Conflict during 1954-1975 between South and North Vietnam, with increasing United States involvement

The Vietnam War (Vietnamese: Chiến tranh Việt Nam), also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America (Vietnamese: Kháng chiến chống Mỹ) or simply the American War, was a conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese army was supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies; the South Vietnamese army was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war by some US perspectives. The war would last approximately 19 years and would also form the Laotian Civil War as well as the Cambodian Civil War, which resulted in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.

The Quiet American


"Anti-War" Poseurs: All Whine, No Spine, by Terry Michael, RealClearPolitics, 23 Nov 2005
Criticises liberal Democratic politicians to stand up against the neoconservative arguments that eventually led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq
"It took six years after the American people lost faith in the Vietnam War in 1968 and tens of thousands more young American lives for the Washington political culture to end the madness it created in Southeast Asia."
Related Topic: Iraq War (2003)
Ellsberg's Lessons for Our Time, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, May 2008
Reviews Daniel Ellsberg's Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers and how its commentary applies to the then current conflict in Iraq
"In 1967, the Pentagon ordered top experts to analyze where the war had gone wrong. The resulting study contained 47 volumes of material exposing the intellectual and political follies that had, by that time, already left tens of thousands of Americans dead. After the study was finished, it was distributed to the key players and federal agencies. However, the massive study was completely ignored. At the time the New York Times began publishing excerpts in 1971, 'the White House and the State Department were unable even to locate the 47 volumes.'"
Is Capitalism Why We Fight?, by Gregory Bresiger, Mises Daily, 6 Apr 2006
Critical review of the theses presented in the 2005 documentary Why We Fight, also inquirying about topics omitted from the film
"One thinks of Congresses during much of the Vietnam War, sometimes objecting to the war, but rarely exerting its power of the purse to stop president Johnson or Nixon. ... [John Foster] Dulles, along with vice president Richard Nixon, even wanted the United States to intervene in Vietnam after the French were defeated there in 1954, according to General Matthew Ridgeway in his memoir Soldier. This send-American-troops-to-Vietnam-and-save-the-French-Empire proposal was even too ridiculous for Eisenhower, but not, unfortunately, for Jack Kennedy, who followed him in the presidency in 1961."
Karl Hess: Presidential Speechwriter Turned Homesteader, by Karl Hess, Anson Mount, Mother Earth News, Jan 1976
"The Plowboy Interview", shortly after Hess' book Dear America had become a bestseller, questions him about the switch from right wing conservatism to the New Left
"By the time we got mired down in Vietnam, though, the American military establishment no longer expected its troops to think for themselves out in the field. ... Unfortunately for us, however, the Viet Cong were still doing things the way we had done them thirty years before. They were organized from the bottom up. ... We could have fought the V.C. with our bloated bureaucracy for a hundred years and still never won."
Let Us Shape the Future, by Carl Oglesby, 27 Nov 1965
Speech to Students for a Democratic Society on march on Washington, D.C., to protest the Vietnam War
"The original commitment in Vietnam was made by President Truman ... seconded by President Eisenhower ... intensified by the late President Kennedy ... the men who now engineer that war — those who study the maps, give the commands, push the buttons, and tally the dead: Bundy, McNamara, Rusk, Lodge, Goldberg, the President himself."
Peace and Pacifism, by Robert Higgs, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Reviews what prominent classical liberals and libertarians had to say on the subject of peace and war, as well as the history of United States wars from the War of 1812 to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the efforts of those who opposed them
"In 1965, escalation of the U.S. military engagement in Vietnam revived mass antiwar activity, but New Left, religious, and left-liberal organizations led the way, notwithstanding attempts by Rothbard and a few other libertarians to nudge the antiwar movement in a libertarian direction. Opposition to the Vietnam War, however, did create a diverse coalition of people dedicated to seeking peace, and libertarians ... have continued, for the most part, to treat peace as the proper default setting for international relations and to oppose the U.S. government's persistent efforts to remake the world at gunpoint."
Pentagon Whistle-Blower on the Coming War With Iran, by Karen Kwiatkowski, James Harris, Josh Scheer, 27 Feb 2007
Interviewed by James Harris and Josh Scheer of Truthdig; topics include possible conflict with Iran, the Pentagon situation prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Office of Special Plans, Vietnam, terrorism and neoconservatism
"Sure, well sure, Vietnam is filled with examples. And Daniel Ellsberg's information and his Pentagon paper that he released factual information that contradicted what political appointees at the top of the Pentagon were saying to Congress and saying to the American people. ... most people who serve and wear the uniform or give a career of service to the military ... don't think that our bosses will do that. ... But in fact history is full of examples of bald-faced lies being told to sell particular agendas. Often times those agendas include war making, certainly in Vietnam they did, under LBJ and a few other presidents."
Rambo Was A Chump: John Kerry Should Be Ashamed of Vietnam Service, by Ted Rall, 27 Aug 2004
Discusses comments made by then Senator and presidential candidate John Kerry about the 2003 Iraq war, including the change in his Senate appropriations voting record, and the Vietnam War
"Kerry returned from the war in Vietnam in 1971. An early supporter of the conflict, what he saw there changed his mind--prompting him to help found Vietnam Veterans Against the War."
Related Topics: Iraq War (2003), War
So What If Freedom Isn't Free?, by Sheldon Richman, 31 May 2013
Examines the "Freedom isn't free" assertion from the viewpoint of free will, negative or positive rights, resource scarcity and common usage
"Even a known critic of the U.S. government's war in Vietnam, will preface any question to John McCain or other Vietnam vets with a 'thank you.' Thank you for what? The North Vietnamese army and the Vietcong had not threatened the freedom of any American in America. The only Americans they harmed or killed were ones who intervened in their civil war or bombed their country. (When McCain was flying missions over Hanoi, before he was shot down and taken into captivity, he wasn't delivering pizzas. He was bombing civilian infrastructure.)"
Related Topic: Liberty
The American Heritage of "Isolationism", by Gregory Bresiger, Future of Freedom, May 2006
Criticizes the use of the word "isolationist" by the media, "internationalists" and other foreign intervention promoters, looking at the heritage of noninterventionism as exemplified by Washington's Farewell Address
"You were a 'dove' in the 1960s and 1970s. You were against America's war in Vietnam. That war still disturbs you to this day. You're upset when you see a movie such as We Were Soldiers or read books such as The Best and the Brightest or Bob Kerrey's horrific story of his time in the Special Forces (When I Was a Young Man). ... Johnson ended up greatly expanding the American commitment to Vietnam, with some 500,000 troops sent to Southeast Asia. ... Richard Nixon ran in 1968 with 'a secret plan' to end the war in Vietnam. In the course of slowly pulling troops out of the war ... he spread the war to Cambodia."
The non-debate on the war, by Terry Michael, The Washington Times, 25 Aug 2005
Criticises the media for its lack of discussion about ending the 2003 Iraq War
"... a timely reminder for the Baby Boom leaders of America's newsrooms — who should have learned more than they did in the '60s, when the best and the brightest gave us Vietnam. ... To use the over-used Yogi Berra observation, it's deja vu all over again. We can't cut-and-run, the world won't respect us, Vietnam would be in chaos, the 'serious' voices told us in the '60s. So we stayed for years, spread more of the chaos we created, and thousands more of my generation were sacrificed, so 'serious' men wouldn't have to admit they were wrong."
Related Topic: Iraq War (2003)
The Secret State, by Carl Oglesby, 19 Dec 1991
Details various events from the dismantling of the Office of Strategic Services after World War II to the 1991 death of Danny Casolaro, which Oglesby said are reason to be worried about "a secret and invisible state within the public state"
"August 1967: COINTELPRO. Faced with mounting public protest against the Vietnam War, the FBI formally inaugurated its so-called COINTELPRO operations, a rationalized and extended form of operations under way for at least a year. A House committee reported in 1979 that 'the FBI Chicago Field Office files [in] 1966 alone contained the identities of a small army of 837 informers, all of whom reported on [antiwar activists'] ... political activities, views or beliefs, and none of whom reported on any unlawful activities by [these activists].'"
The State of the Movement [PDF], by Leonard Liggio, The Libertarian Forum, 15 May 1970
Examines the history and status of the New Left movement, in particular of the Students for a Democratic Society and the involvement of libertarians and socialists in SDS
"When the Johnson-Humphrey administration escalated the U. S. intervention in Vietnam in early 1965, a unique grass-roots response developed on college campuses—the teach-ins. Spontaneous individual opposition to the government was offered the dual opportunity of immediate protest and of information for continuing protest. ... A coalition of groups was formed in Berkeley in the fall of 1965 to hold a mass demonstration against the war. ... the Berkeley march was based upon the idea that U. S. aggression in Vietnam could be stopped quickly by the impression made upon the government by a mass demonstration."
Related Topics: Imperialism, Libertarianism
Warring as Lying Throughout American History, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Feb 2008
Recounts how U.S. Presidents and their administrations since James Polk have lied about wars, from start to finish
"... Hannah Arendt noted in an essay on the Pentagon Papers, during the Vietnam War, 'The policy of lying was hardly ever aimed at the enemy but chiefly if not exclusively destined for domestic consumption, for propaganda at home and especially for the purpose of deceiving Congress.' CIA analysts did excellent work in the early period of the Vietnam conflict. But 'in the contest between public statements, always over-optimistic, and the truthful reports of the intelligence community, persistently bleak and ominous, the public statements were likely to win simply because they were public,' Arendt commented. "
Who Killed JFK? The Media Whitewash, by Carl Oglesby, Lies of Our Times, Sep 1991
Examines how several mainstream newspapers and media outlets started criticizing and attacking JFK while the movie was still being made
"Lardner's most interesting error is his charge that JFK mis-states the impact of the assassination on the growth of the Vietnam war. No doubt Stone's first-draft screenplay telescoped events in suggesting that LBJ began escalating the Vietnam war the second day after Dallas. Quietly and promptly, however, LBJ did indeed stop the military build-down that JFK had begun; and as soon as LBJ won the 1964 election as the peace candidate, he started taking the lid off. Motivated by a carefully staged pretext, the Gulf of Tonkin 'incident,' the bombing of North Vietnam began in February 1965. "
Related Topics: JFK, John F. Kennedy
Why I am a Libertarian, by Mark Richards, 21 May 2008
Describes the persons (mainly his mother) and events that influenced him in becoming a libertarian
"As the 1960s wore on, the mess in Vietnam just got worse, and again my mother knew something wasn't right and that the government was lying. ... The Birch Society, which was an organization of 'constitutional conservatives,' had a table full of literature. Much of it had to do with exposing the fraud that was the Vietnam War. To my mom, it only confirmed what she had long expected regarding the lies of the Johnson administration in getting America mired down in Southeast Asia. How could we be 'fighting communism' over there and be promoting a socialistic welfare state under the banner of Johnson's 'Great Society' programs here at home?"
Woodstock May Have Saved Sen. McCain's Life, by Sheldon Richman, 7 Nov 2007
Discusses John McCain's comment regarding Hillary Clinton's proposal for funding a Woodstock museum
"While McCain undoubtedly suffered beyond imagination, the full context of his situation needs to be maintained. ... He and his defenders would respond that he was serving his country and protecting Americans' freedom. He wasn't. North Vietnam never attacked the American people. The public was told it had attacked an American warship in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, but the U.S. government knew that was not true."
Would a Return to Conscription Substantially Reduce the Probability of War?, by David R. Henderson, 7 Sep 2015
Analyzes the question of whether reintroducing military conscription would incentivize the rich and powerful to object to "military adventurism" and thus prevent war; also includes a moral argument against the draft
"Some people who want to return to the draft to reduce the prospect of military adventurism point to the Vietnam War as Exhibit A for their position. But a much stronger case can be made, as Henderson and Seagren point out, that the Vietnam War is Exhibit A for the exact opposite position. They write: 'First, the existence of a draft did not prevent the Vietnam War or even appear to affect how intense the war became. Second, it took many years of protests and, more important, over 58,000 American military lives lost and over 150,000 wounded before the war ended. Indeed, it took a few years of high casualties before there were widespread protests against the Vietnam War.'"
Related Topics: Ethics, War

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Vietnam War" as of 23 Nov 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.