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#1
Old 04-20-2003, 11:21 AM
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The unpopularity of the Vietnam War..

So the war in Vietnam became the most unpopular war ever fought by the U.S. government. Opposition to it grew into an "anti-war movement." The civil rights movement -- at its height in the early and mid-1960s -- created a climate for protest But besides that do you think that there were any other contributing factors to the unpopularity of the war?
#2
Old 04-20-2003, 11:51 AM
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The single, largest cause for anti-war sentiment during the Vietnam era was probably the lies that the U.S. gov't got caught in. For example; Tonkin Gulf "Incident," the secret bombing Cambodia, the release of the Pentagon Papers. These are just the highlights, but they indicated to the public, (even the "Silent Majority"), that the gov't was lying. American boys were dying for political lies. This more than anything made the war unpopular.
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Old 04-20-2003, 12:21 PM
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Interesting that the government didn't learn its lesson.

However, a point must be made. Vietnam was not an unpopular war. In fact, had it not been for the Tet Offensive, a huge military victory for US forces, America would likely have won Vietnam. Until the day that US troops were completely withdrawn from Vietnam, a majority of Americans were in favor of fighting it.

This knowledge makes a person realize..........the majority isn't always right.
#4
Old 04-20-2003, 12:35 PM
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The Vietnam war was fought for all the right reasons in all the wrong ways. Never before was there a war waged by so many politicians. Communism had yet to be completely unmasked for the immense fraud it is and our nation's captains of industry were stunningly silent in their defense of the American way.
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Old 04-20-2003, 01:23 PM
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javascript:smilie('') And already attempts to javascript:smilie('') And already attempts to hijack this thread for political reasons have begun.

Getting back to the OP,
Another reason for the unpopularity of the Vietnam War was that the government we supported in the South was in many ways not appreciably better than the government in the North:
* Diem, with our support, blocked democratic elections (because the communists probably would have won)
* Diem oppressed the Buddhist Majority in Vietnam, and his government was generally considered extremely corrupt.

In attempt to remedy this we supported a coup against Diem:
* General Minh overthrew the Diem government and murdered Diem
* The government we were now supporting in Vietnam was a dictatorial Junta
* Minh failed to bring stability to Vietnam, and was himself later overthrown

Now, I am not saying that the North Vietnamese government was better ? in fact, it probably was worse. However, as the war went on, it became very hard to justify the hundreds of thousands of deaths all to protect what amounted to a south Vietnamese dictatorship.

Also creating opposition to the Vietnam War, incidents such as the My Lai Massacre http://pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam...hes/mylai.html
#6
Old 04-20-2003, 05:17 PM
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Abbie Hoffman was interviewed for the documentary It Was Twenty Years Ago Today, about the 20th anniversary of the Beatles Sgt. Peppers album and he was asked how many people were against the Vietnam War.

He said, "Maybe not a majority of the people, but enough. Enough."

That's actually a very profound answer.
#7
Old 04-20-2003, 06:47 PM
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A big reason the Vietnam conflict was so unpopular was the draft lottery at the time. You could get a college deferment for only so long. By 1969 they were drafting teachers right out of classrooms! Not like the Guard going today. In fact, it was after the Vietnam thing where the higher ups came up with that idea. Build up the Guard, send them to war, keep the Regulars handy.

I remember hearing the draft lottery on the radio when they pulled the birthdays out of the hat. One year my birthday was #2. I was 16 and am a girl so I was safe, but those were scary times.
#8
Old 04-20-2003, 07:15 PM
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By 1969 they were drafting teachers right out of classrooms!
I was teaching high school at the time but I don't remember being afraid that I was eligible. Can you cite a source for your assertion? You could be right, but my memory is that teachers were still deferred even then.
#9
Old 04-20-2003, 07:24 PM
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Why was the Vietnam War unpopular? In one word: television.
#10
Old 04-20-2003, 07:38 PM
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The vietnam war was not unpopular.

The Gallup polls consistently showed high support for the vietnam war.

After the late sixties, more people wanted to get out of vietnam, but not because they were against being there, they were just tired of not winning it. (most people at the end who wanted us to end it, were pro-war people, who were not against the war, they just were frustrated)

The people who were against vietnam "on principle"(most of them young people who studied vietnam), were always a minority.
#11
Old 04-20-2003, 07:42 PM
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Originally posted by samclem
I was teaching high school at the time but I don't remember being afraid that I was eligible. Can you cite a source for your assertion? You could be right, but my memory is that teachers were still deferred even then.
It depended on where you were teaching. If you were a teacher in an inner city school, in Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta, whatever, you either had an automatic deferment or you were just not drafted. There was too big a shortage of teachers who would work in inner cities at the time, esp after the race riots.

Teachers in "big city" schools were not drafted for the most part.
#12
Old 04-20-2003, 07:52 PM
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Originally posted by yola
A big reason the Vietnam conflict was so unpopular was the draft lottery at the time. You could get a college deferment for only so long. .
The lottery was in effect for a very short period of time. Those who had deferments when the lottery was invented, had their choice of keeping their deferments, or placing themselves in the lottery pool.

You could get a college deferment for 5 years if you went for a double major. After graduation, you could still get a job with an occupational deferment. If you could not get a deferment, you could live in Canada for a couple of years.

Nixon quickly ended the draft/lottery. Nixon started removing troops from vietnam in 1970.

It wasnt until after Nixon ended the draft and after he de-escalated the war that support for the war among the pro-war people decreased - out of frustration of not winning.
#13
Old 04-20-2003, 07:59 PM
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If anyone wants to know about the vietnam war, read "Johnsons War" and read the white house transcipts, available in book form: "Reaching for Glory", and "Taking Charge", and cassettes and transcripts are available from the Johnson Library.

America never wanted to win in vietnam, and never intended to win, and never had a plan to win.

Johnson himself did not think vietnam was worth one american boys life, and clearly said so in a telephone conversation to Senator Russel in 1965(Johnson said vietnam was a "pissant country" and not worth saving). However, Johnson feared he would not be re-elected if he did not make war there.
#14
Old 04-20-2003, 08:02 PM
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Originally posted by Zenster
The Vietnam war was fought for all the right reasons in all the wrong ways. Never before was there a war waged by so many politicians. Communism had yet to be completely unmasked for the immense fraud it is and our nation's captains of industry were stunningly silent in their defense of the American way.
Contrary to public statements, both Johnson and MacNamarra(and their entire staffs) did not believe in "the domino theory" by 1965, and did not fear the spread of communism if vietnam was lost. Read the white house transcripts to see what they thought and said.
#15
Old 04-20-2003, 08:05 PM
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Originally posted by bjohn13


Vietnam was not an unpopular war. In fact, had it not been for the Tet Offensive, a huge military victory for US forces, America would likely have won Vietnam. Until the day that US troops were completely withdrawn from Vietnam, a majority of Americans were in favor of fighting it.

You are absolutely right, the majority of americans wanted to win it.

But you are wrong that we could have won it. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon had no intention nor ever any plan to ever win it.
#16
Old 04-20-2003, 09:04 PM
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It depended on where you were teaching. If you were a teacher in an inner city school, in Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta, whatever, you either had an automatic deferment or you were just not drafted. There was too big a shortage of teachers who would work in inner cities at the time, esp after the race riots. Teachers in "big city" schools were not drafted for the most part.
So, you're basically pulling this out of your ass. You have no cite. And, IMHO, you're wrong.
#17
Old 04-21-2003, 12:25 PM
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I dispute the claim in the OP that the Vietnam War was the most unpopular war. The American Revolution and the Union side of the Civil War were far less popular. Vietnam was about as unpopular as the Mexican War and the War of 1812.

WWII has clouded Americans' view of history. It became popular on Dec. 7 1941 (but most people were against joining the war prior to that date). So now people think that we all have to be pro-war a la WWII on all American wars now.

And to echo clearing up some other misconceptions given in this thread:

1. By 1965 Johnson knew that to pacify Vietnam would have required millions more troops indefinitely. That actually winning was not going to happen.

2. The Tet Offensive was a stunning victory for the Vietnamese plan. Absolutely stunning. Note that the Vietnamese were not concerned with body counts. That was the Americans' measure, not theirs. It achieved their goals and much, much more. Claiming that the Tet Offensive failed is like claiming the A-bombs in Japan were failures. After all, they cost a lot of money and achived no worthwhile affects on Japan's ability to wage war.
#18
Old 04-21-2003, 01:27 PM
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America never wanted to win in vietnam, and never intended to win, and never had a plan to win.
Quote:
Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon had no intention nor ever any plan to ever win it.
Susanann, what exactly are you saying? If you're suggesting that the US never developed a strategy that would win the war, I'd agree. But are you saying the US had no plan at all? Or that the various presidents, military leaders, and the American public didn't want to win? If this is your contention, I certainly disagree and can't imagine how you think that's true.
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Old 04-21-2003, 08:16 PM
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Originally posted by ftg


Note that the Vietnamese were not concerned with body counts. That was the Americans' measure, not theirs.
Body counts was the idea of Johnson and McNamarra.

They could find no usual way to measure any progress, because they were not making any progress in vietnam. Enemy strength, enemy supplies, traffic on the Ho Chi Minh trail, control of the countryside, esp at night, kept increasing, not decreasing during the entire war. Westmoreland kept asking for more and more troops, just to not lose. In spite of all the troops sent there, all the american boys that died, all of the bombing of the north, all of the bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail, and all of the money spent on developing that country, the enemy kept getting stronger and stronger each month of the war.

They invented body counts in a futile attempt to show the public that progress was being made- but it wasnt. Anyways, the body counts were not accurate, and the reported counts were false.

Using body counts, and trying to fight a war of attrition in an asian land war, was just plain stupid, and many people pointed that out at the time.

Johnson kept talking about "seeing the light at the end of the tunnel" for years - but it was only a freight train coming at us.

No president wanted to win it, no president intended to win it, and no president ever had a plan to win it. That we did not win it, comes as no surprise to anyone who knew what was going on. Vietnam was pointless, and everything spent on it and everybody that died in in, was in vain(as some of us pointed out from the beginning - and as Johnson knew full well before he made it a war).
#20
Old 04-21-2003, 08:31 PM
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Originally posted by Little Nemo


Susanann, what exactly are you saying? If you're suggesting that the US never developed a strategy that would win the war, I'd agree. But are you saying the US had no plan at all? Or that the various presidents, military leaders, and the American public didn't want to win? If this is your contention, I certainly disagree and can't imagine how you think that's true.
You cant imagine, because you have not read the white house transcripts, and you have no idea of what went on. Read them and you will see for yourself what happened.

I said the presidents didnt want to win it.

Some military leaders wanted to win it, but some did not. Anyways, it was not up to the military leaders to do squat.

The american public(and congress and the military) were lied to and kept in the dark, and Johnson constantly made elaborate plans to make sure that the amerian people did not know what was going on. Since most of the american people did not know what was going on, and did not know anything of vietnam, their uniformed opinions(and whether the public wanted to win or not) is irrelevent.

For the most part, the military leaders were not consulted, and were left out of the plans, and they were not given much information on the progress of the war, or of Johnsons intentions.The joint cheifs did not have any say in the war, and even those few times when Johnson did hold a meeting with the joint cheifs, Johnson had already made his decisions before he met with them, it was all for show, and nothing more. The military was also lied to, and decieved. Johnson and MacNamarra ran the war, not the military. The Joint cheifs were also methodically replaced. Those generals who had battle experience and who know how to make war, were replaced with generals who knew how to sit behind a desk and be passive.

Again, if you are interested in knowing what happened in vietnam, and why, read the transcripts.
#21
Old 04-21-2003, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by samclem
I was teaching high school at the time but I don't remember being afraid that I was eligible. Can you cite a source for your assertion? You could be right, but my memory is that teachers were still deferred even then.
No cite, I'm afraid, but I do remember having two teachers at my schools being drafted, the first in late '69 or early '70, the second the next year. The first left during the school year, the second was able to wait until the school year was over. I have no idea what ever became of either of them. And, for what it's worth, I went to a suburban school.
#22
Old 04-22-2003, 12:48 AM
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Susanann, I'd be interested in reading these transcripts. A cite would be nice.

But until then, please enlighten us. If all of the presidents you listed didn't want to win the war, what was their real purpose?

By the way, the first American troops arrived in Vietnam in 1955. So Truman, at least, is cleared of whatever conspiracy existed.
#23
Old 04-22-2003, 01:29 AM
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I was a teacher in the inner-city during the war in Vietnam. Since I am female, I do not know what the deferment guidelines were, but I don't recall a deferment for teaching. I may be mistaken.

Could you get a deferment for being married? I'm trying to remember.

One of the reasons that this war is remembered with such pain is that it split the nation for years.

It was certainly an eye-opener for me about how deceptive the government can be.
#24
Old 04-22-2003, 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by Little Nemo
Susanann, I'd be interested in reading these transcripts. A cite would be nice.

But until then, please enlighten us. If all of the presidents you listed didn't want to win the war, what was their real purpose?

By the way, the first American troops arrived in Vietnam in 1955. So Truman, at least, is cleared of whatever conspiracy existed.
Truman started the whole mess!

The puposes were many, and in many cases, we can only guess the purposes. It was clear that one of the purposes of Truman, was to put pressure on China on several fronts - paying for the French war in Vietnam(along with the war in Korea and patrolling the straits of Taiwan).

Truman is NOT!!! cleared, he payed for 80% of the French war in Vietnam. Without Truman, there would not have been an american war in vietnam, nor a French war there. Truman started the war in vietnam, reversing the policy of Roosevelt who wanted vietnam to gain independence(vietnam was our/Roosevelts friend in world war 2)

Eisenhower didnt change anything in vietnam, the number of advisors in vietnam was pretty consistent from the beginning to the end of his presidency - Eisenhower did not send fighting troops over there.

Many people think Kennedy was going to leave vietnam after his re-election. Kennedy sent troops there, but saw it was a complete mess. Kennedy had problems looking very bad in foreign policy after Berlin, Cuba, Laos, etc. and did not want another foreign defeat before the 64 elections.

Nixon used vietnam to improve relations with China and Russia, Nixon considered vietnam to be insignificant, he thought is was merely a pawn in the scheme of world affairs. Nixon never had any illusions about winning after he was elected in 1968, and spent his entire presidency getting out of there.

Johnson did not want to leave, because he said on the tapes, that if he left, he would go down in history as the first president to lose a war, and that he would not get re-elected. But yet, he admitted that he could not win.

As far as teachers, college students were told, that if they took jobs teaching in the big city schools, like Detroit or Cleveland, that they would not be drafted, and they werent. I dont know of actual deferments, but most of the local draft boards agreed not to draft inner city teachers.

As far as married people, I think up until about February 1966, "being married" was an automatic deferment.

"There are ways of guiding the press to show light at the end of the tunnel" (Larry Berman, Lyndon Johnson's War)


The Johnson white house tapes are available here:
http://lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson...jlib_print.htm


Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964,Michael Beschloss.
Many people still do not know that Lyndon Johnson recorded every minute of every one of his private telephone calls while President of the United States. From the moment he took over the oval office in 1963, Johnson ordered state-of-the-art recording equipment installed to save everything for posterity. http://texana.texascooking.com/books...housetapes.htm

http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...8462?vi=glance


Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnsons Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965,Michael Beschloss.
http://wbthub.com/Reaching-for-G...965-0684804085
The big revelation in this book is the inner conflict that Johnson felt about escalating U.S. involvement in Vietnam. He knew the U.S. couldnt win; but he couldnt find a way to leave Vietnam while our troop levels still were low, without leaving himself exposed on the domestic political right.
#25
Old 04-22-2003, 09:03 AM
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Originally posted by Little Nemo
Susanann, I'd be interested in reading these transcripts. A cite would be nice.

But until then, please enlighten us. If all of the presidents you listed didn't want to win the war, what was their real purpose?

By the way, the first American troops arrived in Vietnam in 1955. So Truman, at least, is cleared of whatever conspiracy existed.

Lyndon Johnson:

"Vietnam is a D***** little pissant country. It's not worth one American boys life".

"If I pull out of Vietnam, they'll impeach me, won't they?"

"I can't get out. I can't finish it. What the h*** can I do?"

(telephone conversation between Johnson and Senator Richard Russel, white house tapes, Lyndon Johnson library)
#26
Old 04-22-2003, 10:52 AM
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[quote]America never wanted to win in vietnam

Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon had no intention nor ever any plan to ever win it.

No president wanted to win it

I said the presidents didnt want to win it.

Some military leaders wanted to win it, but some did not[quote]

Susanann, for the last time, can you provide one fact to back up any of the above? How about a single quote from any American president where he says "Yes, I know we're going to lose in Vietnam. It's all part of my master plan. Bwa-ha-ha-ha."

Otherwise, you appear to be unable to distinguish between the US being unable the win the war and the US intentionally seeking defeat.
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