Vietnam War in Hindsight

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Thu Aug 02 2001 - 10:03:46 MDT

Mitch writes

> Being on the "demonstrators' side; with 20/20 hindsight, let me say that we
> could have won the war, with 3 million more North Vietnamese dead, and 20
> million Chinese dead; possibly using nuclear bombs to eliminate Chinese
> intervention. But now we are speaking to a classic Phyhric Victory. But to
> may, on both sides, it seemed better to initiate action, rather then let the
> North Vietnamese dictate every action-which is what they did.

No one on Earth, at the time, realized what a disaster socialist governments
were for their own economies (not to mention individuals). The one thing
that the Communist nations did superbly was to wage war; for some reason,
the ruthless totalitarianism of a Stalin (who can assert loudly that if
General Zhukov fails to hold a certain city he'll be shot and everyone
knows that it's exactly true)---this central control really does seem to

North Korea with half the population and a small percentage of industry
was always a military threat to capitalist South Korea, never the reverse.
And North Vietnam easily beat the crap out of South Vietnam. In any sort
of fair contest, I have no doubt that during the cold war East Germany
would have easily defeated West Germany, and it's no secret that the
Warsaw Pact was vastly more powerful than the entire set of nations
of Western Europe. Give credit where credit is due.

The United States was the great exception, because at the level of
the superpowers technology was crucial. Though spending only 6% of
its GNP on defense (as opposed to the corresponding figure of 14%
for the much poorer Soviet Union), this turned out to be sufficient
to prevent a Soviet conquest of Europe and Soviet global domination.
Such considerations didn't matter in the small countries; they got
their arms and technology mainly from the Soviet Union or the United
States anyway.

If only it had been known that Communism would soon fizzle in the Soviet
Union, sigh. The wisest course for the West clearly would have been to
allow all of Southeast to become Communist, at a much reduced cost of
life and money. But no one knew.

Probably South Vietnam could have been indefinitely supported by the
United States following the major troop withdrawals of 1969-1973. But
to simply abandon South Vietnam the way that the U.S. Congress did in
1974 and 1975---actually passing legislation preventing any further
substantial aid---was an act of treachery. If you don't believe it,
try talking in depth to a few former South Vietnam patriotic small
fry in their armed forces, the way that I have.


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