Archive for June 2, 2010

Why the U.S. Should Have Stayed Out

Posted in Modern History with tags , , on June 2, 2010 by Ian Pham

There are several reasons why the United States should never have entered the war in Vietnam, the outcome of the war being the most obvious reason of all.  However, there are other reasons that the Americans should have stayed out of Vietnam which will be discussed here.

Ho Chi Minh often accused the Republic of Vietnam of being a puppet of the United States, a false accusation that proved to be a strong catalyst for the North to invade the South.  President Ngo Dinh Diem knows this, which is why he stood firm on keeping America out of Vietnam’s internal problems.  One of the strong points of the Vietnamese people thoughout history is their devotion to the country and their determination to fight invaders at all costs.  When an invader comes, the Vietnamese people fight fearlessly.  Both Ngo Dinh Diem and Ho Chi Minh were aware of this fact, which is why President Diem so strongly opposed American intervention in Vietnam’s affairs.  Ngo Dinh Diem would do everything in his power to keep out the Americans until his assissination in 1963 by the U.S. government under President Kennedy (above).  It was only after the fall of Diem that the U.S. became involved.  When the Americans entered the war, Ho Chi Minh siezed the opportunity to characterize the South as traitors of the country, puppets of imperialism, and welcomer of invaders.  This alone ignited the patriotism and anger of the North, giving them the fire to defeat the Americans, and subsequently, the entire South Vietnam.

Not only did the American involvement raise the fighting spirit of the North Vietnamese, but at the same time damaged the morale of the South Vietnamese soldiers.  After the assassination of President Diem, South Vietnam was plunged into a period of chaos and civil disorder that would last for three years.  The Republic of Vietnam under President Diem was truly a prosperous nation, successfully keeping Ho Chi Minh and the Vietcong  above the 17th parallel.  The American assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem created a golden opportunity for the Communists to launch their offensive campaigns.  Before the death of Diem, North Vietnam only resorted to terrorist acts and fruitless invasion attempts.  It was only after Diem died did the Communists start making successful advances downward into South Vietnam.

The final reason that the United States should never have entered Vietnam is more closely associated with the end of the war around 1970 onwards.  It was during this time that the United States of America was laying the groundwork for pulling out of Vietnam.  The war was too costly, the American people could take it no longer, neither could their soldiers.  America wanted out and were willing to do anything to achieve that end.  After nearly ten years of fighting, the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam, leaving the South to fend for itself.  After killing an able ruler of the South Vietnam government in 1963, losing more than 35 thousand soldiers, allying with Communist China, and having difficulty controlling the second President of the Republic of Vietnam, Nguyen Van Thieu, the Americans decided that they’ve had enough.  The Americans involved themselves in a Vietnamese conflict, unprepared for what lay ahead.  So basically, after they came in and caused more harm than good to the people of South Vietnam, the Americans departed and left the South to drown in the mess that the U.S. helped create in the first place.

The U.S. involvement was detrimental to South Vietnam for these reasons.  First of all, U.S. involvment helped enforce Ho Chi Minh’s accusation that the South was the puppet of external powers who invited American invaders into the sacred land.  Secondly, in order for the Americans to come in, they had to kill one of the most able men in South Vietnam.  After Diem’s assassination, the North Vietnamese were finally able to advance on the South.  Sadly, the Americans didn’t realize this consequence until it was too late.  From the beginning, the United States was not aware of what they were getting into.  This brings us to the final reason that America should never have been involved: they didn’t understand the nature of the war, who they were fighting, and why they were fighting.  To America, the war was fought over the containment of Communism and the fear effect created by the idiotic “Domino Theory.”  To the Vietnamese people, the war was about independence, freedom, and anti-colonialism.  It wasn’t America’s war, that is why they should never have gotten involved.