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A War America Could Have Won

1861 words - 8 pages

A War America Could have Won

North Vietnam was battling for ownership of South Vietnam, so they could be a unified communist nation. To prevent the domino effect and further spread of communism, the USA troops in 1965 went into action against the Viet Cong until 1975. Not only did the greatest superpower in the world get bested by a third world nation, but also lost badly. Perhaps this war could have been won, or prevented in the first place. The USA could have and should have won this war, with a combination of better weapons usage, better tactics and better support from their home country.

The First American combat troops in Vietnam landed at Da Nang in 8 March 1965 to defend the ...view middle of the document...

Weighing the consequences of using weapons such as napalm and Agent Orange, the USA quite possibly could have won the Vietnam War completely through the use of air power. More tonnage of ordinance was dropped in any given week during Vietnam than during all other wars in the history of the world combined. One would think this would make the war easy to win. Unfortunately, ethical problems and lack of planning made it impossible to settle the war in the air, thus forcing the USA to invade with ground forces.
American involvement in the war escalated of a frightening speed. President Johnson chose General Westoremland to command land forces in Vietnam. By 1967 Westmoreland commanded over 500,00 troops at the peak of war. On the tactics side, the entire US offensive used the essential comabat strategy of 'search and destroy' missions. Search and destroy missions involved US soldiers soldiers going out of the base and finding then killing the enemy. Unfortunately the Viet Cong knew the land and knew where to hide. The Viet Cong set up booby traps, which meant the search and destroy missions was like throwing US soldiers away. For more US soldiers were killed from booby traps than other cause of deaths in Vietnam. The difference between the Americans and the North Vietnam was the tactics. The Viet Cong were ruthless soldiers who used guerilla tactics. They would recruit children, tie themselves to trees, use babies as bait for booby traps, and other unethnical things. These and other fighting techniques such as strapping explosives to kids and having them run up to US soldiers, were a few of the toils US soldiers had to deal with.

Weapons were another problem in Vietnam. The Americans weapons were useless in the dense jungle. The M-16, a revolutionary new infantry rifle, was prone to jams as well as water damaage. And in a country when it rains almost every day, was not good news. Also, US commanders underistimated the power of the Viet Cong's weapons, thinking that they only had muskets and bolt-action rifles. But since the Chinese and Russians were supplying the Viet Cong with modern AK-47s and other similar arms, the officers were faced with a nasty suprise. This suprise occurred when the communists' Tet offensive launched in January 1968 quickly extinguished the "light at the end of the tunnel". The Vietcong struck throughtout South Vietnam, including a penetration of the US embassy compound in Saigon.
The Tet Offensive had caught the Americans off guard. By early March American troops had cleared the last of the towns of their enemy troops. After years of confident predictions of victory Tet was a bitter blow for Johnson who had to admit the war was far from being won. America was bleeding. An American serviceman reported "A group of 'little men in black pyjamas running in the rain'......defeated the greatest military power in the world."#

While Johnson had heaps of support at the beginning of the war, as soon as the Americans...

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