Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War (1957-1975) was the war of my generation and was the longest war ever for the United States, starting in 1957 and ending in 1975. Vietnam is a small country in Southeast Asia, and at the time of fighting, Vietnam was divided into Communist-controlled North Vietnam and non-Communist South Vietnam. The reason for the war was because North Vietnam and South Vietnamese rebels trained by Communists wanted to take over South Vietnam. South Vietnam with the assistance of the United States tried to stop the takeover but failed. Even though the war is called the Vietnam War, fighting also took place in Laos and Cambodia, and United States pilots flew missions from bases in Thailand Fighting in Vietnam actually began in 1946 when the Vietnamese fought independence from France. Vietnam at that time was part of a colony called French Indochina. Even though the United States helped France with over $2 billion in military equipment, France lost to the Vietnamese in 1954. At that time Vietnam was divided into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The United States sent aid to France and then later to non-Communist South Vietnam because President Harry S. Truman "declared that the United States must help any nation threatened by Communists." Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson adopted the same policy because they feared a domino-effect would take place if any Southeast Asian country fell to the Communists. For the Communists, the Vietnam War was a war of national liberation because they saw the Vietnam War as just a continuation of the war with France and said that it was just another attempt for a foreign nation to control Vietnam. North Vietnam's goal - supported by China and the Soviet Union - was to make one nation out of the northern and southern parts of Vietnam. From 1957 until 1965, the Vietnam War was basically a battle between the South Vietnamese army and South Vietnamese rebels known as the Viet Cong who were trained by Communists. In the period 1965 until 1969, most of the fighting was done by the United States and North Vietnam. Other nations also helped South Vietnam, including Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. The United States had approximately 540,000 troops in South Vietnam by 1969 but began to withdraw its troops in 1969 because Americans had grown weary of the long war. About 58,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War. There were more than a million South Vietnamese deaths and between 500,000 and a million deaths among North Vietnamese troops. The fighting destroyed much of Vietnam. A cease-fire was arrangement in January 1973, and United States troops were out of Vietnam two months later. Even though fighting continued between South Vietnam and the Communists, American troops did not return. South Vietnam surrendered two years later on April 30, 1975, and ended the war. In my opinion, the war in Vietnam could have and should have been won by American and South Vietnam forces. I believe that politicians tried to run the war instead of letting the military do what they are trained and paid to do. The talk during the Vietnam War was very much like what has been happening for the past nearly ten years as our military has battled in Iraq and Afghanistan. I still believe that if our nation is going to send our military to war, they better do everything possible to win the war. Facts for this blog post came from an article by George C. Herring in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 20, pp 397-402

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