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Why Did the US Lose the Vietnam War: Argumentative Essay

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The United States was involved in the war in Vietnam, broken down along the lines of the administrations of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. The US entered the Vietnam War to stop the spread of communism and lost it by 1973. The origins of the failure were the fact that the United States was committed to an indigenous political leadership that had lost the hearts and minds of the people. The United States drastically misjudged, by wrongly attributing by being involved in what was a Vietnamese struggle, the US located itself at the mercy of a local struggle, a determined adversary, and a weak client. Also, it elevated into a major international conflict that might have remained a Vietnamese conflict. By raising the stakes into a test of its own credibility, it perilously narrowed its option. A policy so flawed in its premises cannot help but fail, and in this case, the results were disastrous. How did the communists win? The ideologies on the right to maintain that defeat were not foreordained, and in fact, the United States won the Second Indochina War by early 1973, but that war was lost in the next two years. On the left hold that the United States was automatically concerned to defeat by its very entrance into a nationalistic condemned by a xenophobic people. The purpose of this essay is to argue that the United States did lose the war in Vietnam because of different factors, such as the communists having a superior grand strategy (the strategy of the revolutionary war), and there was a political failure as well. However, the primary reason was a military failure.

The strategy of the revolutionary war was the key ingredient of the United States' failure. The communist movement achieved this national objective through the implementation of a coherent, long-term, developing, conception, and brilliant strategy for the revolutionary war. The superior strategy is the one that is best fitted to the actual conditions under which the war is waged. Furthermore, the strategy of revolutionary war takes advantage of one's own vulnerabilities and the enemy's strengths, the revolutionary war strategy won the war, and the northern communists have an old axiom North Vietnamese often cite. The superior strategy is this: 1) when the tactics are wrong and the strategy is wrong, the war will be quickly lost; 2) when the tactics are right, but the strategy is wrong, the battle may be won, but the war will be lost; 3) when the tactics are wrong, but the strategy is right, battles may be lost, but the war will be won; 4) when the tactics are right, and the strategy is right, the war will be won quickly. Looking at the Second Indochina War, the American conduct of the war falls into case 2, while the North Vietnamese can be placed in case 3. Revolutionary war strategy stress ambiguity. Concepts and words are used to confuse an enemy, alter his perception of reality, and then, lead an enemy into faulty countermeasures. The revolutionary war is a protracted war. Time is the ally of revolutionary since time is required to develop military power and build a political base. The superior strategy is a changing war, by its nature it will start a purely political war with a small guerrilla-type force. The political side is still prominent as military force grows. Eventually, the guerrilla force, with equality of effort between the military and political thrust. In its final stages, it becomes almost purely a conventional military effort with only minimal regard for the political aspects. And that was the primary reason for the victory of the communists.

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The political failure, in 1966, General Taylor, ambassador to Vietnam, rephrases this view the United States is engaged in a clash with the militant wing of the communist movement represented by the Vito Cong and peaking. Just how far the administration has moved from the previous public bellicose attitude become apparent when the president appeared on television to make a major policy speech 'on our most difficult and urgent problem'. President Nixon concluded that the get-tough approach was a failure. Nor did Hanoi buy Kissinger's secret approach. They insisted that military and political issues were inseparable, Thieu must be deposed as a precondition to serious talks, and that American troops must be withdrawn unilaterally. The political stalemate coupled with increasing domestic opposition, now the administration decided that some American troops must be withdrawn and that the war must become Vietnamized, that is that the United States could equip, train, and inspire the South Vietnamese to lift the gaps left by departing American forces. To evidence Pacific intentions, the administration was unilaterally withdrawing twenty-five thousand troops. Moreover, Clark Clifford former, secretary of defense in the Johnson administration, called for a complete reappraisal of American policy in Vietnam. Clifford argued that South Vietnam could stand increasingly on its own feet and should be left with minimum American logistic and air support. Clifford wanted a hundred thousand American soldiers withdrawn by the end of 1969 and the remainder by the end of 1970. In addition to this, the Nixon administration did have an objective, to withdraw from the Vietnam War while preserving the integrity of American commitments. Nixon and Kissinger camouflaged this withdrawal behind a facade, featuring Vietnamization and negotiation. Both got the United States out of Vietnam, but the final and ignominious collapse of the RVN spelled failure for that part of the objective of seeking to preserve the integrity of United States commitments.

Lastly, the US decided to end its intervention because of domestic pressure. In the United States, President Johnson was driven from politics because of his inability both to the vision of a 'Great Society' for the citizens and to win the war. Although the Tet Offensive in 1968 was a military disaster for North Vietnamese forces located at the 17th parallel - a defeat from which communists never fully recovered, it marked the turning point in the war's legitimacy crisis in America, the ordinary people increasingly were not willing to continue this war, but the ruling political elite was willing to continue. Also, Americans had been given numerous assurances and promised that their sons will be returned home soon, that war was being won, that South Vietnam was being a bastion of democracy, and that the United States was pursuing the war in accordance with the law and ideals of the American society. In contrast, both presidents were caught in half-trust, outright lies, and deception regarding various aspects of the war, this behavior has been unacceptable, especially in the context of a war that cost over a million Vietnamese lives, cost 58,000 American lives, and uncounted billions of dollars. Once the process began, many Americans wanted to know what other form of deception had been perpetrated upon them, which include its origins in Vietnamese history, Eisenhower's abrogation of the democratic elections promised in the Geneva Accords of 1954, Kennedy's involvement in the coup that killed President Diem, and the US original support for Ho Chi Minh during the Second World War. There was a major of dishonorable acts dredged up for the Americans to be considered. Following this, many Americans believed that the military has failed the country, either for the simple dereliction of duty in failing to strongly protest political decisions which were strategically culpable or for acts that violate, human rights, morality, and justice. For instance, the My Lai massacre, in which the American military had slaughtered over 500 Vietnamese civilians, drove home the vision that the true enemy was the US. Also, some citizens adopted a 'stab in the back' analysis that blamed the presidential administration for not allowing the military to win the war and trying the military, hand's a common response on the part of the losing side of the war throughout history. Other Americans believed that had abandoned Kennedy's 'child' to the communists and that the United States had failed to uphold its commitment. Finally, after thirty years after the Johnson administration decided to escalate the war in Vietnam, Robert McNamara, one of its principal architects, published a memoir, at the beginning of which he wrote: “We in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations who participated in the decisions on Vietnam acted according to what we thought were the principles and traditions of this nation. We made our decisions in light of those values. Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why” (Warner, 2003, p.22).

In conclusion, many Americans believed that had abandoned South Vietnam to the communists and that the US had failed to uphold its commitment, the United States military has failed the country through acts that violate, morality, human rights, and justice, such as the My Lai massacre, and argue that the horror of Vietnam War was different from any other war. Also, some Americans blame the presidential administrations for not allowing the military to win the war, a result of this, President Johnson was driven from politics because of his failure to achieve his vision of a 'Great Society' and win the war. Last but not least, the US ended their intervention because of domestic pressure, pressure from the masses, such as the ordinary people increasingly were not willing to continue this war, a war that cost over 58,000 American lives and uncounted billions of dollars. Finally, the United States did lose the war in Vietnam because the communists had a superior grand strategy of revolutionary war - guerrilla warfare, without it there would have been no communists' victory.

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