019 5:46 p.m. PST

Getting spit on by a protester, unless someone in the media sees it and reports about it. Then no one would, not unless the Vet says something to the media or something like that

How about the "vets" that had chicken guts thrown at them, had babies catcalling at them or were napalmed as they left the airport etc? What? There's no proof of any of this? Maybe it didn't happen. Ralph can you see the flaw in your logic? There seems little or no solid evidence that spitting ocurred & if it did it was isolated.

It looks like the "spitting" is a traditional myth stemming from at least 1919 in Germany (see earlier links), that there are no reported occurrences &, possibly, a few hear say incidents.

If you paint yourself a victim, then that's how you'll be treated & that's how you'll start to think about yourself.

Any soldier who did his duty need do no more than square his shoulders & get on with his life. I believe the overwhelming majority did just that.

Legion 405 Dec 2019 6:16 p.m. PST

Yes fragging and war crimes are generally documented. If in fact they occurred at all ? Where the spitting on Vets has not been documented so it's hearsay … Yeah I get that.

And yet somehow that is hardly ever remembered in discussions like this
But what do documented fraggings have to do undocumented cases of Vets being spit on? It seemed this comment alluded to there was ? AFAIK there isn't … That was my point.

If you paint yourself a victim, then that's how you'll be treated & that's how you'll start to think about yourself.
Any soldier who did his duty need do no more than square his shoulders & get on with his life. I believe the overwhelming majority did just that.
This we can agree on …

Dn Jackson07 Dec 2019 3:43 a.m. PST

"My best regards to the "vets": it wasn't their fault they were beaten & I'm sure many did their best."

I think you're missing a major point. The troops weren't beaten, the politicians were.

Legion 407 Dec 2019 8:43 a.m. PST

Yes, I have said here & other places the US Military was not beaten on the field in combat. But certainly the overwhelming majority did their best, did their duty and honorably served their country whether they were drafted or volunteered …

And it may not be documented I'm sure, but some were spit on or otherwise insulted, etc. … Because for no reason other than they served their nation in an unpopular war.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP08 Dec 2019 3:56 a.m. PST

Loren Baritz's "Backfire".

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