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Vietnam war - Domino

Eleison Zeitgeist
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Joined: Dec 17, 2002
Posts: 115
Domino theory. I was thinking about this. People were saying that we had to go to vietnam because of it. Generally, people think this is a stupid idea. Currently, I'm not quite sure if I would agree-- I'm doing more research. People also compare it to the "creating a beacon in the Middle East" -- i.e., it's a stupid idea.
When you actually look @ the outcome of the viet war, it did (in a very indirect way) contain communism. I think people were too tired to fight; Thailand was left alone. So were other countries. In the context of the time, a rational human would only have to make the decision that JFK/LBJ made, which was to interviene. The domino theory, was not just a theory. It actually happened in eastern europe. If I lived in the same time as JFK/LBJ, the only logical thing to do would be the vietnam war. Maybe I'm missing something, if so... please enlightment me. I'm sick and tired of hearing how vietnam was bad, etc... esp. if I am correct with my way of thinking...
-Eleison
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
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Originally posted by Eleison Zeitgeist:
If I lived in the same time as JFK/LBJ, the only logical thing to do would be the vietnam war. Maybe I'm missing something, if so... please enlightment me. I'm sick and tired of hearing how vietnam was bad, etc... esp. if I am correct with my way of thinking...
One of the problems with Vietnam was how we got sucked in to it in the first place. We supported France trying to retain Indochina as a colony because we wanted France in NATO. We probably could have worked out a peaceful independence for Vietnam without any of the suffering that occurred there. Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist more than he was a communist. He wasn't a friend of China or the USSR until we pushed him into a search for allies. By the time we left, the North had become hard line communist but that was the result of 30 years of war. Vietnam probably worked out exactly the worst way possible because of bad decisions on our part. But I'm sure everyone thought they were doing the right thing when they made those decisions.


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Joe King
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The main problem was probably that the US seriously underestimated how hard it would be. if the fight had be fairly easy and over quickly (in a similar way to the recent war in Iraq), then it would have had a dramatic effect on the region. Other countries in the area may have even supported the US more - teh regime in the North of Korea were stiring up all sorts of trouble in neighbouring countries which may have been glad to get rid of them. Getting bogged down in a protracted war did (as mentioned above) drive the North into making alliances. The thing is that at the time the USSR and China were not exactly getting on that well, and the USSR was extremely reluctant to give support to the North. Had it been a quick war, its likely that neither China or the USSR would have got around to doing anything about it. I suppose the real "fault" (if there is any), is with the people who's intelligence convinced the US administration that the war could be won, and won fairly quickly.
Frank Silbermann
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Thomas Paul: "Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist more than he was a communist."

Would that have made him a national socialist?
We supported France trying to retain Indochina as a colony because we wanted France in NATO. We probably could have worked out a peaceful independence for Vietnam without any of the suffering that occurred there.

If that's true, then it's a shame we didn't simply abandon NATO. What good did it do -- Europe became socialist anyway, and European youth in the 1980s opposed our efforts to stop communist subversion in Central America. Why were Europeans any more deserving of protection from communists than people in any other part of the world?
Matt Cao
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Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
I think Thomas P got it wrong. Ho Chi Minh according to my Vietnamese friends and the people at work, was a first class spy trained by the Bolshevik. His objective was creating an French-Indochina communist base for all the others in the region to follow. His first time was failed and Stalin putted him in Gulag until he came out with a resolution how to approach the French-Indochina problem.
Regards,
MCao
[ February 19, 2004: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
Frank Silbermann
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Posts: 1387
Matt Cao: "In essence, Vietnam was destined to be a homegrown communist state and US treated the problem as if it was invaded like in Europe."

Well, the southern half of Vietnam _was_ invaded. And if neutrality in foreign conflicts is the way of peace, then maybe we shouldn't have cared whether Europe was invaded.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
Well, the southern half of Vietnam _was_ invaded. And if neutrality in foreign conflicts is the way of peace, then maybe we shouldn't have cared whether Europe was invaded.

Since the notion of a "South Vietnam" was a fiction created by the French I am not sure how you could say that the North invaded the South. South Vietnam was created when the French got their butts handed to them and ran away.
Sadanand Murthy
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Joined: Nov 26, 2003
Posts: 382
Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:

Well, the southern half of Vietnam _was_ invaded. And if neutrality in foreign conflicts is the way of peace, then maybe we shouldn't have cared whether Europe was invaded.

Do I read this correctly as an endorsement of the Nam war? Actally, in this case neutrality in this specific foreign conflict was probably the way of peace.
From what I've read:
  • Before WW2 Vietnam (as part of IndoChina) was a French colony.
  • During WW2 French Vichy govt. (which was not an ally of US) ceded control of Vietnam (as rest of Indochina) to Japan.
  • Ho Chi Minh (Vietminh) was a US ally during WW2 in fighting the

  • Japanese.
  • After WW2 US ditched Ho Chi Minh & his desire for freedom for his country.
  • After WW2 US supported France's desire for colonization of Vietnam because the France deemed control of Vietnam essential for the health of their (French) economy. Vietnam be dammed; Western European countries economies were more important; so what if Vietnam is a colony of a Western European country as long as Western European countries have a healthy economy.
  • US started helping France in their colonization when they started taking some real heat from Vietminh. This support continued for 4 years.
  • Vietminh seriously kick some French backsides; Truman decides to not help France at this time of butt-kicking; France decides to hightail out of Nam; thus creating North/South.
  • Then all hell broke loose for US.


  • [ February 19, 2004: Message edited by: Sadanand Murthy ]

    Ever Existing, Ever Conscious, Ever-new Bliss
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    Joined: May 05, 2000
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    Originally posted by Sadanand Murthy:
    After WW2 US supported France's desire for colonization of Vietnam because the France deemed control of Vietnam essential for the health of their (French) economy.

    This is the only thing that I believe is not fully correct. The US supported the French because we wanted France to join NATO. We considered NATO vital to holding back the godless communists USSR.
    Frank Silbermann
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    Joined: Jun 06, 2002
    Posts: 1387
    Sadanand Murthy: "After WW2 US supported France's desire for colonization of Vietnam because the France deemed control of Vietnam essential for the health of their (French) economy. Vietnam be dammed; Western European countries economies were more important; so what if Vietnam is a colony of a Western European country as long as Western European countries have a healthy economy."

    How much economic benefit did the French get from colonizing Vietnam, really? I cannot imagine much. I don't even know what goods Vietnam produces! I think they wanted to keep Vietnam because of prestige -- the French wanted to be thought of as a great world power. (I suspect that many people overuse economic arguments because Marx claimed that economics drives history. But Marxist theory is best ignored.)
    Sadanand Murthy: "After WW2 US ditched Ho Chi Minh & his desire for freedom for his country." (emphasis added)

    I think you're confusing freedom with independence. Ho Chi Minh desired independence for his country, but anyone who becomes a communist cannot possibly give a rat's hair about freedom. And had he not been a communist, we probably wouldn't have cared anymore about his beef with the French than we did about India versus Great Britain.
    Thomas Paul: Since the notion of a "South Vietnam" was a fiction created by the French I am not sure how you could say that the North invaded the South.

    South Vietnam wasn't a fiction -- it was a real place. The borders were arbitrarily drawn as a result of war and power, but that's true of most countries in the world, if you go back far enough into history. Except for the violence, it was no different than Hitler's march into Czechoslovakia -- which was an artificial creation of the WWI victors (taken out of the defeated Austrian-Hungarian Empire).
    The US supported the French because we wanted France to join NATO. We considered NATO vital to holding back the (marked out: godless communists) USSR.

    You were right the first time. The Cold War was not about America versus the USSR; it was about holding back the godless communists. And looking at Europe today, I really don't think we achieved much.
    Richard Hawkes
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    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 1340
    Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
    it was about holding back the godless communists. And looking at Europe today, I really don't think we achieved much.
    Don't be like that! America gave us the freedom to choose to be socialists. Its just another step on the way to becoming Godless capitalists
    Matt Cao
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    Joined: Apr 03, 2003
    Posts: 715
    Originally posted by Sadanand Murthy:

    From what I've read:
  • Before WW2 Vietnam (as part of IndoChina) was a French colony.
  • During WW2 French Vichy govt. (which was not an ally of US) ceded control of Vietnam (as rest of Indochina) to Japan.
  • Ho Chi Minh (Vietminh) was a US ally during WW2 in fighting the

  • Japanese.
  • After WW2 US ditched Ho Chi Minh & his desire for freedom for his country.
  • After WW2 US supported France's desire for colonization of Vietnam because the France deemed control of Vietnam essential for the health of their (French) economy. Vietnam be dammed; Western European countries economies were more important; so what if Vietnam is a colony of a Western European country as long as Western European countries have a healthy economy.
  • US started helping France in their colonization when they started taking some real heat from Vietminh. This support continued for 4 years.
  • Vietminh seriously kick some French backsides; Truman decides to not help France at this time of butt-kicking; France decides to hightail out of Nam; thus creating North/South.
  • Then all hell broke loose for US.


  • [ February 19, 2004: Message edited by: Sadanand Murthy ]

    Hi,
    I think you read books written by Vietnam Communist Party. From what I know the reliable sources are Moscow former KJB Headquarter, Taipei-Taiwan, Virginia-US, and Louvre-France all in military libraries. That war is a classic case for all the future generals needed to study. So far no one has written a complete book yet, why? dead politicians already buried and alive ones probably will end up as war criminals. Therefore, the sources remain like that probably till the end of this century when we know for sure everyone directly involving are dead.
    Regards,
    MCao
    [ February 19, 2004: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
    Matt Cao
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    Joined: Apr 03, 2003
    Posts: 715
    Hi,
    Frank S, you probably not have many Vietnamese friends. That foresaken place fed the French; otherwise, French people cannot even have bread or wine during the World Depression. Every top economists and bankers from Japan to Singapore went to that place studying how to make money. When you hear the word "Pearl d'Orient", a spoken individual did not meant HongKong nor Shanghai, that name was the nick name of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City).
    When you happen to see any movie a tough guy burning a 100 dollar bill to find his girlfriend purse in a dark theater or any similar like that was copied/immitated from that era typical Vietnamese landowner.
    Regards,
    MCao
    [ February 19, 2004: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
    [ February 19, 2004: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
    Joe King
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    Joined: Sep 02, 2003
    Posts: 820
    Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:

    Marx claimed that economics drives history. But Marxist theory is best ignored

    Do you really think that economics is *not* a huge effect on world history? It may not be the only large effect, but it is certainly a huge factor in many events over history. What about the British Empire, one of the largest empires ever, supported and run almost entirely by and for trade. What about the Russian revolution(s), caused by poor people rising up against the rich? What about the 4th(?) Crusade, when Venetians sacked Constantinople because it was a trade rival? What about the millions who died through poverty caused by the great depression in the 1930's? There are countless example. To say economics has not had a large effect on world history seems to be either a wind up, or slightly nieve.
    but anyone who becomes a communist cannot possibly give a rat's hair about freedom

    There are many kinds of freedom. Some people who advocated communism thought that it would give them freedom from poverty and oppression from the upper classes. One of the biggest problems of how communism was applied was that it wasnt really done how Marx intended - he had a vision of all of the people in a country contributing to how it was run. He even saw pure communism as not having a strong government at all, but being a minarchy (or even anarchy). In countries like the USSR and China, the "communist" rulers were infact going against many of the ideals of the communist manefesto, and most definatly against socialism (which hold democracy to be extremely important). Some people would say that the USSR was not infact communist, but a form of state monopoly - the revolution had replaced one set of oppressors with another, instead of the intention of giving the country back to the people. I very much doubt that had Marx have been able to see the USSR and China he would like what he saw.

    The Cold War was not about America versus the USSR; it was about holding back the godless communists.

    Do you think that being "godless" is a really bad thing? You make it sound as if it is an insult. If I said "those damn christan yanks" or "lets beat the muslim arabs", then it would be terrible, but "godless XXXX" is ok is it?
    And looking at Europe today, I really don't think we achieved much.

    Well Europe is hardly a hot bed of communist states is it? Many European countries are socialist, but so what? To an observer at the start of the 20th centuary, America today would be seen as slightly socialist - things like medical help for poor people, income support for the unemployed, a govt run post office - these are all socialist ideas, and good ones at that. Europe having socialist tendancies is not a bad thing - its what we have chosen democratically, and its what we want.
    I actually think America achieved a lot in the Cold War. It's intention may have been to look after itself (had europe been taken by the USSR, America may have been targetted next), but western Europe has benefited a lot from America supporting it militarily - we are still democratic countries which we may not have been if we had lost the cold war.
    Remember that there is a world of difference between socialism and communism, a fact that many people seem to forget.
    Steve Wink
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    Joined: May 13, 2002
    Posts: 223
    Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:

    You were right the first time. The Cold War was not about America versus the USSR; it was about holding back the godless communists. And looking at Europe today, I really don't think we achieved much.

    That reminds me of the scene in Austin Powers when they defrost him:
    BASIL EXPOSITION: Austin, this is Commander Gilmour, Strategic Command, and General Borschevsky, Russian Intelligence.
    AUSTIN Russian Intelligence? Are you mad?
    BASIL EXPOSITION A lot's happened since you were frozen, Austin. The cold war's over.
    AUSTIN Thank God. Those capitalist dogs will finally pay for their
    crimes against the people,hey Comrades?
    BASIL EXPOSITION We won, Austin.
    AUSTIN Groovy. Smashing! Good on ya! (to Gilmour)Nice tie. Yea capitalism!
    Jeroen Wenting
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    I agree that the Vietnam war stopped the expansion of communism in SE Asia.
    Had the US (and Australia, they're usually forgotten) not intervened as they did we'd now see a completely Maoist Asia with maybe Japan remaining as a capitalist stronghold.
    Thailand and Malaysia would have fallen quickly, Singapore and Taiwan would never have survived.
    The Philipines were too weak to stand against the tide if assailed from all sides.
    The only non-communist countries east of Greece and west of the USA would be Australia and maybe New Zealand by 1985 at the latest.
    I doubt they would have stuck to the classic communist infighting, instead going on a rampage of conquest to establish "world communism in our lifetime" by 1995.
    At this time then the entire world would be a Soviet or Chinese colony or client state, where no freedom remains.


    42
    Sadanand Murthy
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    Posts: 382
    FS:How much economic benefit did the French get from colonizing Vietnam, really? I cannot imagine much. I don't even know what goods Vietnam produces! I think they wanted to keep Vietnam because of prestige -- the French wanted to be thought of as a great world power. (I suspect that many people overuse economic arguments because Marx claimed that economics drives history. But Marxist theory is best ignored.)

    It doesn't matter how much the French benefitted by colonizing Vietnam. The point I was trying to say was US supported this colonization (whehter, after the fact, there was any benefit to France or not). It also doesn't matter why France wanted to hang on to Vietnam (economy or prestige). What does matter is what their arguments were when they wanted US to back them in their colonizing efforts. And, as others have pointed out, economics does drive a lot of history.
    FS: I think you're confusing freedom with independence. Ho Chi Minh desired independence for his country, but anyone who becomes a communist cannot possibly give a rat's hair about freedom. And had he not been a communist, we probably wouldn't have cared anymore about his beef with the French than we did about India versus Great Britain.

    Fine. Semantically, freedom was perhaps the wrong choice of words. But, does that change the facts that Vietnam wanted to be free of French colonial presence? Does that mitigate their desire to be free of French colonial presence? Does that make their hunger for colonial-free nation any less worthy than India's or of any other country that was colonized?
    So he was a communist? But he was not in bed with China or USSR till US drove him into their arms. If Truman had accepted Ho Chi Minh as an ally & a friend it probably would had worked out better. He may not have crossed over to USSR's side then; perhaps he could had even been converted. But we will never know. US did the same thing to Cuba & Castro. Is US had not spurned Castro's efforts toward friendship with US he would most likely not have made his bed with USSR; the Cuban missile crisis would not have happened and Bay of Pigs would not have occurred.
    FS: You were right the first time. The Cold War was not about America versus the USSR; it was about holding back the godless communists. And looking at Europe today, I really don't think we achieved much.

    Why in the world should everyone in the world be God-ful? Why should every country in the world (or just in Europe) have to be like US? Why can't each country have the freedom to decide what kind of system they want as long as they don't impose their system on other nations? I'm not trying to debate the relative merits of different systems. I personally believe in democracy & capitalism with the right dose of socialism thrown into the mix. I'm trying to address this notion that comes across to me in this post that US system is the best for everyone in the world and that the rest of the world should embrace it and that somehow US is the father to the world showing them the direction that they should take. The US system may be the best for everyone in the world but the rest of the world should have the freedom to embrace if and when they want it. It is quite likely that I just misread/misinterpreted your post.
    JW: I agree that the Vietnam war stopped the expansion of communism in SE Asia.
    Had the US (and Australia, they're usually forgotten) not intervened as they did we'd now see a completely Maoist Asia with maybe Japan remaining as a capitalist stronghold.

    I added the emphasis and I beg to differ with that statement/sentiment. If US had intervened in a different manner, i.e. by welcoming Ho Chi Minh as an ally then he could perhaps have been converted to a good friend, a friend who would have helped US in the cold war. Perhaps this is all speculation, momday-morning-quarterbacking.
    Eleison Zeitgeist
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    Posts: 115
    Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
    I agree that the Vietnam war stopped the expansion of communism in SE Asia.
    Had the US (and Australia, they're usually forgotten) not intervened as they did we'd now see a completely Maoist Asia with maybe Japan remaining as a capitalist stronghold.
    Thailand and Malaysia would have fallen quickly, Singapore and Taiwan would never have survived.
    The Philipines were too weak to stand against the tide if assailed from all sides.
    The only non-communist countries east of Greece and west of the USA would be Australia and maybe New Zealand by 1985 at the latest.
    I doubt they would have stuck to the classic communist infighting, instead going on a rampage of conquest to establish "world communism in our lifetime" by 1995.
    At this time then the entire world would be a Soviet or Chinese colony or client state, where no freedom remains.

    This is my point exactly. God knows what would have happen if it weren't for the US. Another "killing fields" in SE asia (almost all communist revolutnion involves killing of a lot of people)? I think it was because of all the death and destruction that the communist had seen that they did not kill a lot more people after the viet war.
    In any case, I started this thread because I saw a vietnam documentary by Walter Cronkite:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00009KU95/102-6763571-9338515?v=glance
    It had many, Many parallel to the current situation in the ME. He talks about how the US wanted to "win the hearts and minds" of the vietnamese people. How, the us had to stop the commuist and create a democracy in SE asia. Soldiers were even interviewed saying that they were fighting for a better world for their kids. All in all, the same arguments that are said for us going into Iraq.
    While I initially thought that vietman was a bad war, I do not think that the current situation in the ME is bad. With this in mind, all I can say is that the media was biased in the 70's. There seems to be no major difference between Vietnam war and the situation in the ME. The viet war, even with all the suffering people saw on tv, was good -- as good as the current situation in the ME...
    logistically, there were only a few small differences: the US government is better informed in the ways of the media. Also, with better weapons and better understanding of the population, civilian casualties and death are lower - A good thing :-)
    -Eleison
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
    South Vietnam wasn't a fiction -- it was a real place. The borders were arbitrarily drawn as a result of war and power, but that's true of most countries in the world, if you go back far enough into history. Except for the violence, it was no different than Hitler's march into Czechoslovakia -- which was an artificial creation of the WWI victors (taken out of the defeated Austrian-Hungarian Empire).
    So a foreign power invades your country and when you defeat them they split it in two. Another foreign power enters your country and promises to have a vote to see if the two parts should be reunited but then refuses to hold the election. So you try to use your puny military power to reunite your country and you are the invader???
    Eleison Zeitgeist
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    Posts: 115
    Originally posted by Sadanand Murthy:

    I added the emphasis and I beg to differ with that statement/sentiment. If US had intervened in a different manner, i.e. by welcoming Ho Chi Minh as an ally then he could perhaps have been converted to a good friend, a friend who would have helped US in the cold war. Perhaps this is all speculation, momday-morning-quarterbacking.

    Just how would Ho Chi Minh helped the US? Every communist country previously, did not help the US. At the very least, they isolated themselves. At the most they tired to invade other countries to spread their communistic dogma, I.e., USSR..
    All in all, it was rational to intervene...
    -Eleison
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    Originally posted by Eleison Zeitgeist:
    Just how would Ho Chi Minh helped the US? Every communist country previously, did not help the US.
    At the time we didn't have a lot of experience with communist countries. In fact, the USSR was the only one. But, Ho Chi Minh was a communist only because communists were the only ones fighting imperialism. I think Minh would have joined Elk Lodge No. 343 if they had been against imperialism. When the Japanese lost World War II, Minh read the Declaration of Independence to his people and proposed a government based on the US Constitutuion. The last thing he expected was that we would support the French in their effort to recolonize Indochina.
    Sadanand Murthy
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    Posts: 382
    Originally posted by Eleison Zeitgeist:

    Just how would Ho Chi Minh helped the US? Every communist country previously, did not help the US. At the very least, they isolated themselves. At the most they tired to invade other countries to spread their communistic dogma, I.e., USSR..
    -Eleison

    I am not sure that Ho Chi Minh embraced the idealogy of communism. He fought Japanese imperialism during WW2. Since US was also fighting Japanese imperialism at that time, they were natural allies. So he naturally assumed that US would remember that after WW2 and help him/his country out. If US had extended their friendship to him he may have become a socialist or even a capitalist if that served his cause & that of his country. Perhpas US could have had a military presence their on the basis of friendship/alliance. That would have certainly deterred USSR from spreading their communism at the point of a gun. As it happened, he got bushwhacked. So he turned to the enemy of US for support. And USSR very gladly gave him that support. After all any enemy of US was USSR's friend. So, the whole approach that US took then in its effort to contain USSR & its spreading of communism actually didn't work as effectively as it could have.
    Originally posted by Eleison Zeitgeist:

    All in all, it was rational to intervene...
    -Eleison

    I don't deny this. I just believe the intervention could had been done differently and in such a way that an generation would not have been scarred, an entire nation (and I mean US) would not have been traumatized and polarized. The ghosts of that war still haunt US.
    Frank Silbermann
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    Matt Cao: "Frank S, you probably not have many Vietnamese friends. That foresaken place fed the French; otherwise, French people cannot even have bread or wine during the World Depression. Every top economists and bankers from Japan to Singapore went to that place studying how to make money. When you hear the word "Pearl d'Orient", a spoken individual did not meant HongKong nor Shanghai, that name was the nick name of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City).
    When you happen to see any movie a tough guy burning a 100 dollar bill to find his girlfriend purse in a dark theater or any similar like that was copied/immitated from that era typical Vietnamese landowner."

    My God! I had no idea the French overlords had been so cruel and oppressive as to allow all that to go on! No wonder Ho Chi Minh was determined to drive them out by any means necessary.
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
    My God! I had no idea the French overlords had been so cruel and oppressive as to allow all that to go on! No wonder Ho Chi Minh was determined to drive them out by any means necessary.

    Frank, those $100 bills were not held by the peasants (99% of the population) who were treated like slaves. The French landowners treated the country as their personal bank accounts stripping everything of value and sending it off to France.
    Frank Silbermann
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    Joe King: One of the biggest problems of how communism was applied was that it wasnt really done how Marx intended.

    Yeah, and one of the biggest problems of the way Christian Theocracy was applied was that it wasn't really done the way Jesus intended. Should anyone therefore continue to advocate Christian theocracy? You might do it right this time...

    Joe King: Do you think that being "godless" is a really bad thing?
    You make it sound as if it is an insult.

    You mean like "blasphemous" or "heretical"? Europeans are amazed at the religiosity of Americans, but America is not nearly as religious as it was fifty years ago. Most Americans at the beginning of the Cold War would have been shocked and scandalized at hearing someone admit to not believing in God. So when a political movement declares itself dedicated to atheism, well, that's just taken as a confession of wickedness.

    Sadanand Murthy: Why in the world should everyone in the world be God-ful? ... Why can't each country have the freedom to decide what kind of system they want as long as they don't impose their system on other nations?

    What angered Americans about communism was not merely that they were atheist, but that they actively suppressed Christianity. Ho Chi Minh's forces were extremely brutal towards the Catholic clergy in Vietnam, for example. I suppose your question is like asking, "Why should everyone in the world reject racial Apartheid? Why can't each country have the freedom to decide whether white people will institutionalize dominion over all others?"
    Sadanand Murthy: So (Ho Chi Minh) was a communist? But he was not in bed with China or USSR till US drove him into their arms.

    But the U.S. was not against China or Russia, it was against communism.
    The U.S. didn't _support_ his rebellion against France, but I don't think we got involved while it was going on. Supporting him would have made France an enemy. (It would be like blaming us for driving the Iraqi Shiites into the arms of Iran because we neglected to help them overthrow Saddam Hussein.)
    Sadanand Murthy: If Truman had accepted Ho Chi Minh as an ally & a friend it probably would had worked out better. He may not have crossed over to USSR's side then; perhaps he could had even been converted.

    I bet the U.S. would have been glad to pull out of Vietnam _and_ support the unification of North and South had the North Vietnamese agreed to stop being communist.
    Sadanand Murthy: US did the same thing to Cuba & Castro. Is US had not spurned Castro's efforts toward friendship with US he would most likely not have made his bed with USSR;

    Actually, the U.S. stayed out of it until after Castro took over. Then the U.S. began making diplomatic overtures, which ended when he declared to the world that he was a communist.

    Thomas Paul: So a foreign power invades your country and when you defeat them they split it in two.

    How could the French have split Vietnam in two, if they were defeated? Obviously, it was only a tactical retreat towards more defensible grounds. (Actually, the French were winning until, in a rare instance of moral integrity, they purged the German ex-Stormtroopers from the French Foreign Legion.)

    Thomas Paul: Another foreign power enters your country and promises to have a vote to see if the two parts should be reunited but then refuses to hold the election.

    I am not familiar with that promise. Is there any reason to believe that a majority of the South Vietnamese would have voted to put themselves under communist North Vietnamese control? Or did Ho Chi Minh misinterpret that promise and demand a combined North and South Vietnamese vote?
    Thomas Paul: So you try to use your puny military power to reunite your country and you are the invader???

    Well, yes, if Pakistan invaded India with the intention of re-uniting their country under Islamic control, then I think I would consider it an invasion. How would you see it?
    Thomas Paul
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    But the U.S. was not against China or Russia, it was against communism.
    You are not reading the post-WWII situation correctly. There was exactly one communist country in the world in 1945. The US helped France retake Indochina but this had nothing to do with Ho Chi Minh being a communist. We did it to get France to join NATO.
    As to the elections that were promised, the US refused to hold any type of election to determine the future course of Vietnam. I might remind you that when it appeared that the south might wish to join the north, the US supported the murder of the President of South Vietnam and the takeover by a military junta.
    You are correct that the French fell back into South Vietnam after their disasterous miliatry defeat. But the point remains the same... what gave the right to the French (or the USA) to declare that South Vietnam is now a country when it never existed before? This was not the case where the UN declared two countries be created or where a treaty established two separate countries. This was an arbitrary decision by an invading power.
    One last point, the US supported Tito in Yugoslavia even though he was a communist and that worked out well as Yugoslavia remained an independent nation outside of the USSR's sphere of influence. The same could have happened in Vietnam. In fact, since Ho Chi Minh actually liked America in 1945 things probably would have worked out even better in Vietnam than they did in Yugoslavia.
    Eleison Zeitgeist
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    Posts: 115
    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    But the U.S. was not against China or Russia, it was against communism.
    You are not reading the post-WWII situation correctly. There was exactly
    one communist country in the world in 1945. The US helped France retake Indochina but this had nothing to do with Ho Chi Minh being a communist. We did it to get France to join NATO.
    As to the elections that were promised, the US refused to hold any type of election to determine the future course of Vietnam. I might remind you that when it appeared that the south might wish to join the north, the US supported the murder of the President of South Vietnam and the takeover by a military junta.
    You are correct that the French fell back into South Vietnam after their disasterous miliatry defeat. But the point remains the same... what gave the right to the French (or the USA) to declare that South Vietnam is now a country when it never existed before? This was not the case where the UN declared two countries be created or where a treaty established two separate countries. This was an arbitrary decision by an invading power.


    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/time/tl1-noframes.html
    Vietminh was a "provisional government"; Ho Chi Minh did not have the right to make Vietnam Independent. The us helped france because the russians and the Chinese were helping Minh (not sure who did what first -- but aprox the same time; I would strongly DISagree that the US helped France, JUST so that france would join NATO)..
    In any case, Vietnam should have been returned to france. There should not have been any "north" or "south" vietnam, there should have been "one" vietnam under france... The communists (Russia and China) seems to be the ones stirring the pot... and ultimately leading to the vietnam war.
    "As to the elections that were promised, the US refused to hold any type of election to determine the future course of Vietnam." There were good reasons for this. The North were stealing landing and redistrubing it. Basically, if elections were held, the Vietnam would have been ONE country but under Communism -- "terrany of the majority"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_war
    The following is more information abou the President of South Vietnam -- he's wasn't a very good President. Actually, he declared himself to be president. He acted very much like a dictator.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngo_Dinh_Diem

    Ho chi Min was a communist. The US did NOT push him to be a communist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho_Chi_Minh

    All in all, your analysis of the vietnam war/causese of is very biases (anti-american view). Either you didn't do your research, or you are talking out of your ***. I'm not quite sure which one ;-) In any case, with just an hour of research, I came up with these points...
    Because of this thread, I have decided to not take so many things you say as "facts"; Initially, I was very intrigued at what you were saying. You had me thinking that the US acted very badly during the vietnam war. But with research, my respect for the US is stil intact ;-P
    -Elesion
    Thomas Paul
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    I am not sure what ingformation you think I was wrong about. You have expressed a bunch of opinions as if they were facts and then accused me of being wrong:
    In any case, Vietnam should have been returned to france.
    On what basis does one country have the right to occupy another country? Why should the US support colonialism, especially considering the brutality of the French occupation of French Indochina!
    Now let's be clear as to the order of events (from your favortie source):
    During WW2, the USA had supported the Viet Minh in resistance against the Japanese; the group was in control of the country apart from the cities since the French gave way in March 1945. After persuading Emperor Bao Dai to abdicate in his favour, on September 2, 1945 Ho -- as president -- declared independence for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. But before the end of September, a force of British, French and Indians, who also pressed captured Japanese into service, restored French control.
    So the order is that the US helped Ho fight the Japanese. The beginning of Sept, 1945, Ho declares Vietnam independent. The end of Sept, 1945 the British and French restore the French. So when exactly did Ho get Chinese and USSR help? For the two weeks that Vietnam was independent?
    As to the stealing of the land, it was the French who conquered the country and stole the land from the peasants in the first place. Ho believed that the only way to end poverty in his country was to give the land back to the people.
    Basically, if elections were held, the Vietnam would have been ONE country but under Communism -- "terrany of the majority"
    So if an election isn't going to give the results you want then the election can't be held? Is this what democracy is all about?
    As to the comments about Diem, this was as I said. The South Vietnamese president was a repressive and cruel dictator. JFK supported a coup to overthrow Diem. Diem and some of his family were executed during the coup. Ironically, JFK was murdered less than one month later.
    Ho chi Min was a communist. The US did NOT push him to be a communist.

    Which is, of course, exactly what I said. But he was not a friend of China (which was not communist until 1949) or the USSR. It was only after the French returned that Ho started looking for allies and eventually found one in the USSR.
    There are many good books about the history of Vietnam. I would suggest that if you are interested in this period that you visit your local library and not rely on the Wikepedia.
    Jeroen Wenting
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    The communist movement in SE Asia started in or around 1929, and was a direct offshoot of the Chinese communist movement which was later headed by Mao.
    Ho Chi Minh was always a figure in that movement and well connected with Chinese communists during and possibly before WW2.
    If he was no close friend of the PRC that was mainly because he didn't want Vietnam to become a pupper regime to Beijing which he probably saw as a likely outcome had the Chinese sent substantial support in his efforts for a communist Vietnam. He DID follow Maoist teachings far more closely than pure Leninist or even Stalinist, and in that was far closer politically to the PRC than he was to the USSR.
    As to the date the ChiComs took power, that was 1948 not 1949 (though they controlled substantial areas as far back as 1946).
    Diem was a poor choice for a president of South Vietnam. He was placed in power to earn the support of the USA in the rising struggle against the Viet Cong.
    Diem was a christian where all his competitors were budhist.
    His active campaign to spread christianity in Vietnam enstranged the budhist clergy and with them a good part of the population.
    As his power slipped he acted ever more dictatorial, perhaps understandable given the history of the region (just about every government in SE Asia degenerated into a dictatorship ruling through terror for hundreds of years, so he had ample historical predecessors).
    Had FREE elections been held early (say in the 1960s) involving both North and South Vietnam, I doubt a communist country would have resulted.
    Most likely a budhist/secular government would have gained power, which would have been met with a rising communist insurgency by the Viet Minh with support from the USSR and PRC.
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
    Had FREE elections been held early (say in the 1960s) involving both North and South Vietnam, I doubt a communist country would have resulted.
    Most likely a budhist/secular government would have gained power, which would have been met with a rising communist insurgency by the Viet Minh with support from the USSR and PRC.

    Elections were supposed to be held in 1956 but the US refused to hold them because we thought Ho would win. I am not sure why you think Ho would have refused to support a democratically elected government. Ho wanted the imperialists out of his country above all other things.
    Jeroen Wenting
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    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

    Elections were supposed to be held in 1956 but the US refused to hold them because we thought Ho would win. I am not sure why you think Ho would have refused to support a democratically elected government. Ho wanted the imperialists out of his country above all other things.

    Ho wanted to install himself as leader of a one-party state on Maoist principles above all other things.
    Of course he needed the "imperialists" out to accomplish that goal, by "imperialists" meaning anyone opposing him, foreign or domestic.
    I have a hard time understanding how people can still think that Ho was a friendly father figure who only wanted peace and prosperity for the Vietnamese people.
    I know that was the propaganda pitch during the war which the hippies lapped up but has since been disproven. Just ask the surviving Vietnamese boatpeople...
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
    Ho wanted to install himself as leader of a one-party state on Maoist principles above all other things.

    Do you have any evidence of this. This contradicts all the evidence I have ever seen about Ho. Not that the USA wasn't against establishing one-party states when it was in our interest. It's just that we only liked one-party states where the one party would support American businesses in front of the interest of their own citizens.
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    I did some research and this is what I discovered about the period when Ho took control in late August 1945. Ho took over Hanoi from the Japanese and immediately called Emperor Bao Dai from his residence in Hue. Bao Dai went expecting to be killed. But he was appointed "Supreme Adviser" by Ho and treated with great respect. Ho contacted the OSS and asked them to bring in American troops to support his fight for independence. Ho told the OSS that he would welcome, "a million US soldiers but no French." Giap told a crowd in Hanoi that America was the friend of freedom loving people everywhere and would be a "good friend" to Vietnam because the US was a "democracy with no territorial ambitions." Britian brought in troops into southern Vietnam in September 1945 and declared martial law. The British released French paratroopers that had been held by the Japanese. One day later (Sept 24th), the French went on a rampage killing dozens and deposing the provisional Viet Minh government. This marks the beginning of the Vietnam war if any day does. Atrocities occurred on both sides. French forces sent by De Gaulle arrived in October and subjugated the south. In the north, things were very different. Ho established a provisional government made up of Catholics, socialists, and communists. Ho initiayed some reforms although none were radical. Ho guaranteed the protection of private property and reduced taxes. His most radical new laws abolished prostitution and alcohol. Things got worse in the north quickly when Chinese nationalists came in ostensibly to get the Japanese out but the Japanese had already been kicked out by Ho. The Chinese were poor and desperate for food. They ransacked the north, stealing everything they could get their hands on and killing anyone who tried to stop them. In November 1945, Ho dissolved the communist party and ordered free elections to establish a new government in the north.
    By December 1945, Ho realized that he had made a serious mistake. The US was not intervening against the French and refused to help him remove the Chinese. In March, 1946 Ho signed a deal with the French that gave Vietnam independence but within the new "French Union". In May 1946 Ho went to Paris to discuss this new deal. As soon as he left Vietnam the French started plotting his destruction. In October 1946, the French were planning a coup against Ho. Fighting started almost immediately. By November the French were in an all out shooting war against Ho. The French fought with tanks while many of Ho's troops fought with muskets. Ho pleaded with the US to stop the French but the US did nothing while most of Hanoi was destroyed by the French. Ho was driven into the jungles. Only the collapse of various French governments in 1947-48 kept the French from taking advantage of these early victories.
    Not once during this entire period did Ho make any overtures to the USSR for help. Ho held out hope that the US would support him. It wasn't until 1950 when the Korean War broke out that the US openly supported the French in Indochina. It was only then that Ho made contacts with the USSR (he never trusted the Chinese because he saw China as a potential enemy rather than an ally).
    [ February 23, 2004: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
    Eleison Zeitgeist
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    Posts: 115
    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    I am not sure what ingformation you think I was wrong about. You have expressed a bunch of opinions as if they were facts and then accused me of being wrong:
    So if an election isn't going to give the results you want then the election can't be held? Is this what democracy is all about?
    As to the comments about Diem, this was as I said. The South Vietnamese president was a repressive and cruel dictator. JFK supported a coup to overthrow Diem. Diem and some of his family were executed during the coup. Ironically, JFK was murdered less than one month later.
    ....
    There are many good books about the history of Vietnam. I would suggest that if you are interested in this period that you visit your local library and not rely on the Wikepedia.

    Hi there,
    the whole tone of your agrument is very anti-american... For instance, in your original message, you stated that the US supported the murder of the South Vietnamese president. You did not state the reason why. You made it seem like the us gov was willy nilly about. The US monolith kills, YET, another president (seemingly without cause), etc...
    Every other "fact" you stated comes with a very liberal view. While some are not technically false; Like your statement of "murder of president" - they are half-truths... you don't give a full account of the facts.
    Another example is the "Us didn't allow elections" argument. You made it sound like the US wanted Vietnam to be two separate countries; while technically true, it's a half-truth.
    Your statement: "So if an election isn't going to give the results you want then the election can't be held? Is this what democracy is all about" A rhetorical question that at its core anti-american ("you" is referred to me or the US; I'm assuming that the "you" is meant as me, and as the US government.. i.e., "americans will not allow elections if they dont get the results that they want"...
    Agreed, Americans will not allow certain elections. However, the way you stated this fact makes americans look insidious. Americans are two face... they will only want their way. However, if you dig deeper into this, you would fully understand that sometimes elections are not possible.
    Majority rule is not a good idea sometimes.. look at Germany inthe 40's..
    http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/beyond-the-pale/eng_captions/54-8.html
    Even in the US, there are safety mechanisms that save the individual from majority rule -- even individuals that own must of the wealth. The us wanted Democracy to flower in Vietname with protections guaranted for the individual...
    Regardless, if Ho CHi Minh really wanted a unitfied Vietnam and he was not into communism(as you stated), why did he not just renounce Communism? The us would have let elecitons (after individual rights were guarantted)go forward - no killing... This is another side of the coin you did not discuss. After the election, there would have been one country.

    Your post on February 23, 2004 05:12 AM is less biases. However, there are still some biases. For instance, you implied that the US supported Colonialism. The US did not support colonialism. The us did not fight the Viet Minh. Battle of Dien Bien Phu did not involve american troops -- only the French.. The US was involved after the french left... and that was only to try and contain communism...

    While I did use only a few sources in my previous message: the open source encyclopedia - Wikepedia; and PBS. I didnt know they were such unreliable sources. If so, with your infinite knownledge, could you tell me what facts they have wrong? If they did have the facts correct, with you omnipotent knowledge of the vietnam conflict (obviously you have gone to your public library , why did you leave out important facts? It's not like you have an agenda or somethings??? RIght :-)

    -Eleison
    Mapraputa Is
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    the whole tone of your agrument is very anti-american...
    Tom is anti-American! Tom is anti-American!
    Welcome to the family, Tom!


    Uncontrolled vocabularies
    "I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
    Matt Cao
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    Joined: Apr 03, 2003
    Posts: 715
    Hi,
    I feel bad for those Vietnamese people. No body would dare to present their cases to the UN because logically their country gone, wipeout from the world map (the South Vietnam). Those people risk their lives not only once but three times totally because communists keep chasing them. Thomas P talks like communists are law abidding people. The economists called communism is cancerous ideology is not an empty fancy word.
    I think one of the factor leading to the end of the Cold War because the North Vietnamese allies visit their country after the war. It opened their eyes wide, very wide.
    Did you know Chinese only helps Ho Chi Minh after he yield the northern border to some miles to the south and cannot touch Chinese live in his country, those Chinese-Vietnamese can own a small private business tax-free and no draft into the war. Those people are free to travel back and forth between China and Vietnam. You could think of one-arm tying behind his back.
    I'm not sure about USSR, the USSR truely help him on spying on westerners and war aids when US was seriously involved in the area. But the amount of aid was limited in volume comparing to China.
    If you want books about them go to Virginia, in Pentagon and asking for the military library. I you could read French go to Louvre, or Russian go to Moscow. Since you are American probably those two routes are not helping you much. Both China and Vietnam are suck in history. They both have the tendency to rewrite history in favor of a winner that value next to nothing.
    Regards,
    MCao
    [ February 23, 2004: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
    Matt Cao
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    Joined: Apr 03, 2003
    Posts: 715
    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

    Frank, those $100 bills were not held by the peasants (99% of the population) who were treated like slaves. The French landowners treated the country as their personal bank accounts stripping everything of value and sending it off to France.

    Hi,
    Actually, only Vietnamese and French citizens allowed to own land. The wiser Vietnamse were the one have dual citizenship in their own land. 90% of the population were treated like slaves.
    It is the same for every colonial power country. The French treated them much better than Chinese treated them.
    Edit: It's depended on who are you talking to. The Northerners, French treated 90% of them like slaves. The Centralers, French treated 80% of them like slaves. The Southerners, French treated 60% of them like slaves. The treatment were not a doctrine but the authority rested upon the regional governors and the ultimate governor-general. The positions were bought and exchanged by the Paris government just like modern day ambassador.
    Regards,
    MCao
    [ February 24, 2004: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
    Matt Cao
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    Originally posted by Eleison Zeitgeist:

    Hi there,
    the whole tone of your agrument is very anti-american... For instance, in your original message, you stated that the US supported the murder of the South Vietnamese president. You did not state the reason why. You made it seem like the us gov was willy nilly about. The US monolith kills, YET, another president (seemingly without cause), etc...

    Hi,
    It was the CIA. From that focal point and many subsequent events misjudgment from CIA part, Congress prohibited CIA to assisinate other foreign political activists/dignitaries.
    Regards,
    MCao
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    Every other "fact" you stated comes with a very liberal view. While some are not technically false; Like your statement of "murder of president" - they are half-truths... you don't give a full account of the facts.
    What would you like to know that you think I only reported a half fact? JFK supported the execution of Deim because he thought that Diem was not doing a godd enough job keeping the Viet Cong out of South Vietnam. Does that make killing him better?
    Another example is the "Us didn't allow elections" argument. You made it sound like the US wanted Vietnam to be two separate countries; while technically true, it's a half-truth.
    That is what the US wanted. LBJ even proposed spending billions of US dollars in North Vietnam if Ho would agree to a permament division.
    "americans will not allow elections if they dont get the results that they want"...
    Yes, that is exactly what happened. We promised elections and then refused to carry them out.
    However, the way you stated this fact makes americans look insidious.
    We were insidious. We were evil. We dropped millions of gallons of defoliant (Agent Orange) on Vietnam knowing that it was probably a carcinogen.
    Even in the US, there are safety mechanisms that save the individual from majority rule -- even individuals that own must of the wealth. The us wanted Democracy to flower in Vietname with protections guaranted for the individual...
    wshat a beautiful speech. Do you have any evidence that the US for one minute supported democracy in Vietnam?
    Regardless, if Ho CHi Minh really wanted a unitfied Vietnam and he was not into communism(as you stated), why did he not just renounce Communism?
    He did in November of 1945. The response he got was that the French planned to kill him. And in 1950 we renounced Ho and the North Vietnamese as no good commies that needed to be defeated. Do you seriously think that Ho could have said that he wasn't a communist and had the US believe him? Do you seriosuly believe that Ho would trust us after the lies we told him in 1945?
    After the election, there would have been one country.
    Yes, one country with Ho Chi Minh as president. that we would never have allowed. Once a commie always a commie.
    For instance, you implied that the US supported Colonialism. The US did not support colonialism. The us did not fight the Viet Minh. Battle of Dien Bien Phu did not involve american troops -- only the French.
    We fully supported the French during the war supplying them with weapons and other essentials. I just checked my references for the issue of the US A-Bomb being used at Dienbienphu. The issue was discussed within the US military and it was concluded that three tactical A-Bombs dropped on Viet Cong positions would save the French. Senior state department officials worried that if the French refused and the story leaked it would make the US look bloodthirsy so the offer was never made to the French. Geroges Bidault claimed several months later that he turned down an offer of atomic weapons from Dulles but Dulles denied that he ever offered them.
    The US was involved after the french left... and that was only to try and contain communism...
    The US fought an illegal war against the Vietnamese. We had no right to be there. We created the fictional country of South Vietnam and then claimed we had to go protect them. Why do you think no other countries supported us in Vietnam the way they did in Korea? Because we were wrong.
    I didnt know they were such unreliable sources.
    They aren't wrong, they are limited. the Wikepedia had four paragraphs on Ho. Do you really think that is enough to make a judgement about him?
    why did you leave out important facts?
    I assume you mean how we fought an illegal war using illegal weapons against a people whose only crime was wanting to have their own independent nation. Now all the important facts are out.
    [ February 23, 2004: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
    Tom is anti-American! Tom is anti-American!
    Welcome to the family, Tom!

    Thanks, I guess.
     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
     
    subject: Vietnam war - Domino