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Although the U.S.A Went into Vietnam with the Best of Intentions, the Conflict Went Horribly Wrong

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‘Although the U.S.A went into Vietnam with the best of intentions, the conflict went horribly wrong.’

The Vietnam War was a conflict, which the United States involved itself in unnecessarily and ultimately lost. The basis of the conflict was simple enough: Communism vs. Capitalism, yet the conduct of the Vietnam War was complex and strategic, and brought repercussions which had never been seen before. The struggle between North and South had an almost inevitable outcome, yet the Americans entered the War optimistic that they could aid the falling South and sustain democracy. The American intentions for entering the Vietnam conflict were good, yet when the conflict went horribly wrong, and the resilient North Vietnamese forces, or ‘Viet Cong’ as they were known, refused to yield, the United States saw they were fighting a losing battle.

The United States initially backed the struggling democratic South Vietnam in an effort to prevent what is known as the ‘domino effect’ from occurring. The idea that the South falling under the communist north’s control and ideology and therefore the rest of South-East Asia falling under a communist regime was quite a legitimate theory at the time, and therefore America did go into Vietnam with good intentions. Their intentions being good is arguable now, but during the early 1960’s under the presidency of John F. Kennedy the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam was greeted with enthusiasm by the American public. However, John F. Kennedy’s own enthusiasm was dulled and as he contemplated withdrawal from Vietnam, he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, to be succeeded by the more militarized Lyndon Johnson.

As Lyndon Johnson came into power, he upped the number of military advisors in Vietnam to 27,000 . His more active military stance, and commitment to the fight against communism saw U.S. involvement in Vietnam escalate as bombing of North Vietnam commenced, and ground troops scoured the jungles for Viet Cong. The conflict went horribly wrong when the U.S troops began to be ambushed and out-smarted by the Viet Cong. The U.S troops entered Vietnam well aware that they would be fighting in a war, yet the war wasn’t the conventional type. The Viet Cong were known to use some cunning guerilla warfare tactics against the stronger and better-armed American forces. Hiding in trees, using local villagers to lead the troops into ambushes, troops were being slaughtered. This is one instance where the conflict went horribly wrong in Vietnam, during the combat on the ground.

During the peak of U.S involvement in the Vietnam War, between 1967 and 1969 the U.S employed a strategy that proved to be a disaster on many different levels. With over 500,000 of their troops serving in Vietnam at the time, the widespread use of herbicides, particularly Agent Orange began being sprayed over the Vietnamese jungle by planes. The aim of this was to eliminate the ‘invisibility’ of the Viet Cong and offer a safe path for the American troops to follow. This was a good idea in theory, but what the American strategists didn’t think of was the toxicity of the herbicides, and the fact that not only would the Viet Cong be exposed to it, but their troops and innocent South Vietnamese would be also. A widely speculated and argued repercussion of this is that many Vietnam veterans, and Vietnamese villagers began to give birth to babies with birth defects. However, a confirmed result of the Agent Orange sprayings has been a significantly higher rate of diabetes . It wasn’t until 20 years after the Vietnam War that research truly began into the affects of Agent Orange, and it is only now that the true affects are being revealed as diseases such as cancer and Hodgkin’s disease are becoming prominent in veterans.

The conduct of soldiers in Vietnam, specifically towards the peak of the conflict has been argued extensively over the last 30 years. It is well known that soldiers were not the only people killed in Vietnam, but for the American troops to kill the innocent civilians they have been told to protect is a different consideration. The conflict went wrong when the American troops began to take aim at the villagers and destroy their villagers. It is still speculated today why this happened. Some feel frustration was the cause, others racism, but the fact remains that the American troops opened fire unprovoked. The My Lai Massacre is probably the most horrendous example of this, where American troops entered the village and slaughtered over 200 innocents with everything from machine guns, to machetes. This inexcusable behavior played no part in America’s original intentions and was one example

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