The Vietnam War: Truth & Myths

The second half of the 20th century was turbulent period in the US and the world history, which involved the US in one of the most exhausting military conflicts in Vietnam and involved the assassination of the US President, J.F. Kennedy. The Vietnam War became the major event in the US history that defined foreign and partially domestic policies of the US in the 1960s. The war brought numerous casualties and ended in withdrawal of the US troops from Vietnam. However, the major problem of the war was the wide gap between actual policies and steps undertaken by the US government and the lack of the accurate information or truth about the war and situation in Vietnam available to American citizens.

The analysis of resources reveals several important facts about the US and its historical development in the 1960s. First, Duck and Cover video and Zapruder Film Slow Motion reveal the fact that the Vietnam War was devastating for the US. Numerous sources reveal the essence of the Vietnam War as the bloody massacre which was conducted by the US government without any achievable purpose. Duck and Cover video and Zapruder Film Slow Motion reveal enormous casualties of the US as well as the civilian population of Vietnam which did not bring any advancement of the US military in the war and did not approach the US victory in the war. Second, many resources, like Vietnam War Soldiers, reveal that the use of the powerful army in Vietnam turn out to be ineffective and ultimately resulted in the failure of the US to defeat opponents. For example, researchers show that numerous casualties resulted from unconventional methods of war or accidents, like snake bites, which American soldiers were unprepared to confront. Vietnam War Soldiers and other sources indicate to the fruitlessness of the war for the US because it was not a just war conducted by the US but the mere deployment of the US military to suppress the popular movement as opponents of the US army had the extensive support of the local population. Vietnam: a brief history also uncovers the historical background of the war and how the US got involved into the war, which became the nightmare for US Presidents, soldiers and people. For example, resources show that the war because one of the reasons for the failure of Lyndon B. Johnson to win elections after the end of his term in office. Third, internal conflicts in the US were also extremely deep and the assassination of the US President J.F. Kennedy was the ultimate manifestation of such internal conflicts and tension in the US. The assassination of J.F. Kennedy aggravated the situation and caused deeper internal conflict in the US politics and possible conspiracy of intelligence services against political leaders of the US. For example, Oswald Shooting-Digitally Remastered reveals the possible involvement or, at least, inaction in the investigation of the crime by the US intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Therefore, the 1960s became the turbulent period in the US history which uncovered the wide gap between the official position of the government and the US intelligence and their actual actions and policies which often disregarded interests of Americans, whom they sent to the war which was a mere manslaughter rather than a noble fight for democracy, liberty or whatsoever.

In such a situation, the Vietnam War was the key issue that defined the US history and the analysis of the US involvement in Vientam reveals the major challenges the US confronted in the 1960s and reasons why those challenges emerged. At this point, it is also possible to refer to John Marciano’s article Lessons from the Vietnam War and Jeff Stein Bright Shining Lies, where the authors do not just explore the Vietnam War and the US involvement into the war but also offer different perspectives on the war. J. Marciano suggests viewing a war from the standpoint of the critical analysts, who uncovers the truth about the war and the US actual policies and actions and official declarations of the US government, military, and other agencies that attempted to present the war as the noble-end war performed by the US. J. Stein attempted to view the war in Vietnam from the standpoint of the insider, who has access to classified materials and information that remained unavailable to the public for decades. Such different perspectives on the war and the role of the US government still lead to the conclusion that the US government is not as transparent as one may expect from the democratic government, while secret actions and policies often differ from actual actions and policies the government undertakes.

J. Marciano argues that, in spite of official declarations of the US government that the war in Vietnam was the just war that aimed at the protection of Vietnam from communism and enhancement of democracy in that country, the actual nature of the war was imperialist. The author argues that the US attempted to expand its power in the Asia-Pacific region and could not just give in Vietnam to communists. In such a way, the author develops the idea that the war was different from what the US government declared. The Vietnam War was also not a noble fight for the liberty of Vietnamese from communism. Instead, Marciano reveals the true nature of the war and refers to real facts that the US government preferred either to hide under classified documents or simply to ignore. The author develops the idea that the US government attempted to present the war in a different way compared to the real policies conducted by the government. For example, J. Marciano reveals the fact that the US did commit war times, including tortures in Vietnam. The gap between the truth and the reality raises ethical issues and concerns. The accountability of the government and adequate informing of people about policies of the US government turn out to be of the utmost importance because, if Americans knew the truth, they would have probably never allowed the US government to  launch the war in Vietnam, while without the popular support the US government could hardly start the large scale war.

In contrast to J. Marciano, who believed that the US government was fully aware of the essence of the Vietnam War and, thus, was responsible for crimes and numerous casualties, J. Stein develops the idea that the US government was not fully aware of the war and its essence. At this point, it is possible to refer to the example, when the author describes the visit of Henry Kissinger to Vietnam, where he encountered local official and remained uninformed of the real state of things which he could learn much better from soldiers on the front line or from the average people. In such a way, the author gives implications that the US government was not just telling lies to citizens but many statesmen also failed to perceive the situation on the ground adequately as was the case of Henry Kissinger, for example.

On the other hand, J. Stein recognizes the fact that the truth and the official position of the US government differed and, in this regard, he agrees with J. Marciano. However, J. Stein also referred to the case of the manslaughter committed by the US green berets which comprises the backbone of his article. This story reveals that American soldiers also slipped to crimes and unethical actions in the wartime. Such a presentation of the war differs from the traditional presentation of the Vietnam War as the fight of good and shining American soldiers against evil and cunning communists, who did their best just to slaughter as much American soldiers as possible. Stein debunks this stereotype that prevail in the US mass media and culture and which the US government has promoted since the beginning of the war.

Thus, the Vietnam War was the devastating war in the US history which uncovered the failure of the government to present its policies and the situation in Vietnam objectively and accurately. Instead, the US government slipped to the inadequate presentation of events to justify its policies and involvement in the war and to gain the public support. The gap between the truth and presentation of the war by the government resulted to the inadequate perception of the war and numerous casualties which could be prevented, if Americans had adequate information about the war and urged the US government to withdraw troops earlier.

Works Cited:

Duck and Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKqXu-5jw60

MARCIANO, JOHN. ” Lessons from the Vietnam War.” Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine, vol. 68, no. 7, Dec. 2016, p. 43. EBSCOhost, doi:10.14452/MR-068-07-2016-11_4.

Oswald Shooting-Digitally Remastered: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n9VQ-dXrwQ

STEIN, JEFF. “Bright Shining Lies.” Newsweek Global, vol. 170, no. 6, 09 Feb. 2018, p. 28. EBSCOhost, libdb.smc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f6h&AN=127779758&site=ehost-live.

The 1960s: http://www.history.com/topics/1960s

Vietnam: a brief history: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgW0o-Ui94k

Zapruder Film Slow Motion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iU83R7rpXQY

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