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Michael Brennan
Meyer
AP English
5/26/15

A Grave Misjudgment

Foolish is a word that is spoken in passing when chiding a young one or reprimanding
another who has compromised themselves. It is nary thought to be uttered that a nation might be
condemned by the same term, but in the case of the Vietnam War, The United States might as
well be slapped on the wrist for its foolishness. One imagines nations as omnipotent - endlessly
wise and immense, fated to fulfill their respectful duties as members of an international
ecosystem. However, The United States has fulfilled only the role of the parasite, an invasive
entity, disrupting the natural and inevitable order of a hostile Vietnam. Us involvement in the
Vietnam War was not only foolish, but now exists as a bloody stain on the histories of all nations
involved.
At the outset of the war, American involvement was (relative to previous engagements)
insufficient and undercooked for the occasion. Following in line with the American policy of
containment (Brigham), the halting of the spread of communism by any means necessary,
President Kennedy sent over informed and practiced advisors, rather than simply strike with the
military. Throughout the whole process, Kennedy was bombarded by various other advisors who

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insisted that American intervention was a dead end alley (Brigham). For not only was
resistance present during the conflict itself, in the form of street protesters, but within the
establishment conducting war operations. This war truly was rotting from the inside at birth.
A rot rightly deserved and a defeat justly dealt, for within this, the omnipotent lord of
patriotism was laid low at the hands of farmers. In this respect, the conflict was not dissimilar to
the revolutionary war the all-powerful crumbling under the miniscule weight of those who
knew the land. Like a sore-sported child after losing a game, the US outright refused to accept
the Geneva Agreements after admitting their involvement in Vietnam, voicing to the world that
they, and the French were to be either victorious or sent back to their now venomous homelands
with their tails between their legs. Another scar on the lashed back of all nations involved was
Nixons proposition of vietnamisation (Trueman). This process was present in two parts; The
removal of troops from Vietnam, and the continued aid of the provisional Southern Vietnamese
government. The latter of these took precedence and resulted in the withdrawal of American
assets taking a total of 4 years, contributing further to the belief of folly in this war.
The gravest error we as American have made in entering Vietnam was overestimating
our power (or underestimating theirs), for a people whose land has been invaded need no reason
to fight, whereas Americans had to seek one out. This is the case within both the Vietnam and
Iraqi wars, as we sought to find reason for bloodshed when our opponents needed little else more
than the incentive to have their land untrodden by American boots. It is far too easy to be
consumed by these mock reasons, for once engaged, human savagery becomes an incredibly
slippery slope (Vistica).

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With this slope of savagery growing steeper and steeper, so too were the methods of
recruiting growing more outrageous. The method by which meant are sent to their deaths is dealt
by the hand of fate a lottery. While it may exist as slightly fairer than hand picking, which
might leave room for discrimination, it stills places the lives of innocent men through a careless
and unfeeling system that saps the vitality out of individuality another number, another family
left fatherless and thousands of young ones left unborn. For the responsibility of a soldier to their
country lies not within their life, but their mind. A soldier is not simply defined as a brute with
flak jackets and an m-16, but as one who gives their all for their country, be it letting their blood
on the battlefield, or pouring their sweat into the war effort at home. Regardless, when a soldier
is given an order, he becomes not a mercenary (Evans), killing for coin or glory, but an integral
portion of a cohesive unit a brother in arms.
From the minds of these brothers in arms were birthed thousands of war accounts, each
imbued with their own unique horrors. Discordant sensations and perceptions were constantly
present in this conflict, contributing to the disarray and confusion of our ranks that had nary a
right to be present on foreign ground. Within the rainforests, all manner of scents, from tropical
blossoms to rotting vegetation are present, all overseen by the overarching stench of blood,
which profusely saturated the ground a smell that came far too often (Marcieski). One sees
from these excerpt the senseless blood that the soil has lustily devoured and made its own.
And see one did, for this was the first major televised war. One saw the bones crushed
underfoot, the corroding skin from incidents of Agent Orange, but most influential was the sight
of ones own brothers, fathers, and sons being sent to an inevitable doom at the hands of a
seemingly unfeeling government. An iconic news spokesman himself states on live television

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that the only sensible means to evaluate the current state of the war was as a stalemate the
only realistic, if unsatisfactory conclusion (Cronkite). As can likewise be regarded in Iraq, the
medias integral role in conflict lies in exposure spewing forth raw data and images to be
interpreted at the will of the populace. The static screen of flashing photographs now determines
the level of acceptance and degree of criticism not only in wartime but peacetime as well. The
Vietnam War existed within the unfeeling box in the sanctuaries of Americas people, and as a
consequence, it thoroughly saturated their lives, bringing about a newfound concern for
Americas soldiers rather than viewing them as blind combatants a million miles from our
shores.
How many children unborn, how many innocents skulls shattered under the butt of a gun
one asks. A bastion of bloodshed is all that has been birthed from this carelessly misjudged war.
Conflict has cowered behind blood red curtains until this point, for the screen of filaments hath
lit the way to truth and consequentially, judgement. It is less so a war, but rather an invasion a
grand army of parasites interfering in affairs that would be swifter resolved by their own people,
even if the outcome was not desirable. For Americas involvement in the Vietnam caused
infinitely greater grief on both sides than would have if the conflict was simply left untouched.

Citations:
http://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/history/index.html, Brigham, Robert. "Battlefield
Vietnam: A Brief History." PBS. PBS. Web. 31 May 2015.

Evans, George & Marcieski, Stanley. "Movie." PBS. PBS, 15 Nov. 2009. Web. 31 May 2015.
<http://www.pbs.org/pov/stories/vietnam/story.html>.

Vistica, Gregory. "One Awful Night in Thanh Phong." New York Times Magazine. New
York Times, 25 Apr. 2001. Web. 1 June 2015.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/25/magazine/25KERREY.html>.

"Vietnam Online." American Experience. PBS, 29 Mar. 2005. Web. 1 June 2015.
<http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/timeline/tl5.html#b>.

"The Whole World Was Watching." The Vietnam War in the 1968 Interviews. Ed. David
Reville. 1968. Web. 1 June 2015.
<http://cds.library.brown.edu/projects/1968/issues/vietnam.htm

Folkenflik, David. "Final Words: Cronkite's Vietnam Commentary." NPR. NPR, 18 July
2009. Web. 1 June 2015.
Chris, Trueman."Vietnamisation". HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 2014. Web.