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The Vietnam War: A War Without Rules

3160 words - 13 pages

The Vietnam War: A War Without Rules
Brian Phan

Ever since America’s Civil War (1861-1865), no war had divided its countries citizens as much as that, until they got involved into the Vietnam War. American involvement in Vietnam resulted in deep divisions in U.S. society and remains a bad area in history and consciousness for many Americans. The Vietnam War was the legacy of France's failure to suppress nationalist forces in Indochina as it struggled to restore its colonial dominion after World War II. Led by Ho Chi Minh, a Communist dominated revolutionary movement was about to take place, the Viet Minh part of this communist group waged a political and military ...view middle of the document...

Vietnam was reunited as a Communist nation. 1975 was the year when a picture was captured of a helicopter frantically evacuating the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon. (Refer to Appendix 1). Many Vietnamese believe this was when the war ended.
Millions of people died in the Vietnam War. Many of them being civilians, not soldiers. Though those numbers are almost expected for war, many people believe that the manner in which the war was fought was very questionable. Many people are convinced that the rules in which the military had to operate were actually not enforced well at all. It is important to take into consideration that many of the books that may have been written about the Vietnam War may have been biased. But many books have also come out about the Vietnam War that helps uncover the hidden secrets or mistakes that the U.S had made. An issue that had risen which may have not been noticed by the States until it was too late was, the issue that America was sending in some of the youngest soldiers they’ve seen to fight the war (average age of 19.8). So many of them were stomping into Vietnam all excited to shoot someone thinking that they were doing the right thing serving their country just as their elders had done.
This had helped result in quite a few devastating events. One of major importance was the massacre in My Lai, and another being close to the hearts of those of people at home, which is how the United States had left some of their POW (prisoners of war) back in Vietnam. These things may have easily been prevented if the States had followed their rules of engagement. It was on these accounts that the Vietnam War may be classified as the war without rules.
Two tragedies had taken place in Vietnam on March 16th 1968. The most tragic was named the massacre of My Lai. This was when as many as 500 unarmed citizens of Vietnam were massacred. Not enemies of Charlie’s Company (the task force that killed the citizens), but they were old men, women, and children. One of the leaders of the force who was only twenty four years old was William Calley. Charlie Company soldiers expressed amazement that Calley was thought by anyone to be officer material. One soldier described Calley as a kid trying to play war. Calley's lack of respect for the Vietnamese population was apparent to everyone in the company. According to one soldier if they wanted to do something wrong, it was alright with Calley. The soldiers of Charlie Company, like most combat soldiers in Vietnam, scored low on military exams.  Few combat soldiers had education beyond high school. The soldiers in his company eventually became corrupted. Soldiers systematically beat unarmed civilians. Some civilians were murdered.  Whole villages were burned.  Wells were poisoned. Rapes were common.
On March 14, a small squad from the company ran into a booby trap, killing a popular sergeant, blinding one GI and wounding several others.  The soldiers had revenge on their mind after a...

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