Lessons Learned: Vietnam And The Gulf War

1596 words - 7 pages

Vitnam Section is better ExcellentLessons Learned: Vietnam and the Gulf War"No new taxes." This is a quote that most all of us remember from the 1992 presidential election. Along with it we remember that there were new taxes during that presidents term in office. There are a myriad of promises made and things done in a presidential election year that have questionable motives as to whether they are done in the best interest of the people or in the interests of the presidential candidate. These hidden interests are one of the biggest problems with the political aspects of government in modern society. One of the prime examples of this is the Vietnam War. Although South Vietnam asked for our ...view middle of the document...

On August 7, 1964, in response to the presidential request, Congress authorized President Johnson to take all necessary measures to repel any attack and to prevent aggression against theU. S. in southeast Asia ( United States ). The selective bombing of North Vietnam began immediately in response to this resolution. In March of the following year U. S. troops began to arrive.Although the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution specifically stated that we had no military, political, or territorial ambitions in southeast Asia, the interests back home were quite a different story ( Johnson ). The political involvement in Vietnam was about much more than just promised aid to a weak country in order to prevent the spread of communism. It was about money. After all, wars require equipment, guns, tools and machinery. Most of which was produced in the United States. It was about proving America's commitment to stop communism. Or rather to confine communism in its present boundaries But most of all it was about politics. The presidential political involvement in Vietnam had little to do with Vietnam at all. It was about China for Eisenhower, about Russia for Kennedy, about Washington D.C. for Johnson, and about himself for Nixon ( Post ). The last two of which were the major players in America's involvement in regards to U. S. Troops being used ( Wittman ).The military involvement in Vietnam is directly related to the political management of the military throughout the war. The military controlled by the politicians. The micro management of the military by the White House for political gain is the primary reason for both the length and cost, both monetary and human, of the Vietnam War ( Pelland ). One of the largest problems was the lack of a clear objective in the war and the support to accomplish it. The predominant military opinion of the military's role in Vietnam in respect to the political involvement is seen in the following quote by General Colin Powell, "If you're going to put into something then you owe the armed forces, you owe the American People, you owe just you're own desire to succeed, a clear statement of what political objective you're trying to achieve and then you put the sufficient force to that objective so that you know when you've accomplished it." The politicians dictated the war in Vietnam, it was a limited war, the military was never allowed to fight the war in the manner that they thought that they needed to in order to win it ( Baker ).To conclude on the Vietnam War, the political management of the war made it unwinnable. The military was at the mercy of politicians who knew very little about what needed to be done militarily in order to win the war. There is an enormous difference between political judgment and military judgment. This difference is the primary reason for the outcome of the Vietnam War ( Schwarzkopf ).The Gulf War in the Middle East was almost the exact opposite in respect to the political influence on the war. In respect...

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