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What is this nonsense McCain is spouting about Vietnam?

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speedoo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:42 PM
Original message
What is this nonsense McCain is spouting about Vietnam?
"we never lost a battle"?

I guess the Tet Offensive does not count.

What bullshit. Ron Paul came close to calling him on it, but not quite.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. I wonder what his definition of "a battle" is.
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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. I wonder if people finally get that he really has gone over the
edge?
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
3. Technical...
Militarily, our troops fought admirably during Tet...and in the end retook Hue, Saigon and all the areas that were under their control. Also, American troops weren't drive out of the country. They didn't lose the war, the politicians did...as is the case again in Iraq.
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Ikonoklast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:53 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Militarily, Tet was a victory
But it was strategic loss.

Public opinion turned against the war after Tet, which caught every military official in this country by complete surprise as to it's scope and ferocity.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Yes Tet was a major military win
for the US.

The Viet Cong was destroyed as a force and never recovered to play a significant role in the rest of the war.

Also, the South Vietnamese citizenry didn't rise in revolt which was the goal of the offensive.

On the other hand, Walter Cronkite declared the war lost, and American public opinion was changed decisively, which was a strategic loss for the US much larger than the military victory in the field.

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DemoTex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 05:51 AM
Response to Reply #9
20. You hit on a key point, Yupster: Failure of the "General Uprising" component of Tet '68.
Tet was to be a two-pronged offensive in the classic Maoist sense: 1. The General Offensive, and; 2. The General Uprising. One of the first cities attacked was Da Nang, and the VC/NVA were shocked that the city's population did not back them.

So certain were the VC/NVA of a general uprising, that a young VC soldier stood in a busy Saigon intersection in broad daylight handing out propaganda fliers. Until a jeep of "White Mice" (Saigon police) came through the intersection and arrested him.

BTW: There was PLENTY of solid, credible intelligence that Tet '68 was going to happen. But it was, for the most part, ignored .. especially by President Thieu and his military (celebrating Tet was much more important to them than going on full alert).
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-30-07 06:54 AM
Response to Reply #3
36. Riiight......................
KharmaTrain said:

"Militarily, our troops fought admirably during Tet...and in the end retook Hue, Saigon and all the areas that were under their control. Also, American troops weren't drive out of the country. They didn't lose the war, the politicians did...as is the case again in Iraq."

As is the case with Iraq? As is the case with Iraq, Vietnam posed zero threat to the security of the United States. Both wars were wrong from the start, way wrong.
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Lint Head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
5. Nam ended 30 years ago. We are now in a war chosen by the
fascists in the White House. :dem:
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Zywiec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:57 PM
Response to Original message
6. I think the old saying is we never lost a battle, but lost the war
It's the same in Iraq. We made the quickest military advance in history, but failed to win the war.

No one can beat the US military head-to-head, but in today's environment, we don't have that luxury.
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cboy4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
7. Didn't he just say it was public opinion "back home,"
or something like that, but not a loss? :eyes:

That's like a football team losing a game 50-0, and blaming the fans in the stadium.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
8. He's right
We had overwhelming force and could win any battle - however we could never win the war.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Yes, John is right about 'Nam, and it WAS public opinion that turned
against the war that forced the US to leave. I also believe John KNOWS he's facing the same thing all over again with Iraq! It doesn't matter who is in the WH, the American Public has turned against this war and they want OUT! It really IS "Nam all over again!
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. It took the American people accepting that there was no way that
we would win in the end. It took people like John Kerry making a serious case and Nixon realizing that the pr of staying was worse than staying to save face.
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VP505 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. As true as that is,
what is important, IMO, is for the Dem's to keep focusing on WHY the American Public has turned against this occupation. The unnecessary deaths, lies, the incompetence and fraud, the waste of recourses, etc. BTW, we had the support of most of the rest of the world when we were focusing on Afghanistan and taking down Saddam but as soon as it shifted to long term occupation of Iraq we started loosing that support.
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ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:08 PM
Response to Original message
13. He's fucking insane, like all Republicans who make that BS claim..
The body count numbers may be called "winning." The invaders killed 2 million Vietnamese and the patriotic forces "only" killed 56,000 or so. So he can call those battle statistics "wins." But the people of Vietnam never stopped fighting for their freedom, and they won the war.

Public opinion changed in the US because over time enough sane people realized that the attempt to brutalize the Vietnamese people into submission would never work. The fact that most people in the US eventually opposed continuing the pointless slaughter was because they realized it would never lead to the successful imposition of a puppet regime in Vietnam. The change in views was a reflection of the fact that the US The Vietnamese people defeated the US murder machinery. The change in public opinion was just a result of increasing recognition of that reality.
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PsN2Wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:13 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Check my sig line
N/T
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
15. Okay see in Vietnam we DROPPED INTO a civil war
that we couldn't win

In Iraq we CREATED a civil war


that we couldn't win
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ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Actually, the US created the artificial division between north and south.
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 11:32 PM by ConsAreLiars
When the Vietnamese defeated the French colonialists, the Geneva Accords of 1954 created a temporary division that saved face for the French. The reunification was contingent on majority votes in both sectors in 1956 elections, but the US backed Diem regime refused to hold those elections. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conference_%281954%...

(edit typo)
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 06:30 AM
Response to Reply #16
21. Correct. In both cases we created the conflict.
McCain is technically correct: we had the resources firepower and mobility to never actually lose a battle, what we couldn't 'win' was the war, as that would have required an act of genocide, which at somewhere around 2,000,000 dead Vietnamese, we were pretty close to anyway.
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 06:46 AM
Response to Reply #16
22. There still would have been a war even if we weren't backing Diem.
I suspect it would have been relatively short, though.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 06:55 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. The US role
that caused the war went back well before Diem. This country's policy changed after FDR's death.
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 06:57 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. I understand that.
As usual with history, nothing happens in a vacuum and we could easily go back to the beginning of the French colonial period and say "what if...?"
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. In a discussion
about the US role in Vietnam, the French role is significant to the extent that the US reversed the direction it was moving in under FDR, and decided to reinstate French rule.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #22
34. Ike didn't think so. But what did he know?
The Geneva Accords called for a unifying election that we concluded would be won handily by the Viet Minh, unifying the country peacefully under the communist regime. We decided instead to back Diem and take Vietnam into a civil war that would cost 2,000,000 or so Vietnamese lives.
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-30-07 05:16 AM
Response to Reply #34
35. I'm not sure I'd call Ho's purges...
...and the activities of the religious maniac gangsters in the south "peaceful," but YMMV.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-30-07 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. 2,000,000 dead from our actions.
You can try and weasel out of that anyway you want.
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-01-07 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #37
38. What the fuck?
All I said was that had reunification occured, the resulting troubles would have almost certainly been short-lived. How the fuck am I trying to "weasel out" of anything? I stand by my original statement. I support it with the fact that low-level instability already existed prior to 1956. Would it have been anything like the scale of the war once we got involved? Of course not! What part of "short-lived" do you not understand?
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-01-07 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #38
39. There is no evidence there would have been any war.
In fact our leaders thought that there was no chance that the communists would not win hands down in a general election and quickly unify the country, which had been divided for all of one or two years at the time anyway. You then brought up the purges in the North as some sort of equivocating factor to the carnage we caused. That was what I reacted to as it is a pathetic argument.

"There still would have been a war even if we weren't backing Diem." No there would not have. You have presented zero evidence that there would have been. And we have the blood of 2,000,000 vietnamese on our hands because we decided to play out our cold war real politics with vietnamese blood. All that so that 30 years later Vietnam would be safe for sneaker factories.
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WheelWalker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:52 PM
Response to Original message
17. He's playing the "genuine American" card....establishing he can be as
delusional as the next "mission accomplished" shrub.
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Smith_3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 04:06 AM
Response to Original message
18. Using the "almightyness" of the US military to boost the ego of the common folks...
Its disgusting and its exactly the type of attitude that caused people all over europe to cheer when the planes crahsed into NY.
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July Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:14 AM
Response to Reply #18
27. As far as I recall, people "all over Europe" did not cheer when the planes crashed.
We had unprecedented sympathy from around the world. I spoke to European friends and read some foreign papers afterward and did not see what you describe.

Completely agree with you, though, about the manipulation of people through their need to say "We're number one!"
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Smith_3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. Well, let me refrase my statement:
I believe that alot of the worlds "anti-americanism" stems from the perception that this type of attitude is widespread among americans. And I don't think that people repeating it over and over (even if it is progressives) is helping any. Everytime a person feels the need to remind everyone that the us military is "unmatched in the field", be it a conservative, liberal or who the heck ever, to some people this is synonymous to "Hooray, we are worth more than you and you're corpses piling up in the dirt is for the greater good." I don't think that that's a good way to make friends.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 04:09 AM
Response to Original message
19. worms ate his atom brain
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Toots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:07 AM
Response to Original message
26. What battle was lost during the Tet offensive?
Just because the NVA attacked every base in Vietnam on the same day does not mean they won any thing..
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Mountainman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:25 AM
Response to Original message
28. The Tet offensive was not one battle and we overcame the offensive.
The thing that make the Tet offensive so important is that it showed the lie that people were told.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
30. Which is kind of like the coach saying, "We got more yardage, we just didn't score".
In "military" terms of, battles won, casualties inflicted, tonnage of bombs dropped, artillery rounds fired, we "won" the war. As did, the British in that dust-up with the colonists in the 18th century.

But, in real terms, the United States got it's ass kicked out of Vietnam.

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Smith_3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. Or "I have more muscles than you. They're just covered by fat."
;)
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ieoeja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
32. Notice you never hear USMC officers say, "we would have won if they would have let us do more"?

I was PLC Jr, 2nd summer session, 1981, at Marine Corps Office Candidate School in Quantico. There the reason I was taught for South Vietnam's defeat was the exact opposite of the "common wisdom" you hear from US Army and US Air Force officers.

The USN/USMC claims South Vietnam lost because the United States tried to do too much, not too little. 90% of the population lived on only 10% of the land. Most of the fighting and dying done by US service members was in that empty 90% we could have ignored. This affected the three different sides in the following manner:

Communist Vietnamese - our forays into the jungles gave them them greater opportunity to bloody our noses which kept their morale inflated. Our forays into North Vietnam caused the same rally-round-the-flag reaction 9-11 caused in the United States or the Battle of Britain caused in England.

United States - these forays increased American casualties. This did not cause a rally-round-the-flag reaction here because we faced no threat. It just made us tired of the whole damn thing.

Anti-Communist Vietnamese - the more we "stood up", the more they "stood down". The South Vietnamese were largely anti-communist. And they had fought just as hard and as long against the French and the Japanese. They were also fighting for their homes. And there is every reason to believe they would have fought hard against the rebels and the North. The anti-US crowd predicted otherwise and were proven wrong when the South held off invasion by the North for two years. Even after the weakening of the South caused by reliance on the US for a decade, the South might well have won had we provided them with just a little more support, like more equipment and perhaps even close in air support during their ground battles with the NVA. We did not, of course, because of the affect our take-the-war-to-the-enemy strategy had on the United States as described above.


I suppose we should include the independant Vietnamese in this as well. I'm sure most didn't know communism from facism. But they did know foreigners versus neighbors. And the more they saw of us, the more they would have been willing to side with their neighbor regardless of ideology. Just more evidence supporting the USN/USMC strategy to let South Vietnam bear the brunt of the fighting.

The USN/USMC spent the previous century fighting and winning exactly this type of war. This recommendation is not one of hindsight. LBJ & McNamara were presented three different strategies for fighting this war. They rejected the USN/USMC plan while embracing a combination of the US Army (take the war to the enemy) and USAF (bomb them into the stone age) strategies.


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LSK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
33. its a whole Red Herring - THERE IS NOTHING TO WIN
Edited on Thu Nov-29-07 02:00 PM by LSK
THERE WAS NOTHING TO WIN IN VIETNAM.

THERE IS NOTHING TO WIN IN IRAQ.

THEY ARE JUST ENDLESS IMPERIAL OCCUPATIONS OF FOREIGN LANDS. NEITHER COUNTRY THREATED US. WE HAVE NO BUSINESS BEING IN EITHER PLACE.

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tuckessee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-01-07 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
40. Shows how dumb the American military mentality is.
Sure, they never lost a battle but VN wasn't a war of strategic battles.

It was a guerilla war.

The Nationalists didn't need to win battles - all they had to do was engage the foreign armies & their puppets and emerge in such a condition that they could do so in the future.

Hearing these clowns say things like McCain said is like hearing an athlete say they should've won a game because they scored a touchdown on every possession when in fact the game they were playing was actually basketball.

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