"Why were we at war in Vietnam?" I told him to fight communism. He then asked me were 60,000 lives worth it! Shocked the hell of of me. However a good question I thought.
Korean and Vietnam wars did break the back of communism
How old is your grandson?
Just turned 15. Had the feeling he must have been talking to friends about WAR.
Something a teacher might have mentioned in class?
Lyndon B. Johnson - S.O.B.
You're too nice.
Vietnam was the "End of our innocence" in that we felt we were the "Big Brothers" of the world (in the true family sense of trying to help them, not the "Big Brother is watching you" sense. Ike and JFK had good intentions in getting us into that situation but things went very wrong and we have not yet fully recovered from the experience.
While I ashamedly am not a veteran, my beloved father fought in three wars.
being close to Orlando, where there is a substantial Vietnamese community I have been honored to know many of them. In fact as a kid I witnessed the refugees showing up.
here are a couple point blank and real time answers for your grandson. keeping in mind he is young and did not experience it. It’s logical for him to ask.
1) the troops who went there won the war. Politically and military. I don’t know where the misnomer of them losing came from. They owned the country and left on own accord unlike the French. They stopped spread of communism in s.e. Asia.
2) ask any v/n refugee or descendant, they will openly praise the American military.
a side note is American coward politicians did not allow prosecution of the war.
had they done so it would have been a long weekend job.
God bless em
I will have to disagree with part of your statement. You stated that we stopped the spread of communisms in SE Asia. How exactly did we stop it when they took over the whole country, and in fact still hold power
Explain to the young man that we went into Viet Nam because Ike and JFK thought we could help stop communism by supporting the existing governments but that then LBJ saw a way to insure he beat Goldwater. Along the way others wanted to do some "nation building" while McNamara saw it as an opportunity to use the Army as a way to improve the life of the poor.
Also clarify to him that it wasn't "war". If it had been "war" we would have lined up across Viet Nam and marched to the Chinese border like we went across France in WWII. It may have looked and sounded like a war to civilians and the media but it definitely wasn't war to the military.
Was it worth the lives? Wrong question. Is "Freedom of movement" in the US worth 40,000 deaths PER YEAR?
Did we as a nation learn anything from the lives and money spent in the conflict?
Not if he and his peers are just memorizing dates and slogans and aren't studying history.