What major mistakes did the American military make in the Vietnam war?

15 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The United States was never willing to do what was necessary to end North Vietnamese and world communism help to the Viet Cong insurrection, if we can use World War II as an example. President Johnson was always presented with options that could have truly devastated North Vietnam, but it would have amounted to the amount of civilian casualties that he simply was not willing to take responsibility for. He could have flooded much of North Vietnam like the USAF flooded the Rhine valley. He was never willing to strike the most important targets because they were very likely to have Russian advisors present, and he was not willing to start World War III.

    No American administration was willing to really confront the problem of the corruption in the South Vietnamese leadership. While the USAF was obliterating the Ho Chi Minh trail, the ARVN leadership was selling war material to the Viet Cong. The ARVN leadership was fleecing their own people and putting them into relocation camps not to protect them but to take their land.

    President Nixon was often using action in the Vietnam war as cover for his domestic problems, as stated in an interview with Pat Buchanan. He was willing to make an uneven peace in 1973 to get peoples' minds off of other problems.

    The war was not lost by the soldiers, it was lost by the politicians in Washington and in Saigon.

    Source(s): book Vietnam, the 10,000 Day War Vietnam from the History Channel
  • 1 decade ago

    Apart from lying and invading the country due to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, the US thought that superior firepower would be enough to defeat a peasant population. This proved incorrect, as were the assumptions the military made about their opponents- they were dedicated, intelligent and ingenious, whereas the US had to depend on conscripts with no real stake in the outcome. The US also made mistakes bombing other countries illegally- Cambodia and Laos- which did not help their cause. On top of this massacres of civilaians such as My Lai and the indescriminant use of napalm and agent orange, again on civilians, it is no wonder they got their arses kicked. ALso interesting to see that the administration hasn't learnt from history and are repeating the same mistakes again in Iraq- maybe if Bush and his cohorts hadn't dodged the draft and ensured they wouldn't have to go within 3 thousand miles of the combat they might have learnt more first hand and not screwed up like they have.

  • 1 decade ago

    From a strategic point of view, the biggest mistake was allowing the politicians decide how the war would be fought. By making certain targets off limits for political reasons, American soldiers had no choice but to allow the North Vietnamese and Vietcong several secure points from which to resupply, regroup, and rearm for future raids. Letting politicians fight a war, many of whom have probably never been in combat, never ends well.

  • 1 decade ago

    We went to vietnam with no understanding of that countries history and culture.... We had virtually no one who spoke the language.

    The war was a train wreck from the start... our motives were fuzzy, and our right to be there questionable. WE had no clear objectives, and no clear strategy for what represented "winning".

    To this day, you hear our people and politicians bemoan the "loss" of vietnam, yet me destroyed that country, destroyed the entire infrastructure, decimated its population... as far as war goes, in the traditional sense we did more than win... we committed culture and real genocide on what was, largely, an agricultural nation of peasants.

    For a great history of the Vietnam war, look up "A Bright Shining Lie : John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam" by Neil Sheehan

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  • 1 decade ago

    Invade Vietnam. It was an unjust war, like the war in Iraq at the moment and i'm glad to see the Americans losing the war.

  • 3 years ago

    interestingly, human beings extremely do no longer study history in its fullest quantity. us of a of america replaced into triumphing the war, additionally fought very no longer uncomplicated against a persevering with opponent. even though, politics back interior the states reason for a straight away withdrawl from the country. The troops did no longer lose the war, politics lost this war. It replaced into very winnable and replaced into interior the waking, yet no person had to place forward the attempt it took to end that venture. different than the troops that have been sent there with out them desirous to accomplish that. Oh yeah, the French have been there first and have been given demolished/slaughtered, which led to us of a of america to step in, and that replaced into an exceptionally very very massive reason we've been there. alongside with useful rubber wood that are grown there. You ask why can we expect of we gained the war? tell me this, what share circumstances have you ever heard us of a of america in a descussion then think of roughly Vietnam and their modern state interior the worldwide community. they are no longer something, and for a protracted time they are going to be no longer something. As for us of a of america, we are able to stand reliable. So ask your self that very same question back.

  • 1 decade ago

    The first mistake was fighting a war by proxy... You cant lead from the rear (I.E. the USA) if you are fighting in a foreign country. 2) If you are going to fight fight to win. You cant win if you are so tied up in congressional B.S. that you cant move with out the president or congresses approval. No matter why we were there we couldn't win the way it was being run by our own politicians.

  • 1 decade ago

    the americans should have never been there just like in the war they are presently at. it makes me sick to see these innocent peoples being put through the horrors of war,someday war will be on usa's doorstep.war is a horrible way of population controll.war is about politics and government everything about war is against god!!!!think about that!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Going there in the first place was the worst mistake of the "war"

  • 1 decade ago

    we should not have been there in the first place, we should build our power from within and take care of our own people, lord knows enough of our own countrymen are suffering right here in the United States. i'm sick of sacrificing our precious young men and women for those who would spit on our flag and our people. war is a money making machine and unless we are being attacked on our own soil, let's stay out of it.

    Source(s): from growing up during the viet nam era and watching and listening to all the horrors of war!
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